NMB Responsibilities and Activities
NMB's statutory authority as national mediator for the airline and railroad industries is critical to public interest in maintaining an uninterrupted flow of U.S. Commerce. Strikes, lock-outs, and other forms of self help in these industries may occur only after the NMB has determined that further mediation would not be successful and after a cooling-off period of 30 days following NMB release from mediation.
When a significant disruption of essential transportation becomes unavoidable, the NMB so notifies the President of the United States. When the NMB notifies the President that a collective bargaining dispute threatens to deprive a significant portion of the country of essential transportation services, the President may appoint an Emergency Board.
An Emergency Board temporarily delays a potential work stoppage and provides recommendations on potential resolution of the dispute. NMB expertise in mediation and its discretion to determine when it is that mediation has been exhausted, however, ensures that bargaining disputes rarely escalate into disruptions of passenger service and the transportation of commerce.
97% of all mediation cases in the history of the NMB have been successfully resolved without interruptions to Public Service. Since 1980, the success rate has been nearly 99 percent.