Guidance to the FLRA Regional Directors regarding Meetings under the FSLMR Statute on the General Counsel's Policy on the Rights and Obligations of Unions and Agencies in Meetings with Employees under the Statute (1/25/01 )

PR 101-01
January 25, 2001

Contact: Harold Kessler
202-482-6560

GENERAL COUNSEL ISSUES GUIDANCE ON MEETINGS UNDER THE FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS STATUTE - RIGHTS & OBLIGATIONS AND STRATEGIES TO AVOID CONFLICT

The General Counsel of the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA), Joseph Swerdzewski, today issued guidance to the FLRA Regional Directors regarding Meetings under the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (Statute). The Guidance discusses the General Counsel's policy on the rights and obligations of unions and agencies in meetings with employees under the Statute. The memorandum provides guidance on the types of situations where employees have a right to union representation and where unions have a right to be represented when agency representatives meet with bargaining unit employees. The Guidance also provides checklists for supervisors, union stewards, and employees to utilize to determine whether a particular situation gives rise to a right to representation. The Guidance also suggests strategies for the parties to employ to exercise their rights while avoiding conflict and disagreement over those rights.

"Meetings between agency officials and employees are common-day occurrence in the Federal workplace. Throughout the history of the Statute these meetings have consistently been the basis for unfair labor practice charges. By understanding when there is a right to union representation at a meeting between employees and an agency official, the Regions will be better suited to assist the parties in avoiding conflict over the exercise of those rights," said General Counsel Swerdzewski. " When the parties understand and appreciate the reason for these rights and the respective roles of the union and agency officials at meetings, the parties will be better suited to avoid disputes and unfair labor practices while accomplishing the purpose of the meetings."

The FLRA is an independent agency that administers the labor-management relations program for 1.9 million federal employees worldwide, 1.1 million of whom are exclusively represented in more than 2,200 bargaining units. It is charged with providing leadership in establishing policies and guidance related to Federal sector labor-management relations and with resolving disputes under and ensuring compliance with the Statute. The Office of the General Counsel is the independent investigative and prosecutorial component of the FLRA which processes unfair labor practice charges and representation petitions through the Regional Offices, and assists parties in improving their labor-management relationship. The