Fiscal Year 1999 Annual Program Performance Report: FLRA Strategic Plan Goal 2

To effectively use and promote alternative methods of dispute resolution and avoidance to reduce the costs of conflict in the Federal labor-management relations community.

Summary: In order to accomplish the FLRA Strategic Plan Goal 2, FLRA established seven performance goals within its FY 1999 Annual Performance Plan. The FLRA met six, and partially met one of the performance goals.

The FY 1999 performance goals were implemented through the FLRA's Collaboration and Alternative Dispute Resolution (CADR) Program, which was established to promote alternative dispute resolution (ADR) efforts by integrating ADR into all of the FLRA's case processes. The CADR Program provides overall coordination and support for the FLRA's labor-management cooperation and ADR efforts. The program assists agencies and unions in improving their relationships, preventing disputes before they become cases and crafting ways to informally resolve disputes in pending cases. This includes interest-based conflict resolution and intervention services in pending unfair labor practice cases, representation cases, negotiability appeals, and impasse bargaining disputes. The CADR Program also provides facilitation, training and education services to help labor and management develop collaborative relationships. The CADR Office provides support and guidance for all types of ADR efforts and coordinates cross-component activities.

CADR program services are provided by all of the FLRA components -- the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) through the seven regional offices and OGC National Office; the Authority through the Office of the Administrative Law Judges (OALJ) and the CADR Office; and the Federal Service Impasses Panel.

During FY 1999, all FLRA components made considerable progress in furthering Strategic Plan Goal 2. The FLRA provided alternative dispute resolution (ADR) training, facilitation and education services to enable the parties to constructively manage their own workplace disputes. Intervention services were also offered and provided to successfully resolve pending ULP, representation, negotiability, and bargaining impasse disputes. A model program was established in OGC including an ADR Tool Kit designed to assist OGC employees in providing ADR services. Finally, FLRA designed a database to collect data on training and education to evaluate ADR services provided by FLRA staff. As one measure of the program success, FLRA was chosen as a semi-finalist for mainstreaming its CADR program -- one of 98 from a pool of 1,609 applicants -- in the Innovations in American Government Awards Program of the Ford Foundation and administered by Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in partnership with the Council for Excellence in Government.

The following describes the specific accomplishments related to each of these seven performance goals.
 

Performance Goal: To provide training, facilitation and intervention services to resolve pending disputes and to provide the parties with tools to constructively manage their workplace disputes.Actual Performance: Met the Goal - as described below in the Performance Analysis.

Performance Analysis: This goal was met. The goal was developed by all FLRA components, as part of the CADR Program, and implemented primarily by OGC, the Panel and the CADR Office.

This performance goal served a two-fold purpose in providing CADR services: 1) to resolve pending disputes; and 2) to provide parties with tools to constructively manage their workplace disputes. The services provided by the FLRA components included training on statutory issues, interest-based bargaining, partnership, alternative dispute resolution and relationship building. Additionally, assistance was given in dispute resolution in pending unfair labor practice, representation, bargaining impasse and negotiability disputes.

During FY 1999, FLRA, primarily through the OGC and its Senior Dispute Resolution Specialists in each regional office, conducted 269 training, facilitation and relationship building sessions for 14,875 participants in FY 1999. The OGC also provided 1387 case-related intervention services, and the CADR Office performed 17 negotiability case-related intervention sessions. The OALJ successfully settled 144 pending cases through its OALJ Settlement Program. The Panel provided face-to-face assistance in 65 cases in FY 1999, including initial investigations. Supplemented by telephone mediation, its efforts resulted in complete settlements in 60 of the 159 cases it closed during the fiscal year.

In one example of a difficult, but successful, intervention, the Panel Member resolved a dispute concerning numerous issues which arose during negotiations over an employer's proposed implementation of a pilot Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points Inspection Models Project, instituting new methods, including the staffing of inspection lines, for the prevention, control, and correction of food safety hazards in meat and poultry plants. A 3-day informal conference was conducted which ultimately resulted in a complete settlement of the parties' impasse. In addition to helping the parties avoid further costly litigation in other forums, such interventions serve to educate the parties in how to develop constructive labor-management relationships.

Additional highlights included: 1) CADR training sessions provided as part of FLRA's 20th Anniversary National Training Conferences; 2) 15 FLRA training sessions conducted to assist parties in understanding the new negotiability regulations; 3) several training sessions conducted at labor-relation conferences and seminars; and 4) numerous town hall meetings and breakfast meetings conducted by the OGC to provide the parties with guidance and information on OGC policies and processes, rights and obligations of labor and management under the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute, and case processing under the new ULP pre-complaint regulations. Additional guidance and policies, including the EEO Guidance and the Labor Relations Strategy Guidance, were issued by the General Counsel. These provided substantive information as well as approaches for parties to resolve disputes constructively without having to resort to litigation and to develop constructive labor-management relationships.

FLRA performance goals for FY 2000 and FY 2001 will continue to focus on providing training, facilitation and intervention services to resolve pending disputes, and to provide the parties with tools to constructively manage their workplace disputes. Beginning in FY 2000, the new ADR data base will collect information on ADR training and education services, and customer evaluations to assist in measuring actual performance.
 

Performance Goal: To provide ADR services in every negotiability case pending before the Authority.Actual Performance: Met the Goal - as described below in the Performance Analysis.

Performance Analysis: This goal was met as ADR services were offered to the parties in every negotiability case pending before the Authority. The goal was developed by the Authority component and implemented by the CADR Office.

During FY 1999, ADR services were offered in every negotiability case before the Authority. The parties accepted these services in 68% of the cases; and in 56% of these cases, the parties successfully settled. This is a considerable increase over FY 1997 when the parties accepted CADR services in negotiability cases in only 15% of the cases.

When a negotiability appeals case is filed, CADR Office staff members call both parties involved in the case to explain and offer ADR services. Under the new negotiability regulations, parties participate in post-petition conferences during which Authority staff members have a second opportunity to offer ADR services. During FY 1999, parties agreed to use ADR services in 29 cases. In 17 of these cases, the parties resolved their issues and the case was withdrawn. In the remaining 12 cases, CADR Office staff helped parties through telephone conferences clarify and narrow issues and communicate more effectively.

Based upon FY 1999 experience, FLRA has modified this goal for future years. The original purpose was to offer ADR services in every negotiability case pending before the Authority. In fact, ADR services are only provided when both parties voluntarily accept the services. Accordingly, the FY 2000 and FY 2001 goals have been modified to "offer and encourage the use of collaborative and alternative dispute resolution services in every negotiability case pending before the Authority." We will monitor the percentage of cases parties accept the services offered, and the reasons why parties accept and/or decline the services and settle cases.
 

Performance Goal: To provide ADR services in every ULP appeal pending before the OALJ.Actual Performance: Met the Goal - as described below in the Performance Analysis.

Performance Analysis: This goal was met as ADR services were offered in every unfair labor practice case pending before OALJ. The goal was developed and implemented by the Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ).

During FY 1998, new ULP regulations for litigation (post-complaint activities) were implemented which formalized the Settlement Judge Program and established the Pre-hearing Conference Program. In every case received by the OALJ, parties are advised that the OALJ Settlement Program is available to them. During FY 1999, the parties accepted these services in 63% of the cases; and in 81% of these cases, the parties successfully settled.

Both the Settlement Judge Program and the Pre-hearing Conference Program have helped parties narrow and focus issues. As a result of these efforts parties reach agreement on differences concerning witnesses, exhibits and facts, and often achieve full settlement. These programs have clearly helped parties reach settlement earlier in the process than they had previously. In FY 1999, only five cases were settled at hearing as compared to nine cases in FY 1998, 29 in FY 1997, and 59 in FY 1996. Resolving cases earlier saves time and money for all parties involved. As noted earlier, 144 cases were successfully settled through the OALJ programs.

Based upon FY 1999 experience, FLRA has modified this goal for future years. The original purpose was to offer ADR services in every unfair labor practice case pending before OALJ. As noted above, ADR services are only provided when both parties voluntarily accept the services. Accordingly, the FY 2000 and FY 2001 goals have been modified to "offer and encourage the use of collaborative and alternative dispute resolution services in every unfair labor practice appeal pending before the OALJ." We will monitor the percentage of cases parties accept the services offered, and the reasons why parties accept and/or decline the services and settle cases.
 

Performance Goal: To develop a model ADR program for use by Regional Offices.Actual Performance: Met the Goal - as described below in the Performance Analysis.

Performance Analysis: This goal was met. The goal was developed and implemented by the OGC with assistance from the CADR Office.

In its new pre-complaint unfair labor practice regulations, implemented November 30, 1998, OGC incorporated its ADR services program. Under this program, OGC promotes stable and productive Federal sector labor-management relationships by providing parties facilitation, intervention, training, and education programs both before, and after, a charge has been filed. These programs emphasize the need for a knowledge of labor law combined with an understanding of labor relations.

In conjunction with the implementation of the new regulations, OGC developed an Unfair Labor Practice Case Handling Manual (the ULP Manual) and an ADR Tool Kit for use by the regional offices. These resources are a model for regional office employees to promote and provide consistent, high quality ADR program services. The ULP Manual guides staff in preventing, resolving, processing, and investigating ULP charges and contains ADR program descriptions for OGC customers. It also incorporates and references the codification into the regulations of the OGC's ADR policies on facilitation, intervention, training, and education.

The ADR Tool Kit is a resource document that provides information, options and suggestions to assist OGC employees in delivering ADR programs. It includes materials on: 1) the OGC ADR program; 2) the principles of collaborative labor-management relationships; 3) the use of an interest-based problem-solving model to resolve labor-management relations disputes and improve relationships; and 4) the delivery of alternative dispute resolution services.

The OGC also conducted a training conference to ensure that all OGC professional employees are familiar with the policies and procedures in the ULP Manual, including specifically the ADR services, and the information contained in the Tool Kit.
 

Performance Goal: To increase the effectiveness of each program, and the services they provide, by evaluating each program and making appropriate changes.Actual Performance: Partially Met the Goal -- as described below in Performance Analysis.

Performance Analysis: This goal was partially met. The goal was developed and implemented by OGC and the CADR Office.

During FY 1999, substantial progress was made towards accomplishing the performance objective of increasing the effectiveness of each program through evaluation and implementation of appropriate changes. Comprehensive evaluation forms were developed to facilitate evaluation of program activity. These evaluation forms are distributed to participants in the ADR programs and then reviewed to determine program effectiveness. ADR programs are continuously reviewed and amended based on feedback from participants and FLRA providers.

In addition, substantial progress was made on developing an automated ADR services case tracking system designed to assist in evaluating the program. Consistent definitions were developed for training, intervention, facilitation and education services to standardize agency reports, increase accuracy of reporting and facilitate the evaluation of the effectiveness of services.

While much was achieved during FY 1999 in support of this performance goal, FLRA fell short of this goal due to delays in identifying, collecting and organizing ADR data. This delay was, in large part, due to the need to develop consistent definitions of the information to be collected.

During FY 2000, a fully developed ADR services database management system will be used to collect and assess data and to identify and implement necessary changes. When complete, this system will provide easier access to all data necessary to further analyze ADR activities. In FY 2000 and FY 2001, FLRA will use this ADR information system to continue to evaluate and determine the effectiveness of the ADR services.
 

Performance Goal: To develop and incorporate ADR services, consistent with the new negotiability regulations.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 component -- primarily through the CADR Office.

In order to accomplish this goal, FLRA took the following actions: 1) ensuring early intervention efforts by CADR Office staff in pending negotiability cases; 2) providing detailed information about the availability of CADR Office services in the Authority negotiability appeals regulations; and 3) including information on the availability of CADR Office services in forms and training materials on negotiability appeals.

To ensure that opportunities to use ADR are provided as early as possible, the Authority instituted a requirement that the CADR Office contacts parties to offer ADR intervention services prior to the post-petition conference (described below). If the parties agree to use CADR services, the post-petition conference is postponed pending the outcome of the CADR intervention.

The newly revised negotiability regulations include a post-petition conference to provide parties with an opportunity to further define, clarify and discuss the proposals. The conference provides the Authority with a clearer record on which to base its decision, if that becomes necessary. It also presents the parties with an opportunity to increase their understanding of the proposals and the interests behind the proposals. Since the conference allows parties to hear each other's perspectives, it also provides a forum for potential settlement discussions. If more extensive discussions appear useful, the parties are encouraged to use CADR services and the case may be suspended until an intervention is held.

Preliminary numbers show that after CADR involvement, one-third of the cases filed under the new regulations, and not dismissed for procedural reasons, were resolved by the parties and withdrawn.
 

Performance Goal: To develop and incorporate ADR services, consistent with the new ULP regulations for pre-complaint activity.Actual Performance: Met the Goal - as described below in Performance Analysis.

Performance Analysis: This goal was met. The goal was developed and implemented by OGC.

As noted above, OGC issued new ULP regulations for pre-complaint activities which were implemented on November 30, 1998. The purpose of these regulations is to facilitate dispute resolution and to simplify, clarify, and improve the processing of ULP charges at the pre-complaint stage.

The OGC conducted a week-long nationwide training conference for all OGC and CADR Office employees, which included training on applying ADR principles and programs contained in the new unfair labor practice pre-complaint regulations during the investigation of ULP charges. Regional office employees were also trained on applying interest based principles in investigations of ULP charges and how to use these principles in interventions consistent with the regulations.

The OGC developed a new ADR service described through issuance of a Guidance Memorandum to the Regional Directors on how to develop labor re