President Obama Announces the Creation of a Presidential Emergency Board, Names Members

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Release Time: 

For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON – Today, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order creating a Presidential Emergency Board to help resolve an ongoing dispute between major freight rail carriers and their unions. 

President Obamasaid, “Freight rail is vital to our economy and our future.  It’s in our national interest to make sure our freight rail system runs smoothly, since a disruption could affect businesses across the country and cause unnecessary damage to our already-fragile economy.  These dedicated individuals have a wealth of experience and talent addressing and resolving labor-management disputes.  I’m grateful they have agreed to serve in this capacity, and I trust them to work toward a swift and smooth resolution of these outstanding contracts.”

The Presidential Emergency Board will provide a structure for the two sides to resolve their disagreements.  The Presidential Emergency Board will hear evidence and, within 30 days, will deliver a report to the President recommending how the dispute should be resolved. 

President Obama also announced that he intends to appoint the following members to Presidential Emergency Board No. 243:

  • Ira F. Jaffe – Chair, Presidential Emergency Board No. 243
  • Roberta Golick– Member, Presidential Emergency Board No. 243
  • Joshua M. Javits– Member, Presidential Emergency Board No. 243
  • Gil Vernon– Member, Presidential Emergency Board No. 243
  • Arnold M. Zack– Member, Presidential Emergency Board No. 243

Ira F. Jaffe, Appointee for Chair, Presidential Emergency Board

Ira F. Jaffehas been an arbitrator and mediator of labor and employment disputes since 1981 and has presided over more than 4,000 cases in a wide variety of industries in the private and public sectors.  Mr. Jaffe serves on over 60 permanent arbitration panels and has served on three separate PEBs, one in 2001 and two in 2007. Mr. Jaffe is also a Vice-President of the National Academy of Arbitrators (NAA) and has been a frequent contributor at the NAA Meetings and at other professional conferences.  Mr. Jaffe served as the National President of the Society of Federal Labor Relations Professionals in 1990. As an Adjunct Professor at the George Washington University Law School in the 1980s, Mr. Jaffe taught courses in labor law, collective bargaining and labor arbitration, and agency and partnership.  He is a Charter Fellow in the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel and has arbitrated and mediated a wide variety of employee benefits disputes.  He is also a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. Mr. Jaffe is a graduate of the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations and of the George Washington University Law School.

Roberta Golick, Appointee for Member, Presidential Emergency Board

Roberta Golickis President of the National Academy of Arbitrators, one of the leading North American organizations of neutral arbitrators of labor-management and employment disputes.  With more than 35 years’ experience in the profession, Ms. Golick has handled thousands of cases in both the private and public sectors during the course of her career.  Ms. Golick was the 1996 recipient of the Cushing-Gavin Award, given annually by the Boston Labor Guild to a single neutral each year for “Excellence in Labor-Relations, Exemplifying Moral Integrity, Professional Competence and Community Concern.”  She received her B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University and her J.D. from Boston University School of Law.

Joshua M. Javits, Appointee for Member, Presidential Emergency Board

Joshua M. Javitsis a neutral mediator and arbitrator and serves on numerous permanent arbitration panels.  He served on a Presidential Emergency Board in 2007. From 1993 to 2001, Mr. Javits was a Partner at Ford & Harrison LLP where he also served as executive director of the Labor Relations Association of Passenger Railroads. He was also an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center where he taught courses in labor arbitration, transportation labor law, and alternative dispute resolution. He was Chairman and Member of the National Mediation Board from 1988 to 1993.  He began his career as a trial attorney with the National Labor Relations Board. Mr. Javits has represented both labor unions and management, at different times, and is on the rosters of the American Arbitration Association, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, and the National Mediation Board.  He has been rated “AV” – the highest rating – by Martindale Hubbell’s Best Lawyers in America since 2001.  Mr. Javits is a graduate of Yale College and Georgetown University Law Center.

Gil Vernon, Appointee for Member, Presidential Emergency Board

Gil Vernonhas been engaged in the practice of labor arbitration and dispute resolution since 1979.  From 1979 to 1983, he was also an instructor in the Department of Business Administration of the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, teaching labor relations, labor law, personnel, compensation administration and management.  Prior to that, Mr. Vernon was a carrier member of the National Railroad Adjustment Board in Chicago, Illinois.  Previously, he was a Labor Relations Officer, and before that a Crew Dispatcher and union member, for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad in Chicago.  He was appointed to a Presidential Emergency Board in 1996.  Mr. Vernon is the immediate past President of the National Academy of Arbitrators.  He is on the Major League Baseball Salary Arbitration panel, the National Railroad Adjustment Board, and more than 15 airline arbitration panels, among others.  He previously served on seven multi-year railroad arbitration panels as well as the Protective Benefits Panel of the Railroad Retirement Board.  Mr. Vernon received his B.A. from Hope College and his M.A. from the University of Chicago.

Arnold M. Zack, Appointee for Member, Presidential Emergency Board

Arnold M. Zackhas been an arbitrator and mediator of over 5,000 labor disputes since 1957 and a Member of four Presidential Emergency Boards, serving as Chair twice. He is currently the President and Chief Judge of the Asian Development Bank Administrative Tribunal.  Mr. Zack was the President of the National Academy of Arbitrators from 1994 to 1995.  From 1990 to 2000 he was the Chair of the Essential Industries Dispute Settlement Board in Bermuda, and the Chair of the Essential Services Dispute Settlement Board there from 1998 to 2001.  Mr. Zack has also served and taught as a senior research associate at the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School since 1985. He was a Fulbright Scholar, a Wortheim fellow, and is a member of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.  Among his awards is the Distinguished Service Award of the American Arbitration Association and the Pioneer Award and Willoughby Abner Award of the Association on Conflict Resolution.  Mr. Zack holds degrees from Tufts University, Yale Law School and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

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