Fiscal Year 1999 Annual Program Performance Report: FLRA Strategic Plan Goal 1
To consistently provide high quality services that timely resolve disputes in the Federal labor-management relations community.
Summary: In order to accomplish the FLRA Strategic Plan Goal 1, FLRA established 15 performance goals in its FY 1999 Annual Performance Plan. At the conclusion of FY 1999, FLRA met or exceeded 11 of the 15 Strategic Plan Goal 1 performance goals, including one goal which was exceeded by 55%. The FLRA substantially met two of the 15 goals -- falling just 1% short in each instance; and partially met the two remaining goals.
The 15 performance goals focused on: 1) case processing targets to ensure the timely processing and resolution of disputes; 2) targets to reduce the number of cases which are defined as overage and ultimately the age of the pending case inventory; 3) standards and techniques to ensure high quality services; 4) regulatory revisions to simplify and expedite case processing; and 5) work process changes to respond to customer needs.
In implementing its performance goals, FLRA made considerable progress in FY 1999 in resolving labor-management disputes in a timely manner. The agency significantly reduced the number of overage cases and the overall age of the pending inventory. For example, the Office of General Counsel (OGC) reduced the number of overage representation cases from 51% in FY 1997 to16% at the end of FY 1999, and the Authority reduced the number of overage cases awaiting decision by 75%. The FLRA also reduced its case processing times while, at the same time, maintaining high standards of quality. The Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ) reduced the amount of time to issue decisions after hearing by 24%. The Authority, while reducing its overage inventory and increasing productivity, also maintained a high level of quality in its decisions. For example, the Supreme Court upheld the Authority in both FLRA cases it heard. Our record before the Courts of Appeals was equally impressive. FLRA also revised its regulations in processing negotiability appeals and unfair labor practice charges, thereby simplifying and expediting case processing. Finally, FLRA continued to improve the quality of its services by implementing a number of initiatives in response to a customer survey.
The following describes the specific performance related to each of the 15 performance goals.
|Performance Goal: Ensure that no more than 10% of pending representation caseload is over 90 days old without notice of hearing issued.||Actual Performance: Partially Met the Goal -- 16% of the pending representation caseload was over 90 days old without notice of hearing issued.|
Performance Analysis: This goal was partially met. The goal was developed and implemented by the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) to emphasize timely representation case processing.
By the end of FY 1999, 16% of pending representation caseload was over 90 days old without notice of hearing issued -- short of the 10% goal. However, this deviation from the target goal of 10% was a significant reduction from 51% overage at the end of FY 1997, when this performance goal was set. Therefore, the shortfall had minimal impact on overall program performance.
Although the performance goal of 10% was not met, OGC was able to significantly reduce the number of overage cases, while at the same time, increase productivity through a number of strategic actions that included: 1) clarification of the case processing procedures taken by each regional office prior to issuance of a Notice of Hearing; 2) delivery of training and education services to assist the parties in OGC processes; 3) pre-filing assistance consistent with the FLRA representation regulations to narrow or resolve the issues in dispute prior to the filing of a representation case; and 4) issuance of management guidance to Regional Directors on the reassignment of representation cases to facilitate timely disposition.
In this period of continuing Federal government reorganizations and downsizing, disputes regarding the appropriateness of existing and/or newly certified bargaining units are increasing. In FY 1999, OGC received 503 new representation cases, an increase of 10% from FY 1997 case intake levels. Case processing productivity resulted in 671 dispositive actions -- a 20% increase over dispositive actions in FY 1998 -- which resulted in the closure of 500 cases.
Accomplishment of this goal is affected by a number of factors including: 1) representation case intake; 2) staffing; 3) the complexity of representation issues; 4) ongoing reorganizations and restructuring within the Federal government -- notably within the Defense Department; and 5) the willingness of parties to use alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services in resolving the disputes and/or narrowing the legal issues presented for determination.
Based upon two years of experience, OGC modified its goals for FY 2000 and FY 2001 to ensure that no more than 15% of pending representation caseload is over 90 days old without notice of hearing issued. This modification to 15% is consistent with the OGC performance goal in processing unfair labor practice cases. Conformity of these goals, coupled with a continuation of the strategic action items listed above which resulted in a significant reduction in overage representation cases in FY 1999, will have an overall positive affect on performance and achievement of the 15% goal in FY 2000.
|Performance Goal: Ensure that no more than 15% of the Unfair Labor Practice caseload awaiting initial dispositive action is over 90 days old.||Actual Performance: Substantially Met the Goal (1% Deviation) -- 16% of the Unfair Labor Practice caseload awaiting initial dispositive action is over 90 days old.|
Performance Analysis: This goal was substantially met -- FLRA fell just 1% short of the goal. The goal was developed and implemented by OGC to manage the unfair labor practice caseload by ensuring the issuance of a timely initial disposition of each charge that is filed.
The 1% deviation in performance of the goal had minimal adverse effect on overall program performance. The FY 1999 performance result represents a steady reduction in overage cases from 31% in FY 1997. Accomplishment of this goal is affected by a number of factors including: 1) the number of unfair labor practice charges filed; 2) staffing; and 3) the willingness of parties to use alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services in resolving the unfair labor practice charge prior to issuance of a initial dispositive action. In FY 1999, OGC received 5,686 unfair labor practice charges and produced 5,913 initial dispositive actions.
The steady reduction in overage cases since FY 1997 is attributed to, among other things, the ongoing monitoring of case intake and pending cases to facilitate the early transfer of cases between regional offices, and a formal quarterly management review of pending caseload to transfer cases among the OGC's seven regional offices to ensure timely and cost-effective disposition. The achievement of this performance goal is also affected by OGC delivery of ADR services. Consistent with the revised Unfair Labor Practice case processing regulations, OGC provides training, education, intervention and facilitation services to assist the parties in resolving disputes prior to the filing of unfair labor practice charges and at every stage of case processing after a charge is filed. In addition, newly certified bargaining units, as well as agencies that are experiencing a high number of unfair labor practice charge filings, are targeted for the delivery of ADR services.
Based upon experience, the OGC performance goals for FY 2000 and FY 2001 will remain the same as that of FY 1999 -- to ensure that no more than 15% of the ULP caseload awaiting initial dispositive action is over 90 days old. The strategic actions discussed above have had a positive impact on increasing productivity in ULP initial dispositive actions and in reducing the number of older ULP cases. These actions are being continued in FY 2000 with the expectation that this performance goal will be met.
|Performance Goal: Ensure a median age of 70 days from issuance of complaint to hearing date.||Actual Performance: Met the Goal -- Median age of 65 days from issuance of complaint to hearing date.|
|Performance Goal: Ensure that no more than 10% of OALJ cases heard and pending decision will reach hearing in more than 129 days.||Actual Performance: Partially Met the Goal -- 25% of OALJ cases heard and pending decision reached hearing in more than 129 days.|
Performance Analysis: The first goal was exceeded; the second goal was partially met. These two related goals were jointly developed and implemented by the OALJ to ensure that hearings were conducted in a timely manner to resolve ULP complaints pending before an Administrative Law Judge.
By establishing the first goal -- a median age of 70 days from issuance of a complaint to hearing date, OALJ attempted to ensure that the parties received a prompt hearing of their case. This goal was exceeded as the actual median age was 65 days at the end of FY 1999.
By establishing the second goal -- no more than 10% to reach hearing in more than 129 days, OALJ attempted to limit the number of cases that exceeded the median and became overage. The OALJ fell short of the goal as 25% of the cases pending decision reached hearing in more than 129 days at the end of FY 1999. While OALJ fell short of its goal, only three of the twelve cases pending decisions were beyond the 129 days of reaching hearing at the end of FY 1999.
Some of the factors that affect the OALJ ability to meet its pre-hearing goal include: 1) the level of case intake; 2) staffing; 3) the availability of the parties and the ALJ's to participate in and coordinate hearings; and 4) the extent of settlement negotiations. Furthermore, in some instances, the parties are in serious settlement negotiations and ask to postpone the hearing. This situation may extend the median age of some cases and affect other cases on the same calendar.
Based upon OALJ experience, the FY 2000 and FY 2001 performance goals will continue to focus on ensuring that hearings are conducted in a timely manner and limiting the number of cases that exceed the median and become overage.
|Performance Goal: Reduce by 10% the median age of OALJ cases from close of hearing to decision.||Actual Performance: Exceeded the Goal -- Reduced by 24% median age of OALJ cases from close of hearing to decision.|
|Performance Goal: Ensure that no more than 10% of pending decisions will exceed 175 days.||Actual Performance: Exceeded the Goal -- 0% of cases pending decision exceeded 175 days.|
Performance Analysis: These two related goals were exceeded. The two goals, which were jointly developed and implemented by the OALJ, were established to ensure that OALJ decisions are issued in timely manner.
By establishing the first goal -- a median age target, OALJ attempted to ensure that the parties received a written decision in a timely manner. In FY 1999, the OALJ goal was to ensure a median age of 97 days (a 10% reduction from the baseline year of FY 1997) from the close of hearing to issuance of an OALJ decision. This goal was exceeded by 15 days. The actual median age was 82 days at the end of FY 1999 which represents a 26 day reduction from the end of FY 1997.
By establishing the second goal, OALJ attempted to limit the number of cases that exceeded the median and became overage. The second goal was exceeded as no cases pending OALJ decision exceeded 175 days from the hearing date at the end of FY 1999.
The factors that affect the OALJ ability to reach these goals are frequently beyond OALJ control: 1) case intake; 2) staffing; and 3) complexity of issues. Moreover, OALJ decisions are issued after briefs are filed by the parties and parties ask for extensions of time to file briefs.
The OALJ goals for FY 2000 and FY 2001 continue to reflect median age targets to ensure OALJ decisions are issued in a timely manner. In addition, OALJ established more ambitious goals in FY 2000 (no more than 10% of cases pending decision over 165 days old) and FY 2001 (no more than 10% of cases pending decision over 160 days old) to limit the number of cases pending decision.
|Performance Goal: Increase by 10% the number of Authority Member decisions issued.||Actual Performance: Substantially Met the Goal (1% Deviation) -- Increased by 9% the number of Authority Member decisions issued.|
|Performance Goal: Reduce by 20% the number of cases pending Authority member decision over one year old.||Actual Performance: Exceeded the Goal -- Reduced by 75% the number of cases pending Authority Member decision over one year old.|
Performance Analysis: The first goal was substantially met -- the FLRA fell just 1% short; the second goal was exceeded.
The above interrelated goals were developed and implemented by the Authority to assure that the Authority issued the maximum number of decisions possible while, at the same time, reducing the number of overage pending cases and ultimately the age of pending inventory.
In order to accomplish the first goal, the Authority had to issue 206 merits decisions -- a 10% increase over the baseline year of FY 1997. The Authority closed a total of 204 cases through merits decision in FY 1999 -- a 9% increase. Because the 1% deviation was so slight, there was minimal effect on overall program performance.
In order to accomplish the second goal, the Authority needed to reduce its inventory pending merits decision over one year to 48 cases by the end of FY 1999. This goal was exceeded. At the end of FY 1999, only 15 such cases were pending -- a 75% reduction from the baseline year of FY 1997. In addition to issuing decisions in the longest-pending cases, the Authority reduced the period of time for all cases awaiting decisions. The median age of all pending cases fell below 100 days, a 30% reduction from the start of FY 1999. The more expedited issuance of decisions during FY 1999 contributed to substantially reducing the number of pending cases to its lowest level in the Agency's history.
The factors affecting the Authority's ability to achieve these two goals include: 1) the number of pending cases at the beginning of a fiscal year; 2) the number of new cases filed; 3) staffing; 4) the complexity and the number of issues in the cases filed; and 5) the need to issue timely decisions to parties while, at the same time, ensuring that the decisions are legally sound and high quality.
During FY 1999, staff made a significant effort -- approximately two Full Time Equivalent (FTE) staff years -- to achieve the goal of issuing revised negotiability appeals regulations discussed below. Despite the reduction in resources available for case processing, the Authority exceeded its goal to reduce overage cases and came within 1% (only two decisions) of reaching its goal, thereby, substantially increasing productivity.
In planning how to achieve its FY 2000 case-related performance goals and in setting its FY 2001 case-related performance goals, the Authority has estimated and taken into account the amount of resources that will be devoted to case-related activities during FY 2000 and FY 2001. Thus, the Authority established new goals in FY 2000 and FY 2001 that focus on reducing the number of cases pending decision over nine months (FY 2000) and six months (FY 2001).
|Performance Goal: Reduce median age of Federal Service Impasses Panel cases to 68 days where jurisdictional issues are raised and jurisdiction is declined.||Actual Performance: Met the Goal -- Reduced median age of Federal Service Impasse Panel cases to 63 days where jurisdictional issues are raised and jurisdiction is declined.|
|Performance Goal: Reduce median age of Federal Service Impasses Panel cases to 94 days that settle voluntarily after procedural determination.||Actual Performance: Met the Goal -- Reduced median age of Federal Service Impasses Panel cases to 91 days that settle voluntarily after procedural determination.|
|Performance Goal: Reduce median age of Federal Service Impasses Panel cases to 148 days that close through Decisions and Orders.||Actual Performance: Met the Goal -- Reduced median age of Federal Service Impasses Panel cases to 146 days that close through Decisions and Orders.|
Performance Analysis: The above three goals were met. The goals were established by the Federal Service Impasses Panel (Panel) in order to ensure the timely resolution of cases presented before the Panel.
The Panel identified performance targets for the timely resolution of the three types of case disposition: 1) cases where jurisdiction is declined; 2) cases where the parties reach a voluntary settlement after the Panel has asserted jurisdiction; and 3) cases where terms are imposed through a written Decision and Order by the Panel. In order to carefully manage the three types of case dispositions identified in the Annual Performance Plan, additional case processing steps were identified and regularly monitored. These included: 1) starting and completing investigations including the jurisdictional determination; 2) scheduling and completing meetings to discuss voluntary settlements; and 3) drafting and issuing written decisions.
Among the factors affecting case processing times are: 1) staffing; 2) the number of cases filed; 3) the number and complexity of the issues involved, including jurisdictional questions raised; and 4) the ability to obtain the parties' cooperation in submitting of documents and scheduling of joint meetings. Of these variables, historically the first two have been the most important. Despite temporary staff vacancies, the Panel exceeded its overall time targets by a few days in each of the three types of dispositions being tracked.
A brief statistical comparison with FY 1998 illustrates the full extent of the Panel's FY 1999 achievement in meeting its performance goals in the area of timeliness. Total caseload was about the same (175 in FY 1998; 169 in FY 1999); the Panel, however, asserted jurisdiction more frequently in FY 1999 (76 cases) than in FY 1998 (70 cases). While the total number of cases closed by written Panel decision remained the same (33 in both FY 1999 and FY 1998), the Panel provided face-to-face assistance in 65 cases in FY 1999, compared to 46 cases in FY 1998, and the total number of complete voluntary settlements achieved in FY 1999 was significantly greater than in FY 1998 (60 in FY 1999; 47 in FY 1998). Moreover, in FY 1998, the Panel did not meet 2 out of 3 of its timeliness targets, while in FY 1999, it exceeded its targets (the performance targets remained the same during both fiscal years). In summary, these statistics reveal that the Panel was able to exceed its performance goals in FY 1999, while significantly increasing the number of cases in which it asserted jurisdiction and provided face-to-face assistance.
Given its experience in FY 1999, and the complexity and unpredictability of the variables listed above, the Panel has not made adjustments to FY 2000 and FY 2001 goals related to the timely disposition of Panel cases.
|Performance Goal: Integrate any appropriate changes identified by customer survey completed in FY 1998.||Actual Performance: Met the Goal -- as described below in Performance Analysis.|
Performance Analysis: This goal was met. The goal was developed and implemented by the Authority and OGC -- the two components that participated in the 1998 customer survey.
In FY 1998, the FLRA conducted a comprehensive customer survey on the performance of two of its three primary components -- the Authority and the OGC. The survey was designed to measure the effectiveness of each of the programs administered by FLRA, the impact of the FLRA's decisions and the General Counsel's policies and guidance, and customer satisfaction with FLRA processes.
The survey results indicated that FLRA was doing a good job meeting the information needs of its customers, who voiced support for continued outreach activities. For example, respondents to the survey were supportive of the information supplied by OGC. Since 1994, OGC has issued policies, guidance and manuals which are available to the parties. Respondents using these materials found them clearly written; providing a thorough discussion of legal issues; helpful in understanding case law; and helpful in applying the Authority's case law. Additionally the face to face outreach of the General Counsel through a series of Town Meetings held across the country received favorable responses and that such forums were a source of useful information regarding Authority decisions and General Counsel policies and guidance.
Respondents also gave high marks to elements of processing matters before the Authority and OGC. In that regard, respondents agreed that: 1) they were given an opportunity by regional offices to provide relevant information; 2) they were given courteous, professional and fair treatment; 3) OGC regional office and Authority Case Control Office employees were helpful in explaining case processing requirements; and 4) the Administrative Law Judge gave them a full opportunity to present their case and conducted the hearing in a fair and impartial manner. While the respondents are favorably disposed to the quality of OGC and Authority decisions, concern was expressed regarding the timeliness of communications on the status of cases and the length of time before cases are decided. In addition, the respondents indicated that, although FLRA decisions decide the legal issues raised by parties, they do not necessarily resolve the problems underlying the litigated dispute.
The FLRA responded to the survey results in FY 1999 by, among other things, expanding customer information services; providing FLRA employees and the parties with training; and continuing to focus resources on reducing the age of cases pending decision. Given the importance of addressing the underlying problems provoking disputes between labor and management and improving relationships and problem-solving skills, the FLRA expanded its Collaboration and Alternative Dispute Resolution (CADR) Program to encompass all of the agency's alternate dispute resolution (ADR) activities and, as described below, incorporated collaboration and alternative dispute resolution principles into revised regulations.
In FY 1999, OGC announced its customer service initiatives to be implemented in response to the FY 1998 survey results. These initiatives include: 1) establishing a protocol for publishing timeliness goals and communicating with the parties about the status of their cases in a more timely fashion; 2) revising the ULP Case Handling Manual to incorporate policies, guidance, and changes in procedures due to regulatory revisions and defined Customer Service Standards; 3) conducting comprehensive training to improve the investigative, communication and dispute resolution skills of OGC employees; 4) targeting customers to offer skills-building training and educate the parties about services offered by OGC; 5) developing an evaluation program to measure the effectiveness of the OGC's ADR services; and 6) revising the Appeals Policy to allow for issuance of a modified form appeal denial letter to discuss specific issues raised in the appeal.
As noted above, the survey revealed that customers approve of the quality of Authority decisions but are concerned about the length of time it takes to issue decisions. The Authority began to address the issue of timeliness prior to the survey's final results. Beginning in FY 1998 and continuing through FY 1999, the Authority used several tools to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its decision-making process. As noted, in FY 1999 the Authority targeted overage cases, significantly reducing the number of pending overage cases and reducing the amount of time it takes to issue decisions. Recognizing that the length of decision time was particularly problematic in negotiability appeals, the Authority revised its negotiability appeal regulations in FY 1999 to improve the overall process and to expedite the resolution of negotiability disputes and the issuance of decisions.
In setting performance goals for FY 2000 and FY 2001, the Authority has remained mindful of its customers' concerns over the timeliness of decisions. As a result, the Authority has set a relatively higher goal for FY 2000 to ensure that no more than 10 percent of the cases pending merits decisions by the Authority are over nine months old. Additionally, the Authority will conduct a review of the process for resolving exceptions to arbitration awards. In FY 2001, the Authority overage case goals will again be directed to improve timeliness. No more than 10 percent of the cases pending merits decisions by the Authority are to be over six months old. The Authority will also implement a training initiative to increase the parties' understanding of the Statute and FLRA procedures.
|Performance Goal: Consistently comply with established quality standards; evaluate the effectiveness of quality performance measures.||Actual Performance: Met the Goal -- as described below in Performance Analysis.|
Performance Analysis: This goal was met. The goal was developed and implemented by the three FLRA components responsible for resolving disputes.
The FLRA established quality standards and incorporated them into employees' performance plans, and subsequently confirmed that quality standards had been established and steps had been taken to improve quality. Using the FLRA performance management plan, the agency has maintained compliance with these standards.
In addition to targeting overage cases, the Authority maintained its focus on resolving issues and establishing comprehensive legal doctrine to help guide parties. In doing so, the Authority encouraged parties to resolve their dispute by means other than litigation. In order to maximize the clarity and stability of the law, in FY 1999 the Authority used several tools that sharpen the decision making process. These included: a case screening mechanism to identify cases for streamlined processing; techniques to identify relevant case law, issues, and potential problems prior to decision drafting; and forums in which Authority staff discuss recent case precedent and other issues of relevance to the Authority's ongoing work.
One measure of success in the Authority's continuing emphasis on the quality of its decisions is the extent to which its analysis is upheld by the Federal Courts. In FY 1999, the Authority obtained favorable results in both Supreme Court proceedings in which the Court reached the merits of Authority decisions. Furthermore, Authority decisions issued in the last four years and reviewed on the merits by Federal Courts were the subject of favorable appellate opinions in approximately 88% of the cases, as compared with an overall favorable rate of only 52% for Authority decisions reviewed in the preceding 16 years.
Nevertheless, the Authority recognizes the need to further define an effective measurement of its quality performance. In FY 1998, the Authority developed a comprehensive checklist to assist in the writing process. The checklist sets forth guidelines for a quality document. In FY 1999, the Authority experimented with the use of the checklist as a quality measurement tool. The checklist was modified in mid-FY 1999 and is being pilot tested through the first quarter of FY 2000. The FY 2000 goal is to develop a plan to ensure consistent compliance with established quality standards and evaluate the effectiveness of quality performance measures. The plan will include reviewing current quality standards; identifying and evaluating effective quality measures; identifying bench marks; identifying relevant baseline data; and identifying internal training needs based upon identified standards and measures.
The OGC published quality standards in unfair labor practice case processing in its newly revised ULP Case Handling Manual which was issued in October 1999. Prior to publication, OGC conducted a training conference for all OGC staff to ensure compliance with the established quality standards for case processing which are set forth in the ULP Manual.
Compliance with the quality standards is continually monitored in the OGC. In the regional offices, compliance is measured by: 1) peer review of case files and dispositive action recommendations; and 2) regional management review of investigatory practices and adherence to case handling procedures set forth in the ULP Manual. Each regional office defines its protocol to ensure ongoing quality review and to assess its effectiveness.
Effectiveness of quality performance measures at the OGC National Office is assessed through the appeals review of Regional Director decisions not to issue a complaint; review of complaints and the outcome of cases that proceed to trial; dismissal letter review of cases that are not appealed; and the review of settlement agreements. Feedback on the effectiveness of quality review measures is provided to Regional Directors during quarterly OGC management meetings.
Quality standards for the processing of representation petitions have also been implemented by OGC. The effectiveness of these standards is assessed in the review of representation decision and orders, election agreements, certifications, notices of hearings and advice memoranda submissions.
The Panel's effectiveness in meeting its quality standards is measured in a number of ways. The number of complete and partial voluntary settlements which the Panel assists its customers in achieving is one measure of the quality of its mediation services. In FY 1999, the Panel increased the percentage of cases where jurisdiction was asserted from the previous fiscal year, as well as the number of cases where face-to-face assistance was provided, and ultimately where complete settlements were achieved. Where settlements do not occur, and written decisions are imposed on the parties, the number of requests for clarification and/or reconsideration of such decisions is a measure of their quality, i.e., that they are easily understandable, and provide clear rationale supporting the ultimate outcome. In FY 1999, in only two of the 33 written panel decisions did a party request clarification and/or reconsideration. Another measure of the quality of its written decisions is the number of times the Authority overturns a Panel decision on legal grounds on appeal from an employer. There were no such instances in FY 1999. These measures of the quality of the services it performs are in addition to the Panel checklist developed to ensure the quality of its initial investigations of requests for assistance.
|Performance Goal: Issue new Unfair Labor Practice regulations for pre-complaint activities that improve effectiveness and timeliness of investigations of violations, encourage dispute resolution through the use of ADR, and are user-friendly.||Actual Performance: Met the Goal -- New Unfair Labor Practice regulations for pre-complaint activities were issued and implemented on November 30, 1998.|
Performance Analysis: This goal was met. The goal was developed and implemented by OGC.
The new ULP regulations for pre-complaint activities were issued and implemented on November 30, 1998, and are applicable to any ULP charge pending or filed after January 1999. The purpose of these regulations is to facilitate dispute resolution and to simplify, clarify and improve the processing of ULP charges.
The OGC issued a Federal Register notice of proposed rule making on August 24, 1998, to revise the regulations regarding prevention, resolution, and investigation of unfair labor practice (ULP) disputes. Prior to adoption of the final rules, a series of meetings was conducted across the country to solicit input from FLRA customers. After considering all comments received, OGC issued final regulations on November 30, 1998, which became effective January 1, 1999. The revised regulations codify and integrate the use of alternative dispute resolution services in resolving ULP cases. The entire package is to assist labor and management in developing collaborative relationships and to provide dispute resolution services.
The OGC also conducted internal training for staff, and external training for labor and management representatives regarding effective use of the case handling procedures and the ADR processes set forth in the regulations. In May 1999, OGC held an all-employee ULP Investigatory Training Conference that focused on developing employees' investigatory skills, and introducing employees to additional investigatory methods and the revised ULP regulations. The OGC also developed an Unfair Labor Practice Case Handling Manual that addresses the prevention, resolution, and investigation of unfair labor practice disputes. The ULP Case Handling Manual provides operational and procedural guidance to both OGC staff and the parties. This Manual is being offered for sale by the Government Printing Office and is available on the FLRA web site.
|Performance Goal: Issue new negotiability regulations that improve advocacy and adjudication, are user-friendly, encourage ADR, and simplify and clarify the process.||Actual Performance: Met the Goal -- New negotiability regulations were issued and became effective April 1, 1999.|
Performance Analysis: This goal was met. The goal was developed and implemented by the Authority.
The Authority completed the revision of its negotiability regulations in FY 1999; the final regulations became effective April 1, 1999. The revisions reflect the Authority's goal of improving and expediting negotiability proceedings. Significant aspects of the regulations include: 1) post-petition conferences designed to narrow and clarify issues; 2) revision of procedures to enable the Authority to resolve all aspects of a dispute, if necessary; and 3) clarification of the responsibilities of each party.
The Authority initiated the negotiability regulation revision process in FY 1998 by establishing a task force to study and evaluate the policies and procedures concerning negotiability proceedings then in effect. The task force convened meetings with interested parties and requested public comment. After the proposed regulations were published, the Authority held additional meetings to receive comments on its proposed revision. The Authority incorporated into the final regulations many of the suggestions offered during the revision process.
As part of its implementation plan, the Authority also conducted extensive training to assist parties in understanding their responsibilities under the revised regulations. Prior to the effective date of the regulations, training seminars were conducted with union and management officials in Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, DC. Additional outreach was provided upon request to individual agencies and unions. In total, Authority staff conducted 15 training sessions on the regulations in FY 1999. To further assist parties, the Authority developed a printed guide, as well as a training video on the new regulations. The Authority also provided training to FLRA staff on the regulations prior to their effective date. In the first six months under the new procedures, preliminary numbers show that, after Authority involvement, 33 percent of the cases filed under the new regulations, and not dismissed for procedural reasons, were quickly resolved by the parties and, therefore, withdrawn.