Tip Tuesday: What You Need to Know About Negotiating Under the Railway Labor Act (RLA)
June 07, 2022

Significant differences lie between bargaining under two labor laws - the NLRA and RLA. We've broken down what it means to negotiate under the RLA.

  • Contracts do not expire under the RLA, they become amendable, so the exact timing of a potential work stoppage can be hard to predict
  • Mediation is a mandatory step under the RLA if the parties cannot reach an agreement in direct negotiations
  • Both management and unions try to argue to the NMB to either slow the process down or speed up the process, depending on the situation
  • The federal courts have described negotiations under the RLA as “interminable”
  • The process includes direct negotiations, mediation, the proffer of arbitration, 30-day cooling-off period, the union is free to engage in self-help and the company is free to lockout employees
  • There is also a provision for the President to appoint a PEB (Presidential Emergency Board); the PEB holds hearings and issues a non-binding recommendation to end the dispute
Let us Help You
From labor negotiations support to strategic consultation, we are always ready to help.