National Mediation Board Mandates in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2012-06-27.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

United States Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC 20548

           June 27, 2012

           Congressional Committees

           Subject: National Mediation Board Mandates in the FAA Modernization and Reform
                    Act of 2012

           This letter is to confirm our approach to the work mandated for GAO in the FAA
           Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-95, § 1004, pertaining to the
           National Mediation Board (NMB) and discussions with your staff regarding these
           mandates. The first mandate required GAO to review, within 180 days, the
           processes applied by the NMB to certify and decertify representation of employees
           by labor organizations, including the existing processes, changes to such processes
           over time, and the extent to which those processes are consistent with the
           processes of other agencies with jurisdiction over labor relations. 1 The second
           mandate required GAO to evaluate and audit, within 2 years, the programs,
           operations, activities, and expenditures of the NMB. 2 As described below, we
           discussed with your staff and they concurred with our proposal to terminate our work
           on the 180-day mandate and begin working on the 2-year mandate.

           We met with your staff on May 3, 2012, and contacted them later by e-mail with a
           proposal regarding the information that we could report in response to the first
           mandate. Subsequently, as described below, the Congressional Research Service
           (CRS) issued a comprehensive report on May 11, 2012, entitled Federal Labor
           Relations Statutes: An Overview, that addresses key questions posed by the first
           mandate. 3 The information provided in the CRS report is very similar to the
           information we proposed to report in order to respond to the 180-day mandate on
           NMB’s certification and decertification procedures.

               See Pub. L. No. 112-95, § 1004, 126 Stat. 11, 147 (adding Railway Labor Act § 15(b)).
               See Pub. L. No. 112-95, § 1004, 126 Stat. 11, 147 (adding Railway Labor Act § 15(a)).
            Congressional Research Service, Federal Labor Relations Statutes: An Overview, R42526
           (Washington, D.C.: May 11, 2012).

           Page 1                                                    GAO-12-835R National Mediation Board
Specifically, the CRS report describes those procedures and how they have
changed over time, including the recent amendments to the certification procedures
that NMB made as part of its May 11, 2010, rulemaking. In addition, the CRS report
describes certification and decertification procedures of the other federal agencies
that have key responsibilities for labor relations: the National Labor Relations Board
and the Federal Labor Relations Authority. In describing the statutes authorizing
these three entities, and the corresponding legislative history, CRS also provides
context for the varying approaches adopted by the agencies. In addition, the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently upheld the 2010
changes to NMB’s certification procedures in Air Transp. Ass’n of Am. Inc. v. Nat’l
Mediation Board. 4 In finding that NMB’s certification procedures were a reasonable
implementation of the Railway Labor Act, it analyzed the same legal sources that
GAO would have in undertaking this work: the law itself, the legislative history, and
relevant judicial opinions.

To avoid duplication of efforts, we notified your offices that we proposed to terminate
our work on the 180-day mandate and begin working on the 2-year NMB mandate
(Railway Labor Act § 15(a)). We discussed this with your staff and they concurred
with this proposal. Therefore, we are proceeding with terminating work on the first
mandate and beginning work on the second mandate.

We look forward to working with you and your staff on the 2-year mandate. If you
have any questions, please contact me at (202) 512-3863 or moranr@gao.gov, or
Gretta Goodwin, Assistant Director, at (202) 512-7952 or goodwing@gao.gov.

Revae Moran
Director, Education, Workforce,
   and Income Security Issues

    663 F.3d 476 (2011).

Page 2                                         GAO-12-835R National Mediation Board
List of Congressional Committees

The Honorable John D. Rockefeller , IV
The Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchison
Ranking Member
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
United States Senate

The Honorable Tom Harkin
The Honorable Michael B. Enzi
Ranking Member
Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
United States Senate

The Honorable John L. Mica
The Honorable Nick J. Rahall, II
Ranking Member
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
House of Representatives


Page 3                                       GAO-12-835R National Mediation Board
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