FLRA GENERAL COUNSEL ISSUES GUIDANCE ON INVESTIGATING, DECIDING AND RESOLVING INFORMATION DISPUTES

 

FLRA NEWS


FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY · WASHINGTON, DC · 20424

January 5, 1996 · PR 101-96
Contact: Helenann Hirsch
202-482-6500

FLRA GENERAL COUNSEL ISSUES GUIDANCE ON INVESTIGATING, DECIDING AND RESOLVING INFORMATION DISPUTES

FLRA General Counsel Joseph Swerdzewski today issued guidance to FLRA Regional Directors on investigating, deciding and resolving information disputes. The guidance is part of a series issued by the Office of General Counsel to strengthen customer service.

"Questions concerning what information a union may properly receive from an agency and, on the other hand, what information an agency may properly withhold from a union, constitute a good part of the unfair labor practice disputes in the federal service," General Counsel Swerdzewski said when issuing the guidance. "The guidance offers some practical guidelines on making and responding to requests for information and on using alternative dispute resolution techniques to resolve these information disputes without litigation. In those cases that go to litigation, the guidance helps ensure quick and effective resolution of the disputes on the merits, " said Swerdzewski.

The General Counsel's Memorandum to Regional Directors concerns the duty of an agency to furnish information to a union under section 7114(b)(4) of the Federal Service Labor Management Relations Statute. It focuses primarily on two recent cases decided by the Authority in the area. The Memorandum first discusses how unions and agencies can follow the new approaches to information requests set forth by these recent Authority cases. It includes sample request and response forms for use by labor and management. It also provides guidance on how Regional Directors can help unions and agencies, and how unions and agencies can help themselves, in narrowing and resolving disputes over information requests, without engaging in time consuming and costly litigation. A sample issue analysis form is included to assist the parties in resolving their information dispute prior to filing an unfair labor practice charge.

The Office of the General Counsel is the independent investigative and prosecutorial component of the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) which investigates, settles and prosecutes unfair labor practice charges. The Regional Directors, under the direction of the General Counsel, make the initial determination whether to issue an unfair labor practice complaint. The General Counsel periodically issues guidance to the Regional Directors on how to process and resolve unfair labor practice disputes. The Authority is the three-member adjudicatory body within the FLRA which, among other things, decides