Entering the 21st Century - "FLRA 20 Years 1979 - 1999"

"The Federal Labor Relations Authority [aims to fulfill] its mission by enforcing and clarifying the law through sound, timely decisions and policies; using fast, simple processes to conduct its business; providing high quality training and education programs and furnishing effective intervention services; and administering its resources to ensure that services are responsive to the unique needs of its customers." (FLRA Strategic Plan)


      In 1995, the independent components of the FLRA met together for the first time to adopt a unified mission statement and begin to develop a 5-year strategic plan. This initiative was undertaken because such planning was seen as central to an effective organization, and in anticipation of the September 30, 1997 effective date of the Government Performance and Results Act, which requires all agencies to develop multi-year strategic plans. The FLRA's initial plan was refined in 1996, and organizational performance goals and measures are set on an annual basis. These, in turn, are translated into individual goals that serve as the foundation for FLRA's performance management plan. The FLRA Strategic Plan has been cited by the Office of Management and Budget as a model for other small agencies, and was commended by the Senate Committee Report accompanying the FY 1998 Treasury, General Government and Postal Appropriations Bill. The link to performance management was endorsed as a "best practice" by the Association of Government Accountants in 1999.


      As the FLRA looks back over its first 20 years and forward into the next century, it is guided by the four goals set forth in its strategic plan: (1) to consistently provide high quality services that timely resolve disputes in the Federal labor-management relations community; (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; (3) to maintain FLRA internal systems and processes to support a continually improving, highly effective and efficient organization with the flexibility to meet program needs; and (4) to develop FLRA human resources to ensure a continually improving, highly effective and efficient organization with the flexibility to meet program needs.


      More specifically, program plans for the FLRA's 21st year place an emphasis on increased productivity, improved timeliness and reduced backlog. In addition, initiatives anticipated include reviewing the process for resolving exceptions to arbitration awards, and a continued focus on mainstreaming collaborative dispute resolution.


      The centerpiece of this blueprint is resolving disputes and improving relationships in the Federal labor-management relations community -- achieving the "... stable, constructive labor-management relations that contribute to a more effective Government" that is the guiding mission of the FLRA.


      The FLRA has evolved since it opened its doors on January 1, 1979. However, it has always aimed to chart a course that is true to the purposes stated by Congress when it enacted the Statute. The same deliberate attention applied to meeting the challenges in its first 20 years will stand the FLRA in good stead to meet the challenges of the future.