U.S. Emergency Board No. 81 Records

Collection Number: 5037

Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library


U.S. Emergency Board No. 81 Records, 1950
Collection Number:
U.S. Emergency Board
2 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Records (documents) .
Kheel Center for Labor- Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Consist of carrier and employee exhibits; awards, reports, etc.; also documents pertaining to the General Rules Movement.
Collection material in English


An Executive order of the President dated February 24, 1950 resulted in the appointment of a board composed of Hon. Roger I. McDonough, justice, Supreme Court of Utah, Chairman, Hon. Mart J. O'Malley former justice, Supreme Court of Indiana; and Professor Gordon S. Watkins, University of California. Public hearings were held in Chicago, Illinois, beginning March 2, 1950, through May 9, 1950 the record consisting of 49 volumes of 8,385 pages, and 143 exhibits.
Upon stipulation of the parties and approval of the President, two extensions of time were granted, allowing to June 15, 1950, for rendition of the Board's report to the President.
The emergency precipitating the establishment of this- board resulted from the announced intention of the employees represented by the two organizations, to withdraw from the service of the railroads represented by the Carriers' Conference Committees, in connection with their demands for proposed new rules and changes in existing rules governing working conditions affecting primarily conductors, trainmen, yard service employees, and certain dining car and other groups of employees, altogether about 180,000 employees of the nation's major railroads.
The issues were numerous and complex, involving such matters as the 40-hour workweek; differentials for car retarder operators, footboard yardmasters, and baggage-men handling United States mail; graduated rate of pay tables in all classes of service; the restoration of the standard wage rates between territories; and modification of other rules. Also involved were carriers' proposals to change pay provisions, rules, regulations, interpretations, and practices pertaining to the 40-hour workweek (if recommended) interdivisional, and intradivisional runs; pooling of cabooses; switching limits; and numerous other proposals.
On June 15, 1950, the board made its report to the President, recommending a 5-day, 40-hour basic workweek for railroad yard service employees, with an increase in basic rates of pay of 18 cents per hour, effective October 1, 1950. Upward adjustments in rates of pay for car retarder operators, footboard yardmasters and baggagemen handling United States mail were also recommended. The board recommended the withdrawal of a number of other proposals of the organizations, including one which called for a graduated basis of pay for road conductors and trainmen. The board also recommended against the establishment of a 100-mile, 5-hour basic day in passenger service to replace the 150-mile, 7 1/2-hour basic day. Among the changes in rules proposed by the railroads, the board recommended that the carriers and the organizations negotiate revisions in rules to permit interdivisional runs, pooling of cabooses, and changes in yard switching limits; redefinition of rules covering coupling and uncoupling air hoses; inclusion of a rule covering rate of pay for work performed in more than one class of service in a tour of duty, and change in reporting for duty rules. It recommended the withdrawal of other carrier proposed rules changes.
During the course of the hearings in this case, two additional disputes on similar issues were referred to this same board by the President. (See Emergency Boards Nos. 83 and 84).


Consist of carrier and employee exhibits; awards, reports, etc.; also documents pertaining to the General Rules Movement.
Records include carrier exhibits dealing with work rules, wage rates and differentials, hours of work, the history of the diesel rules movement, and working conditions. Employee exhibits include statistics on then existing economic conditions in the U.S., hours and wages in other industries, productivity comparisons, and studies of the impact of dieselization on the industry and the workforce and studies of safety matters. Also miscellaneous documents of unknown origin relating to the questions considered by this Board.

Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen
Eastern Carriers' Conference Committee
Order of Railway Conductors and Brakemen
Order of Railway Conductors of America
Southeastern Carriers' Conference Committee
United States. Emergency Board No. 81.
Western Carriers' Conference Committee

Mediation and conciliation, Industrial--United States--Cases.
Wages and labor productivity--United States.
Railroad conductors.
Railroads -- Employees
Hours of labor. Mediation and conciliation, Industrial. United States.
Industrial safety. Mediation and conciliation, Industrial. United States.
Labor productivity. Mediation and conciliation, Industrial. United States.
Mediation and conciliation, Industrial. Railroads. United States.
Railroads. Safety regulations. United States.
Railroads. United States. Dieselization.
Wages. Mediation and conciliation, Industrial. United States.
Wages. Railroads. United States.
Work rules. Railroads. United States.
Working conditions. Mediation and conciliation, Industrial. United States.

Form and Genre Terms:
Records (documents)


Access Restrictions:
Access to the collections in the Kheel Center is restricted. Please contact a reference archivist for access to these materials.
Restrictions on Use:
This collection must be used in keeping with the Kheel Center Information Sheet and Procedures for Document Use.
Cite As:
U.S. Emergency Board No. 81 Records #5037. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.


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