« PreviousContinue »
a court decision, a new contract or a lack of a contract. It will be the result of some flat negative or positive condition, or action, and the result will be you will get many cases, I would think, which to all intents and purposes are on all fours, the only difference will be the name of the parties. The issue, I would presume, of necessity would have to be identical. The difference would be geographic and the names and nothing else.
Why is it not possible to take so many of those and put them under the heading of a test case and instead of trying to work out every application in every case, individual by individual, union by union and road by road, spend your mediation efforts and all your skills to get participants to agree on a test case and then to be bound by the action of the test case, if and when these facts were all true? Instead of exerting your skills on all these cases, why not establish a test case and get an agreement on that?
Mr. EDWARDS. You are referring largely to the interpretations which the National Railway Adjustment Board makes of a new national agreement.
Mr. FLOOD. Whatever you do on any one thing.
Mr. EDWARDS. Those are not mediated. Those are handled by the National Railway Adjustment Board in a quasi-judicial fashion and there is a certain amount of grouping. I do not know exactly the extent of it.
Mr. FLOOD. I am sure there is. For the purpose of cutting the backlog, this would be an obvious way. I just wonder, are you putting a rifle on this to destroy the backlog? It would occur to me if you directed your skills at establishing a line of cases, this would be a great help, instead of using a shotgun.
Mr. EDWARDS. Of course, there has been a lot of thinking along the lines you are speaking of, and a great deal of action taken. Most of these national agreements have incorporated in them what they call a disputes committee procedure, and in that disputes committee, where an interpretation dispute arises applicable generally to this big national contract, then instead of going to the National Railroad Adjustment Board, or the Mediation Board, something like a special tribunal called a disputes committee considers that and if they are unable to agree, they have the right to break the tie with a neutral. In
a that way, thousands of cases that might otherwise arise are disposed of in advance.
Am I correct on that?
One railroad might send in a case with one labor organization, and back on that same property there could be 20 to 25 cases awaiting the award on this particular case. There are many of those instances which we do not get. The cases do not get to the Adjustment Board.
GROUPING THE CASES
Mr. Flood. I am not speaking of the cases that do not get to you. I am satisfied you are aware of this procedure. I am sure as a result of this procedure your backlog is less than it would otherwise be. They would be merely cluttering up your files. They are on all fours and they are identical. I am sure these things never get to you because of what you do and what you agree to.
I am concerned with your taking a look at this backlog that you told us for 2 or 3 years you were going to clean up and you have not.
Is it possible you should examine this backlog with a fine tooth comb? Could you not classify x number of these pending cases, since you are a quasi-judicial body-could you not determine that the following cases are to be under test case A and once you have resolved that you might eliminate many, many cases on your backlog just by that gesture?
Mr. HAGERMAN. It would probably work out to some extent as we have done with a new set of cases which we term holiday pay cases. We grouped them together. They have just come in. In so many of these cases the individual railroad and the individual labor organization feels their case is a little bit different than the one somewhat like it.
Mr. FLOOD. I am sure of that. That is what keeps a lot of fellows on the payroll and earns them their titles in the unions and the roads. That justifies their existence. That is a question of semantics in most
The courts have no hesitancy in cutting through semantics and deciding a group of cases. That will be the end of it.
Why do you fellows not do that? All of this skill and ability you have should be directed, it occurs to me, at grouping these cases. You have this new batch of cases coming in from the nonoperating unions all of a sudden. You know why they are coming in and I know. They are Tweedledee and Tweedledum in most cases. They are all springing from the same reason, which is as narrow as the edge of a fork.
Mr. EDWARDS. I think there is more of this grouping than you might realize. I think the last case that I sat on as a referee was in the fourth division. I decided one case as a test case and we backed up a large group of cases depending upon that decision.
Mr. Flood. Are you talking about cases on your file?
Mr. EDWARDS. They were all filed in the fourth division, National Railroad Adjustment Board and the parties agreed that the decision on one case would govern the entire group. It involved the Lancaster yard.
JUDICIAL REVIEW ON CASE GROUPINGS Mr. FLOOD. I think both your groups should make that determination, especially your group, Mr. Hagerman. Then there is judicial review. I cannot imagine any court reversing you fellows once you have made such a determination. The applicants could scream their heads off, but I cannot imagine a court that will dispute the crossing of a “T” and the dotting of an "I" once you people have decided they are in group A.
You know perfectly well an appeal from any one of that group, whether it be 10 or 200, would be rare indeed, and would be a futile exercise-in most cases. You could be wrong in 2 or 3 out of 50,
but not many more than that. They would get short shrift in the
average court, in my opinion.
I do not know why you do not go through that like a dose of salts and find out.
Mr. HAGERMAN. I think the first division has attempted that. I am not a member of the first division.
Mr. Flood. Your attempts are getting no place as far as we are concerned. You still have the backlog. Last year you went through the same song and dance. It is becoming a minuet.
You are only jabbing with your left hand. Do you not have two hands? That a man with a good left hand does not need a good right hand is nonsense.
You need both hands. I do not think you are using them. You are making gestures. Well, are you?
Mr. HAGERMAN. No. I think the entire Adjustment Board is working toward the end of getting the backlog down.
Mr. Flood. I am sure of that.
Mr. HAGERMAN. Perhaps their efforts are not in the right direction, that is possible.
Mr. FLOOD. It is very probable. I am suggesting one avenue that may or may not have any value.
Whatever you do, you are doing exactly the same thing and you are not getting any place as far as we are concerned. You are not cutting down on the backlog. I am sure you are trying but what you are trying is not working.
Mr. HAGERMAN. We think
Mr. FLOOD. You are so close to the forest you cannot see the trees. Too many people have been doing the same thing too long in the same chairs.
Mr. HAGERMAN. We have cut down about 600 in 2 years.
Mr. HAGERMAN. I do not think we are either as far as that goes. I think everyone in the railroad industry would like to see the backlog cut down immediately.
Mr. Flood. I get a feeling of stagnation—the same people doing the same thing at the same time. You just change the costumes like a period play. You are not breaking the back of the thing at all. That is just an outside observation.
I am sure you fellows think you are working 26 hours a day and are wondering why you are not being praised for what you have done rather than being criticized for what you have not, but that is typical of anyone doing a job.
Mr. FOGARTY. Is there anything else you would like to say? If not, thank you, gentlemen.
DIGEST OF ESTIMATE OF APPROPRIATION, 1967
FUNOTION OF THE BOARD
The National Mediation Board administers the Railway Labor Act governing labor relations in the railroad and airline industries. The general purposes of the act are as follows:
1. To avoid any interruption to commerce or to the operation of any carrier engaged therein ;
2. To forbid any limitation upon freedom of association among employees or any denial, as a condition of employment or otherwise, of the right of employees to join a labor organization ;
3. To provide for the complete independence of carriers and of employees in the matter of self-organization;
4. To provide for the prompt and orderly settlement of all disputes concerning rates of pay, rules, or working conditions ;
5. To provide for the prompt and orderly settlement of all disputes growing out of grievances or out of the interpretation of application of agree
ments governing rates of pay, rules, or working conditions. These general purposes are implemented through the activities of the National Mediation Board, arbitration and emergency boards and the National Railroad Adjustment Board.
PROGRAM AND PERFORMANCE
1. Mediation.—The Board mediates labor disputes and determines collectivebargaining representatives for the 700 carriers and 1.25 million employees in the railroad and airline industries.
2. Voluntary arbitration and emergency disputes.-When mediation fails, the parties are urged to submit their differences to arbitration or special adjustment boards including neutral members paid from this account. If neither mediation nor voluntary arbitration are successful, the President, when notified of disputes which threaten seriously to interrupt service, may appoint an emergency board to investigate and report on the dispute as a basis for agreement.
3. Adjustment of railroad grievances.—Railroad employee grievances resulting from application of collective bargaining contracts may be brought for settlement to the 36-man Board composed of 4 divisions. Each division has an equal number of carriers and union representatives paid by the parties and handles the grievances of a particular type of employee. The appropriation provides clerical assistance to the Board and neutral referees to sit with divisions of the Board when they are deadlocked.
Total number of permanent positions..
8.6 $9, 282
8.6 $9, 319
The amended Railway Labor Act administered by the National Mediation Board is the culmination of more than 60 years of experience in the field of Federal legislation dealing with the relationship of employer and employee in the transportation industry. This history commenced with the passage of the Newlands Act by the Congress in 1898, and through several successive steps of legislative action, has finally resulted in the present Railway Labor Act, passed in 1926 and amended in 1934. The airline industry was placed under this law by the Congress in 1936.
The basic aims of the present act are to promote the settlement of all disputes concerning rates of pay, rules and working conditions by negotiation and agreement between the duly authorized and designated representatives of management and the employees. This is accomplished through the process of collective bargaining between the representatives of the rail and air carriers and their employees. Representatives for this purpose may be chosen by each party without interference, influence or coercion of either party on the other.
The primary obligation imposed by the act on both parties is that of making agreements to govern rates of pay, rules and working conditions and to reduce strife in the industry.
The act also imposed the definite obligation on both sides to confer and make every reasonable effort to adjust their differences through negotiation and agreement. When this is not found possible the mediation services of this Board may be invoked by either party and the Board then exerts its best efforts in mediation to bring about an adjustment. Should these efforts be unsuccessful, the law then makes it the duty of the Board to urge the parties to submit their differences to final and binding arbitration. As a last resort the Board may certify to the President emergencies which threaten to interrupt interstate commerce to a substantial portion of the country, and the controversy may then be considered by an emergency board.
The Mediation Board also determines representation disputes arising among various crafts or classes of railroad and airline employees, by conducting secret ballot elections or checking signed authorization cards, and certifies the names of the chosen representatives to the carriers. In addition, the Board appoints referees to sit with the various divisions of the National Railroad Adjustment Board on deadlocked cases, and, when requested to do so appoints neutral arbitrators to sit with arbitration boards set up under the act; an appoints neutrals to work with special boards of adjustment on the rail carriers and with system boards of adjustment on the airlines.
Approximately 1,250,000 rail and airline employees are under the jurisdiction of this Board and the act.
The Mediation Board has three members who are Presidential appointees, and 38 employees, making a total staff of 41. All of the staff, with the exception of the Board members, are under the classified civil service.
STATUS OF WORK OF BOARD
At the start of the fiscal year the Mediation Board had a backlog of 333 mediation disputes awaiting mediator services and at the close of the year the backlog amounted to 372 cases. The caseload of the Board remains relatively stable. There was during the past fiscal year a slight increase in the number of applications received and cases closed. It is anticipated that this trend will continue. Major pending disputes involving rules in the railroad industry and involving pay issues in the airline industry are expected to increase the requests for the Board's services.
The following table shows the actual caseload figures for 1964, and 1965, and estimated figures for 1966 and 1967 based on experience for the past 4 years. This table is divided to show cases pending at start of year, cases docketed, cases closed, and cases on hand at the end of each fiscal year. The estimated workload for 1967 is based on analysis of cases received for the past 3 years.