Cases & Deals

Rail carriers prevail in collective bargaining interest arbitration

Client(s) National Railway Labor Conference

In 2018, Jones Day represented the National Carriers' Conference Committee -- a bargaining coalition comprising all of the nation's major freight railroads -- in a major arbitration to set the terms of labor agreements with two labor unions. The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division ("BMWED") and the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation - Mechanical Division ("SMART-MD") together represent approximately 28,000 of the Carriers' employees. The main issue in the case was whether the unions should be required to accept healthcare plan design changes that had been negotiated with other railroad unions, or were entitled to a separate health care plan with a more expensive plan design. The arbitration board, chaired by neutral arbitrator Gil Vernon, agreed with the railroads that the unions should accept the same terms as all other unionized railroad employees. The arbitration board also gave the carriers a "true-up," which was compensation for the delay in implementation of the new health care plan design.

Nat'l Carriers' Conference Committee vs. B'hd of Maintenance of Way Employees Div., et al., Arbitration Board No. 602 (May 23, 2018)