29 CFR 1208.2 - Requests for records or information under the Freedom of Information Act.
(a)Requests for records.
(1) All requests for NMB records shall be filed in writing by emailing FOIA@nmb.gov or mailing the request to the Chief FOIA Officer, National Mediation Board, 1301 K Street NW., Suite 250E, Washington, DC 20005. Additional information about submitting requests is available at www.nmb.gov. Requesters must provide contact information, such as their phone number, email address, and/or mailing address, to assist in communications about the request.
(2) The request shall reasonably describe the records being sought in a manner which permits identification and location of the records. To the extent possible, requesters should include specific information that may help the NMB identify the requested records, such as the date, title or name, author, recipient, subject matter, case or file number, or reference number. Before submitting a request, a requester may contact the NMB's FOIA Public Liaison to discuss the records sought or to receive assistance in describing the records.
(3) The request shall include any request for waiver of fees, clearly outlining the reasons for any such request.
(4) Requests may specify the preferred form or format (including electronic formats) for the records sought. The NMB will accommodate such requests if the record is readily reproducible in that form or format.
(5) Upon receipt of a request for the records, the Chief FOIA Officer shall assign the request a FOIA tracking number and record the date and time received, the name and address of the requester, and the nature of the records requested. If the request will take more than 10 working days to process, the Chief FOIA Officer will acknowledge the request in writing, providing the requester with an individualized tracking number and a brief description of records sought.
(6) All time limitations established pursuant to this section with respect to processing initial requests and appeals shall commence at the time a written request for records is received at the Board's offices in Washington, DC, or via email.
(b)Processing the request -
(1)Time limits. Within 20 working days after a request for records is received, the Chief FOIA Officer shall determine whether to comply with the request and immediately notify the requester, unless an extension is taken under paragraph (b)(2) of this section. The NMB may make one request for additional information from the requester or clarify a fee issue with the requester and may toll the 20-day period while awaiting receipt of the additional information.
(2)Extension of time. In unusual circumstances as specified in this paragraph, the Chief FOIA Officer may extend the time for initial determination on requests up to a total of 10 days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays). Extensions shall be made by written notice to the requester within 20 working days of receipt of the request and shall set forth the reason for the extension, provide the date on which a determination is expected to be dispatched, and make available the NMB's Public Liaison to assist with any disputes between the requester and the NMB. Where the extension exceeds 10 working days, the Chief FOIA Officer will notify the requester of the right to seek dispute resolution services from the Office of Government Information Services. As used in this paragraph “unusual circumstances” means, but only to the extent necessary to the proper processing of the request:
(i) The need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records which are demanded in a single request; or
(ii) The need for consultation, according to the procedures set forth in paragraph (b)(4), with another agency having substantial interest in the determination of the request.
(3)Expedited processing. The Chief FOIA Officer shall process a request on an expedited basis whenever a requester demonstrates a compelling need. A request for expedited processing may be made at any time.
(i) For purposes of this section, “compelling need” means that a failure to obtain the requested records on an expedited basis could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual or, with respect to a request made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information, urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity.
(ii) The Chief FOIA Officer shall make a determination of whether to provide expedited processing, and notice of the determination shall be provided to the person making the request, within 10 days after the date of the request.
(4)Consultations and referrals.
(i) When the NMB receives a request for a record (or a portion thereof) in its possession that originated with another federal agency, the Chief FOIA Officer shall refer the request and record to that agency for direct response to the requester. The Chief FOIA Officer will notify the requester of any referral and provide the requester with the name and FOIA contact information of the agency to which the request was referred.
(ii) In instances where a record is requested that originated with the NMB and another federal agency has a significant interest in the record (or a portion thereof), the NMB shall consult with that federal agency before responding to a requester.
(iii) All consultations and referrals received by the NMB will receive a tracking number and be processed according to the date that the first agency received the request.
(5)Requests for business information provided to the NMB. Business information is financial or commercial information obtained by the NMB from a submitter that may be protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the FOIA, 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4).
(i) When the NMB has reason to believe that requested information may fall under Exemption 4, it will promptly provide written notice to the submitter. The notice will either describe the requested business information or include a copy of the requested records. The NMB shall provide the submitter with seven days (excepting Saturdays, Sunday, and legal public holidays) to provide a statement of any objection to disclosure.
(ii) The NMB will consider the submitter's objections in deciding whether to disclose business information. If the NMB decides to disclose business information over such objection, it shall provide written notice to the submitter of its reasons for not sustaining the objections, a description of information to be disclosed, and the disclosure date.
(iii) Whenever the NMB provides a submitter with notice and the opportunity to object under paragraph (b)(5)(ii) of this section, it shall also inform the requestor that the request is being processed according to these provisions and there may be a subsequent delay in processing.
(iv) A submitter of confidential business information must use good faith efforts to designate any portion of its submission that it considers to be protected from disclosure under Exemption 4. These designations expire 10 years after the date of the submission unless the submitter requests and provides justification for a longer designation period.
(6)Response to requests. Within 20 days (excepting Saturdays, Sunday, and legal public holidays) after the receipt of a request, the requester shall be notified of the determination and the right to seek assistance from the NMB's FOIA Public Liaison. If the request for records is not granted in full, the final response letter shall also include:
(i) A reference to the specific exemption or exemptions under the FOIA authorizing the withholding of the record or parts of the record and a brief explanation of how the exemption applies to the record withheld.
(ii) A statement that the denial may be appealed within 90 days by writing to the Chairman, by emailing FOIA@nmb.gov, or by writing to National Mediation Board, 1301 K Street NW., Suite 250E, Washington, DC 20005, and that judicial review will thereafter be available in the district in which the requester resides, or has his principal place of business, or the district in which Agency records are situated, or the District of Columbia.
(iii) A notification of the right to seek dispute resolution services from the Office of Government Information Services.
(7)Treatment of delay as a denial. If no determination has been dispatched at the end of the 20-day period, or the last extension thereof, the requester may deem the request denied, and exercise a right of appeal, in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section. When no determination can be dispatched within the applicable time limit, the Chief FOIA Officer shall continue to process the request and shall inform the requester of the reason for the delay, the date on which a determination may be expected to be dispatched, and of the right to treat the delay as a denial and to appeal to the Chairman of the Board in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section.
(c)Appeals to the Chairman of the Board.
(1) When a request for records has been denied in whole or in part by the Chief FOIA Officer or other person authorized to deny requests, the requester may, within 90 days of its receipt, appeal the denial to the Chairman of the Board. Appeals to the Chairman shall be in writing, addressed to the Chairman, National Mediation Board, Washington, DC 20005 or emailed to FOIA@nmb.gov.
(2) The Chairman of the Board will act upon the appeal within 20 working days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal public holidays) of its receipt unless an extension is made under paragraph (c)(3) of this section.
(3) In unusual circumstances as defined in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, the time for action on an appeal may be extended up to 10 days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal public holidays). Written notice of such extension shall be made prior to the expiration of the 20-day response period, setting forth the reason for the extension and the date on which a determination is expected to be dispatched.
(4) If no determination on the appeal has been dispatched at the end of the 20-day period or the last extension thereof, the requester is deemed to have exhausted administrative remedies, giving rise to a right of review in a district court of the United States, as specified in 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4). When no determination can be dispatched within the applicable time limit, the appeal will nevertheless continue to be processed; on expiration of the time limit the requester shall be informed of the reason for the delay, of the date on which a determination may be expected to be dispatched, and of a right to seek judicial review in the United States district court in the district in which they reside or have their principal place of business, the district in which the Board records are situated or the District of Columbia. The requester may be asked to forego judicial review until determination of the appeal.