Congress Tells NMB to Go Slow on Proposed Rule Changes

Congress Tells NMB to Go Slow on Proposed Rule Changes

12-1-04- As a result of the efforts of TCU together with the rest of rail labor, Congress inserted language in the Appropriations Omnibus Bill expressing concern over the National Mediation Board’s (NMB) proposal to implement fees for arbitration services. These fees if implemented would cost the rail unions thousands of extra dollars when handling railroad arbitration cases.

During the negotiations over the recently passed HR 4818 Omnibus Bill—Appropriations the House and Senate conferees agreed to insert the following in the NMB’s section of the bill; The conferees are concerned regarding the National Mediation Board’s (NMB) proposal to implement new fees for arbitration services in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published in the Federal Register on August 9, 2004. Prior to implementing these new fees, the conferees strongly urge the NMB to hold additional public hearings to examine any potential negative impact of the proposed fees. The conferees request that the National Mediation Board be prepared to discuss this matter during consideration of its fiscal year 2006 budget.

While this is very helpful in TCU’s fight to stop the proposed rule from being adopted, the Legislative Department is actively seeking Congressional support to insure that the NMB does not unilaterally act. TCU is talking to both the House and Senate members urging that they oppose the NMB’s efforts. As previously reported Senators Kennedy, Specter and Harkin have already sent letters to the NMB. TCU is seeking to get additional Senators to do the same.

The NMB has indicated that it will hold public hearings on the matter in January. TCU will certainly be involved in whatever hearings are scheduled.

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