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NMB Rules

NMB Rules and Regulations

 

PART 1200 [RESERVED]

PART 1201—DEFINITIONS

PART 1202—RULES OF PROCEDURE

PART 1203—APPLICATIONS FOR SERVICE

PART 1204—LABOR CONTRACTS

PART 1205—NOTICES IN RE: RAILWAY LABOR ACT

PART 1206—HANDLING REPRESENTATION DISPUTES UNDER THE RAILWAY LABOR ACT

PART 1207—ESTABLISHMENT OF SPECIAL ADJUSTMENT BOARDS

PART 1208—AVAILABILITY OF INFORMATION

PART 1209—PUBLIC OBSERVATION OF NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD MEETINGS

PARTS 1210-1299 [RESERVED]

 


 

 

PART 1200 [RESERVED]

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PART 1201—DEFINITIONS

§1201.1   Carrier.

The term carrier includes any express company, sleeping car company, carrier by railroad, subject to the Interstate Commerce Act (24 Stat. 379, as amended; 49 U.S.C. 1 et seq.), and any company which is directly or indirectly owned or controlled by or under common control with any carrier by railroad and which operates any equipment or facilities or performs any service (other than trucking service) in connection with the transportation, receipt, delivery, elevation, transfer in transit, refrigeration or icing, storage, and handling of property transported by railroad, and any receiver, trustee, or other individual or body, judicial or otherwise, when in the possession of the business of any such “carrier.”

§1201.2   Exceptions.

(a) The term “carrier” shall not include any street, interurban, or suburban electric railway, unless such railway is operating as a part of a general steam-railroad system of transportation, but shall not exclude any part of the general steam-railroad system of transportation now or hereafter operated by any other motive power.

(b) The term “carrier” shall not include any company by reason of its being engaged in the mining of coal, the supplying of coal to carrier where delivery is not beyond the tipple, and the operation of equipment or facilities therefor or any of such activities.

§1201.3   Determination as to electric lines.

The Interstate Commerce Commission is hereby authorized and directed upon request of the Mediation Board or upon complaint of any part interested to determine after hearing whether any line operated by electric power falls within the terms of this part.

§1201.4   Employee.

The term employee as used in this part includes every person in the service of a carrier (subject to its continuing authority to supervise and direct the manner of rendition of his service) who performs any work defined as that of an employee or subordinate official in the orders of the Interstate Commerce Commission now in effect, and as the same may be amended or interpreted by orders hereafter entered by the Commission pursuant to the authority which is hereby conferred upon it to enter orders amending or interpreting such existing orders: Provided, however, That no occupational classification made by order of the Interstate Commerce Commission shall be construed to define the crafts according to which railway employees may be organized by their voluntary action, nor shall the jurisdiction or powers of such employee organizations be regarded as in any way limited or defined by the provisions of this Act or by the orders of the Commission.

§1201.5   Exceptions.

The term “employee” shall not include any individual while such individual is engaged in the physical operations consisting of the mining of coal, the preparation of coal, the handling (other than movement by rail with standard locomotives) of coal not beyond the mine tipple, or the loading of coal at the tipple.

§1201.6   Representatives.

The term representative means any person or persons, labor union, organization, or corporation designated either by a carrier or group of carriers or by its or their employees, to act for it or them.

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PART 1202—RULES OF PROCEDURE

§1202.1   Mediation.

The mediation services of the Board may be invoked by the parties, or either party, to a dispute between an employee or group of employees and a carrier concerning changes in rates of pay, rules, or working conditions not adjusted by the parties in conference; also, concerning a dispute not referable to the National Railroad Adjustment Board or appropriate airline adjustment board, when not adjusted in conference between the parties, or where conferences are refused. The National Mediation Board may proffer its services in case any labor emergency is found by it to exist at any time.

§1202.2   Interpretation of mediation agreements.

Under section 5, Second, of title I of the Railway Labor Act, in any case in which a controversy arises over the meaning or application of any agreement reached through mediation, either party to said agreement, or both, may apply to the National Mediation Board for an interpretation of the meaning or application of such agreement. Upon receipt of such request, the Board shall, after a hearing of both sides, give its interpretation within 30 days.

§1202.3   Representation disputes.

If any dispute shall arise among a carrier’s employees as to who are the representatives of such employees designated and authorized in accordance with the requirements of the Railway Labor Act, it is the duty of the Board, upon request of either party to the dispute, to investigate such dispute and certify to both parties, in writing, the name or names of individuals or organizations that have been designated and authorized to represent the employees involved in the dispute, and to certify the same to the carrier.

§1202.4   Secret ballot.

In conducting such investigation, the Board is authorized to take a secret ballot of the employees involved, or to utilize any other appropriate method of ascertaining the names of their duly designated and authorized representatives in such manner as shall insure the choice of representatives by the employees without interference, influence, or coercion exercised by the carrier. Except in unusual or extraordinary circumstances, in a secret ballot the Board shall determine the choice of representative based on the majority of valid ballots cast.

[75 FR 26088, June 10, 2010]

§1202.5   Rules to govern elections.

In the conduct of a representation election, the Board shall designate who may participate in the election, which may include a public hearing on craft or class, and establish the rules to govern the election, or may appoint a committee of three neutral persons who after hearing shall within 10 days designate the employees who may participate in the election.

§1202.6   Access to carrier records.

Under the Railway Labor Act the Board has access to and has power to make copies of the books and records of the carriers to obtain and utilize such information as may be necessary to fulfill its duties with respect to representatives of carrier employees.

§1202.7   Who may participate in elections.

As mentioned in §1202.3, when disputes arise between parties to a representation dispute, the National Mediation Board is authorized by the Act to determine who may participate in the selection of employees representatives.

§1202.8   Hearings on craft or class.

In the event the contesting parties or organizations are unable to agree on the employees eligible to participate in the selection of representatives, and either party makes application by letter for a formal hearing before the Board to determine the dispute, the Board may in its discretion hold a public hearing, at which all parties interested may present their contentions and argument, and at which the carrier concerned is usually invited to present factual information. At the conclusion of such hearings the Board customarily invites all interested parties to submit briefs supporting their views, and after considering the evidence and briefs, the Board makes a determination or finding, specifying the craft or class of employees eligible to participate in the designation of representatives.

§1202.9   Appointment of arbitrators.

Section 5, Third, (a) of the Railway Labor Act provides in the event mediation of a dispute is unsuccessful, the Board endeavors to induce the parties to submit their controversy to arbitration. If the parties so agree, and the arbitrators named by the parties are unable to agree upon the neutral arbitrator or arbitrators, as provided in section 7 of the Railway Labor Act, it becomes the duty of the Board to name such neutral arbitrators and fix the compensation for such service. In performing this duty, the Board is required to appoint only those whom it deems wholly disinterested in the controversy, and to be impartial and without bias as between the parties thereto.

§1202.10   Appointment of referees.

Section 3, Third, (e) title I of the act makes it the duty of the National Mediation Board to appoint and fix the compensation for service a neutral person known as a “referee” in any case where a division of the National Railroad Adjustment Board becomes deadlocked on an award, such referee to sit with the division and make an award. The National Mediation Board in appointing referees is bound by the same requirements that apply in the appointment of neutral arbitrators as outlined in §1202.9.

§1202.11   Emergency boards.

Under the terms of section 10 of the Railway Labor Act, if a dispute between a carrier and its employees is not adjusted through mediation or the other procedures prescribed by the act, and should, in the judgment of the National Mediation Board, threaten to interrupt interstate commerce to a degree such as to deprive any section of the country of essential transportation service, the Board shall notify the President, who may thereupon, in his discretion, create an emergency board to investigate and report to him respecting such dispute. An emergency board may be composed of such number of persons as the President designates, and persons so designated shall not be pecuniarily or otherwise interested in any organization of employees or any carrier. The compensation of emergency board members is fixed by the President. An emergency board is created separately in each instance, and is required to investigate the facts as to the dispute and report thereon to the President within 30 days from the date of its creation.

§1202.12   National Air Transport Adjustment Board.

Under section 205, title II, of the Railway Labor Act, when in the judgment of the National Mediation Board it becomes necessary to establish a permanent national board of adjustment for the air carriers subject to the act to provide for the prompt and orderly settlement of disputes between the employees and the carriers growing out of grievances, or out of the application or interpretation of working agreements, the Board is empowered by its order made, published, and served, to direct the air carriers and labor organizations, national in scope, to select and designate four representatives to constitute a Board known as the National Air Transport Adjustment Board. Two members each shall be selected by the air carriers and the labor organizations of their employees. Up to the present time, it has not been considered necessary to establish the National Air Transport Adjustment Board.

§1202.13   Air carriers.

By the terms of title II of the Railway Labor Act, which was approved April 10, 1936, all of title I, except section 3, which relates to the National Railroad Adjustment Board, was extended to cover every common carrier by air engaged in interstate or foreign commerce, and every carrier by air transporting mail for or under contract with the United States Government, and to all employees or subordinate officials of such air carriers.

§1202.14   Labor members of Adjustment Board.

Section 3, First, (f) of title I of the Railway Labor Act relating to the settlement of disputes among labor organizations as to the qualification of any such organization to participate in the selection of labor members of the Adjustment Board, places certain duties upon the National Mediation Board. This section of the act is quoted below:

(f) In the event a dispute arises as to the right of any national labor organization to participate as per paragraph (c) of this section in the selection and designation of the labor members of the Adjustment Board, the Secretary of Labor shall investigate the claim of such labor organization to participate, and if such claim in the judgment of the Secretary of Labor has merit, the secretary shall notify the Mediation Board accordingly, and within 10 days after receipt of such advice the Mediation Board shall request those national labor organizations duly qualified as per paragraph (c) of this section to participate in the selection and designation of the labor members of the Adjustment Board to select a representative. Such representatives, together with a representative likewise designated by the claimant, and a third or neutral party designated by the Mediation Board, constituting a board of three, shall within 30 days after the appointment of the neutral member investigate the claims of the labor organization desiring participation and decide whether or not it was organized in accordance with section 2, hereof, and is otherwise properly qualified to participate in the selection of the labor members of the Adjustment Board, and the findings of such boards of three shall be final and binding.

§1202.15   Length of briefs in NMB hearing proceedings.

(a) In the event briefs are authorized by the Board or the assigned Hearing Officer, principal briefs shall not exceed fifty (50) pages in length and reply briefs, if permitted, shall not exceed twenty-five (25) pages in length unless the participant desiring to submit a brief in excess of such limitation requests a waiver of such limitation from the Board which is received within five (5) days of the date on which the briefs were ordered or, in the case of a reply brief, within five (5) days of receipt of the principal brief, and in such cases the Board may require the filing of a summary of argument, suitably paragraphed which shoud be a succinct, but accurate and clear, condensation of the argument actually made in the brief.

(b) The page limitations provided by this section (§1202.15) are exclusive of those pages containing the table of contents, tables of citations and any copies of administrative or court decisions which have been cited in the brief. All briefs shall be submitted on standard 812 × 11 inch paper with double spaced type.

(c) Briefs not complying with this section (§1202.15) will be returned promptly to their initiators.

[44 FR 10601, Feb. 22, 1979]

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PART 1203—APPLICATIONS FOR SERVICE

§1203.1   Mediation services.

Applications for the mediation services of the National Mediation Board under section 5, First, of the Railway Labor Act, may be made on printed forms N.M.B. 2, copies of which may be secured from the Board’s Chief of Staff’s Office or on the Internet at www.nmb.gov. Such applications and all correspondence connected therewith should be submitted in duplicate. The application should show the exact nature of the dispute, the number of employees involved, name of the carrier and name of the labor organization, date of agreement between the parties, if any, date and copy of notice served by the invoking party to the other and date of final conference between the parties. Application should be signed by the highest officer of the carrier who has been designated to handle disputes under the Railway Labor Act, or by the chief executive of the labor organization, whichever party files the application. These applications, after preliminary investigation in the Board’s offices, are given docket number in series “A” and the cases are assigned for mediation to Board members or to mediators on the Board’s staff.

[11 FR 177A-923, Sept. 11, 1946. Redesignated at 13 FR 8740, Dec. 30, 1948, as amended at 64 FR 40287, July 26, 1999]

§1203.2   Investigation of representation disputes.

Applications for the services of the National Mediation Board under section 2, Ninth, of the Railway Labor Act to investigate representation disputes among carriers’ employees may be made on printed forms NMB–3, copies of which may be secured from the Board’s Representation and Legal Department or on the internet at www.nmb.gov. Such applications and all correspondence connected therewith should be filed in duplicate and the applications should be accompanied by signed authorization cards from the employees composing the craft or class involved in the dispute. The applications should show specifically the name or description of the craft or class of employees involved, the name of the invoking organization or employee seeking certification, or the name of the employee seeking decertification, the name of the organization currently representing the employees, if any, and the estimated number of employees in each craft or class involved. The applications should be signed by the chief executive of the invoking organization, some other authorized officer of the organization, or by the invoking employee. These disputes are given docket numbers in the series “R”.

[43 FR 30053, July 13, 1978; 64 FR 40287, July 26, 1999; 84 FR 35989, July 26, 2019]

§1203.3   Interpretation of mediation agreements.

(a) Applications may be filed with the Board’s Chief of Staff under section 5, Second, of the Railway Labor Act, for the interpretation of agreements reached in mediation under section 5, First. Such applications may be made by letter from either party to the mediation agreement stating the specific question on which an interpretation is desired.

(b) This function of the National Mediation Board is not intended to conflict with the provisions of section 3 of the Railway Labor Act. Providing for interpretation of agreements by the National Railroad Adjustment Board. Many complete working agreements are revised with the aid of the Board’s mediating services, and it has been the Board’s policy that disputes involving the interpretation or application of such agreements should be handled by the Adjustment Board. Under this section of the law the Board when called upon may only consider and render an interpretation on the specific terms of an agreement actually signed in mediation, and not for matters incident or corollary thereto.

[11 FR 177A-923, Sept. 11, 1946. Redesignated at 13 FR 8740, Dec. 30, 1948, as amended at 64 FR 40287, July 26, 1999]

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PART 1204—LABOR CONTRACTS

§1204.1   Making and maintaining contracts.

It is the duty of all carriers, their officers, agents, and employees to exert every reasonable effort to make and maintain contracts covering rates of pay, rules, and working conditions.

§1204.2   Arbitrary changing of contracts.

No carrier, its officers, or agents shall change the rates of pay, rules, or working conditons of its employees, as a class as embodied in agreements except in the manner prescribed in such agreements or in section 6 of the Railway Labor Act.

§1204.3   Filing of contracts.

Section 5, Third, (e) of the Railway Labor Act requires all carriers to file with the National Mediation Board copies of all contracts in effect with organizations representing their employees, covering rates of pay, rules, and working conditions. Several thousand of such contracts are on file in the Board’s Washington office and are available for inspection by interested parties.

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PART 1205—NOTICES IN RE: RAILWAY LABOR ACT

§1205.1   Handling of disputes.

Section 2, Eighth, of the Railway Labor Act provides that every carrier shall notify its employees by printed notices in such form and posted at such times and places as shall be specified by order of the Mediation Board and requires that all disputes between a carrier and its employees will be handled in accordance with the requirements of the act. In such notices there must be printed verbatim, in large type, the third, fourth, and fifth paragraphs of said section 2, Eighth, of the Railway Labor Act.

§1205.2   Employees’ Bill of Rights.

The provisions of the third, fourth, and fifth paragraphs of section 2 are by law made a part of the contract of employment between the carrier and each employee and shall be binding upon the parties regardless of any other express or implied agreements between them. Under these provisions the employees are guaranteed the right to organize without interference of management, the right to determine who shall represent them, and the right to bargain collectively through such representatives. This section makes it unlawful for any carrier to require any person seeking employment to sign any contract promising to join or not to join a labor organization. Violation of the foregoing provisions is a misdemeanor under the law and subjects the offender to punishment.

§1205.3   General Order No. 1.

General Order No. 1, issued August 14, 1934, is the only order the Board has issued since its creation in 1934. This order sent to the President of each carrier coming under the act transmitted a sample copy of the Mediation Board’s Form MB-1 known as “Notice in re: Railway Labor Act.” The order prescribes that such notices are to be standard as to contents, dimensions of sheet, and size of type and that they shall be posted promptly and maintained continuously in readable condition on all the usual and customary bulletin boards giving information to employees and at such other places as may be necessary to make them accessible to all employees. Such notices must not be hidden by other papers or otherwise obscured from view.

§1205.4   Substantive rules.

The only substantive rules issued by the National Mediation Board are those authorized under section 2, Ninth, of the Railway Labor Act to implement the procedure of determining employee representation.

[12 FR 2451, Apr. 16, 1947. Redesignated at 13 FR 8740, Dec. 30, 1948, as amended at 64 FR 40287, July 26, 1999]

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PART 1206—HANDLING REPRESENTATION DISPUTES UNDER THE RAILWAY LABOR ACT

§1206.1   Run-off elections.

(a) In an election among any craft or class where three or more options (including the option for no representation) receive valid votes, if no option receives a majority of the legal votes cast, or in the event of a tie vote, the Board shall authorize a run-off election.

(b) In the event a run-off election is authorized by the Board, the two options which received the highest number of votes cast in the first election shall be placed on the run-off ballot. No blank line on which voters may write in the name of any organization, individual, or no representation will be provided on the run-off ballot.

(c) Employees who were eligible to vote at the conclusion of the first election shall be eligible to vote in the run-off election except:

(1) Those employees whose employment relationship has terminated; and

(2) Those employees who are no longer employed in the craft or class.

[77 FR 75549, Dec. 21, 2012; 84 FR 35989, July 26, 2019]

§1206.2   Percentage of valid authorizations required to determine existence of a representation dispute.

(a) Upon receipt of an application requesting that an organization or individual be certified as the representative of any craft or class of employees, or to decertify the current representative and have no representative, a showing of proved authorizations (checked and verified as to date, signature, and employment status) from at least fifty (50) percent of the craft or class must be made before the National Mediation Board will authorize an election or otherwise determine the representation desires of the employees under the provisions of section 2, Ninth, of the Railway Labor Act.

(b) Any intervening individual or organization must also produce proved authorizations (checked and verified as to date, signature, and employment status) from at least fifty (50) percent of the craft or class of employees involved to warrant placing the name of the intervenor on the ballot.

[77 FR 75549, Dec. 21, 2012; 84 FR 35989, July 26, 2019]

§1206.3   Age of authorization cards.

Authorizations must be signed and dated in the employee’s own handwriting or witnessed mark. No authorizations will be accepted by the National Mediation Board in any employee representation dispute which bear a date prior to one year before the date of the application for the investigation of such dispute.

§1206.4   Time limits on applications.

Except in unusual or extraordinary circumstances, the National Mediation Board will not accept an application for investigation of a representation dispute among employees of a carrier:

(a) For a period of two (2) years from the date of a certification or decertification covering the same craft or class of employees on the same carrier, and

(b) For a period of one (1) year from the date on which:

(1) The Board dismissed a docketed application after having conducted an election among the same craft or class of employees on the same carrier and less than a majority of valid ballots cast were for representation; or

(2) The Board dismissed a docketed application covering the same craft or class of employees on the same carrier because no dispute existed as defined in §1206.2 of these rules; or

(3) The Board dismissed a docketed application after the applicant withdrew an application covering the same craft or class of employees on the same carrier after the application was docketed by the Board.

[44 FR 10602, Feb. 22, 1979, as amended at 75 FR 26088, May 11, 2010; 84 FR 35989, July 26, 2019]

§1206.5   Decertification of representatives.

Employees who no longer wish to be represented may seek to decertify the current representative of a craft or class in a direct election. The employees must follow the procedure outlined in § 1203.2.

[84 FR 35989, July 26, 2019]

§1206.6   Eligibility of dismissed employees to vote.

Dismissed employees whose requests for reinstatement account of wrongful dismissal are pending before proper authorities, which includes the National Railroad Adjustment Board or other appropriate adjustment board, are eligible to participate in elections among the craft or class of employees in which they are employed at time of dismissal. This does not include dismissed employees whose guilt has been determined, and who are seeking reinstatement on a leniency basis.

[12 FR 3083, May 10, 1947. Redesignated at 13 FR 8740, Dec. 30, 1948, and further redesignated at 77 FR 75549, Dec. 21, 2012]

§1206.7   Construction of this part.

The rules and regulations in this part shall be liberally construed to effectuate the purposes and provisions of the act.

[12 FR 3083, May 10, 1947. Redesignated at 13 FR 8740, Dec. 30, 1948, and further redesignated at 77 FR 75549, Dec. 21, 2012]

§1206.8   Amendment or rescission of rules in this part.

(a) The Board may at any time amend or rescind any rule or regulation in this part by following the public rulemaking procedures under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553) and after providing the opportunity for a public hearing.

(b) The requirements of paragraph (a) of this section shall not apply to any rule or proposed rule to which the third sentence of section 553(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act applies.

(c) Any interested person may petition the Board, in writing, for the issuance, amendment, or repeal of a rule or regulation in this part. An original and three copies of such petition shall be filed with the Board in Washington, DC, and shall state the rule or regulation proposed to be issued, amended, or repealed, together with a statement of grounds in support of such petition.

[77 FR 75549, Dec. 21, 2012]

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PART 1207—ESTABLISHMENT OF SPECIAL ADJUSTMENT BOARDS

§1207.1   Establishment of special adjustment boards (PL Boards).

Public Law 89-456 (80 Stat. 208) governs procedures to be followed by carriers and representatives of employees in the establishment and functioning of special adjustment boards, hereinafter referred to as PL Boards. Public Law 89-456 requires action by the National Mediation Board in the following circumstances:

(a) Designation of party member of PL Board. Public Law 89-456 provides that within thirty (30) days from the date a written request is made by an employee representative upon a carrier, or by a carrier upon an employee representative, for the establishment of a PL Board, an agreement establishing such a Board shall be made. If, however, one party fails to designate a member of the Board, the party making the request may ask the Mediation Board to designate a member on behalf of the other party. Upon receipt of such request, the Mediation Board will notify the party which failed to designate a partisan member for the establishment of a PL Board of the receipt of the request. The Mediation Board will then designate a representative on behalf of the party upon whom the request was made. This representative will be an individual associated in interest with the party he is to represent. The designee, together with the member appointed by the party requesting the establishment of the PL Board, shall constitute the Board.

(b) Appointment of a neutral to determine matters concerning the establishment and/or jurisdiction of a PL Board. (1) When the members of a PL Board constituted in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section, for the purpose of resolving questions concerning the establishment of the Board and/or its jurisdiction, are unable to resolve these matters, then and in that event, either party may ten (10) days thereafter request the Mediation Board to appoint a neutral member to determine these procedural issues.

(2) Upon receipt of this request, the Mediation Board will notify the other party to the PL Board. The Mediation Board will then designate a neutral member to sit with the PL Board and resolve the procedural issues in dispute. When the neutral has determined the procedural issues in dispute, he shall cease to be a member of the PL Board.

(c) Appointment of neutral to sit with PL Boards and dispose of disputes. (1) When the members of a PL Board constituted by agreement of the parties, or by the appointment of a party member by the Mediation Board, as described in paragraph (a) of this section, are unable within ten (10) days after their failure to agree upon an award to agree upon the selection of a neutral person, either member of the Board may request the Mediation Board to appoint such neutral person and upon receipt of such request, the Mediation Board shall promptly make such appointment.

(2) A request for the appointment of a neutral under paragraph (b) of this section or this paragraph (c) shall;

(i) Show the authority for the request—Public Law 89-456, and

(ii) Define and list the proposed specific issues or disputes to be heard.

§1207.2   Requests for Mediation Board action.

(a) Requests for the National Mediation Board to appoint neutrals or party representatives should be made on NMB Form 5.

(b) Those authorized to sign request on behalf on parties:

(1) The “representative of any craft or class of employees of a carrier,” as referred to in Public Law 89-456, making request for Mediation Board action, shall be either the General Chairman, Grand Lodge Officer (or corresponding officer of equivalent rank), or the Chief Executive of the representative involved. A request signed by a General Chairman or Grand Lodge Officer (or corresponding officer of equivalent rank) shall bear the approval of the Chief Executive of the employee representative.

(2) The “carrier representative” making such a request for the Mediation Board’s action shall be the highest carrier officer designated to handle matters arising under the Railway Labor Act.

(c) Docketing of PL Board agreements: The National Mediation Board will docket agreements establishing PL Board, which agreements meet the requirements of coverage as specified in Public Law 89-456. No neutral will be appointed under §1207.1(c) until the agreement establishing the PL Board has been docketed by the Mediation Board.

§1207.3   Compensation of neutrals.

(a) Neutrals appointed by the National Mediation Board. All neutral persons appointed by the National Mediation Board under the provisions of §1207.1 (b) and (c) will be compensated by the Mediation Board in accordance with legislative authority. Certificates of appointment will be issued by the Mediation Board in each instance.

(b) Neutrals selected by the parties. (1) In cases where the party members of a PL Board created under Public Law 89-456 mutually agree upon a neutral person to be a member of the Board, the party members will jointly so notify the Mediation Board, which Board will then issue a certificate of appointment to the neutral and arrange to compensate him as under paragraph (a) of this section.

(2) The same procedure will apply in cases where carrier and employee representatives are unable to agree upon the establishment and jurisdiction of a PL Board, and mutually agree upon a procedural neutral person to sit with them as a member and determine such issues.

§1207.4   Designation of PL Boards, filing of agreements, and disposition of records.

(a) Designation of PL Boards. All special adjustment boards created under Public Law 89-456 will be designated PL Boards, and will be numbered serially, commencing with No. 1, in the order of their docketing by the National Mediation Board.

(b) Filing of agreements. The original agreement creating the PL Board under Public Law 89-456 shall be filed with the National Mediation Board at the time it is executed by the parties. A copy of such agreement shall be filed by the parties with the Administrative Officer of the National Railroad Adjustment Board, Chicago, Ill.

(c) Disposition of records. Since the provisions of section 2(a) of Public Law 89-456 apply also to the awards of PL Boards created under this Act, two copies of all awards made by the PL Boards, together with the record of proceedings upon which such awards are based, shall be forwarded by the neutrals who are members of such Boards, or by the parties in case of disposition of disputes by PL Boards without participation of neutrals, to the Administrative Officer of the National Railroad Adjustment Board, Chicago, Ill., for filing, safekeeping, and handling under the provisions of section 2(q), as may be required.

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PART 1208—AVAILABILITY OF INFORMATION

§1208.1   General provisions.

(a) The purpose of this part is to set forth the regulations of the NMB regarding the availability and disclosure of information in its possession and to implement the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). These regulations establish procedures for requesting access to records maintained by the NMB and should be read together with the FOIA, the 1987 Office of Management and Budget Guidelines for FOIA Fees, Executive Order 12,600, and the NMB’s other rules and regulations.

(b) Public policy and the successful effectuation of the NMB’s mission require that Board members and the employees of the NMB maintain a reputation for impartiality and integrity. Labor and management and other interested parties participating in mediation efforts must have assurance, as must labor organizations, carriers, and individuals involved in questions of representation, that confidential information disclosed to Board members and employees of the NMB will not be divulged, voluntarily or by compulsion.

(c) Notwithstanding this general policy, the Board will under all circumstances endeavor to make public as much information as can be allowed. The Board will withhold information under the FOIA only if it reasonably foresees that disclosure would harm an interest protected by one of the exemptions described in the FOIA or when disclosure is prohibited by law. When full disclosure is not possible, the NMB will consider whether partial disclosure of information is possible and will take necessary steps to segregate and release nonexempt information.

(d) The NMB will preserve all correspondence pertaining to requests it receives under the FOIA, as well as copies of all requested records, until disposition or destruction is authorized pursuant to Title 44 of the United States Code or the General Records Schedule 14 of the National Archives and Records Administration. The NMB will not dispose of or destroy records while they are the subject of a pending request, appeal, or lawsuit under the FOIA.

§1208.2   Requests for records or information under the Freedom of Information Act.

(a) Requests for records. (1) All requests for NMB records shall be filed in writing by emailing FOIA@nmb.govor mailing the request to the Chief FOIA Officer, National Mediation Board, 1301 K Street NW., Suite 250E, Washington, DC 20005. Additional information about submitting requests is available at www.nmb.gov.Requesters must provide contact information, such as their phone number, email address, and/or mailing address, to assist in communications about the request.

(2) The request shall reasonably describe the records being sought in a manner which permits identification and location of the records. To the extent possible, requesters should include specific information that may help the NMB identify the requested records, such as the date, title or name, author, recipient, subject matter, case or file number, or reference number. Before submitting a request, a requester may contact the NMB’s FOIA Public Liaison to discuss the records sought or to receive assistance in describing the records.

(3) The request shall include any request for waiver of fees, clearly outlining the reasons for any such request.

(4) Requests may specify the preferred form or format (including electronic formats) for the records sought. The NMB will accommodate such requests if the record is readily reproducible in that form or format.

(5) Upon receipt of a request for the records, the Chief FOIA Officer shall assign the request a FOIA tracking number and record the date and time received, the name and address of the requester, and the nature of the records requested. If the request will take more than 10 working days to process, the Chief FOIA Officer will acknowledge the request in writing, providing the requester with an individualized tracking number and a brief description of records sought.

(6) All time limitations established pursuant to this section with respect to processing initial requests and appeals shall commence at the time a written request for records is received at the Board’s offices in Washington, DC, or via email.

(b) Processing the request—(1) Time limits. Within 20 working days after a request for records is received, the Chief FOIA Officer shall determine whether to comply with the request and immediately notify the requester, unless an extension is taken under paragraph (b)(2) of this section. The NMB may make one request for additional information from the requester or clarify a fee issue with the requester and may toll the 20-day period while awaiting receipt of the additional information.

(2) Extension of time. In unusual circumstances as specified in this paragraph, the Chief FOIA Officer may extend the time for initial determination on requests up to a total of 10 days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays). Extensions shall be made by written notice to the requester within 20 working days of receipt of the request and shall set forth the reason for the extension, provide the date on which a determination is expected to be dispatched, and make available the NMB’s Public Liaison to assist with any disputes between the requester and the NMB. Where the extension exceeds 10 working days, the Chief FOIA Officer will notify the requester of the right to seek dispute resolution services from the Office of Government Information Services. As used in this paragraph “unusual circumstances” means, but only to the extent necessary to the proper processing of the request:

(i) The need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records which are demanded in a single request; or

(ii) The need for consultation, according to the procedures set forth in paragraph (b)(4), with another agency having substantial interest in the determination of the request.

(3) Expedited processing. The Chief FOIA Officer shall process a request on an expedited basis whenever a requester demonstrates a compelling need. A request for expedited processing may be made at any time.

(i) For purposes of this section, “compelling need” means that a failure to obtain the requested records on an expedited basis could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual or, with respect to a request made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information, urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity.

(ii) The Chief FOIA Officer shall make a determination of whether to provide expedited processing, and notice of the determination shall be provided to the person making the request, within 10 days after the date of the request.

(4) Consultations and referrals. (i) When the NMB receives a request for a record (or a portion thereof) in its possession that originated with another federal agency, the Chief FOIA Officer shall refer the request and record to that agency for direct response to the requester. The Chief FOIA Officer will notify the requester of any referral and provide the requester with the name and FOIA contact information of the agency to which the request was referred.

(ii) In instances where a record is requested that originated with the NMB and another federal agency has a significant interest in the record (or a portion thereof), the NMB shall consult with that federal agency before responding to a requester.

(iii) All consultations and referrals received by the NMB will receive a tracking number and be processed according to the date that the first agency received the request.

(5) Requests for business information provided to the NMB. Business information is financial or commercial information obtained by the NMB from a submitter that may be protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the FOIA, 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4).

(i) When the NMB has reason to believe that requested information may fall under Exemption 4, it will promptly provide written notice to the submitter. The notice will either describe the requested business information or include a copy of the requested records. The NMB shall provide the submitter with seven days (excepting Saturdays, Sunday, and legal public holidays) to provide a statement of any objection to disclosure.

(ii) The NMB will consider the submitter’s objections in deciding whether to disclose business information. If the NMB decides to disclose business information over such objection, it shall provide written notice to the submitter of its reasons for not sustaining the objections, a description of information to be disclosed, and the disclosure date.

(iii) Whenever the NMB provides a submitter with notice and the opportunity to object under paragraph (b)(5)(ii) of this section, it shall also inform the requestor that the request is being processed according to these provisions and there may be a subsequent delay in processing.

(iv) A submitter of confidential business information must use good faith efforts to designate any portion of its submission that it considers to be protected from disclosure under Exemption 4. These designations expire 10 years after the date of the submission unless the submitter requests and provides justification for a longer designation period.

(6) Response to requests. Within 20 days (excepting Saturdays, Sunday, and legal public holidays) after the receipt of a request, the requester shall be notified of the determination and the right to seek assistance from the NMB’s FOIA Public Liaison. If the request for records is not granted in full, the final response letter shall also include:

(i) A reference to the specific exemption or exemptions under the FOIA authorizing the withholding of the record or parts of the record and a brief explanation of how the exemption applies to the record withheld.

(ii) A statement that the denial may be appealed within 90 days by writing to the Chairman, by emailing FOIA@nmb.gov, or by writing to National Mediation Board, 1301 K Street NW., Suite 250E, Washington, DC 20005, and that judicial review will thereafter be available in the district in which the requester resides, or has his principal place of business, or the district in which Agency records are situated, or the District of Columbia.

(iii) A notification of the right to seek dispute resolution services from the Office of Government Information Services.

(7) Treatment of delay as a denial. If no determination has been dispatched at the end of the 20-day period, or the last extension thereof, the requester may deem the request denied, and exercise a right of appeal, in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section. When no determination can be dispatched within the applicable time limit, the Chief FOIA Officer shall continue to process the request and shall inform the requester of the reason for the delay, the date on which a determination may be expected to be dispatched, and of the right to treat the delay as a denial and to appeal to the Chairman of the Board in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section.

(c) Appeals to the Chairman of the Board. (1) When a request for records has been denied in whole or in part by the Chief FOIA Officer or other person authorized to deny requests, the requester may, within 90 days of its receipt, appeal the denial to the Chairman of the Board. Appeals to the Chairman shall be in writing, addressed to the Chairman, National Mediation Board, Washington, DC 20005 or emailed to FOIA@nmb.gov.

(2) The Chairman of the Board will act upon the appeal within 20 working days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal public holidays) of its receipt unless an extension is made under paragraph (c)(3) of this section.

(3) In unusual circumstances as defined in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, the time for action on an appeal may be extended up to 10 days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal public holidays). Written notice of such extension shall be made prior to the expiration of the 20-day response period, setting forth the reason for the extension and the date on which a determination is expected to be dispatched.

(4) If no determination on the appeal has been dispatched at the end of the 20-day period or the last extension thereof, the requester is deemed to have exhausted administrative remedies, giving rise to a right of review in a district court of the United States, as specified in 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4). When no determination can be dispatched within the applicable time limit, the appeal will nevertheless continue to be processed; on expiration of the time limit the requester shall be informed of the reason for the delay, of the date on which a determination may be expected to be dispatched, and of a right to seek judicial review in the United States district court in the district in which they reside or have their principal place of business, the district in which the Board records are situated or the District of Columbia. The requester may be asked to forego judicial review until determination of the appeal.

§1208.3   Proactive disclosure of information.

The NMB shall, in conformance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2), maintain and make available for public inspection, by posting on its Web site (unless the Board determines by order published in the Federal Register that such publication would be unnecessary or impracticable) the following information: Final opinions, including concurring and dissenting opinions made in representation cases; statements of policy and interpretation made by the NMB but not published in the Federal Register; administrative staff materials, such as the Representation Manual; frequently requested materials, defined as those released in response to a FOIA request and for which the Agency has received at least three requests or those records that because of the nature of their subject matter the Agency determines are likely to become the subject of subsequent requests; and a general index of records available under this section.

§1208.4   Material relating to representation function.

(a) The documents constituting the record of a case, such as the notices of hearing, motions, rulings, findings upon investigation, determinations of craft or class, dismissals, withdrawals, and certifications, are matters of official record and shall be made available on the NMB’s Web site.

(b) This part notwithstanding, the NMB will treat as confidential evidence submitted in connection with the showing of interest in a representation dispute, including authorization cards and signature samples, and other personally identifying information received during an investigation.

§1208.5   Material relating to mediation function.

All files, reports, letters, memoranda, and documents relating to the mediation function of the NMB, with the exception of procedural or administrative materials, such as applications, docket letters, or public meeting notices, in the custody of the NMB or its employees relating to or acquired in their mediatory capacity under the Railway Labor Act are hereby declared to be confidential. No such confidential documents or the material contained therein shall be disclosed to any unauthorized person, or be taken or withdrawn, copied or removed from the custody of the NMB or its employees by any person or by any agent of such person or their representative without the explicit consent of the NMB.

§1208.6   Fees under the Freedom of Information Act.

(a) In general. The NMB will charge for processing requests under the FOIA in accordance with the provisions of this section and with Office of Management and Budget Guidelines. For purposes of assessing fees, the FOIA establishes three categories of requesters: Commercial use requesters, non-commercial scientific or educational institutions or news media requesters, and all other requesters. Different fees are assessed depending on the category. Requesters may seek a fee waiver. The NMB will consider requests for fee waivers in accordance with the requirements in paragraph (k) of this section. To resolve any fee issues that arise under this section, the NMB may contact a requester for additional information. The NMB ordinarily will collect all applicable fees before sending copies of records to a requester. Requesters must pay fees by check or money order made payable to the United States Treasury.

(b) Definitions. For purposes of this section:

Commercial use request is a request that asks for information for a use or a purpose that furthers a commercial, trade, or profit interest, which can include furthering those interests through litigation. An agency’s decision to place a requester in the commercial use category will be made on a case-by-case basis based on the requester’s intended use of the information. The NMB will notify requesters of their placement in this category.

Direct costs are those expenses that an agency incurs in searching for and duplicating (and, in the case of commercial use requests, reviewing) records in order to respond to a FOIA request. For example, direct costs include the salary of the employee performing the work (i.e., the basic rate of pay for the employee, plus 16 percent of that rate to cover benefits) and the cost of operating computers and other electronic equipment, such as photocopiers and scanners. Direct costs do not include overhead expenses such as the costs of space, and of heating or lighting a facility.

Duplication is reproducing a copy of a record, or of the information contained in it, necessary to respond to a FOIA request. Copies can take the form of paper, audiovisual materials, or electronic records, among others.

Educational institution is any school that operates a program of scholarly research. A requester in this fee category must show that the request is made in connection with his or her role at the educational institution. Agencies may seek verification from the requester that the request is in furtherance of scholarly research, and agencies will advise requesters of their placement in this category.

Noncommercial scientific institution is an institution that is not operated on a “commercial” basis, as defined in this paragraph (b) and that is operated solely for the purpose of conducting scientific research the results of which are not intended to promote any particular product or industry. A requester in this category must show that the request is authorized by and is made under the auspices of a qualifying institution and that the records are sought to further scientific research and are not for a commercial use. The NMB will advise requesters of their placement in this category.

Representative of the news media is any person or entity that gathers information of potential interest to a segment of the public, uses its editorial skills to turn the raw materials into a distinct work, and distributes that work to an audience. The term “news” means information that is about current events or that would be of current interest to the public. Examples of news media entities include television or radio stations that broadcast “news” to the public at large and publishers of periodicals that disseminate “news” and make their products available through a variety of means to the general public, including news organizations that disseminate solely on the Internet. A request for records supporting the news-dissemination function of the requester will not be considered to be for a commercial use. “Freelance” journalists who demonstrate a solid basis for expecting publication through a news media entity will be considered as a representative of the news media. A publishing contract would provide the clearest evidence that publication is expected; however, agencies can also consider a requester’s past publication record in making this determination. The NMB will advise requesters of their placement in this category.

Review is the examination of a record located in response to a request in order to determine whether any portion of it is exempt from disclosure. Review time includes processing any record for disclosure, such as doing all that is necessary to prepare the record for disclosure, including the process of redacting the record and marking the appropriate exemptions. Review costs are properly charged even if a record ultimately is not disclosed. Review time also includes time spent both obtaining and considering any formal objection to disclosure made by a confidential business information submitter under §1208.2(b)(5), but it does not include time spent resolving general legal or policy issues regarding the application of exemptions.

Search is the process of looking for and retrieving records or information responsive to a request. Search time includes page-by-page or line-by-line identification of information within records and the reasonable efforts expended to locate and retrieve information from electronic records.

(c) Charging fees. In responding to FOIA requests, the NMB will charge the following fees unless a waiver or reduction of fees has been granted under paragraph (k) of this section. Because the fee amounts provided below already account for the direct costs associated with a given fee type, the NMB will not add any additional costs to charges calculated under this section.

(1) Search. (i) Requests made by educational institutions, noncommercial scientific institutions, or representatives of the news media are not subject to search fees. The NMB will charge search fees for all other requesters, subject to the restrictions of paragraph (d) of this section. The NMB may properly charge for time spent searching even if it does not locate any responsive records or determines that the records are entirely exempt from disclosure.

(ii) For each quarter hour spent by personnel searching for requested records, including electronic searches that do not require new programming, direct costs will be charged.

(iii) The NMB will also charge direct costs associated with conducting any search that requires the creation of a new computer program to locate the requested records. The NMB will notify the requester of the costs associated with creating such a program, and the requester must agree to pay the associated costs before the costs may be incurred.

(2) Duplication. The NMB will charge duplication fees to all requesters, subject to the restrictions of paragraph (d) of this section. The NMB will honor a requester’s preference for receiving a record in a particular form or format where it can readily reproduce it in the form or format requested. Where photocopies are supplied, the NMB will provide one copy per request at the cost of 15 cents per page. For copies of records produced on tapes, disks, or other media, the NMB will charge the direct costs of producing the copy, including operator time. Where paper documents must be scanned in order to comply with a requester’s preference to receive the records in an electronic format, the requester must also pay the direct costs associated with scanning those materials. For other forms of duplication, the NMB will charge the direct costs.

(3) Review. The NMB will charge review fees to requesters who make commercial use requests. Review fees will be assessed in connection with the initial review of the record, i.e., the review conducted by the NMB to determine whether an exemption applies to a particular record or portion of a record. No charge will be made for review at the administrative appeal stage of exemptions applied at the initial review stage. However, if a particular exemption is deemed to no longer apply, any costs associated with the re-review of the records in order to consider the use of other exemptions may be assessed as review fees. Review fees will be charged at the same rates as those charged for a search under paragraph (c)(1)(ii) of this section.

(d) Restrictions on charging fees. (1) When the NMB determines that a requester is an educational institution, non-commercial scientific institution, or representative of the news media, and the records are not sought for commercial use, it will not charge search fees.

(2)(i) If the NMB fails to comply with the time limits described in section 1208.2(b)(1) in which to respond to a request, it may not charge search fees, or, in the instances of requests from requesters described in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, may not charge duplication fees, except as described in paragraph (d)(2)(ii) through (iv) of this section.

(ii) If the NMB has determined that unusual circumstances as defined in section 1208.2(b)(2) apply and the NMB provided timely written notice to the requester in accordance with that section, a failure to comply with the time limit shall be excused for an additional 10 days.

(iii) If the NMB has determined that unusual circumstances apply and more than 5,000 pages are necessary to respond to the request, the NMB may charge search fees, or, in the case of requesters described in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, may charge duplication fees, if the following steps are taken. The NMB must have provided timely written notice of unusual circumstances to the requester in accordance with the FOIA and must have discussed with the requester via written mail, email, or telephone (or made not less than three good-faith attempts to do so) how the requester could effectively limit the scope of the request in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(B)(ii). If this exception is satisfied, the NMB may charge all applicable fees incurred in the processing of the request.

(iv) If a court has determined that exceptional circumstances exist, as defined by the FOIA, a failure to comply with the time limits shall be excused for the length of time provided by the court order.

(3) No search or review fees will be charged for a quarter-hour period unless more than half of that period is required for search or review.

(4) Except for requesters seeking records for a commercial use, the NMB will provide without charge:

(i) The first 100 pages of duplication (or the cost equivalent for other media); and

(ii) The first two hours of search.

(5) No fee will be charged when the total fee, after deducting the 100 free pages (or its cost equivalent) and the first two hours of search, is equal to or less than $25.

(e) Notice of anticipated fees in excess of $25.00. (1) When the NMB determines or estimates that the fees to be assessed in accordance with this section will exceed $25.00, the Agency must notify the requester of the actual or estimated amount of the fees, including a breakdown of the fees for search, review or duplication, unless the requester has indicated a willingness to pay fees as high as those anticipated. If only a portion of the fee can be estimated readily, the NMB will advise the requester accordingly. If the request is not for noncommercial use, the notice will specify that the requester is entitled to the statutory entitlements of 100 pages of duplication at no charge and, if the requester is charged search fees, two hours of search time at no charge, and will advise the requester whether those entitlements have been provided.

(2) If the NMB notifies the requester that the actual or estimated fees are in excess of $25.00, the request will not be considered received and further work will not be completed until the requester commits in writing to pay the actual or estimated total fee, or designates some amount of fees the requester is willing to pay, or in the case of a noncommercial use requester who has not yet been provided with the requester’s statutory entitlements, designates that the requester seeks only that which can be provided by the statutory entitlements. The requester must provide the commitment or designation in writing, and must, when applicable, designate an exact dollar amount the requester is willing to pay. The NMB is not required to accept payments in installments.

(3) If the requester has indicated a willingness to pay some designated amount of fees, but the NMB estimates that the total fee will exceed that amount, it will toll the processing of the request when it notifies the requester of the estimated fees in excess of the amount the requester has indicated a willingness to pay. The NMB will inquire whether the requester wishes to revise the amount of fees the requester is willing to pay or modify the request. Once the requester responds, the time to respond will resume from where it was at the date of the notification.

(4) The NMB will make available its FOIA Public Liaison or other FOIA professional to assist any requester in reformulating a request to meet the requester’s needs at a lower cost.

(f) Charges for other services. Although not required to provide special services, if the NMB chooses to do so as a matter of administrative discretion, the direct costs of providing the service will be charged. Examples of such services include certifying that records are true copies, providing multiple copies of the same document, or sending records by means other than first class mail.

(g) Charging interest. The NMB may charge interest on any unpaid bill starting on the 31st day following the date of billing the requester. Interest charges will be assessed at the rate provided in 31 U.S.C. 3717 and will accrue from the billing date until payment is received by the Agency. The NMB will follow the provisions of the Debt Collection Act of 1982 (Pub. L. 97-365, 96 Stat. 1749), as amended, and its administrative procedures, including the use of consumer reporting agencies, collection agencies, and offset.

(h) Aggregating requests. When the NMB reasonably believes that a requester or a group of requesters acting in concert is attempting to divide a single request into a series of requests for the purpose of avoiding fees, it may aggregate those requests and charge accordingly. The NMB may presume that multiple requests of this type made within a 30-day period have been made in order to avoid fees. For requests separated by a longer period, the NMB will aggregate them only where there is a reasonable basis for determining that aggregation is warranted in view of all the circumstances involved. Multiple requests involving unrelated matters cannot be aggregated.

(i) Advance payments. (1) For requests other than those described in paragraphs (i)(2) or (i)(3) of this section, the NMB will not require the requester to make an advance payment before work is commenced or continued on a request. Payment owed for work already completed (i.e., payment before copies are sent to a requester) is not an advance payment.

(2) When the NMB determines or estimates that a total fee to be charged under this section will exceed $250.00, it may require that the requester make an advance payment up to the amount of the entire anticipated fee before beginning to process the request. The NMB may elect to process the request prior to collecting fees when it receives a satisfactory assurance of full payment from a requester with a history of prompt payment.

(3) Where a requester has previously failed to pay a properly charged FOIA fee within 30 calendar days of the billing date, the NMB may require that the requester pay the full amount due, plus any applicable interest on that prior request, and it may require that the requester make an advance payment of the full amount of any anticipated fee before beginning to process a new request or continuing to process a pending request or any pending appeal. Where the NMB has a reasonable basis to believe that a requester has misrepresented the requester’s identity in order to avoid paying outstanding fees, it may require that the requester provide proof of identity.

(4) In cases in which the NMB requires advance payment, the request will not be considered received and further work will not be completed until the required payment is received. If the requester does not pay the advance payment within 30 calendar days after the date of the fee determination, the request will be closed.

(j) Other statutes specifically providing for fees. The fee schedule of this section does not apply to fees charged under any statute that specifically requires the NMB to set and collect fees for particular types of records. In instances where records responsive to a request are subject to a statutorily-based fee schedule program, the NMB must inform the requester of the contact information for that program.

(k) Requirements for waiver or reduction of fees. (1) Requesters may seek a waiver of fees by submitting a written application demonstrating how disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.

(2) The NMB will furnish records responsive to a request without charge or at a reduced rate when it determines, based on all available information, that the factors described in paragraphs (k)(2)(i) through (iii) of this section are satisfied:

(i) Disclosure of the requested information would shed light on the operations or activities of the government. The subject of the request must concern identifiable operations or activities of the Federal Government with a connection that is direct and clear, not remote or attenuated.

(ii) Disclosure of the requested information is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of those operations or activities. This factor is satisfied when the following criteria are met:

(A) Disclosure of the requested records must be meaningfully informative about government operations or activities. The disclosure of information that already is in the public domain, in either the same or a substantially identical form, would not be meaningfully informative if nothing new would be added to the public’s understanding.

(B) The disclosure must contribute to the understanding of a reasonably broad audience of persons interested in the subject, as opposed to the individual understanding of the requester. A requester’s expertise in the subject area as well as the requester’s ability and intention to effectively convey information to the public must be considered. Agencies will presume that a representative of the news media will satisfy this consideration.

(iii) The disclosure must not be primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. To determine whether disclosure of the requested information is primarily in the commercial interest of the requester, agencies will consider the following criteria:

(A) The NMB will identify whether the requester has any commercial interest that would be furthered by the requested disclosure. A commercial interest includes any commercial, trade, or profit interest. Requesters must be given an opportunity to provide explanatory information regarding this consideration.

(B) If there is an identified commercial interest, the NMB must determine whether that is the primary interest furthered by the request. A waiver or reduction of fees is justified when the requirements of paragraphs (k)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section are satisfied and any commercial interest is not the primary interest furthered by the request. The NMB will presume that when a news media requester has satisfied the factors in paragraphs (k)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section, the request is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. Disclosure to data brokers or others who merely compile and market government information for direct economic return will not be presumed to primarily serve the public interest.

(3) Where only some of the records to be released satisfy the requirements for a waiver of fees, a waiver will be granted for those records.

(4) Requests for a waiver or reduction of fees should be made when the request is first submitted and should address the criteria referenced above. A requester may submit a fee waiver request at a later time so long as the underlying record request is pending or on administrative appeal. When a requester who has committed to pay fees subsequently asks for a waiver of those fees and that waiver is denied, the requester must pay any costs incurred up to the date the fee waiver request was received.

§1208.7   Subpoenas and other requests for testimony and production of documents in legal proceedings where the NMB is not a party.

(a) In legal proceedings between private litigants, a subpoena or other demand for the production of records held by the Agency or for oral or written testimony of a current or former NMB employee should be addressed to the General Counsel, National Mediation Board, 1301 K Street NW., Suite 250E, Washington, DC 20005. No other official or employee of the NMB is authorized to accept service of a demand or subpoena on behalf of the Agency.

(b) No current or former employee may produce official records or information or provide testimony in response to a demand or subpoena unless authorized by the General Counsel.

(c) The General Counsel may grant an employee permission to testify or produce official records or information in response to a demand or subpoena. In making this determination, the General Counsel shall consider whether:

(1) Release of the requested records or testimony is prohibited under §1208.5;

(2) The disclosure is appropriate under the rules of procedure governing the case or matter;

(3) The requested testimony or records are privileged under the relevant substantive law concerning privilege;

(4) Disclosure would violate a statute or regulation;

(5) Disclosure would reveal trade secrets without the owner’s consent; and

(6) Allowing testimony or production of records would be in the best interest of the NMB or the United States.

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PART 1209—PUBLIC OBSERVATION OF NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD MEETINGS

§1209.01   Scope and purpose.

(a) The provisions of this part are intended to implement the requirements of section 3(a) of the Government in the Sunshine Act, 5 U.S.C. 552b.

(b) It is the policy of the National Mediation Board that the public is entitled to the fullest practicable information regarding its decisionmaking processes. It is the purpose of this part to provide the public with such information while protecting the rights of individuals and the ability of the agency to carry out its responsibilities.

§1209.02   Definitions.

For purposes of this part:

(a) The terms Board or Agency mean the National Mediation Board, a collegial body composed of three members appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.

(b) The term meeting means the deliberations of at least two members of the Board where such deliberations determine or result in the joint conduct or disposition of official agency business, but does not include deliberations required or permitted or with respect to any information proposed to be withheld under by 5 U.S.C. 552b(d) or (e)/5 U.S.C. 552b(c).

§1209.03   Conduct of National Mediation Board business.

Members shall not jointly conduct or dispose of agency business other than in accordance with this part.

§1209.04   Open meetings.

Every portion of every Board meeting shall be open to public observation except as otherwise provided by §1209.05 of this part.

§1209.05   Closing of meetings; reasons therefor.

(a) Except where the Board determines that the public interest requires otherwise, meetings, or portions thereof, shall not be open to public observation where the deliberations concern the issuance of a subponea, the Board’s participation in a civil action or proceeding or an arbitration, or the initiation, conduct or disposition by the Board of any matter involving a determination on the record after opportunity for a hearing, or any court proceeding collateral or ancillary thereto.

(b) Except where the Board determines that the public interest requires otherwise, the Board also may close meetings, or portions thereof, when the deliberations concern matters or information falling within the scope of 5 U.S.C. 552b (c)(1) (secret matters concerning national defense or foreign policy); (c)(2) (internal personnel rules and practices); (c)(3) (matters specifically exempted from disclosure by statute); (c)(4) (trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential); (c)(5) (matters of alleged criminal conduct or formal censure); (c)(6) (personal information where disclosure would cause a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy); (c)(7) (certain materials or information from investigatory files compiled for law enforcement purposes); or (c)(9)(B) (disclosure would significantly frustrate implementation of a proposed agency action).

§1209.06   Action necessary to close meetings; record of votes.

A meeting shall be closed to public observation under §1209.05, only when a majority of the members of the Board who will participate in the meeting vote to take such action.

(a) When the meeting deliberations concern matters specified in §1209.05(a), the Board members shall vote at the beginning of the meeting, or portion thereof, on whether to close such meeting, or portion thereof, to public observation, and on whether the public interest requires that a meeting which may properly be closed should nevertheless be open to public observation A record of such vote, reflecting the vote of each member of the Board, shall be kept and made available to the public at the earliest practicable time.

(b) When the meeting deliberations concerns matters specified in §1209.05(b), the Board shall vote on whether to close such meeting, or portion thereof, to public ovservation, and on whether the public interest requires that a meeting which may properly be closed should nevertheless be open to public observation. The vote shall be taken at a time sufficient to permit inclusion of information concerning the open or closed status of the meeting in the public announcement thereof. A single vote may be taken with respect to a series of meetings at which the deliberations will concern the same particular matters where subsequent meetings in the series are scheduled to be held within one day after the vote is taken.

(c) Whenever any person whose interests may be directly affected by deliberations during a meeting, or a portion thereof, requests that the Board close that meeting, or portion thereof, to public observation for any of the reasons specified in 5 U.S.C. 552b(c)(5) (matters of alleged criminal conduct or formal censure), (c)(6) (personal information where disclosure would cause a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy), or (c)(7) (certain materials or information from investigatory files compiled for law enforcement purposes), the Board members participating in the meeting upon request of any one member of the Board, shall vote on whether to close such meeting, or any portion thereof, for that reason. A record of such vote, reflecting the vote of each member of the Board participating in the meeting, shall be kept and made available to the public within one day after the vote is taken.

(d) After public announcement of a meeting as provided in §1209.07 of this part, a meeting, or portion thereof, announced as closed may be opened or a meeting, or portion thereof, announced as open may be closed, only if a majority of the members of the Board who will participate in the meeting determine by a recorded vote that Board business so requires and that an earlier announcement of the change was not possible. The change made and the vote of each member on the change shall be announced publicly at the earliest practicable time.

(e) Before a meeting may be closed pursuant to §1209.05 the General Counsel of the Board shall certify that in his or her opinion the meeting may properly be closed to public observation. The certification shall set forth each applicable exemptive provision for such closing. The certification shall be retained by the agency and made publicly available as soon as practicable.

§1209.07   Notice of meetings; public announcement and publication.

(a) A public announcement setting forth the time, place and subject matter of meetings or portions thereof closed to public observation pursuant to the provisions of §1209.05(a) of this part, shall be made at the earaliest practicable time.

(b) Except for meetings closed to public observation pursuant to the provisions of §1209.05(a) of this part, the agency shall make public announcement of each meeting at least 7 days before the scheduled date of the meeting. The announcement shall specify the time, place and subject matter of the meeting, whether it is to be open to public observation or closed, and the name, address and phone number of an agency official designated to respond to requests for information about the meeting. The 7 day period for advance notice may be shortened only upon a determination by a majority of the members of the Board who will participate in the meeting that agency business requires that such meeting be called at an earlier date, in which event the public announcement shall be made at the earliest practicable time. A record of the vote to schedule a meeting at an earlier date shall be kept and made available to the public.

(c) Within one day after a vote to close a meeting, or any portion thereof, pursuant to the provisions of §1209.05(b) of this part, the agency shall make publicly available a full written explanation of its action closing the meeting, or portion thereof, together with a list of all persons expected to attend the meeting and their affiliation.

(d) If after a public announcement required by paragraph (b) of this section has been made, the time and place of the meeting are changed, a public announcement of such changes shall be made at the earliest practicable time. The subject matter of the meeting may be changed after public annmouncment thereof only if a majority of the members of the Board who will participate in the meeting determine that agency business so requires and that no earlier announcement of the change was possible. When such a change in subject matter is approved a public announcement of the change shall be made at the earliest practicable time. A record of the vote to change the subject matter of the meeting shall be kept and made available to the public.

(e) All announcements or changes thereof issued pursuant to the provisions of paragraphs (b) and (d) of this section, or pursuant to the provisions of §1209.06(d), shall be submitted for publication in the Federal Registerimmediately following their release to the public.

(f) Announcement of meeting made pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be posted on a bulletin board maintained for such purpose at the Board’s offices, 1425 K Street, NW., Washington, DC. Interested individuals or organizations may request the Chief of Staff, National Mediation Board, Washington, DC 20572 to place them on a mailing list for receipt of such announcements.

[42 FR 60739, Nov. 29, 1977, as amended at 64 FR 40287, July 26, 1999]

§1209.08   Transcripts, recordings or minutes of closed meetings; retention; public availability.

(a) For every meeting or portion thereof closed under the provisions of §1209.05, the presiding officer shall prepare a statement setting forth the time and place of the meeting and the persons present, which statement shall be retained by the agency. For each such meeting or portion thereof there also shall be maintained a complete transcript or electronic recording of the proceedings, except that for meetings closed pursuant to §1209.05(a) the Board may, in lieu of a transcript or electronic recording, maintain a set of minutes fully and accurately summarizing any action taken, the reason therefor and views thereof, documents considered, and the members’ vote on each roll call vote.

(b) The agency shall maintain a complete verbatim transcript, a complete electronic recording, or a complete set of minutes for each meeting or portion thereof closed to public observation, for a period of at least one year after the close of the agency proceeding of which the meeting was a part, but in no event for a period of less than two years after such meeting.

(c) The agency shall make promptly available to the public copies of transcripts, electronic recordings or minutes maintained as provided in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, except to the extent the items therein contain information which the agency determines may be withheld pursuant to the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552b(c).

(d) Upon request in accordance with the provisions of this paragraph and except to the extent they contain information which the agency determines may be withheld pursuant to the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552b(c), copies of transcripts or minutes, or transcriptions of electronic recordings including the identification of speakers, shall be furnished subject to the payment of duplication costs in accordance with the schedule of fees set forth in §1208.06 of the Board’s Rules, and the actual cost of transcription. Requests for copies of transcripts or minutes, or transcriptions of electronic recordings of Board meetings shall be directed to the Chief of Staff, National Mediation Board, Washington, DC 20572. Such requests shall reasonably identify the records sought and include a statement that whatever costs are involved in furnishing the records will be acceptable or, alternatively, that costs will be acceptable up to a specified amount. The Board may determine to require prepayment of such costs.

[42 FR 60739, Nov. 29, 1977, as amended at 64 FR 40287, July 26, 1999]

§1209.09   Requests for records under Freedom of Information Act.

Requests to review or obtain copies of agency records other than notices or records prepared under this part may be pursued in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552). Part 1208 of the Board’s Rules addresses the requisite procedures under that Act.

§1209.10   Capacity of public observers.

The public may attend open Board meetings for the sole purpose of observation. Observers may not participate in meetings unless expressly invited or otherwise interfere with the conduct and disposition of agency business. When a portion of a meeting is closed to the public, observers will leave the meeting room upon request to enable discussion of the exempt matter therein under consideration.

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PARTS 1210-1299 [RESERVED]

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