Posts Tagged ‘PEB 244’

Obama announces second PEB in LIRR dispute

whitehouselogoWASHINGTON – President Barack Obama, March 20, signed an executive order creating a second Presidential Emergency Board to help resolve an ongoing dispute between the Long Island Rail Road and some of its unionized employees.

The appointment of a second PEB means that a strike by members of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers and other union employees that could have come as early as March 21 will now be put off until July at the earliest.

PEB 245 will provide a structure that allows the two sides to attempt to resolve their disagreements. In the 60 days following its establishment, the PEB will obtain final offers for settlement of the dispute from each side, and then produce a report to the president that selects the offer that the board finds to be the most reasonable.

The board’s report is not binding, but the party whose offer is not selected would be prohibited by law from receiving certain benefits if a work stoppage subsequently occurs. If the two sides fail to reach a compromise based on the recommendations of the second PEB, LIRR workers can legally strike as early as July 19.

“I am obviously disappointed that New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority rejected the findings of PEB 244,” said SMART Transportation Division President John Previsich. “While the board’s recommendations did not include everything our members on the LIRR were seeking, I do think they provided an equitable framework for resolving this matter without a work stoppage.”

The first PEB recommended that the LIRR pay wage increases totaling 18.4 percent over six years (2.9 percent per year) and that employees begin contributing to health insurance premium costs. After factoring in the recommended employee health insurance contributions, the board’s recommendations will produce net wage increases of 2.5 percent per year.

The recommendations were retroactive to June 2010.

“The recommendations of the first Presidential Emergency Board ignored the enormous burden that a 17 percent wage increase over six years without a single change in work rules or other cost offset would place on the MTA’s budget,” said MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan.

The members of PEB 245 are: Joshua M. Javits, appointee for chairman; Elizabeth C. Wesman, appointee for member; and M. David Vaughn, appointee for member.

“I appreciate that these dedicated individuals have agreed to devote their talent and years of experience working on labor-management disputes to help reach a swift and smooth resolution of this issue,” Obama said.

Javits is a self-employed mediator and arbitrator for labor-management, pension, commercial, contract and a variety of other disputes. He served on PEBs in 2007 and in 2009. From 1993 to 2001, Javits was a Partner at Ford & Harrison L.L.P., where he also served as Executive Director of the Labor Relations Association of Passenger Railroads. He was appointed as chairman and member of the National Mediation Board (NMB) from 1988 to 1993, where he was responsible for administering the Railway Labor Act governing labor relations in the airline and railroad industries. He was a labor-management arbitrator of record in more than 100 cases between 1985 and 1988, serving on numerous arbitration panels, including the AAA, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and the NMB.

Wesman has been a full-time labor and employment arbitrator since 2000 and has practiced arbitration/mediation since 1981. She has arbitrated disputes in a wide array of industries, including railroads, aerospace, police and fire departments and public and private universities. She was previously associate professor of Strategy and Human Resources/Industrial Relations at Syracuse University from 1981 to 2000. She was also an adjunct professor at the Rochester, New York, Extension Division of Cornell University from 1990 to 2000.

Vaughn has been a full-time neutral arbitrator and mediator specializing in labor and employment disputes since 1984. He has served on three previous railroad industry PEBs. He has been handling railroad cases since 1984 and has issued hundreds of awards. His current public law board appointments include Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) and United Transportation Union (UTU), CSX and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen – Teamsters (BLET), and BNSF and Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes – Teamsters (BMWET). He holds numerous umpireships and panel appointments, including Railway Labor Act panels withUnited Continental and Air Line Pilots Association, USAir and Association of Flight Attendants, and UPSA and Teamsters.

SMART GO 505 prepares to strike LIRR

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Simon

Following the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Jan. 15 announcement that it is rejecting a proposed series of wage increases for unionized employees on the Long Island Rail Road, SMART Transportation Division General Committee of Adjustment GO 505 has signaled that its members are prepared to strike as early as March 21.

The wage increases and other recommendations were the findings of Presidential Emergency Board 244, which was appointed by President Barack Obama to settle a long-running dispute between LIRR management and its unionized employees.

“With the guidance and support of our SMART International Union, along with the teamwork and solidarity of our brothers and sisters from the sheet metal side of SMART, the Transportation Communications Union and the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers, 70 percent of the represented workforce on LIRR is prepared to deliver on the actions allowable by the process of self-help, as per the Railway Labor Act,” said GO 505 General Chairperson Anthony Simon.

“In addition, we have the support of Transport Workers Union Local 100, which demonstrates an overwhelming sign of solidarity from labor to MTA.”

“Due to the MTA’s unwillingness to accept the recommendations of PEB 244, and without their request for a second board, our labor coalition is prepared to strike as early as March 21. While we have said time and time again that this is not what labor wants for the riders at the MTA, it will be the sole result of the MTA’s unwillingness to take the next step.”

The three board members recommended that the LIRR pay wage increases totaling 18.4 percent over six years (2.9 percent per year) and that employees begin contributing to health insurance premium costs. After factoring in the recommended employee health insurance contributions, the board’s recommendations will produce net wage increases of 2.5 percent per year.

The board’s wage recommendations are retroactive to the first year of the contract dispute, which has been ongoing for more than three years. The board rejected MTA’s demand that workers accept three years of net zero wage increases, followed by two, two-percent increases over five years.

The board also rejected MTA’s demand for major concessions in pensions, including a permanent five-percent employee contribution.

In its recommendations issued Dec. 22, the PEB said the wage increases were comparable to recent commuter settlements in large cities like Chicago and Boston.

Simon said that since its Jan. 15 announcement, the MTA has refused to say if it would seek a second PEB and has declined to meet with him or leaders of any of the other affected unions in the bargaining group.

“Strong leadership requires strong action. Now is the time our SMART membership, and the membership of our supporting unions, realize that we are ready to deliver. Ready for March 21 … or with MTA action, ready for the next step.”

“We need the full support of our members and their full trust in their leadership. The-long standing battle cry for labor has never been more true, ‘progress through unity.’”

To view the complete PEB report, click here.

MTA rejects PEB's proposed raises for LIRR workers

The Long Island Railroad rolled closer to a possible summer strike Jan. 15 when transit executives rejected a proposed series of raises for workers.

MTA Labor Relations Director Anita Miller notified the National Mediation Board that the authority would not enact a contract settlement for the commuter railroad that was crafted by an independent panel. The move prompted an angry response from a top union leader representing LIRR workers, who have labored without a contract since 2010.

Read the complete story at the New York Daily News.

PEB 244 issues recommendations in LIRR dispute

whitehouselogoPresidential Emergency Board 244 issued its recommendations Dec. 21 for settling a dispute between the Long Island Rail Road and its unionized employees represented by the SMART Transportation Division and several other labor unions.

The board’s recommendations are non-binding and the parties now have 120 days to reach agreement based on the recommendations.

The three board members recommended that the LIRR pay wage increase totaling 18.4 percent over six years (2.9 percent per year) and employees begin contributing to health insurance premium costs. After factoring in the recommended employee health insurance contributions, the board’s recommendations would still produce net wage increases of 2.5 percent per year.

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Simon

“Obviously, I am satisfied with the board’s findings,” said SMART TD GO 505 General Chairperson Anthony Simon. “The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Long Island Rail Road management had been demanding three years of ‘net zero’ wage increases and larger contributions to our health and welfare plans. They were also seeking numerous work-rule changes to our contract, which the board rejected. This is a ‘home run’ for the employees we represent.”

“All unions on LIRR will accept the board’s recommendations – although they’re not everything that we bargained for – so we can avoid any inconvenience to the riding public,” Simon said. “We hope the MTA will do the same.”

“I thank SMART General President Joe Nigro, SMART Transportation Division President John Previsich, Vice President John Lesniewski, Vice General Chairperson Vinnie Tessitore Jr. and the entire negotiating committee from GO 505 for their support and guidance during this process.”

In its report to the President Barack Obama, the board stated that, “It simply cannot be concluded that the MTA’s current financial position is one in which it is unable to pay for wage adjustments that are otherwise warranted.”

The board’s wage recommendations are retroactive to the first year of the contract dispute, which has been ongoing for more than three years. The board rejected MTA’s demand that workers accept three years of net zero wage increases, followed by two, two-percent increases over five years.

The board also rejected MTA’s demand for major concessions in pensions, including a permanent five percent employee contribution.

The PEB also rejected MTA’s demand that retirees begin paying for health insurance and that railroad retirement disability pensions be offset by LIRR’s pension payments.

PEB recommendations include that employees begin contributing to health insurance premium costs, beginning at one percent of 40 hours straight-time pay, at the contract’s opening date of June 16, 2010, and increasing by .25 percent increments each year thereafter. MTA had proposed larger employee contributions, while the affected unions had proposed no contributions from current employees.

If no agreement is reached, the company or the governor of New York can ask for a second PEB to be appointed, whose recommendations would also be non-binding. If no agreement between LIRR and its unions is reached following the second PEB’s recommendations, the unions would be free to strike.

Simon said he did not expect that a second PEB’s findings would be much different from that of the first.

The board’s recommendations come after holding hearings for a full week that began Dec. 2.

“After an intensive and relentless week of deliberations, I can say that our organization left no stones unturned during these proceedings,” Simon said at the time. “We presented an excellent case before the board and we are determined to fight for our members in order to obtain a fair and well-deserved agreement for all,” he said.

The board’s members included chairman Ira F. Jaffe, Roberta Golick and Arnold M. Zack.

To view the complete PEB report, click here.

Presidential Emergency Board 244 Proceedings Begin

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Anthony Simon

Following years of failed negotiations with the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Long Island Rail Road, the official proceedings of Presidential Emergency Board 244 (PEB 244) began Dec. 2, 2013, at the New York Hilton in New York City.

MTA had been seeking three years of “net zero” wage increases and major concessions from labor on pension contributions, health and welfare contributions and work rule changes.

The past week’s hearings, including testimony from various industry and financial experts, legal counsel and union leadership, were a clear indication of the commitment of the SMART Transportation Division’s leadership to its membership of General Committee of Adjustment 505 on the Long Island Rail Road.

GO 505 General Chairperson Anthony Simon was joined by Transportation Division President John Previsich, Transportation Division Vice President John Lesniewski and members of GO 505 throughout the hearings as a coalition of unions worked tirelessly throughout the week to prepare and deliver labor’s case and arguments before the board.

Simon has maintained a commitment to utilize the process of the Railway Labor Act in obtaining a fair agreement for the 2,500 SMART members employed on the LIRR.

“After an intensive and relentless week of deliberations, I can say that our organization left no stones unturned during these proceedings. We presented an excellent case before the board and we are determined to fight for our members in order to obtain a fair and well-deserved agreement for all,” he said.

SMART International Representative Charles Fraley and SMART General Chairman John McCloskey were also in attendance and participated in the process, showing solidarity among the transportation and sheet metal divisions of SMART. SMART General President Joe Nigro has been kept informed of all matters in this ongoing dispute and has been supportive throughout the process, Simon said.

The board was provided an extensive history relative to other agreements in the industry, along with detailed financial information relative to the MTA’s ability to meet labor’s demands. The MTA has a robust financial plan that includes service restorations and extensive capital improvements, while standing firm on its unwillingness to provide wage increases to its represented workforce.

Presidential Emergency Board 244 proceedings begin

anthony_Simon_web

Anthony Simon

Following years of failed negotiations with the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Long Island Rail Road, the official proceedings of Presidential Emergency Board 244 (PEB 244) began Dec. 2, 2013, at the New York Hilton in New York City.

MTA had been seeking three years of “net zero” wage increases and major concessions from labor on pension contributions, health and welfare contributions and work rule changes.

The past week’s hearings, including testimony from various industry and financial experts, legal counsel and union leadership, were a clear indication of the commitment of the SMART Transportation Division’s leadership to its membership of General Committee of Adjustment 505 on the Long Island Rail Road.

GO 505 General Chairperson Anthony Simon was joined by Transportation Division President John Previsich, Transportation Division Vice President John Lesniewski and members of GO 505 throughout the hearings as a coalition of unions worked tirelessly throughout the week to prepare and deliver labor’s case and arguments before the board.

Simon has maintained a commitment to utilize the process of the Railway Labor Act in obtaining a fair agreement for the 2,500 SMART members employed on the LIRR.

“After an intensive and relentless week of deliberations, I can say that our organization left no stones unturned during these proceedings. We presented an excellent case before the board and we are determined to fight for our members in order to obtain a fair and well-deserved agreement for all,” he said.

SMART International Representative Charles Fraley and SMART General Chairman John McCloskey were also in attendance and participated in the process, showing solidarity among the transportation and sheet metal divisions of SMART. SMART General President Joe Nigro has been kept informed of all matters in this ongoing dispute and has been supportive throughout the process, Simon said.

The board was provided an extensive history relative to other agreements in the industry, along with detailed financial information relative to the MTA’s ability to meet labor’s demands. The MTA has a robust financial plan that includes service restorations and extensive capital improvements, while standing firm on its unwillingness to provide wage increases to its represented workforce.

Obama appoints PEB in LIRR dispute

whitehouselogoPresident Barack Obama Nov. 22 signed an executive order creating a Presidential Emergency Board 244 to help resolve an ongoing dispute between the Long Island Rail Road and some of its employees.

According to the White House, PEB 244 will provide a structure for the two sides to resolve their disagreements. The board will hear evidence and, within 30 days, will deliver a report to the president recommending how the dispute should be resolved.

President Obama also announced that he intends to appoint the following members to Presidential Emergency Board No. 244:

  • Ira F. Jaffe – Chair, Presidential Emergency Board No. 244
  • Roberta Golick – Member, Presidential Emergency Board No. 244
  • Arnold M. Zack – Member, Presidential Emergency Board No. 244

SMART Transportation Division President John Previsich, who is assisting LIRR General Committee of Adjustment GO 505 with this round of negotiations, expressed satisfaction with the establishment of a presidential emergency board.

“The board members are highly respected arbitrators with years of experience in our industry and we welcome their participation in bringing this matter to a satisfactory conclusion,” Previsich said.

Ira F. Jaffe, appointee for chair, Presidential Emergency Board No. 244
Ira F. Jaffe has been an arbitrator and mediator of labor and employment disputes since 1981 and has presided over more than 4,500 cases in a wide variety of industries in the private and public sectors. Jaffe serves on over 60 permanent arbitration panels and has served on four separate PEBs, one in 2001, two in 2007, and one in 2011 in which he served as chair. Jaffe is a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators (NAA) and served as the National President of the Society of Federal Labor Relations Professionals in 1990. As an adjunct professor at the George Washington University Law School, Jaffe taught courses in labor and employment arbitration and mediation, labor law, collective bargaining and labor arbitration, and agency and partnership. He is a Charter Fellow in the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel and has arbitrated and mediated a wide variety of employee benefits disputes. He is also a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. Jaffe received a B.S. from the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations and a J.D. from the George Washington University Law School.

Roberta Golick, Appointee for Member, Presidential Emergency Board No. 244
Roberta Golick has been an arbitrator and mediator since 1974, focusing on labor-management disputes. During this time, she has handled thousands of cases in both the private and public sectors. She served as the 2011-12 President of the National Academy of Arbitrators. This is Ms. Golick’s fourth presidential emergency board (PEB) appointment. She was a panel member most recently on the 2011 PEB regarding a dispute between major freight rail carriers and their unions. From 1974 to 1982, Golick served as an arbitrator/mediator at the Massachusetts Board of Conciliation and Arbitration. Golick is a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and sits on its First Circuit Credentials Committee. She is featured in the newly released documentary, The Art and Science of Labor Arbitration, which focuses on arbitrators whose careers and contributions are landmarks in labor law policy and in the resolution of industrial disputes. Golick is the 1996 recipient of the Cushing-Gavin Award, given annually by the Boston Labor Guild. She received a B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University, and a J.D. from Boston University School of Law.

Arnold M. Zack, Appointee for Member, Presidential Emergency Board No. 244
Arnold Zack has been an arbitrator and mediator of over 5,000 labor disputes since 1957 and a member of five presidential emergency boards, serving as chair twice. He served on Presidential Emergency Board No. 243 involving a coalition of the nation’s freight carriers and two coalitions representing eleven railroad unions in 2011. He has just completed a nine year term as judge on the Asian Development Bank Administrative Tribunal. He was the president of the National Academy of Arbitrators from 1994 to 1995. From 1990 to 2000, he was the chair of the Essential Industries Dispute Settlement Board in Bermuda, and the chair of the Essential Services Dispute Settlement Board there from 1998 to 2001. He was the founder and a member of the Board of Control of the Center for Sio-Legal Studies at the University of Natal in South Africa from 1986 to 1990, where he designed dispute resolution systems for employment disputes in South Africa. He has also served and taught as a senior research associate at the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School since 1985. He is a member of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. He has been a Fulbright Scholar and a Wertheim Fellow. He received a B.A. from Tufts University, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and an M.P.A. from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.