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July 15, 2015

Obama announces emergency board amid NJ Transit Rail dispute

Transportation New Jersey Transit
NJ Transit Mel Evans/AP

Commuters board a New Jersey Transit train early Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, at the Trenton train station in Trenton, N.J.

President Barack Obama signed an executive order Wednesday creating a Presidential Emergency Board to investigate disputes between the New Jersey Transit Rail and some of its employees.

The Board, which will be responsible for making recommendations for settlement of the current disputes, will become effective Thursday.

RELATED STORY: NJ Transit engineers unanimously vote to strike, but hope for resolution

Members of the union representing NJ Transit train engineers voted unanimously last week to strike over the longtime contract disputes. However, union officials said they would postpone a strike for the immediate future if the Obama administration formed a Presidential Emergency Board.

Obama announced that he intends to appoint the following members to Presidential Emergency Board No. 248: Elizabeth C. Wesman, chair; Barbara Deinhardt, member; Ann Kenis, member.

“The transit rail system is vital to our nation’s economy, and it’s crucial that we ensure it runs smoothly," Obama said in a statement. "That’s why I’m grateful these talented individuals have agreed to serve the American people by helping to swiftly and appropriately resolve these labor-management disputes."

The Board will report its findings and recommendations for settlement to the president within 30 days.