Supreme Court Decision, Union Dues and Federal Employees

The FLRA is soliciting comments on an issue involving revocation of union dues for federal employees.

In OPM Asks FLRA for Decision on Letting Folks Quit the Union Quickly, author and labor relations expert Bob Gilson explains the background to a recent Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) press release and how a Supreme Court decision may impact federal labor relations.

The press release is entitled “Authority Solicits Comments on a Request for A General Statement of Policy or Guidance.

In the press release, the FLRA writes that “OPM has asked the Authority to issue a general statement of policy or guidance holding that the U.jS. Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, 138 S. Ct. 2448 (2018), requires the Authority to reevaluate its precedent on the revocation of federal employees’ union-dues assignments….”

Request for a Policy Statement from OPM to FLRA

OPM has asked the FLRA to issue a policy statement holding:

  1. The constitutional principles clarified in Janus have general applicability to agencies and labor organizations in the area of federal employees’ requests to revoke union- dues assignments under Section 7115(a) of the Statute; and
  2. Consistent with Janus, upon receiving an employee’s request to revoke a previously authorized union- dues assignment, an agency should process the request as soon as administratively feasible if at least one year has passed since the employee initially authorized union-dues assignment from the employee’s pay.

In effect, does the Supreme Court’s decision apply to the federal government and would it allow federal employees to cancel their dues withholding to a federal employee union more quickly and more easily than may have been the case in the past?

How to Submit Comments

The FLRA will consider written comments on this issue received by August 12, 2019. Comments can be submitted by email, through the Postal Service or hand-delivered.

Comments sent to the FLRA on this issue must include the caption ‘‘Office of Personnel Management (Petitioner), Case No. 0–PS–34’’.

  • Email: FedRegComments@flra.govInclude ‘‘OPM (Petitioner), Case No. 0– PS–34’’ in the subject line of the message..
  • Mail or Hand Delivery: Emily Sloop, Chief, Case Intake and Publication, Federal Labor Relations Authority, Docket Room, Suite 200, 1400 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20424–0001.

For comments sent in by mail or hand-delivered, written comments must include an original and 4 copies of each written comment, with any enclosures, on 81⁄2x 11 inch paper.

Questions should be addressed to Emily Sloop, Chief, Case Intake and Publication, (202) 218–7740

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47