DOES the railroad settlement end featherbedding on the rails? No. But it does reverse a longtime trend and should enable the carriers to make more efficient use of their manpower, which could lead to an end of featherbedding some day.

Actually, a big step was taken last November under an arbitration award by a panel created by the Congress. It granted carriers the right to eliminate gradually 90% of the firemen on diesels, along with unneeded trainmen, including some brakemen and switchmen. This reduction of up to 40,000 employees would save the carriers about $325 million a year. The unions have appealed...

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