Member Alert Rail unions extend “cooling off” period

Nov 09, 2022

Member Alert
Rail unions extend “cooling off” period

Rail labor unions and railroads have agreed to extend the “cooling off” (or “status quo”) period in their contract negotiations, eliminating the threat of a freight rail service shutdown next week.

Both rail labor unions that have voted to reject the tentative contract agreement proposed in September extended their “status quo” period to Dec. 4, pushing the potential for a rail strike until Dec. 5 at the earliest. Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division (BMWED) and Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS) announced the extension earlier today. 

The current “cooling off” period, which had been set to expire on Nov. 19, may be further extended to maintain alignment with other labor organizations. The two largest unions, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen (BLET) and International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers – Transportation Div. (SMART-TD), are scheduled to complete their ratification votes by Nov. 21. Their cooling off period ends on Dec. 8. If either BLET or SMART-TD reject their agreement, BMWED and BRS may also extend to Dec. 8.

To date, seven labor unions have ratified agreements based on the recommendations of the Presidential Emergency Board appointed by President Biden, while three other ratification votes are pending. 

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