Reagan derails railway strikes

Threats of crippling railroad strikes this summer ended on July 22 when, for the second time in 2 weeks, President Reagan invoked national emergency provisions of the Railway Labor Act. His move came during a deadlocked contract dispute between carriers and a union.

Monitor contributor Ed Townsend reports presidential factfinders will now study separate disputes between the railroads (most of them freight carriers) and the 35,000-member Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE), and, under the latest Executive Order, the 85,000-member United Transportation Union. Recommendations for settlements are due in 30 days. If renewed bargaining does not produce contracts then, the BLE will be free to strike Sept. 9 and the UTU Sept. 20.

In blocking BLE and UTU strike threats, the President said that a walkout lasting more than a week would not only seriously affect the movement of winter wheat, coal, and defense materials, but also would result in layoffs of more than 600,000 workers, adding to high unemployment.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.