FLRA ADR Services: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?
ADR is an informal process that allows parties to discuss and develop their interests in order to resolve the underlying issues and problems in their relationship. The discussion is facilitated by a third party neutral who is there to ensure a productive dialogue. What are the benefits of using ADR in Labor-Management Relationships?
ADR allows everyone to have an active part in the decision-making process. Solutions are adopted by consensus, and reflect an understanding of the interests of all parties. As a result, the solutions are tailored to the needs of the participants.
ADR encourages creative, innovative solutions, moving away from the traditional win/lose results of adversarial proceedings.
ADR resolves disputes while preserving relationships, and thereby helps create a productive working environment.
What types of ADR services does the FLRA provide?
The services focus on alternatives to traditional case processing and formal dispute resolution.
The CADR program and the Office of the General Counsel's ADR services assist the parties both in preventing disputes before they become cases and in coming up with ways to informally resolve disputes in pending cases. This includes interest-based conflict resolution and intervention services in pending cases.
The CADR program also provides facilitation, training and education to help labor and management develop collaborative relationships.
The ultimate goal is to provide parties with the skills they need to do ADR on their own.
Are the FLRA ADR programs voluntary?
Where do the FLRA's ADR programs fit in the normal case processing?
The FLRA's Regulations for negotiability, arbitration, unfair labor practice, and representation cases ensure that parties have the opportunity to use ADR to resolve their cases. For example, in negotiability cases, during the post-petition conference, if the parties express interest in using ADR services, the case will be put on hold to give the parties time to get help from the CADR Office. In unfair labor practice cases, an ADR process is available that allows the parties to resolve the underlying dispute by facilitating a problem-solving approach, rather than having the Regional Office investigate the facts and determine the merits of the charge. For cases on their way to hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) settlement program is available for one more attempt at informal resolution.
Who provides ADR program services?
All of the FLRA components provide ADR program services.
The Office of the General Counsel (OGC) offers ADR services in unfair labor practice and representation cases, both before cases are filed and while they are pending. Through its Regional Offices and the OGC National Office the OGC provides facilitation, intervention, training and education services to agencies and unions. Many Regional Offices have a Regional Dispute Resolution Specialist who coordinates ADR services within the Region.
The ALJ's office has a settlement program for parties who have hearings pending before an ALJ.
The Federal Service Impasses Panel uses ADR techniques in resolving bargaining impasses.
TheCADR Office assists all FLRA components in the delivery of ADR services in cases and training sessions. Staff from the Authority Members' offices participate in interventions with CADRO staff in negotiability and other cases, offering facilitation to help the parties resolve their differences before the case is ruled on by the Authority.