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Notice

Extension of Information Collection; Comment Request

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

The Department of Labor, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, conducts a pre-clearance consultation program to provide the general public and federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA). The program helps to ensure that requested data can be provided in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the impact of the collection requirements on respondents can be properly assessed. Currently, the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) of the Department of Labor (Department) is soliciting comments concerning the proposed extension of the collection of information requirements for processing applications under the Federal Transit Law. A copy of the proposed information collection request can be obtained by contacting the office listed below in the addresses section of this Notice.

DATES:

Written comments must be submitted to the office listed in the addresses section below on or before March 31, 2017.

ADDRESSES:

Andrew R. Davis, Chief of the Division of Interpretations and Standards, Office of Labor-Management Standards, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Room N-5609, Washington, DC 20210, olms-public@dol.gov, (202) 693-0123 (this is not a toll-free number), (800) 877-8339 (TTY/TDD).

Please use only one method of transmission (mail or Email) to submit comments or to request a copy of this information collection and its supporting documentation; including a description of the likely respondents, proposed frequency of response, and estimated total burden.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background: Under 49 U.S.C. 5333(b), when Federal funds are used to acquire, improve, or operate a transit system, the Department must ensure that the recipient of those funds establishes arrangements to protect the rights of affected transit employees. Federal law requires such arrangements to be “fair and equitable,” and the Department of Labor (DOL or “the Department”) must certify the arrangements before the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) can award certain funds to grantees. These employee protective arrangements must include provisions that may be necessary for the preservation of rights, privileges, and benefits under existing collective bargaining agreements or otherwise; the continuation of collective bargaining rights; the protection of individual employees against a worsening of their positions related to employment; assurances of employment to employees of acquired transportation systems; assurances of priority of reemployment of employees whose employment is ended or who are laid off; and paid training or retraining programs. 49 U.S.C. 5333(b)(2). Pursuant to 29 CFR part 215, upon receipt of copies of applications for Federal assistance subject to 49 U.S.C. 5333(b) from the FTA, together with a request for the certification of employee protective arrangements from the Department of Labor, DOL will process those applications. The FTA will provide the Department with the information necessary to enable the Department to process employee protections for certification of the project.

II. Review Focus: The Department is particularly interested in comments which:

  • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;
  • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
  • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and
  • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

III. Current Actions: The Department seeks extension of the current approval to collect this information. An extension is necessary because, if the information is not collected, DOL will be unable to determine that arrangements are “fair Start Printed Page 8767and equitable' concerning the rights of affected transit employees. The information collected by OLMS is used to certify projects and allow funds to reach the applying transit agencies, which would prevent a reduction in services for the public and work for employees.

DOL Procedural Guidelines (29 CFR part 215), encourage the development of employee protections through local negotiations, but establish time frames for certification to expedite the process and make it more predictable, while assuring that the required protections are in place.

Pursuant to the Guidelines, DOL refers for review the grant application and the proposed terms and conditions to unions representing transit employees in the service area of the project and to the applicant and/or sub-recipient. No referral is made if the application falls under one of the following exceptions: (1) Employees in the service area are not represented by a union; (2) the grant is for routine replacement items; (3) the grant is for a Job Access project serving populations less than 200,000. (29 CFR 215.3). Grants where employees in the service area are not represented by a union will be certified without referral based on protective terms and conditions set forth by DOL.

When a grant application is referred to the parties, DOL recommends the terms and conditions to serve as the basis for certification. The parties have 15 days to inform DOL of any objections to the recommended terms including reasons for such objections. If no objections are registered and no circumstances exist inconsistent with the statue, or if objections are found not sufficient, DOL certifies the project on the basis of the recommended terms.

If DOL determines that the objections are sufficient, the Department, as appropriate, will direct the parties to negotiate for up to 30 days, limited to issues defined by DOL.

If the parties are unable to reach agreement within 30 days, DOL will review the final proposals and where no circumstances exist inconsistent with the statute, issue an interim certification permitting FTA to release funds, provided that no action is taken relating to the issues in dispute that would irreparably harm employees.

Following the interim certification, the parties may continue negotiations. If they are unable to reach agreement, DOL sets the terms for Final Certification within 60 days. DOL may request briefs on the issues in dispute before issuing the final certification.

Notwithstanding the above, the Department retains the right to withhold certification where circumstances inconsistent with the statue so warrant until such circumstances have been resolved.

Type of Review: Extension.

Agency: Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Title of Collection: Protections for Transit Workers under Section 5333(b) Urban Program.

OMB Control Number: 1245-0006.

Affected Public: State, Local, and Tribal Governments.

Total Estimated Number of Respondents: 1,873.

Total Estimated Number of Responses: 1,873.

Total Estimated Annual Burden Hours: 14,984.

Total Estimated Annual Other Costs Burden: $0.

Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval of the information collection request; they will also become a matter of public record.

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Dated: January 23, 2017.

Andrew R. Davis,

Chief of the Division of Interpretations and Standards, Office of Labor-Management Standards, U.S. Department of Labor.

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[FR Doc. 2017-01960 Filed 1-27-17; 8:45 am]

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