Frank N. Wilner, Contributing Editor

Frank N. Wilner, Contributing Editor

Frank N. Wilner is author of six books, including, Amtrak: Past, Present, Future; Understanding the Railway Labor Act; and, Railroad Mergers: History, Analysis, Insight. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in economics and labor relations from Virginia Tech. He has been assistant vice president, policy, for the Association of American Railroads; a White House appointed chief of staff at the Surface Transportation Board; and director of public relations for the United Transportation Union. He is a past president of the Association of Transportation Law Professionals. Wilner drafted the railroad section of the Heritage Foundation’s Mandate for Change (Volumes I and II), which were policy blueprints for the two Reagan Administrations; and was a guest columnist for the Cato Institute’s Regulation magazine.

Friday, 03 November 2017 08:27

What’s happening with NMB, FRA and STB?

Nearly 11 months into the Administration of Donald J. Trump, leadership appointments at the three federal regulatory agencies of significant importance to railroads—the National Mediation Board, Federal Railroad Administration and Surface Transportation Board—have yet to be finalized.

Thursday, 02 November 2017 13:26

If you get a good deal, take it

Watching Washington, November 2017: Almost three years since 12 rail labor unions commenced collective bargaining over wages, benefits and work rules with Class I railroads, plus many regionals and short lines, a coalition of six unions—representing some 60% of the 145,000 affected workers—has reached a tentative agreement with the carriers.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017 12:45

Redux for NMB-Fee Argy-bargy?

RAILWAY AGE, WATCHING WASHINGTON, OCTOBER 2017: As the three-member National Mediation Board (NMB) shifts to Republican control for the first time since 2009, a knotty issue lying dormant since 2006 may emerge: Who pays for binding arbitration to resolve grievances over interpretation of collectively bargained labor contracts and employee discipline?

A tentative national agreement on wages, benefits and work rules has been reached between major railroads and seven of their 13 labor unions. Almost two-dozen unionized regionals and short lines also are participating in the talks.

Monday, 25 September 2017 17:53

Dan Elliott departing STB

Former Surface Transportation Board (STB) chairman and now STB member Dan Elliott announced Sept. 25 he is resigning Sept. 30 to join, in early October, the Washington, D.C., office of the law firm, Connors & Winters, whose specialization is employee compensation, health and benefit plans, and employment law.

Monday, 18 September 2017 22:26

NMB nominees and labor talks advance

Senate confirmation of two new Republican members to the three-member National Mediation Board (NMB), and confirmation of a Democrat to a third NMB term, is anticipated in the next few weeks. The NMB will then be under Republican control for the first time since 2009.

Friday, 15 September 2017 16:12

Alt-Facts Tar A Low-Road Assault

Watching Washington, September 2017: How will we ever communicate without communication?” was asked in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1958 musical, Flower Drum Song. Six decades later, communication is under assault from so-called “alt-facts”—intellectual vandalism polluting social media.

Thursday, 31 August 2017 10:46

Who is John Galt?

Watching Washington, August 2017 Railway Age: Free-market philosopher Ayn Rand, an émigré from the economic horrors of the command-and-control Soviet Union, was celebrated as the Reagan Administration’s “novelist laureate.” Alan Greenspan, who served as Federal Reserve chairman to four U.S. Presidents (1987-2006), is a Rand disciple. House Speaker Paul Ryan requires his staff to read her books. President Trump named Rand his “favorite” author.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017 20:52

Irrepressible coal baron takes aim at CSX

The luster is fading from Hunter Harrison’s “Dr. Fixit” image faster than an old jalopy’s back-alley paint job. His boisterous March arrival as CEO of CSX put in motion warp-speed, backfiring directives changing culture, operating practices and marketing practices.

Monday, 14 August 2017 21:32

Fifty shades of shipper vexation

The 50 shades of vexation venting from self-described captive shippers over delay by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) in considering their petitions to dilute rail regulatory freedoms is matched only by their asserting last year a contradictory 50 shades of encouragement that the Board do just that.

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