The Congress of the United States, in its wisdom, decided that, in the area of labor-management relations, railroads should be subject to government control in a manner different from that provided for other economic enterprises by the Taft-Hartley Act. The Railway Labor Act (RLA) implements that congressional viewpoint. The question investigated in this paper is whether the procedural requirements imposed by the RLA upon the collective bargaining process in the railroad industry have been beneficial or detrimental. In other words, do the procedural requirements assist or impede labor and management in arriving at negotiated settlements of their disputes? This question is pertinent if only because of the instances in which, pursuant to the legal procedures, the government has deemed it necessary to intervene as a third and dominant party at the collective bargaining table, imposing a settlement on the disputants. Beyond that, it is questionable that the parties are able to negotiate "in good faith," as the RLA requires, if one of them foresees an advantage for itself in triggering government intervention. The desideratum is that railroad labor and management, as is the situation in other industries, settle their disputes in the privacy of their collective bargaining table. A failure on their part to do that is considered a threat in some instances to the "public interest," thereby justifying government intervention. Unfortunately, such intervention is subject to bureaucratization and politicization.

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  • Accession Number: 00490030
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 31 1989 12:00AM