Edward Hamberger, president of the Association of American Railroads, does not expect rail service to be interrupted following the railroads’ December 16th request that the national Mediation Board release the carriers and rail unions from mediation.

The National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) reported that Edward Hamberger, president of the Association of American Railroads (AAR) said, ‘We do not expect any disruptions to rail service and remain confident that we will resolve these issues,’ referring to current negotiations between the railroads and unions represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The carriers asked the National Mediation Board (NMB) to release them and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees and other unions from mediation.

The release is required before negotiations can progress to the next level, said NITL. A release from mediation would start a process outlined by the Railway Labor Act of 1926 which, historically, has led to voluntary agreements. In some cases, those agreements were reached before the appointment of a Presidential Emergency Board. But, if the Emergency Board is appointed, it reviews the issues and makes recommendations.