The FLRA is responsible for administering the federal government's labor-relations program.  As part of that responsibility, the FLRA may assist in resolving any matter related to the representation of employees, including conducting union elections and deciding which employees will be included in the unit of employees that a union represents (the “bargaining unit”).

Representation cases most often involve one of the following:

  • Elections:  A union seeking to represent a group of federal employees may file a petition for an election.  If the petitioner can establish a "showing of interest" and meet other requirements, the FLRA will conduct an election to determine if employees in an appropriate unit wish to be represented for collective-bargaining purposes by the union.
  • Clarifications of Unit:  The FLRA also determines which employees are included in  the "bargaining unit," such that they are eligible for union representation.  For example, employees properly classified as "management officials" or "confidential employees" are excluded from bargaining units.  If there is a dispute about whether an employee, or group of employees, is part of the bargaining unit, an agency or union can petition the FLRA to resolve the dispute. 
  • Consolidations of Units:  Unions or agencies may petition to consolidate two or more bargaining units in an agency.
  • Decertifications:  Employees already represented by a union may petition the FLRA to be represented by another union or to be unrepresented. 

For more information about any of the above actions and other types of representation matters, please see our Representation Resources page or contact your Regional Office

File a case

To start a representation case, you must first file a petition with a Regional Office.  Regional Offices may help resolve the petition, direct an election, or hold hearings and issue a Decision and Order.  A party who is not satisfied with a Regional Director’s Decision may file an application for review with the Authority by submitting it to the Office of Case Intake and Publication within 60 days.  If you are ready to file a petition or an application for review, click here.