The newly constituted FLRA has issued a landmark decision to restrict the bargaining obligation between agencies and unions. Here is a summary and analysis.
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.
As negotiated agreements expire and bargaining appears likely, it is vital for an Agency to take stock of the old contract and assess where it wants negotiations to go. You can be sure the union will come to the table with an agenda; the author asks whether Agency representatives have an agenda of their own and attempts to lay out a framework for development of management’s agenda.
Whenever a new term agreement or contract is negotiated, the parties generally exchange ground rules. The author offers a set of ground rules for Agencies to consider offering when getting ready to negotiate a new contract.
Since Federal unions were permitted bargaining under law, most negotiable issues are already in existing union contracts. The author suggests these unions have joined with the Obama administration in an effort to co-manage agencies and encourage the FLRA to “expand” the meaning of the statute. They appear to be succeeding.
The author asks if the TSA broke management’s obligation to remain neutral while a union vote is pending.