U.S. Federal Labor Relations Authority

Search form

Unfair Labor Practice

What is an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP)?

The Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) protects federal employees’ rights to organize, bargain collectively, and participate in labor organizations of their choosing – and to refrain from doing so.  A ULP is conduct by agencies or unions that violates rights that the Statute protects or the rules that it establishes.

You can find more detailed information about the various ULPs and filing and responding to a ULP charge on our ULP Resources page.  Also, check out our frequently asked questions about the ULP-charge process.  If you are ready to file, click here

Employee Rights

Employees covered by the Statute have the right to form, join, or assist a union, or to refrain from such activity, without reprisal, including the right to:

  • Organize, or attempt to organize, a union in the workplace
  • Act as a union representative
  • Seek union assistance
  • File or pursue a grievance
  • Refuse to form, join, or assist a union
  • Be fairly represented by their union

Agency ULPs

An agency commits a ULP when it violates rights that the Statute protects.  Examples include:

  • Threatening an employee that her career would not go much further if she proceeded with her grievance
  • Transferring an employee to an undesirable job because she filed a ULP charge
  • Eliminating employees’ compressed work schedules without giving their union notice and an opportunity to bargain over the change
  • Refusing to grant an employee’s request for a union representative during an investigatory (Weingarten) interview, when the employee reasonably fears discipline  

Union ULPs

A union commits a ULP when it violates rights that the Statute protects.  Examples include:

  • Refusing to process a grievance because an employee is not a union member
  • Threatening an employee for filing a ULP charge
  • Refusing to negotiate in good faith with an agency
  • Calling, participating in, or supporting a strike, work stoppage, or slowdown