By JOSH FUNK for apnews.com
Railroad contract talks remain deadlocked after more than two years of negotiations, so President Joe Biden will likely soon have to appoint a board to help settle the dispute.
The National Mediation Board determined Tuesday that mediation isn’t working in the joint talks that cover roughly 140,000 workers in 13 unions at the biggest freight railroads. They deliver the raw materials many companies rely upon, as well as the cars, chemicals and containers full of consumer goods the companies make.
The federal law that governs the contract talks says arbitration is the next step, but both sides have to accept that and the unions have said they won’t. That means Biden is expected to appoint a Presidential Emergency Board to investigate why the two sides haven’t been able to reach a deal and make recommendations.
The unions are optimistic that a board appointed by a self-described pro-union president will be sympathetic to their side, while helping bring the two sides closer together. That board’s recommendations are likely to trigger a new round of negotiations.