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Office of the Solicitor

U.S. Department of Labor Freedom of Information Act Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2007

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT ANNUAL REPORT
FOR FISCAL YEAR 2007

October 1, 2006 through September 30, 2007

The Department received a total of 27,944 initial requests for records during fiscal year 2007.

  1. Basic Information Regarding Report

  1. For questions concerning this report, please contact Joseph J. Plick, Counsel for FOIA/FACA/Privacy Act, Office of the Solicitor, Room N-2428, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210, telephone number (202) 693-5527.

  2. The electronic address for this report is on the World Wide Web at http://www.dol.gov/dol/foia/main.htm.

  3. You may obtain a paper copy of this report by writing to Mr. Plick at the above address.

  1. How to Make a FOIA Request.

The Department of Labor is organized into divisions and agencies often referred to as "components." Within the Labor Department, each component processes its own FOIA requests. Therefore, a request will receive the fastest possible response if it is addressed directly to the disclosure officer for the component that a requester believes has the records.

Requesters who cannot determine the proper disclosure officer to which the request should be addressed may direct the request to the Counsel for FOIA, Office of the Solicitor, Division of Management and Administrative Legal Services, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Room N-2428, Washington, D.C. 20210 or by e-mail to foiarequest@dol.gov. (Prior to amendments to the Department's FOIA regulation effective June 30, 2006 requesters were directed to the Office of Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Room S-5526, Washington, D.C. 20210.)

  1. The following list contains the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the individual agency components and offices in the national and regional offices of the Department of Labor. The heads of each component shall make available for inspection and copying, in accordance with the provisions of the FOIA, records in their custody or in the custody of component units within their organizations, either directly or through their authorized representative in particular offices and locations. Unless otherwise specified, the mailing address for the following national office components is as follows:

U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20210

  1. Office of the Secretary of Labor, (202) 693-7277.

  2. Office of the Solicitor of Labor, (202) 693-5527.

  3. Office of the Administrative Law Judges, 800 K Street, N.W., Suite N-400, Washington, D.C. 20001-8002, (202) 693-7440.

  4. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management, (202) 693-7277.

  5. Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs, (202) 693-4630.

  6. Office of the Inspector General, (202) 693-5113.

  7. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, (202) 693-5925.

  8. Office of Public Affairs, (202) 693-4654.

  9. Bureau of International Labor Affairs, (202) 693-4770.

  10. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Postal Square Building, Room 4040, 2 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20212-0001, (202) 691-7628.

  11. Employment Standards Administration, (202) 693-0256.

  12. Employment and Training Administration, (202) 693-3140.

  13. Mine Safety and Health Administration, 1100 Wilson Boulevard, 21st Floor, Arlington, Virginia 22209, (202) 693-9424.

  14. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, (202) 693-1897.

  15. Office of Disability Employment Policy, (202) 693-4930.

  16. Employee Benefits Security Administration, formerly known as the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, (202) 693-8655.

  17. Office of the Chief Financial Officer, (202) 693-6806.

  18. Veterans' Employment and Training, (202) 693-4745.

  19. Employees' Compensation Appeals Board, (202) 693-5028.

  20. Office of Adjudicatory Services, (202) 693-5028.

  21. Benefits Review Board, (202) 693-5028.

  22. Office of Small Business Programs, (202) 693-6475.

  23. Women's Bureau, (202) 693-6735.

  24. Job Corp, (1-800-733-JOBS)

The addresses and telephone numbers for the various the various regional offices are presented below. The telephone number which is listed is for the Department's Office of Administration and Management (OASAM) for that region. That office can provide the requester with a more specific telephone number for the respective component. Unless otherwise specified, the mailing address for these regional offices shall be:

Region I:

U.S. Department of Labor
John F. Kennedy Federal Building
One Congress Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02203
(617) 565-1991

(For Employment Standards Administration (ESA), Wage and Hour Division only: Contact Region III)

Region II:

U.S. Department of Labor
201 Varick Street
New York, New York 10014
(212) 337-2215

(For Wage and Hour Division only: Contact Region III)

Region III:

U.S. Department of Labor
The Curtis Center, Suite 600 East
170 S. Independence Mall West
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106-3305
(215) 861-5030

Region IV:

U.S. Department of Labor
Atlanta Federal Center
61 Forsyth Street, S.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
(404) 562-2018

(For ESA, Office of Workers' Compensation (OWCP) Only)

U.S. Department of Labor
214 N. Hogan Street, Suite 1006
Jacksonville, Florida 32202
(904) 357-4725

Region V:

U.S. Department of Labor
Kluczynski Federal Building
230 South Dearborn Street
Chicago, Illinois 60604
(312) 353-8373

(For OWCP, Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) only)

U.S. Department of Labor
1240 East Ninth Street, Room 851
Cleveland, Ohio 44199
(216) 357-5372

Region VI:

U.S. Department of Labor
525 Griffin Square Building
Griffin & Young Streets
Dallas, Texas 75202
(214) 767-6800

Region VII:

U.S. Department of Labor
City Center Square Building
1100 Main Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64105-2112
(816) 426-3891

(For Wage and Hour Division only: Contact Region V)

(For ESA, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) only)

U.S. Department of Labor
1100 Main Street, Suite 860
Kansas City, Missouri 64105
(816) 502-0370

Region VIII:

U.S. Department of Labor
1999 Broadway
Denver, Colorado 80202
(303) 844-1700

(For Wage and Hour Division and OFCCP: Contact Region VI)

(For OWCP only)

U.S. Department of Labor
1999 Broadway, Suite 600
Denver, Colorado 80201
(720) 264-3038

The mailing address for the Employment and Training Administration (ETA), Director of the Regional Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training in Region VIII is:

Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training
U.S. Custom House
721 - 19th Street, Room 465
Denver, Colorado 80202
(303) 844-4791

Region IX:

U.S. Department of Labor
71 Stevenson Street
San Francisco, California 94105
(415) 975-4057

U.S. Department of Labor
1111 Third Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98101-3212
(415) 975-4057

(For Wage and Hour Division: Contact San Francisco)

  1. Agency response-time.

The agency's response-time ranges generally from five to fifty days. Complex requests usually take more time.

  1. Why some requests are not granted.

A FOIA request can be made for any agency record. This does not mean, however, that the Labor Department will disclose every record sought. There are statutory exemptions that authorize the withholding of certain information. In addition, the agency cannot comply with a FOIA request if there are no responsive records.

Another reason for not granting a FOIA request is that the FOIA does not require agencies to do research for the requester, to analyze data, to answer questions, or to create records in order to respond to a FOIA request.

  1. Definitions of Terms and Acronyms Used in the Report (To be included in each report)

  1. Agency-specific acronyms or other terms.

ADJ BDS

Adjudicatory Boards (ARB, BRB, ECAB)

ALJ

Administrative Law Judges

ASP

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy

OPA

Office of Public Affairs

CFO

Office of the Chief Financial Officer

EBSA

Employee Benefits Security Administration

ESA

Employment Standards Administration

ETA

Employment and Training Administration

ILAB

Bureau of International Labor Affairs

BLS

Bureau of Labor Statistics

MSHA

Mine Safety and Health Administration

OSHA

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

OASAM

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management

OCIA

Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs

ODEP

Office of Disability Employment Policy

OIG

Office of the Inspector General

OSBP

Office of Small Business Programs

SOL

Office of the Solicitor

VETS

Veterans' Employment and Training Service

WB

Women's Bureau

JOB CORP

Job Corps

  1. Basic terms, expressed in common terminology.

  1. FOIA/PA request - Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act request. A FOIA request is generally a request for access to records concerning a third party, an organization, or a particular topic of interest. A Privacy Act request is a request for records concerning oneself; such requests are also treated as FOIA requests. (All requests for access to records, regardless of which law is cited by the requester, are included in this report.)

  2. Initial Request - a request to a federal agency for access to records under the Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act.

  3. Appeal - a request to a federal agency asking that it review at a higher administrative level a full denial or partial denial of access to records under the Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act, or any other FOIA determination, such as a matter pertaining to fees.

  4. Processed Request or Appeal - a request or appeal for which an agency has taken a final action on the initial request or the appeal in all respects.

  5. Multi-track processing - a system in which simple requests requiring relatively minimal search and review are placed in one processing track and more voluminous and complex requests are placed in one or more other tracks. Requests in each track are processed on a first-in/first-out basis. A requester who has an urgent need for records may request expedited processing (see below).

  6. Expedited processing - an agency will process a FOIA request on an expedited basis when a requester has shown an exceptional need or urgency for the records which warrants giving priority to his or her request over other requests that were made earlier.

  7. Simple request - a FOIA request that an agency using multi-tracking processing places in its fastest (non-expedited) track based on the volume and/or simplicity of the search and review of the records requested.

  8. Complex request - a FOIA request that an agency using multi-track processing places in a slower track based on the volume and/or complexity of the search and review of the records requested.

  9. Grant - an agency decision to disclose all records in-full in response to a FOIA request.

  10. Partial grant - an agency decision to disclose a record in-part in response to a FOIA request, deleting information determined to be exempt under one or more of the FOIA's exemptions; or a decision to disclose some records in their entireties, but to withhold others in whole or in-part.

  11. Denial - an agency decision not to release any part of a record or records in response to a FOIA request because all the information in the requested record is determined by the agency to be exempt under one or more of the FOIA's exemptions, or for some procedural reason (such as because no record is located in response to a FOIA request).

  12. Time limits - the time period in the Freedom of Information Act for an agency to respond to a FOIA request (ordinarily 20 working days from proper receipt of a perfected FOIA request).

  13. A perfected request - a FOIA request for records which adequately describes the records sought, which has been received by the FOIA office of the agency or agency component in possession of the records, and for which there is no remaining question about the payment of applicable fees.

  14. Exemption 3 statute - a separate federal statute prohibiting the disclosure of a certain type of information and authorizing its withholding under 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(3).

  15. Median number - the middle, not average, number. For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the median number is 7.

  16. Average number - the number obtained by dividing the sum of a group of numbers by the quantity of numbers in the group. For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the average is 8.

  1. Exemption 3 Statutes

  1. List of Exemption 3 statutes relied on by this agency during fiscal year 2007.

  1. The Bureau of Labor Statistics - BLS utilized Exemption 3 through the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (CIPSEA), Title V of Public Law 107-347. Federal agencies are specifically prohibited from releasing in identifiable form information acquired under a pledge of confidentiality for exclusively statistical purposes.

  1. Initial FOIA/PA Access Requests

  1. Number of Initial Requests.

 

Number of Requests Pending as of End of Preceding Year

Number of Requests Received in Current Year [1]

Number of Requests Processed in Current Year

Number of Requests Pending as of End of Current Year

OSHA

377

11,690

11,478

589

ESA

184

11,687

11,611

260

MSHA

89

1,274

1,252

111

EBSA

61

2,030

2,084

7

ETA

114

552

475

191

OASAM

42

206

191

57

ALJ

9

167

164

12

VETS

2

85

84

3

OIG

8

42

40

10

BLS

3

43

45

1

Adj Bds

5

29

27

7

WB

4

15

15

4

ODEP

0

8

8

0

ASP

0

13

9

4

OCIA

0

10

6

4

ILAB

2

27

24

5

CFO

0

20

20

0

OPA

0

10

9

1

OSBP

0

15

15

0

SOL

6

12

18

0

JOB CORP

0

9

6

3

Totals

906

27,944

27,581

1,269

  1. Disposition of Initial Requests.

 

Number of Total Grants

Number of Partial Grants

Number of Denials

No Records

Referrals To Other DOL Components Or Other Government Agencies

Request Withdrawn

Fee Related Reason

Records Not Reasonably Described

Not a Proper FOIA Request (For some other Reason)

Not an Agency Record

Duplicate Request

Other
(Specify **See Next Chart

OSHA

1,109

5,335

1,091

2,300

1,132

138

60

121

27

31

134

0

ESA

8,809

501

1,415

487

67

22

12

10

13

84

126

65

MSHA

542

462

54

98

5

53

8

4

3

4

19

0

EBSA

1,636

100

82

58

16

34

2

37

5

8

46

60

ETA

255

58

9

43

14

6

3

4

8

18

39

18

OASAM

63

66

3

16

24

13

0

0

1

4

1

0

ALJ

124

19

0

11

3

1

0

1

0

1

2

2

VETS

29

45

2

0

1

2

2

0

0

0

1

2

OIG

10

8

6

3

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

11

BLS

10

4

6

9

13

1

0

0

1

0

0

1

Adj Bds

11

2

0

9

0

2

0

0

2

1

0

0

WB

2

0

1

12

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

ODEP

1

0

2

5

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

ASP

1

2

0

4

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

OCIA

4

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

ILAB

3

2

0

5

0

1

0

0

0

1

1

11

CFO

4

0

0

11

0

0

0

0

0

5

0

0

OPA

0

0

0

9

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

OSBP

3

0

0

12

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

SOL

0

2

2

9

2

0

0

0

2

1

0

0

JOB CORP

1

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

4

0

0

0

TOTALS

12,617

6,608

2,673

3,101

1,281

273

87

177

66

158

370

170

** Explanation of Disposition of FOIA/PA Initial Requests: Other Reasons for Nondisclosure (Column Marked "Other")

 

Number of Times

Reasons

OSHA

0

 

ESA

65

21-records not responsive to request 44-no identity/consent certification.

MSHA

0

 

EBSA

60

Records not responsive to request.

ETA

18

No certification of identity/consent; Unable to locate requestor.

OASAM

0

 

ALJ

2

No response from requestor to OALJ request for clarification.

VETS

2

Information requested from open investigation file; records not responsive.

OIG

11

PA exempt system/FOIA exemptions apply to protect 3rd parties, Grand Jury info.

BLS

1

Failure to comply with requirements.

Adj Bds

0

 

WB

0

 

ODEP

0

 

ASP

0

 

OCIA

0

 

ILAB

11

Records Not Responsive To Request.

CFO

0

 

OPA

0

 

OSBP

0

 

SOL

 

 

JOB CORP

0

 

TOTALS

170

 

  1. Exemptions Claimed Under the Freedom of Information Act. (Each Exemption is Counted Only Once Per Request.)

 

(1)

(2)

(3)

(4)

(5)

(6)

(7)(A)

(7)(B)

(7)(C)

(7)(D)

(7)(E)

(7)(F)

(8)

(9)

Total

OSHA

0

764

0

3,700

3,981

1,540

1,512

49

4,585

2,527

450

0

0

0

19,108

ESA

0

147

0

199

51

100

13

2

63

16

29

0

0

0

620

MSHA

0

7

9

15

155

316

61

0

45

76

1

0

0

0

685

EBSA

0

14

0

13

23

44

18

0

30

7

24

2

0

0

175

ETA

0

10

0

41

5

17

0

0

4

0

0

0

0

0

77

OASAM

0

4

2

42

6

20

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

74

ALJ

0

0

0

8

0

17

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

25

VETS

0

0

0

8

55

43

0

0

30

29

0

0

0

0

165

OIG

0

2

3

1

2

4

4

0

6

1

0

0

0

0

23

BLS

0

1

7

7

0

8

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

23

Adj Bds

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

WB

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

ODEP

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

ASP

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

OCIA

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

ILAB

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

CFO

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

OPA

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

OSBP

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

SOL

0

0

0

0

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

4

JOB CORP

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

TOTALS

0

949

21

4,034

4,285

2,115

1,608

51

4,763

2,656

504

2

0

0

20,980

  1. Appeals of Initial Denials of FOIA/PA Requests

  1. Numbers of appeals.

  1. Number of appeals received during fiscal year 2007: 319

  2. Number of appeals processed during fiscal year 2007: 389

  1. Disposition of appeals.

  1. Number completely upheld: 63

  2. Number partially reversed: 76

  3. Number completely reversed: 14

  1. Number of times each FOIA exemption was used (counting each exemption once per appeal, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(b))

(1) Exemption 1: 0
(2) Exemption 2: 6
(3) Exemption 3: 0
(4) Exemption 4: 23
(5) Exemption 5: 41
(6) Exemption 6: 12
(7) Exemption 7(A): 23
(8) Exemption 7(B): 0
(9) Exemption 7(C): 90
(10) Exemption 7(D): 50
(11) Exemption 7(E): 3
(12) Exemption 7(F): 1
(13) Exemption 8: 0
(14) Exemption 9: 0

  1. Other reasons for nondisclosure (total): 236

  1. no records: 17

  2. referrals: 1

  3. appeal withdrawn: 56

  4. fee-related reason: 6

  5. records not reasonably described: 3

  6. not a proper FOIA appeal for some other reason: 32

  7. not an agency record: 2

  8. duplicate request: 6

  9. other (specify): 113

  1. Remanded: 40

  2. Failure of initial component to process initial action: 40

  3. Judicial adjudication/litigation: 1

  4. Expedited treatment granted: 0

  5. Expedited treatment denied: 1

  6. Previously adjudicated: 0

  7. Abandoned: 9

  8. Insufficient information to process: 1

  9. Consolidated with another appeal:1

  10. Untimely: 4

  11. Dismissed due to outstanding fees: 2

  12. Administrative Closings: 14

  1. Compliance With Time Limits/Status of Pending Requests

  1. Median Processing Time For Requests Processed During The Year.

Components that have multi-track processing use three tracks: expedited, simple, and complex. Components that do not have multi-track processing use two tracks: expedited and complex.

 

Simple Requests

Complex Requests

Requests For Expedited Processing

Number of Requests Processed

Median Number of Days to Process

Number of Requests Processed

Median Number of Days to Process

Number of Requests Processed

Median Number of Days to Process

OSHA

7,745

6

3,666

23

67

8

ESA

10,241

9.9

1,339

10.9

31

10.9

MSHA

0

0

1,252

18

0

0

EBSA

1,952

8

132

11

0

0

ETA

14

5

461

10

0

0

OASAM

0

0

188

21

3

20

ALJ

0

0

162

4

2

5

VETS

81

63

2

44

1

17

OIG

40

39

0

0

0

0

BLS

45

15

0

0

3

11

Adj Bds

27

6

0

0

0

0

WB

5

13

10

15

1

10

ODEP

8

3

0

0

0

0

ASP

6

30

2

65

0

0

OCIA

6

10

0

0

0

0

ILAB

0

0

24

4

0

0

CFO

0

0

20

14

0

0

OPA

9

8

0

0

0

0

OSBP

10

9

5

2

0

0

SOL

0

0

18

24

0

0

JOB CORP

0

0

6

19

0

0

TOTALS

20,187

n/a

7,286

n/a

108

n/a

  1. Status of Pending Requests

Components that have multi-track processing use three tracks: expedited, simple, and complex. Components that do not have multi-track processing use two tracks: expedited and complex.

 

Simple Requests

Complex Requests

Requests For Expedited Processing

Number of Requests Pending (As of End of Fiscal Year 2007)

Median Number of Days Pending

Number of Requests Pending (As of End of Fiscal Year 2007)

Median Number of Days Pending

Number of Requests Pending (As of End of Fiscal Year 2007)

Median Number of Days Pending

OSHA

74

10

514

31

1

2

ESA

180

11.8

80

15.3

0

0

MSHA

0

0

111

58

0

0

EBSA

0

7

7

8

0

0

ETA

2

0

189

75

0

0

OASAM

0

0

57

48

0

0

ALJ

0

0

12

34

0

0

VETS

1

10

2

200

0

0

OIG

10

44

0

0

0

0

BLS

1

39

0

0

0

0

Adj Bds

7

30

0

0

0

0

WB

4

 

0

 

0

 

ODEP

0

0

0

0

0

0

ASP

0

0

4

60

0

0

OCIA

4

30

0

0

0

0

ILAB

0

0

5

77

0

0

CFO

0

0

0

0

0

0

OPA

1

100

0

0

0

0

OSBP

0

13

0

0

0

0

SOL

0

0

0

0

0

0

JOB CORP

3

0

0

0

0

0

TOTALS

287

n/a

981

n/a

1

n/a

  1. Comparisons with Previous Year (s)

  1. Comparison of number of requests received: 2007 (27,944); 2006 (23,194); 2005 (23,505)

  2. Comparison of number of requests processed: 2007 (27,581); 2006 (23,068); 2005 (23,284)

  3. Comparison of number of requests pending: 2007 (1,269); 2006 (906); 2005 (780)

Note: Number of Requests Received has substantially increased from prior fiscal year. This is due to the inclusion in this report of FECA/Privacy Act requests filed with ESA that were not previously accounted for.

  1. FOIA Staffing and Costs.

 

Staffing Levels

Total Costs (Including Staff and all Resources)

Number of Full Time Personnel

Number of Personnel With Part Time FOIA Duties (In Total Work-Years)

Total Number of Personnel (In Work-Years)

FOIA Processing (Including Appeals) (Estimated)

Litigation Related Activities (Estimated)

Total

OSHA

10

46

56

5,600,000.00

500,000.00

6,100,000.00

ESA

11

60.05

71.05

7,051,950.00

 

7,051,950.00

MSHA

1

22

23

1,947,120.00

0

1,947,120.00

EBSA

0

3.5

3.5

741,000.00

0

741,000.00

ETA

1

45

46

560,593.00

 

560,593.00

OASAM

0

1.6

1.6

110,675.00

 

110,675.00

ALJ

0

.81

.81

49,927.21

0

49,927.21

VETS

0

2.10

2.10

210,241.00

0

210,241.00

OIG

1

0

1

100,000.00

0

100,000.00

BLS

0

1

1

34,470.00

0

34,470.00

Adj Bds

0

.25

.25

8,500.00

1,500.00

10,000.00

WB

0

3

3

54,150.00

0

54,150.00

ODEP

0

.3

.3

17,600.00

 

17,600.00

ASP

0

.40

.40

18,468.00

0

18,468.

OCIA

0

.20

.20

10,000.00

0

10,000.00

ILAB

1

1

2

150,000.00

0

150,000.00

CFO

0

.2

.2

19,200.00

0

19,200.00

OPA

 

.1

.1

8,800.00

 

8,800.00

OSBP

1

0

1

5,000.00

0

$5,000.00

SOL

9

2.75

11.75

1,020,065.00

170,000

$1,190,065.00

JOB CORP

0

.80

.80

40,000.

0

40,000.

TOTALS

35

191.06

226.06

17,757,759.21

671,500

18,429,259.21

  1. Fees

  1. Total Amount of Fees Collected By Agency for Processing Requests.

The Department collected $220,138.80 in fees.

  1. PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL COSTS: 1%

  1. FOIA Regulations (Including Fee Schedule)

The electronic address for accessing the Department's FOIA regulations, 29 C.F.R Part 70, is on the Department's web site at http://www.dol.gov/dol/foia/main.htm. In addition, they can be accessed on the World Wide Web at GPO Access, a service of the U.S. Government Printing Office, at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.html.

  1. Report on FOIA Executive Order Implementation

  1. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan.

The Department of Labor (DOL) issued a plan modification on December 8, 2006. The modification was made as a result of the Department's continued assessment of the plan, as well as in response to useful input provided by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). The objective of the modification is to set specific outcome oriented goals to reduce any backlogs in responding to initial requests, and to provide timetables for the achievement of these goals. This was accomplished by having DOL components identify their oldest pending requests, and setting percentage targets for the reduction of these requests. In addition, DOL agencies were asked to develop ongoing monitoring systems with an “early alert” system for any growing backlogs.

  1. Report on agency implementation of the plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement plan.

The Department reached all milestones for all seven major areas contained in its plan.

  1. Improve communication with requesters.

To help improve communication with requesters, DOL updated and enhanced its FOIA web pages. The new web pages contain clear and concise descriptions of the Department's programs to help requesters locate specific categories of information, an electronic “DOL-Wide FOIA Reading Room”, which includes frequently requested material from all DOL agencies, and information on how to make a FOIA request. The new web pages also provide links to other FOIA resources, such as those provided by DOJ and GAO. Although no new changes were recommended by the requester community, agencies increased direct communication with requesters, through conference calls and email to ensure that the nature of the request was understood or to ask for clarifying information.

  1. Increase Web Presence and Proactive Disclosure.

The Department's Chief FOIA Officer, in conjunction with the Public Liaison and Office of Public Affairs web content team, redesigned DOL's FOIA web pages and created standard templates for individual agencies' use. The resulting format changes enhanced readability and navigation. For example, DOL agency web pages and the DOL-Wide FOIA Reading Room contain:

  • Administrative staff manuals and instructions to staff that affect a member of the public

  • Opinions and orders made in adjudication of decisions

  • Statements of policy and interpretations adopted by the agency and not published in the Federal Register

  • “Hot FOIAs” and frequently requested reports

In addition to the continued evaluation of the Department's web presence, the Chief FOIA Officer surveyed the DOL agencies on their disclosure measures, electronic FOIA processing, backlog reduction efforts and FOIA staff training to help assess the progress of the Improvement Plan.

DOL agencies maintain established processes to review for accuracy and relevance documents that are required by law to be posted on the Department's website. Several types of information are available for public review, including:

  • Records posted after an agency receives three or more requests for the same material (“hot FOIA requests”)

  • Contract awards

  • Job vacancy announcements

  • Adjudicatory Board decisions

  • Office of Inspector General (OIG) final audit reports and semi-annual reports to Congress

  • Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) accident investigation reports

  • Enforcement data from agencies with oversight responsibility

The Department also has proactive disclosure procedures for closely monitoring and reviewing classes of material that should be of interest to the public, even though the posting of such material is not legally required by FOIA. For example, the Department routinely provides the following information on its Web site:

  • Recent publications and reports

  • News releases

  • Statements and speeches from senior departmental officials

  • Program initiatives

  • Laws, regulations, and compliance assistance materials

  • Employment statistics

In addition, some material required to be disclosed by other statutes cannot be made available electronically at this time, due to the volume of documents in the record. In these instances, the Department hopes to make this material available electronically, as improved technology becomes available. EBSA, for example, is seeking to provide online access to Form 5500 filings through the next development phase of the ERISA Filing Acceptance System (E-FAST).

  1. Improve FOIA Tracking and Control.

In January 2007, the Secretary's Information Management Systems (SIMS/FOIA) was enhanced. The enhancements allow users to track FOIA requests by short subject and produce overdue reports for requests that are past assigned due dates. Users are also permitted to conduct searches of FOIA requests by assignments, responding office/agency, and hot /sensitive status. Agencies may access requests from within their subordinate components or divisions as well. A FOIA Working Group, which included the Chief FOIA Officer, the Counsel for FOIA and Privacy Act, members of the Information Technology Center, and several members from various DOL agencies met several times during 2007 to discuss future improvements to the system. However, due to budget constraints, no additional improvements were made. In 2008, resources will be devoted to making necessary changes to SIMS/FOIA to comply with reporting and other requirements of the OPEN Government Act of 2007.

  1. Increase Use of Technology in FOIA Processing.

The majority of DOL agencies currently use the SIMS/FOIA system for inputting and tracking FOIA requests. The agencies also use other products such as scanners, CD's, email, and internal databases for retrieval and processing of FOIA requests. Redaction is noted as a problem for large volumes of records; however, one agency uses Redax™, a software product of Appligent, Inc, which removes text and scanned images within a PDF file. Redax™ also removes sensitive or private information in accordance with FOIA and the Privacy Act.

Based on current resources and the low volume of requests directed to some agencies, use of electronic tools in DOL agencies is generally limited to scanners and email deliveries for FOIA requests. More agencies would like to take advantage of redaction software, but are prohibited because of budget constraints. Further discussions with DOL agencies will be conducted to find more cost effective options, and to encourage agencies to use as much technology as warranted to handle FOIA processing.

  1. Encourage and Improve Multi-Track Processing and Expedited Processing.

Due to the decentralization of authority to process initial requests, each agency monitors whether any of its disclosure offices need to establish multiple processing tracks based upon the volume of requests received by these offices and their available resources. At present, no changes in the Department's multi-track processing systems are required. In instances where FOIA requests are received requesting expeditious responses, agencies review the requests, determine whether the standard for expedited processing has been satisfied, and notify the requester of its determination. Agencies will continue to monitor their systems and consult with the Chief FOIA Officer if necessary. Changes will be made as required.

  1. Increase Appeals Capacity, Backlog Reduction and Improve Timeliness.

As noted in section A, in December 2006, the Department modified its plan to set specific targets for the reduction of its oldest initial requests. The Department's goal was to decrease 365 of its oldest backlogged requests by 90% before December 31, 2007. The targeted FOIA requests included:

  • Initial Requests pending prior to January 1, 2005; (Goal was 100% reduction)

  • Initial Requests pending prior to July 1, 2005; (Goal was 90% reduction)

  • Initial Requests pending prior to January 1, 2006; (Goal was 75% reduction) and

  • Initial Requests pending prior to July 1, 2006

Through a series of meetings, email communications, and data calls, the Department accurately recorded and monitored agency backlog reduction efforts. DOL also met the specific reduction percentages for the dates specified in the plan modification. Subsequently, the Department of Labor succeeded in accomplishing this goal by processing 354 requests, thereby reducing the backlog of its oldest pending requests by 97%.

At the administrative appeals level, the plan provided that the number of appeals completed and closed would increase 93 percent over the 2005 baseline. In fact, that goal was exceeded. In 2005, the Department closed 204 appeals; 339 appeals in 2006; and 418 appeals in 2007, a 104 percent increase.

  1. Enhance Staff Expertise and Training.

The Department's emphasis on improved FOIA training continued in 2007. FOIA staff received individualized training through a series of workshops tailored to each agency's specific needs. In addition to the importance of customer service and courtesy in dealings with the public on FOIA matters, participants discussed general experiences since the issuance of Executive Order 13392 in December 2005 and the FOIA improvement plan in June 2006. Several agencies also took advantage of DOJ and USDA Graduate School FOIA training programs.

  1. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable).

The Department met or exceeded all of its milestones for 2007.

  1. Additional narrative statement regarding other executive-order related activities.

The Department's leadership remains committed to the objectives of Executive Order 13392, and to the successful implementation of its FOIA improvement plan. The senior leadership of the Department has been briefed about the plan's components and has been provided regular updates as to its progress. An important part of these briefings and updates has been to encourage officials to provide the necessary support to its FOIA staff to achieve the various milestones.

  1. Concise Descriptions of FOIA Exemptions.

The nine exemptions to the FOIA authorize federal agencies to withhold information covering:

  1. classified national defense and foreign relations information;

  2. internal agency rules and practices;

  3. information that is prohibited from disclosure by another federal law;

  4. trade secrets and other confidential business information;

  5. inter-agency or intra-agency communications that are protected by legal privileges;

  6. information involving matters of personal privacy;

  7. records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, to the extent that the production of those records

  1. could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings,

  2. would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication,

  3. could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy,

  4. could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source,

  5. would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or

  6. could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual;

  1. information relating to the supervision of financial institutions; and

  2. geological information on wells.

  1. Additional Statistics.

  1. Ten Oldest Pending FOIA Requests.

 

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

OSHA

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

January 18
February 21
March 9
May 4
May 21
June 15
July 24
July 24
July 25
July 25

ESA

0

0

0

0

0

0

January 5
September 1
September 21
October 11
November 8
November 17
November 21
December 5
December 20

January 19

MSHA

0

0

0

0

0

0

February 3
February 22
March 13
April 4
May 24
September 21

January 30
February 20
March 8
April 23

EBSA

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

September 5
September 6
October 23
November 9
November 16
November 30
December 3
December 7
December 17
December 19

ETA

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

January 29
January 31
February 9
February 27
February 28
March 5
March 7
March 15
March 23
March 27

OASAM

0

0

0

0

0

0

July 14
August 28
September 21
December 22

April 12
May 21
May 24
May 25
June 15
August 13

ALJ

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

September 12

VETS

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

April 9
August 21
October 26
November 5
November 16
November 27
November 28
November 29
December 17
December 17

OIG

0

0

0

0

0

0

August 29

July 9
August 25
November 14
November 16
November 28
November 29
December 10
December 13
December 14

BLS

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

December 28

Adj Bds

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

WB

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

ODEP

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

December 3

ASP

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

August 29
September 5
September 5
September 5
September 5
November 28

OCIA

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

May 22
June 18
September 24
September 25

ILAB

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

CFO

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

OPA

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

February 15

OSBP

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

SOL

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

October 18
December 2
December 26

JOB CORP

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

  1. Consultations.

  1. Number of Consultations Received, Processed, and Pending.

Consultations Received From Other Agencies During FY '07

Consultations Received From Other Agencies That Were Processed by Your Agency During FY '07 (includes those received prior to FY '07)

Consultations Received From Other Agencies That Were Pending at Your Agency as of October 1, 2007 (includes those received prior To FY '07)

n/a

n/a

n/a

  1. Ten Oldest Pending Consultations Received From Other Agencies.

Calendar Year

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Consults Received

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Note: At this time, the Department of Labor's tracking system is unable to compute data on consultations. However, preparations are underway to provide the information for the FY 2008 annual report.

  1. Attachment: Agency Improvement Plan.

Signed at Washington, D.C. this 1st day of February, 2008.

___signed___________
Gregory F. Jacob
Solicitor of Labor


Footnotes

[1]   Number of Requests Received has substantially increased from prior fiscal year. This is due to the inclusion in this report of FECA/Privacy Act requests filed with ESA that were not previously accounted for.