|National Mediation Board
Washington, DC 20572
|NMB Public Information Policy|
I. Statement of General Policy
The National Mediation Board, through the actions of Board Members, Mediators, and other staff, serves as a neutral third party in labor disputes in the airline and rail industries. The NMB recognizes the importance of providing information to the public, the parties and other government departments and is aware of the need to balance public access to the Board with a responsibility to avoid compromising the mission of the agency. "Public policy and the successful effectuation of the NMB's mission require that the Board members and the employees of the NMB maintain a reputation for impartiality and integrity . . . . [and] that confidential information disclosed to Board members and employees of the NMB will not be divulged, voluntarily or by compulsion." 1 To this end, the Board Members and employees will avoid releasing information or engaging in discussions about specific disputes that compromise the NMB's impartiality and integrity or that improperly influence the collective bargaining process. With regard to the media in almost all instances, the press should seek information directly from the parties. It potentially compromises the Board's neutrality and does compromise confidentiality if anyone at the Board comments on or confirms statements made by the parties.
II. To Whom Does the NMB Communicate?
The NMB is mindful of its role as a public institution, and its duty to respond to inquiries. The NMB will provide substantial information in an ongoing and timely manner, via its web site. Information that the Board judges to be consistent with its role as an impartial third party, with a significant responsibility to maintain confidentiality, will be released to all inquiring members of the media, government officials, and the general public.
III. How Does the NMB Communicate?
To the greatest degree possible, the NMB will use its web site, recorded messages, and prepared statements to respond to inquiries. In special circumstances, more detailed information may be available through the NMB's Public Information Officer. The NMB is a small agency with limited resources to respond to inquiries. The first source of inquiry should be the web site (www.NMB.gov). The NMB home page contains the agency's annual report, news releases, explanations of the agency's functions, extensive questions and answers regarding mediation, representation and arbitration, and other useful information.
IV. What Does the NMB Communicate?
Consistent with the need to maintain the NMB's reputation for impartiality, confidentiality and integrity, the following information relating to mediation cases may be released: a) notices that meetings are scheduled, b) notices that tentative agreements have been reached, c) notices that proffers have been made, d) notices that agreements have been ratified or have failed to be ratified, e) other information judged to be consistent with the NMB's general public information policy. The NMB does not comment or answer questions regarding specific cases, nor does it provide legal advice about the meaning or operation of the Railway Labor Act. Access to documents and other information outside these limits may be pursued as indicated in 29 CFR Ch. X, 1208.4 and 1208.5. Periodically, the Board and staff provide general briefings and background information at meetings, conferences and seminars. Board members also will occasionally grant general interviews, unrelated to specific disputes, consistent with the NMB's general public information policy.
1 29 CFR, X, 1208.3
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