Announcement of the Establishment of Emergency Board No. 200 To Investigate a Railroad Labor Dispute

February 14, 1983

The President announced today the creation of Emergency Board No. 200 to investigate and make recommendations for settlement of a current dispute between the Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE).

The President, by Executive order, is establishing the Emergency Board on recommendation of the National Mediation Board. A strike by BLE threatens to interrupt interstate commerce, substantially depriving a section of the country of essential transportation service. Conrail is the fifth largest railroad in the United States, serving 15 States in the Northeast and the District of Columbia. Its service area contains almost half of the Nation's manufacturing plants and accounts for 45 percent of U.S. economic activity. One quarter of the motor vehicles transported are moved by Conrail, and the carrier is a major hauler of food, pulp and paper products, coal, chemicals, and primary metal products. The Department of Defense relies on Conrail to transport many types of defense material, including certain essential items such as the M - 1 tank. Additionally, a strike on Conrail would disrupt service to the rest of the country because other railroads would be unable to interline with Conrail.

Consequently, the President invoked the emergency board procedures of the Railway Labor Act, which in part provide that the board will report its findings and recommendations for the settlement of the dispute to the President within 30 days from the date of its establishment. The parties must then consider the recommendations of the emergency board without engaging in self-help during a subsequent 30-day period.

Note: The White House press release included a fact sheet on Conrail.