U.S. Federal Labor Relations Authority

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United States Department of Agriculture (Petitioner)

71 FLRA No. 86                                                                                                                                                                













December 13, 2019




Before the Authority:  Colleen Duffy Kiko, Chairman, and

Ernest DuBester and James T. Abbott, Members


  1.              Statement of the Case


                Pursuant to § 2427.2 of the Authority’s Regulations,[1] the Petitioner requests that the Authority issue a general statement of policy or guidance regarding the Federal Service Impasses Panel’s (the Panel’s) mandatory authority to respond to a request for assistance following parties’ use of alternative dispute resolution procedures in conjunction with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and other attempts to resolve an impasse.[2]  Specifically, the Petitioner asks us to issue guidance on the analysis used by the Panel to determine whether an impasse exists.[3]


II.            Background


                The Petitioner explains that its request was prompted by what it described as “dilatory tactics” employed by “some unions” that “needless[ly] delay” the resolution of impasses that have been submitted to the Panel.[4]  To address these concerns, the Petitioner asks the Authority to resolve three questions:


  1. What are the responsibilities of the Panel to ensure that a union does not use a ratification procedure to prevent agencies from exercising their statutory rights to impasse procedures?
  2. Can the Authority clarify when impasse is reached in the context of a failed ratification vote?
  3. Is an article that [the Panel] imposes subject to union ratification – even if the ground rules require a ratification vote on the entire agreement?[5]


III.          Discussion


                Upon careful consideration of the Petitioner’s request, we find that it is not appropriate for resolution through the issuance of a general ruling.[6]  These questions would most appropriately be addressed in the context of the facts and circumstances presented by parties involved in an actual dispute.[7]  Accordingly, we deny the request.[8]


IV.          Order


We deny the Petitioner’s request.



[1] 5 C.F.R. § 2427.2.

[2] Petitioner’s Request (Request) at 1.

[3] Id. at 5.

[4] Id. at 1, 5.

[5] Id. at 2.

[6] 5 C.F.R. § 2427.5.

[7] E.g., Gen. Counsel, 51 FLRA 409, 412 (1995) (citing Order Denying Request for Gen. Ruling, 14 FLRA 757, 758 (1984); Order Denying Request for a Gen. Ruling, 9 FLRA 823, 824 (1982)). 

[8] Chairman Kiko notes that while the parties may understandably experience frustration throughout the collective-bargaining experience, the Federal Service Labor‑Management Relations Statute provides avenues of redress, such as grievances, unfair‑labor-practice charges, and the like.  Parties may take advantage of these avenues as appropriate.