USDA Grain Transportation Report (8/18): ​Presidential Emergency Board Provides Recommendations on Labor Dispute

According to the USDA Grain Transportation Report, on August 16, the Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) submitted to President Biden recommendations to help resolve the ongoing contract dispute between the Class Is and other railroads (carriers), on one side, and unions representing all rail employees, on the other.

The PEB report suggests that—before the PEB was created—the two sides’ proposals widely diverged in value by more than $9 billion. After working with both parties, the PEB made several recommendations to help resolve the dispute, including a 24-percent compounded wage increase over 5 years (some retroactive).

The wage-increase recommendation was 7 percent above the carriers’ offer and 7 percent below the unions’ offer, but also included annual service-recognition bonuses. With the PEB’s submission, the Railway Labor Act now requires a 30-day cooling off period, after which, if railroads and unions still cannot come to agreement, strikes and lockouts are allowed to take place.