U.S. Federal Labor Relations Authority

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Collaboration and Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (CADRO)

What we do

CADRO creates value by helping agencies and unions more effectively perform their mission, improve quality of work life, and mend labor-management relationships.  

CADRO training and facilitation services help prevent problems from arising, help parties more effectively make important decisions and solve difficult problems when they arise, and help parties develop and maintain constructive, collaborative relationships.  

CADRO intervention and dispute-resolution services offer parties an informal, voluntary, and confidential way to minimize risks and increase opportunities to successfully resolve arbitration exceptions, negotiability disputes, post‑complaint unfair-labor-practice (ULP) cases pending before FLRA Administrative Law Judges, collective bargaining matters, and other workplace disputes.  

Email the CADRO staff at CADRO@flra.gov or call (202) 218-7933 to request assistance or information.


Arbitration Exceptions and Negotiability Appeals

Arbitration Exceptions.  Federal agencies and unions can appeal final arbitration awards to the FLRA on specific, narrow grounds.  These appeals are called "exceptions."  See the Authority's Guide to Arbitration.  At any point during the exceptions process, the parties can voluntarily agree to use CADRO assistance to resolve the exceptions.

Negotiability Appeals.  Federal-sector unions can file a negotiability appeal with the FLRA to challenge an agency's claim that the union's proposals are contrary to law, rule, or regulation, or an agency head's disapproval of negotiated contract language. See the Authority's Guide to Negotiability.  At any point after the union files its negotiability appeal, the parties can voluntarily agree to use CADRO assistance to resolve the negotiability disputes and related bargaining-obligation disputes.  And most parties do.

Under the CADRO umbrella, a team of FLRA process and substance experts help parties voluntarily resolve about 200 legal questions per year that arise in arbitration exceptions and negotiability appeals.  The CADRO team helps parties identify the issues that must be resolved, assess the strengths and weaknesses of their case, explore possible solutions, and usually resolve the case in a mutually agreeable manner.  They most often do so using a quicker, less costly, and less risky approach than the litigation that brought them to the FLRA.  At the election of the parties, they also can go beyond the legal questions and solve the underlying problems that litigation often ignores.  

Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) Settlement Judge Program

The CADRO Director serves as the settlement official for most cases in which parties elect to utilize the FLRA's Settlement Judge Program.  

After the General Counsel issues a ULP complaint, and the Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ) sets a hearing date, the General Counsel, a union, or an agency representative can ask the OALJ to assign a settlement official to help resolve the case. The settlement official will schedule a settlement conference with the parties, usually prior to the filing of prehearing disclosures.  During the conference, the settlement official helps the parties explore ways to reach a negotiated resolution to the case.  For this reason, the settlement official normally requires that the representative for each party be present at the settlement conference and that persons with full settlement authority be present or available by telephone. 

The settlement official does not discuss any aspect of the case with the hearing Judge.  Section 2423.25(d) of the Authority’s Regulations describes the Settlement Judge Program and provides that no evidence regarding statements, conduct, offers of settlement, and concessions of the parties made in proceedings before the settlement official are admissible in any proceeding before the OALJ or the Authority, except by stipulation of the parties.

Custom Training Services

Some of the most important work performed by the CADRO staff is to help labor and management representatives acquire the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to grow healthy workplace relationships, prevent workplace problems from interfering with the mission and quality of work life, and solve problems without third-party intervention.  

With rare exception, CADRO only offers its training services jointly to labor and management.  But, due to Congressional mandate, the FLRA cannot accept reimbursement for services from a non-federal source.  So management bears solely any out-of-pocket costs.

CADRO training services include:

  • Labor-Management Relations (LMR) Assessment and Action Planning
  • LMR Repair & Improvement
  • Labor-Management Collaboration and Interest-Based Problem Solving (IBPS) 
  • ​Other types of training are available from other FLRA offices and through the FLRA's online resources.  See the Training Page on this website. 

Facilitation Services

Facilitation is a process in which someone with no stake in the outcome -- a facilitator -- helps participants to accomplish goals by managing group processes.  

Facilitators offer structure, and help participants to develop ground rules and remain focused.  As needed, facilitators manage discussion, group dynamics, conflict, communication, problem solving, and decision-making processes.  Effective facilitators always allow participants to determine content and make the decisions.

CADRO offers facilitation services during joint meetings of federal agencies and unions, including: 

  • Labor-Management Forums
  • Problem Solving & Decision Making Sessions
  • Leadership Meetings
  • Collective Bargaining  

Contact information

For more information, contact CADRO at CADRO@flra.gov or (202) 218-7933.