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                      Office of the Press Secretary
                           (New York, New York)
For Immediate Release                                 September 22, 1997


Emergency Board Proposes Framework
To Settle Impasse between Amtrak and its Maintenance of Way Employees

An Emergency Board recommended pay scale increases for Amtrak's maintenance of way employees consistent with those included in agreements between the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes and the nation's freight railroads. Three 3.5 percent salary increases from 1995 to 2000 and a series of lump sum and equity payments were recommended to resolve a long-running contract dispute between Amtrak and its over 2300 employees represented by the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes. The Emergency Board refused to recommend rule adjustments concluding that such changes are best left to the parties to negotiate. Instead, the Board recommended a process to allow the parties to conclude negotiations over work rule changes.

The three-member Emergency Board was created on August 21, 1997 by President Clinton, pursuant to the Railway Labor Act, to forestall a strike by the Maintenance of Way Employees at Amtrak. The Board submitted its recommendations to the White House on September 21, 1997.

Although not legally binding on the parties, it is anticipated that the Emergency Board's recommendations will form the basis for a settlement of the disputes. If no settlement is reached by 12:01 a.m. EDT on October 22, 1997, the maintenance of way employees are free to strike and Amtrak is free to lock out its maintenance of way employees or change their terms or conditions of employment. The Act, which is administered by the National Mediation Board, governs labor-management relations in the airline and railroad industries and provides the authority for creation of Presidential Emergency Boards.

The Emergency Board was chaired by arbitrator Arnold M. Zack. Arbitrators Richard I. Bloch, and Roberta Golick served as members of the Board.


Copies of the report may be obtained at the office of the National Mediation Board: (202) 523-5920.