New Effort to Speed Grievance Handling

New effort to speed grievance handling

An independent, blue-ribbon committee created by the National Mediation Board to examine the agency’s internal functions, policies and procedures has issued recommendations to keep the number of backlogged rail and airline grievances at their lowest level in modern history.

As reported in the April issue of the UTU News, the backlog of grievances has been reduced by 86 percent. But the blue-ribbon committee, to which UTU General Counsel Clint Miller was a consultant, urges further improvement in speeding grievances to a timelier conclusion.

The recommendations include:

* Case loads must be periodically monitored so that if backlogs develop involving specific carriers or unions, efforts can be made to determine causes and solutions.

* A small working group with representatives from management, labor and the NMB should be established to systematically review grievance policies and procedures that apply from the time a case is filed with the National Railroad Adjustment Board, a public law board or special boards of adjustment. The goal should be to streamline the process and eliminate unnecessary burdens for all parties involved.

* Labor, management and the NMB should jointly disseminate ideas for more effectively management of the number of new cases entering the system.

* The budget for arbitrator salaries and travel must be maintained at the current fiscal year's elevated level.

* To retain qualified arbitrators, the grievance handling budget should take into account the amount needed to resolve existing and anticipated cases.

* Appropriate revisions to travel, hearing and award writing authorization policies and procedures should be periodically revised.

Blue-ribbon committee members included Robert DeLucia, Airline Industrial Relations Conference; Ken Gradia, National Carriers’ Conference Committee; Joel Parker, Transportation Communications International Union; and Seth Rosen, International Pilots Service Corporation.

The committee facilitator was Joshua Javits, a former chairman of the NMB. The committee adviser was Dennis Boston of the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen. As mentioned, UTU General Counsel Clint Miller was a special consultant.