« PreviousContinue »
SUBCOMMITTEE CHAIRMAN'S OPENING STATEMENT Mr. FOGARTY. The committee will come to order.
First I want to say I am sorry I am late but the Speaker called a meeting this morning at 9 o'clock on an oil problem and we have been there ever since.
We are starting hearings today on the 1967 budget for the Department of Labor, Health, Education, and Welfare, and several independent agencies, and we have a long way to go and a lot more material to cover because of a great deal of new legislation. We will work long hours, as usual, and hope to finish these hearings before the Easter recess, mark
up the bill soon after the recess and report it before the end of April.
We shall now take up the National Mediation Board.
Mr. EDWARDS. Mr. Chairman, Board Member Francis A. O'Neill asked me to apologize for his inability to be here this morning. He is tied up on Board business in New York.
May I present Mr. Tracy, our Executive Secretary, and Mr. Gamser, Board member.
We have a short statement. May I read it?
The act, when first established in 1926 applied only to the railroad industry, later in 1936, it was amended so as to bring the airline industry within the scope of the law.
The purpose of the act is to prevent any interruption of commerce or the operation of any railroad or airline carrier engaged in commerce by providing procedures for the prompt and orderly settlement of disputes covering rates of pay, rules or working conditions, or the interpretation of agreements governing rates of pay, rules, or working conditions.
The administration of the act is carried out through three activities.
First, “Mediation,” which is concerned with the making and amending of agreements in the industries served. The National Mediation Board is responsible for this activity.
Second, "Voluntary arbitration and emergency disputes.” This activity is concerned with settlement of disputes in which the parties have voluntarily agreed to submit their dispute to a neutral party for final and binding decision, and the investigation of disputes which threaten substantially to interrupt interstate commerce to a degree such as to deprive any section of the country of essential transportation.
Third, “Adjustment of railroad grievances." This activity is concerned with the interpretation or application of wage and rule agreements. The National Railroad Adjustment Board is concerned with this part of the Railway Labor Act, and representatives of that Board are here to answer any question relating to that phase of our appropriation request.
To finance these activities for the fiscal year 1967, the Board is requesting $2,085,000 as compared to a proposed expenditure of $2,077,000 for the current fiscal year, and an actual expenditure of $1,916,000 for the past fiscal year.
The $8,000_increase requested is due to statutory pay increase requirements. By activity the increase is as follows:
For “Mediation” a total of $767,000 is requested, an increase of $3,000.
For “Voluntary arbitration and emergency disputes,” $460,000 is requested, the same as authorized for the present fiscal year.
For the “Adjustment of railroad grievances,” $857,700 is requested, which represents an increase of $4,200 for required pay increases.
In summary, the National Mediation Board is requesting a total of $2,085,000 to finance its activities for fiscal year 1967, an increase of $8,000 over the amount authorized for the present fiscal year.
Mr. FOGARTY. Thank you.
NATIONAL RAILROAD ADJUSTMENT BOARD
Mr. Hagerman, do you want to make a statement?
Mr. HAGERMAN. Yes. I must apologize for our Chairman. He is snowed in in West Virginia somewhere.
Mr. FOGARTY. Go ahead.
Mr. HAGERMAN. While many of the members of the committee are familiar with this agency, we believe a brief statement of the establishment and operation of the Board will bear repeating. The National Railroad Adjustment Board was created by act of Congress, approved June 21, 1934, for the adjudication of disputes between an employee or group of employees and a carrier or carriers, growing out of grievances or out of the interpretation or application of agreements concerning rates of pay, rules, or working conditions. The disputes are first handled locally on the property, and if not adjusted there, are processed through successive steps up to and including the chief operating officer of the carrier designated to handle such disputes. If not adjusted in this manner, they are then referred to the appropriate division of the adjustment board for settlement.
The board is composed of 36 members, 18 selected and paid by the carriers and 18 selected and paid by organizations of railway employees which are national in scope. The act provides for four divisions of the adjustment board, each of which has jurisdiction over disputes involving certain groups of employees. For example, the first division has jurisdiction over disputes involving train and yard service employees; the second division, shop crafts; the third division, clerical forces, maintenance-of-way men, dispatchers, etc.; and the fourth division, water transportation and miscellaneous.
There are 10 members, 5 labor and 5 carrier, on each the first, second, and third divisions, and 6 members, 3 of each labor and carrier, on the fourth division. Since the labor and carrier members are equally divided, they frequently deadlock on cases, in which event they attempt and many times do agree upon a neutral, or referee, to sit with the divi. sion as a member and make an award. If the division fails to agree upon and select a referee, that fact is certified to the Mediation Board, which Board then selects the referee.
The establishment of a number of special boards on individual properties has somewhat reduced the backlog of cases. In the meantime, new cases continue to be received almost as fast or perhaps faster than disposition is made of old ones. There has been a decided increase in the number of cases submitted by the nonoperating employees. Causes for the increases are the amendment to the Railway Labor Act permitting the union shop and resulting subsequent agreements; changes in agreements including the adoption of the 40-hour workweek; the national agreement covering vacations, pay for holidays, and time limit for submitting cases.
In order to reduce the large backlog of third division cases, following an agreement of the parties, there has been established a supplemental board of 10 members, which is making some progress in reducing the number of pending cases. Likewise, in order to reduce the backlog of firemen's cases on the first division, following an agreement of the parties, there has been established a supplemental board of two members, which is expected will reduce the number of pending firemen's cases on that division. Salaries of these members are also paid by the parties they represent.
It might be pertinent to point out that there are some 20 standard railroad labor organizations and hundreds of railroads; and it is estimated there are about 5,000 agreements in effect between these carriers and labor organizations covering rates of pay, hours of service, working conditions, etc. It is these agreements with which we deal.
During the last fiscal year, the four divisions of the Board received and docketed 1,571 cases and closed 1,886, but a backlog of 6,244 remained as of June 30, 1965. Many of these cases may involve hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The estimate for the fiscal year 1967 is $857,700, which is only $4,400 more than for the current year, due to the statutory pay and step increases. We should like to stress the fact that the salaries of the members of the Board, the First and Third Division Supplemental Boards are paid by the labor organizations and the carriers. It is estimated that this amounts to more than $800,000 per year. In addition, both labor organizations and the carriers furnish research and technical assistance to some of their members. Thus, these two parties bear more than half the cost of operation of the Board.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my statement, but we shall be glad to answer any questions the committee may want to ask.
Mr. FOGARTY. Thank you.
MANDATORY COST INCREASES
The request is for $2,085,000, an increase of $35,000 over the appropriation of $2,050,000 for 1966. The increase is for mandatory cost increases. There is no additional personnel requested ?
Mr. EDWARDS. No.
BACKLOG OF CASES BEFORE ADJUSTMENT BOARD
Mr. FOGARTY. There is still an extremely large backlog of unsettled railroad grievances before the Adjustment Board and the number closed or estimated to be closed in 1965, 1966, and 1967 is less than 1964. You have been telling us for 3 or 4 years that you were going to correct this, but you still have a 3-year backlog. What is the problem?
Mr. HOWARD. Mr. Chairman, if I may make one comment here, as you will notice the backlog at the end of fiscal year 1963 was 6,810. At the end of 1964 it was 6,560 cases. And at the end of 1965 it was 6,244 cases. So that there is some progress being made even though it is not nearly so rapid as we would hope.
Mr. FOGARTY. But you still have about a 3-year backlog ?
Mr. HAGERMAN. We are working on that. Everybody is working toward that goal.
CHANGES IN WORKLOAD Mr. FOGARTY. Are there any indications that there will be much change in the workload of either the Mediation Board or the Adjustment Board next year?
Mr. EDWARDS. There is an indication the workload of the Mediation Board may be substantially increased. Mr. FOGARTY. Why?
Mr. EDWARDS. One reason is the current cases you have been reading about in the newspapers, the question of the expiration of 2 years under the arbitration proceeding on the fireman-off case and the trainmen crew cases, particularly in the latter, where the trainmen are insisting it be handled on a railroad-by-railroad basis rather than national.
Mr. FOGARTY. You do not have any jurisdiction over that, do you?
Mr. EDWARDS. Yes. As a matter of fact, this afternoon, four railroads are coming in, four different groups. We are starting this afternoon at 2 o'clock on four cases. We have already handled some of these partly and are bringing them into Washington for further handling
Mr. GAMSER. Our figures indicate the total caseload for 1964–65 was 327 cases and for 1965–66 there was an increase to 401. Part of that is due, as Mr. Edwards indicated, to new notices as to the crew complement. And we have had an excessively large number of representation actions in the railroads that has led to an increase in our representation case handling. We anticipate that will continue during the next fiscal year as well. Mr. EDWARDS. We expect a very busy year, very busy. Mr. FOGARTY. Mr. Michel.
NEW YORK TRANSIT STRIKE
Mr. MICHEL. Did you people get involved at all in the New York Transit business?
Mr. EDWARDS. No.
WORKLOAD INCREASE DUE TO UNION SHOP
Mr. MICHEL. This one statement about the increase being due to union shop, is that distinguished from open or closed shop!
Mr. EDWARDS. That was with reference to the caseload of the National Railroad Adjustment Board and I think the reference was to the fact the nonoperating unions are filing more claims because there are several recent national settlements, of which that is not the most recent, which require more service and interpretation and which caused more questions to be raised on interpretation.
Is that not correct? That would more properly be your question. Mr. HAGERMAN. Yes.
Mr. MICHEL. When the Congress deals with this matter, which we will have to do probably sometime this spring, will what we do one way or another affect your caseload?
Mr. EDWARDS. It could affect it quite a bit.
It could be either way, depending on what they do. Mr. GAMSER. We are going to try very hard not to bring that dispute back to the Congress. At the moment we are holding meetings on four of those cases in the hope of resolving them.
Further efforts will be made to get the parties to engage in genuine collective bargaining and resolve that controversy without bringing it back to the Congress. The aim of our agency is to keep that dispute off the Hill, and I think not only will Congress appreciate it, the President will appreciate it as well.
Mr. EDWARDS. We are trying to keep it in the Railway Labor Act forum rather than before Congress.
TEST CASE TECHNIQUE FOR REDUCING BACKLOG Mr. FLOOD. In a situation where a whole series of cases arises and this has to do with your backlog—it would be my opinion that many of those cases came to you as the result of a court decision, or a lack of