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Your Online Labor Relations Resource for Agreement/Union Employee Information.

Posted February 6, 2017 14:11:44 CST

How National Negotiations Work – Part 2

Negotiations - Mediation

As National Negotiations continue, the Railway Labor Act (RLA) continues to govern the process.  The RLA is designed to foster an agreement between parties during the negotiations process. 

Under the RLA, rail collective bargaining agreements remain in force until the parties agree to change them.  With no contract expiration date, negotiators do not work against a fixed deadline.  Instead, negotiations proceed through direct bargaining, designed to encourage a negotiated settlement. During the current round, 37 voluntary negotiation sessions have been held with the three bargaining coalitions.

Direct bargaining concludes under one of four circumstances: parties reach agreement, either party terminates negotiations, either party requests mediation, or the National Mediation Board (NMB) proffers mediation. The current round has all unions in national negotiations(three bargaining coalitions) and the railroads in mediation under the auspices of the National Mediation Board. Though there is no timeline for the mediation process, either party can request to be released from mediation. However, the NMB is under no deadline and has no obligation to release either party.

See for more information on the RLA bargaining process.

Check back for updated information regarding the current round of the RLA bargaining process.

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