The funding levels that was in effect for the 2018 fiscal year for both the National Mediation Board (NMB) and for the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) remain steady for the 2019 fiscal year in the “minibus” budget bill that was signed by President Donald Trump.
The RRB will receive $123.5 million — $113.5 million will go to administrative costs with the $10 million balance funding RRB’s initiative to improve its information technology structure.
“Based on the last cost estimate provided by the RRB, with this funding level, the agency will have received nearly half of the total cost of its IT overhaul,” National Legislative Director John Risch said.
Funding also held steady for the NMB, which provides dispute-resolution processes between rail unions and carriers through mediation, representation and arbitration between labor and management.
The board last fiscal year received a boost in its funding to $13.8 million in part to help it work through a number of pending Section 3 cases. That funding level stays, although not all those Section 3 cases were heard — the board made a move over the summer to close many cases that were unfunded, more than three years old and had not advanced in the process.
Those cases could be reopened if a party involved in the aged-out cases writes a letter to the NMB’s director of arbitration services.
NMB had about 6,400 cases to deal with overall at the end of October.

NMB logo; National Mediation BoardWASHINGTON – Most Railway Labor Act Section 3 arbitration cases will grind to a halt Sept. 30 if Congress does not pass a new appropriation for the National Mediation Board.

The federal government’s fiscal year ends Sept. 30 and Congress has not passed an appropriation to fund NMB-financed arbitrations for the 2012 fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

The NMB  has thus advised arbitrators that they “cannot engage in any Section 3 work for fiscal year 2012 [beginning Oct. 1] until you have received a work order for fiscal year 2012, and that order has been signed and returned to the NMB.

“As a result, arbitrators do not have the authority to schedule any hearings for fiscal Year 2012. All arbitrators and parties are notified that no funds will be authorized for travel for the month of October,” said the NMB.

In the absence of a fiscal year 2012 appropriation, Congress could still pass – prior to Sept. 30 — what is known as a “continuing resolution,” which would extend fiscal year 2011 funding into fiscal year 2012. If that occurs, the NMB said it “will immediately issue work orders to arbitrators.”

The NMB said it “will make every effort to authorize some days that may be utilized for decisions in accordance with the NMB’s policy for the past five fiscal years. However, these authorizations will be made with minimal advance notice. These days may be used for hearing cases if no travel is involved (either because the parties travel to the neutral, or because the case is heard using the NMB’s online technology). The Anti-Deficiency Act precludes arbitrators from hearing cases for free,” said the NMB.

Questions should be directed to Darrell Dancer at the NMB at (202) 692-5055.