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FEDERAL MEDIATION AND CONCILIATION SERVICE
The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service reported only one data bank.
Description: (1) Purpose; (2) Contents
A. Professional qualifications of labor arbi- (1) Provides needed information for responses to trators. (computerized)
requests for 3d party neutrals from parties
(2) Identification data, industrial background,
II. Nature of Material Submitted
Approx. 1,000 (Aug. 16, 1971).
The agency's answers were reasonably candid and comprehensive. Item II-9 of the agency response indicates that guidelines governing maintenance of the data system were being developed as of the date of the response (August 1971); such guidelines, if developed, have not been forwarded to the Subcommittee. Item II-17 indicates that security devices and procedures to prevent unauthorized access were to be developed subsequent to the date of the response; copies of the devices and procedures have not been received by the Subcommittee.
A. Statutory Authority
The Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (29 U.S.C. 172 (b)) calls for the appointment of "conciliators and mediators" for which record keeping is obviously required. Derivative statutory authority is, therefore, available.
B. Subject Access
Each individual arbitrator is notified that information on his background is being maintained in a data bank. Subjects are allowed to review files, supplement them, and change inaccurate information. There are no limitations on the right of arbitrators to review, supplement, or change information.
C. Access by Other Agencies
Information is not available for use by anyone outside the Mediation and Conciliation Service.
D. Public Access
As noted above, information is not available for use by anyone outside the mediation and conciliation service.
E. Security Precautions
As stated in II above, the response indicated that security procedures and devices were to be developed subsequent to the date of the response. One specific measure will be the use of a special arbitrator code for retrieval, as opposed to making use of social security numbers for search purposes; such a practice would prevent one from obtaining personal information by virtue of knowing the subject's social security number.
F. Sources of Information
The response indicates that at least some of the data included in a subject's file comes from a field check of the individual for his acceptability as an arbitrator. No explanation of the nature of the field check was supplied. The bulk of the information is derived from a questionnaire which is completed by the individual himself. IV. Evaluation
The response of the Mediation and Conciliation Service demonstrates a healthy concern for the rights of affected individuals. The notification and supplementation procedures demonstrate concern most forcefully. The maintenance of some background data would seem to be essential if the agency is to accomplish its mission effectively; data collected appears to be reasonable and to be carefully protected.
The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service responses of July 1 and August 16, 1971 to the subcommittee's June 8, 1971, request for responses to the subcommittee's standard questionnaire (see inside back cover), appear below.
Hon. SAM J. ERVIN, Jr.,
FEDERAL MEDIATION AND CONCILIATION SERVICE,
Chairman, Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights,
Washington, D.C., July 1, 1971.
DEAR SENATOR ERVIN: This will respond to your inquiry dated June 8, in which information is requested with regard to the study of computers, privacy and constitutional rights, which the Constitutional Rights Subcommittee is conducting on a government wide basis.
Since the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service uses computerized data of operating statistics only, there is no information with regard to individuals, Federal employees or private citizens collected by this agency. In accordance with your request, answers are provided in the same sequence as indicated in your June 8 letter.
(1) No data-collection, processing or storage programs pertaining to individuals are conducted by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
(2) The only type of automating, filming or computerizing of such files would be to participate in one as proposed by the Civil Service Commission, to include FMCS employees and be applicable to all small Federal agencies. It is anticipated that the only basic data to be included will be that needed for internal administrative functions.
(3) No part of another agency's data is or will be incorporated except as described in number 2 above.
(2) Not applicable.
(3) Not applicable.
(6-18) Not applicable.
(B) Not applicable.
(C) Not applicable.
I trust this information will be of benefit to the Committee in the performance of its work.
J. CURTIS COunts,
FEDERAL MEDIATION AND CONCILIATION SERVICE,
Hon. SAM J. ERVIN, Jr.,
In specific response to questions you asked in your letter, the following information is provided in the same sequence:
(1) FMCS has maintained a file on the professional qualifications of labor arbitrators who voluntarily request inclusion on the FMCS roster. The principal source of this information has been the questionnaire sent to an applicant. The current roster includes approximately 1,000 arbitrators who are active in the field. Processing of these applications is now limited to an informal field evaluation made of the applicant's acceptability as an arbitrator to the local labor management community and the General Counsel's review of the application and field evaluation. Once accepted for the FMCS Roster, a biographical sketch is prepared to accompany the panel sent in response to a request. There has been no systematized effort to maintain information on an arbitrator once accepted on the roster because of limited resources in the agency. Updating of professional information on the basis of new data supplied voluntarily by the arbitrator will be possible under the new system.
(2) Because of continuously increasing demands on arbitration services of FMCS, a computerized system is being developed. This system will provide the opportunity to utilize the entire roster with more precision and speed.
(3) While the FMCS system itself is an adaptation of the NASA RECON system, no information from other agencies' file systems or data banks will be incorporated into FMCS Arbit system.
(1) The major categories of data on arbitrators maintained by the FMCS are limited to (a) personal information for identification and mailing purposes; (b) educational qualifications; (c) general professional experience; (d) arbitration experience; (e) professional affiliations; (f) geographical availability and (g) arbitration service availability. A copy of our personal data questionnaire is enclosed for your information. This is the principal source of our information. (2) The data bank consists of the automatic maintenance of arbitration files maintained under the authority of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, as amended, which initially authorized the establishment of the arbitrator services of the Agency. A copy of this Act is enclosed. [Omitted]
(3) Not applicable.
20-550 0-74-pt. 5- 29
(4) The arbitration data is not yet included in any computerized file. We expect the file will be completed for access and retrieval of information on or about October 15, 1971.
(5) Plans for computerization include the completion of the present system which will provide the Office of General Counsel access to the entire arbitrator roster for nomination of panels, automatic file maintenance and clerical processes as well as limited monitoring of the arbitration case activity.
(6) The system would be utilized daily to respond to requeste for third party neutrals from the parties to a labor contract who have reached an impasse in their grievance procedures.
(7) The advantages of the new system include speed, utilization of all arbitrators available on the roster and an improved capacity to specifically respond to particular requests for skills. The new system also provides improved file maintenance and information on arbitrator case loads for analysis.
(8) Specific information in response to this question was included in response to question II-1 above.
(9) Since the system is now undergoing development, guidelines governing maintenance of the system as well as access and review, disclosure and distribution of data are now being developed as well. Copies of these guidelines will be forwarded upon completion.
(10-a) The individual arbitrators have been notified that information on their background is being maintained in a data bank. Arbitrators will be allowed to review, supplement their file and change inaccurate information. There will be no limitations on the rights of arbitrators to review, supplement, and/or change this information.
(11) None of this information will be available for the use of anyone outside this Agency.
(12) None applicable.
(13) Information will be solicited from the individual, from existing records, and from a field check for acceptability as an arbitrator.
(14) The General Counsel is determining the information to be maintained in the data bank. Corrections of information or deletion of information can be made at the initiative of the Agency or on the motion of the individual arbitrator.
(15) No other Federal Agency will have access to information or use of information in the data bank.
(16) No Federal Agencies or States will be authorized the use of this data through their own computers.
(17) Security devices and procedures will be developed to prevent unauthorized access or improper use of the data file. A special arbitrator code will be necessary before information on a specific arbitrator might be retrieved. Social security numbers are not used for search purposes.
(18) No arrangements have been made to authorize and review new data banks for the clearance of the new electronic or mechanized record-management techniques.
(19-a) No, (b) No, (c) No.
We will be happy to furnish you with additional information on the system at its present stage of development or upon its completion.
J. CURTIS COUNTS, Director.
The following attachment accompanied the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service response.