Tag: Labor Relations
The author says that much has been written about the number of hours of official time used by the government, but from the perspective of Congress, OPM and others. She instead suggests looking at the subject from the perspective of federal employees in the workplace.
Since the air traffic controller’s strike of 1981, the public has not heard much about labor relations at the FAA. A new internal report indicates the labor relations system at the agency lacks internal controls, has significantly increased agency costs and that there is no effective system for tracking or anticipating new costs.
In a case involving computer security at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), FLRA finds that the Agency’s duty to bargain over curtailing employee access to private email accounts on their work computers trumps the Agency’s statutory obligation to protect the security of information under its control. The Minority Member, in his dissent, said that unlike the majority members, he could not interpret the federal labor statute to, in essence, require an Agency to compromise its computer security to bargain over a minor working condition issue.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that public employee unions cannot automatically deduct money from the checks of bargaining unit employees who do not choose to become a union member.
FLRA keeps interpreting laws other than its own with impunity and without benefit of any expertise in those laws. It often gets its own law wrong in the opinion of the DC Circuit. The author asks how this agency, once characterized in a D.C. Circuit Court Decision as a “minor three-member commission with quite restricted expertise”, can defend an ideologically driven agenda and be considered a neutral adjudicator of disputes in the face of its record in court.
A new survey of some 2100 readers found than 69% think the federal government paying federal employees to represent unions “decreases agency efficiency” or “is a waste of agency funds”.
On June 3, the D.C. Circuit again reversed the FLRA for interpreting a law other than its own. The case, involving the negotiability of union proposals limiting Agency Inspector General investigations to procedures bargained with a union, demonstrated the Court’s continuing refusal to defer to an FLRA interpretation of a law other than the one it administers. The author suggests practitioners read the complete decision but addresses the highlights in his article.