Obama orders emergency board for NJ Transit labor talks

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has signed an executive order to create an emergency board to investigate the dispute between New Jersey Transit and its labor unions.

Talks between the transit agency and labor unions broke down last month. The negotiations include all 17 of NJ Transit's unions that represent more than 4,000 workers. The unions have been working without a contract for four years.

The board will report back to Obama within 30 days of Thursday and the three-member board has 120 days to hammer out an agreement. If that doesn't happen, a second board could be empaneled that would have another 120 days.

If an agreement isn't made by then, Congress could step in and impose a new contract.

Appointees Elizabeth Wesman, Barbara Deinhardt, and Ann Kenis are all professional arbitrators.