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Summaries of Bills Pending Before the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, 92d Congress Through February 1972

S. 560


AND TOWER, INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 3, 1971 Coverage: Labor disputes which imperil the national health or safety, in the following transportation industries: railroads, airlines, maritime, longshore, and trucking.

Provisions: Repeals the emergency disputes procedures of the Railway Labor Act and brings disputes involving railroads and airlines under the emergency provisions of the Labor Management Relations (Taft-Hartley) Act. The Taft-Hartley Act is amended by bringing rail and air carriers under its existing 80-day cooling-off procedure, and by adding three new options applicable to specified transportation industries—rail, air, maritime, longshore, and trucking. These optional procedures could be used if a national emergency dispute in transportation were still unresolved after the 80-day cooling-off period.

The bill empowers the President to choose any one, but only one, of the new optional procedures. Within a 10-day period, either House of Congress may reject the President's choice. If either House should reject his choice, or if he makes no choice, the President shall submit to the Congress a supplemental report including such recommendations as he may see fit to make.

One of the new options available to the President would be to extend the no-strike, no-lockout period for not more than 30 days beyond the 80-day cooling-off period.

A second option would be to appoint a special board of three impartial members to determine whether and under what conditions a partial strike or lockout could take place without imperiling the health or safety of the Nation or a substantial portion thereof, and whether such a partial strike or lockout would have sufficient economic impact to encourage the parties to resolve the dispute. The board would have 30 days to make its determination. If it determines that a partial strike or lockout can take place in accordance with the above criteria, it shall issue an order specifying the extent and conditions of partial operation that must be maintained. However, the board's order may not place a greater economic burden on any party than that which a total cessation of operations would cause. During the board's deliberations and during any period of partial operation, there could be no change, except by agreement, in the terms and conditions of employment. Partial operation pursuant to the board's decision would be limited to 180 days.

Under the third option, the President would direct each party to submit a final offer to the Secretary of Labor within three days; each party could at the same time submit one alternative final offer. The Secretary would transmit each final offer to the other party simultaneously. Each final offer would have to constitute a complete resolution of all the issues in dispute. If any party failed to submit a final offer, the last offer made during previous bargaining would be deemed its final offer. The bill provides that following this submission to the Secretary of Labor, the parties would be required to meet and bargain for five days, during which the Secretary of Labor may act as a mediator.

If a settlement is still not reached, the parties would have two days to agree upon a three-member panel to act as the final offer selector; if they are unable to agree, the President would appoint the panel. The panel would hold hearings and within 30 days pick one of the final offers—without modification to constitute the final and binding resolution of the issues. The panel is directed to select the most reasonable of the final offers, taking into account various factors specified in the bill. The determination of the panel would be conclusive unless found to be arbitrary and capricious by the district court which granted the 80-day injunction in the dispute.

Other provisions would amend the Railway Labor Act by (1) requiring all collective bargaining agreements to have a fixed expiration date; (2) transferring mediation duties of the National Mediation Board to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (which now mediates disputes under the Taft-Hartley Act); (3) leaving as the sole functions of the National Mediation Board (re-named the Railroad and Airline Representation Board) the determination of appropriate bargaining units and holding representation elections for those units; and (4) phasing out over a two-year period the present National Railroad Adjustment Board, leaving labor and management to provide grievance machinery in their collective bargaining agreements. The bill also amends the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act so as to deny unemployment benefits to strikers.

In addition, S. 560 establishes a seven-member National Special Industries Commission, for a term not to exceed two years, to study labor relations in those industries which are particularly vulnerable to national emergency disputes and to make recommendations concerning such industries as to the best ways, including new legislation, for remedying the weaknesses of collective bargaining.

S. 594


Coverage: Labor disputes in any industry affecting commerce which imperil the health or safety of the Nation, or a substantial part of its population or territory.

Provisions: Brings the railroads and airlines under emergency procedures of the Labor Management Relations (Taft-Hartley) Act, and abolishes the emergency provisions of the Railway Labor Act. Applies to regional as well as national disputes threatening health or safety, in any industry affecting commerce.

Provides that boards of inquiry now appointed under Taft-Hartley shall make recommendations for settlement, if the President so directs. Authorizes the President, upon receipt of the board's report, to freeze the status quo for not more than 30 days for further bargaining and for consideration of board recommendations, if there are any.

Upon receiving the board of inquiry's report, or upon expiration of the 30-day freeze period if that has been ordered, the President may direct the Attorney General to obtain an 80-day injunction, as now provided under Taft-Hartley. The existing procedure is modified in that the injunction could be granted only by a three-judge district court instead of the current single judge, and appeal would be directly to the U.S. Supreme Court rather than, as at present, to a U.S. Court of Appeals.

The NLRB-conducted election on the employer's final offer, upon expiration of 60 days of the 80-day injunction period, would no longer be mandatory, but would be optional with the President.

Authorizes the President, if the dispute remains unsettled after expiration of 60 days of the 80-day injunction period, to issue an executive order prescribing the procedures to be followed by the parties. Such executive order shall provide for operations and services essential to the national or regional health and safety, encourage resolution of the dispute through collective bargaining, encourage future collective bargaining in the industry, and avoid undue interference with the rights of the parties. Among the available procedures, according to the bill's sponsor, Senator Javits, are such options as "fact-finding, extension of the status quo, seizure and partial operation, mediation to finality, arbitration, and the 'final offer selection procedure of the administration's bill.” (Congressional Record, February 4, 1971 (daily ed.), P. 8870). Either House of Congress may veto the President's remedy within 15 days after he proposes it.

The Attorney General is authorized to enforce the executive order, and to seek modification of the 80-day injunction in order to conform the injunction to the executive order.

The bill establishes procedures governing seizure of an industry or part thereof, in the event that the Presidential executive order calls for this option. It provides that in any such seizure the enterprise shall be operated by the United States for the account of the employer, but that the employer may elect to waive all claims to the proceeds of the operation and to receive instead reasonable compensation for the period of seizure.

S. 832


FEBRUARY 17, 1971
Coverage: Labor disputes in the railroad and airline industries.

Provisions: After the parties have exhausted all dispute-settlement procedures under the Railway Labor Act without reaching agreement, the employees may, subject to the limitations and obligations of partial operation described below, selectively strike any of the carriers involved in the dispute without concurrently striking all other carriers similarly involved. A "selective strike” in the railroad industry is defined as one in which not more than three carriers operating in any one of the eastern, western, or southeastern regions are struck at the same time and the total revenue ton-miles transported during the preceding year by the struck carriers in any such region represented not more than 40 percent of total revenue tonmiles transported in that region.

The bill provides for partial operation of struck carriers, as may be directed by the Secretary of Transportation. That official, after consultation with the Secretaries of Defense and Labor, shall determine the extent to which operations of any struck carrier or carriers are essential to the national health or safety, including, but not necessarily limited to, transportation of defense materials and of coal to generate electricity, and continued operation of passenger trains including commuter service. Determination of the Secretary of Transportation shall be conclusive unless shown to be arbitrary or capricious. Partial service and transportation shall be provided pursuant to the rates of pay, rules, and working conditions of existing agreements.

Carriers which are not struck are prohibited from locking out their employees. However, where a carrier under section 6 of the Railway Labor Act has proposed changes to agreements affecting pay, rules, or working conditions, and all procedures of the act have been exhausted with respect to such changes without agreement being reached, the carrier may put those changes into effect, except where the proposal was made in response to or in anticipation of employee proposals.


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