Groucho Marx said “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.” In a recent arbitration appeal, the FLRA reversed itself over an issue involving an agreement made by political direction with the union in the waning days of the Clinton Administration. The current Chairman, a member when the original case was decided did not dissent then but now gives the union not only a second bite of the apple but, arguably, the whole bushel. Is it a holiday gift? You decide.
In what the author calls perhaps the wackiest decision in the history of Federal labor relations, the Federal Labor Relations Authority decides to allow the election of a union to represent the Transportation Security Administrationâ€™s Transportation Security Officers with no collective bargaining permitted. Also crazily, the unions involved, AFGE and NTEU, applaud the decision. Another case of political bone throwing in DC? You decide.
The author requested and received FLRAâ€™s training materials used to train participants in pilot programs in which parties will bargain agency permissive topics. These pilots dramatically expand union bargaining rights. It’s unclear what authorizes union representatives’ official time for this training or authorizes FLRA to train the representatives of a non-governmental entity for free. You decide.
The author suggests agency advocates pay attention to a recent line of FLRA cases involving appeals of arbitration awards. The Authority has clearly decided to widely expand an arbitrator’s authority while severely limiting an agency’s ability to appeal an award. The FLRA has apparently decided to bypass the Congress and update the 1978 labor relations law against the agencies’ interests.
In a case Fedsmith has been covering since 2007, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the Federal Labor Relations Authorityâ€™s efforts to impose its will on the National Labor Relations Board. In what some might call a slam dunk, the court decided the FLRA once again misinterpreted another Agencyâ€™s enabling legislation.
Over the course of her term as minority member of the FLRA, now Chairman Pope dissented many times in FLRA decisions. The author identifies those that specifically addressed negotiability issues and asks, can we expect a reversal if the issues come up again?
In what must have been a big surprise to the Department of Defense, the Federal Labor Relations Authority finds civilian access to commissaries and exchanges to be a negotiable working condition. The Author suggests a political payback may be involved in the decision. You be the judge.
A new decision appears to set up FLRA as arbiter of Agency efficiency and effectiveness.
In 2003, the Federal Labor Relations Authority found that the Transportation Security Administrator had the absolute right to decide whether a union could represent TSA employees. The author asks what has changed except politics and whether a regional official can violate a legal precedent on his own. You be the judge.
In reviewing what, on the surface, appears an innocuous change to the FLRA General Counsel’s Regulations, the author suggests there may be more involved.