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ON BOARD (AGAIN)

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Another US president is turning to Carroll School of Management Professor David Twomey for help in solving an ongoing labor dispute. 

President Barack Obama recently appointed Twomey to a three-member Presidential Emergency Board to settle an issue between the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and some of its employees. 

Presidential Emergency Boards provide mediation in railroad and airline union contract disputes.  In the 60 days following its establishment, a board will obtain final offers for settlement of the dispute from each side, and then make a recommendation to the president as to which offer it finds to be the most reasonable.  The board’s report is not binding, but the party whose offer is not selected would be prohibited by law from receiving certain benefits if a work stoppage subsequently occurs.

Such appointments are nothing new for Twomey, who served on eight prior Presidential Emergency Boards under Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton and George W. Bush. Few, if any, labor arbitrators in the country have been appointed to nine boards under five consecutive presidents.

“It’s a very nice thing to get an appointment from your fifth president over your career,” says Twomey, a 46-year faculty member and author of 34 editions of widely used textbooks on labor, employment and business law topics.

Twomey’s first call to serve came in 1986. “The dispute involved 110,000 employees, six major unions and all of the nation’s railroads and we were able to get a contract that all of the parties agreed to. Not only that, both sides followed our language, so I had a good start. After that, the disputes I’ve worked on seem to have worked out. It’s fortuitous in many respects.”

Elected to the National Academy of Arbitrators in 1979, Twomey has been selected by employers and unions as arbitrator in more than 2,000 domestic labor-management disputes.  Getting a call from the White House carries a certain cachet, of course, not to mention a heightened vetting process.

“The FBI investigates you, the IRS investigates you, and the White House personnel office is constantly calling for more information,” says Twomey. “They investigate your reputation with the parties, because they don’t want to appoint people that one side or the other thinks is unfair.“

Twomey is pleased to know another president believes in his ability to solve disputes. “It’s sort of nice to know you’re still in the game after all of these years.”

–Sean Hennessey

JOLLY GOOD FELLOWS

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Everybody has a story, and this semester, nine Boston College students are sharing theirs through social media.

Talented writers, photographers and videographers, the Boston College Social Fellows are sharing their BC experiences by documenting the sights and sounds around campus and throughout the city, from the extraordinary to the everyday.

A new pilot program offered by the Office of News & Public Affairs, the BC Social Fellows offers students a chance to earn credit for creating outstanding digital content and learning about how brands use social media. This year’s fellows are Heeyoung Leem ’15, Jessica Barbaria ’16, Anthony Richardson ’17, Meagan Roecker ’17, Jenna Corcoran ’17, Erin Fitzpatrick ’17, Teddy Chapman ’17 and Elaine Bishop ’18.

Established by NPA Deputy Director Patricia Delaney, Social Media Manager Melissa Beecher and senior Kathleen Fahy, the program aims to inform prospective students, help current students and serve social media practitioners across campus.

“The question prospective students ask time and time again is ‘What is it like to go to school in Boston?’ We wanted current students to answer that question through social media,” said Beecher. “For our current students, social media literacy is rapidly becoming a job requirement, not just for communications professionals. The Social Fellows program offers an opportunity to represent a major brand and gain some real-world experience in digital content creation and social media strategy.”

The Fellows’ work has already played a role: Boston College Snapchat, WeAreBC, was launched by the Office of News & Public Affairs after a positive student response. The students’ contributions will continue to infuse fresh, real-time content to established social media, say organizers.

“The Fellows bring a fresh dimension to BC’s social channels, and enable us not only to share their unique perspectives of campus life, but also to benefit from their take on social media in general,” said Delaney. “We’re fortunate to have such an enthusiastic and talented pilot group; they’re already making a great contribution to our content.”

Students share in the excitement of this new opportunity, said Fahy. “In creating a variety of content and monitoring its reception, BC Social Fellows are studying the fast-paced world of social media strategy. Students have the unique opportunity to contribute to a top social media brand in higher education, while also developing their personal social media presence.”

To see a selection of the BC Social Fellows work, see http://bit.ly/1vR3Drb. Boston College Social Media Council members who are interested in having the students provide comment on school, departmental or organizational social channels can email social@bc.edu with the subject line “BC Fellows Feedback.”

–Office of News & Public Affairs