The OGC encourages parties to voluntarily resolve their disputes at all stages of the ULP process. Once a charge is filed, the assigned Regional agent will field ADR requests and may initiate settlement discussions him/herself. Each case is different and the likelihood of settlement can depend on the merits of the charge and the willingness of the parties to compromise.
- Even if no charge has been filed, you can contact the Regional Director for your area and request ADR services such as training or intervention.
- Once a charge has been filed, the assigned agent is a neutral investigator and can help the parties reach a voluntary resolution. For example, the agent can discuss the merits of the charge with each party, facilitate discussions, and draft terms for a private settlement if necessary. These efforts can lead to ULP charge withdrawals, or novel settlements that benefit both parties.
- If, after an investigation, the Regional Director determines a charge has merit, settlement efforts continue. Before issuing a complaint, the Region will explore opportunities for settlement, which can include a private agreement, or an agreement approved by the Regional Director and monitored for compliance.
- After the Region issues a complaint and notice of hearing, settlement is still an option. Depending on the situation, the Region might require an approved agreement (subject to compliance) and traditional remedies (such as a notice posting). At this stage, the Region might request assistance from the Collaboration and Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (CADRO).
Parties have entered into numerous novel settlement agreements to resolve pending ULP cases. We will update this page periodically whenever an interesting settlement is obtained. The parties are not identified to maintain confidentiality.
Regional Agent Facilitates Agreement Between the Parties to Return to the Status Quo
The Union filed a ULP charge alleging that the Agency vioilated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) when it unilaterallyy began assigning janitorial and custodial duties to bargaining unit employees. The evidence showed that the unit employees at issue worked in the IT department. The charge alleged that they were assigned janitorial and custodial duties including taking the trash out to the dumpsters and cleaning the bathrooms and mopping of floors. The Regional Agent facilitated the parties' agreement whereby the Agency agreed to return to the status quo and to provide notice and bargain with the Union before implementing this change in conditions of employment or other future changes that impact unit employees. (12/16)
Parties Agree to Provide Guidance on Meetings to Managers and Supervisors
The Agency understood the meaning of a "bypass" under the Statute and that it cannot deal directly with unit employees concerning grievances filed by unions representing the employees. The Agency agreed to distribute, by email, the OGC's Guidance on Meetings to management and supervisors and directed them to read it, with particular emphasis on the section concerning an unlawful bypass. By signing the agreement, the Union agreed to withdraw the ULP charge. (8/16)
Regional Agent Facilitates Private Settlement Between Parties on Lunch and Learn Meeting
The Region's agent facilitated the parties' private settlement in which the Agency agreed to allow the Union to hold a lunch and learn meeting about grievances and grievance procedures for bargaining unit employees. The parties agreed that the Agency will provide a meeting space and a one-hour time frame for interested unit employees to attend the meeting on their lunch break. In addition, the Agency will provide a conference line for a unit employee to dial in to the meeting. The parties also agreed that the Agency will remind managers and supervisors about this agreement between the parties cannot resolve grievance directly with unit employees who are represented by the Union. (4/16)
In a Party Settlement after an ALJ issued an Award
After a trial and the ALJ's finding that the Agency violated the Statute by failing to comply with an arbitrator's award, the parties reached a settlement. After the Agency filed exceptions to the award, they settled the matter and the Union agreed to withdraw the charge. Rather than place the grievant-employee into the position that the award required he be placed into, the grievant-employee agreed to retire from the agency and, in consideration, he received backpay plus interest from the time that he should have been placed in the position (January 2012) until his retirement. In addition, the Agency paid the grievant-employee a lump sum of $290,000 in full settlement of all other pending complaints in other forums. (12/16)
Parties Agreeto Settle a Unilateral Change Case
After the RD issued a complaint alleging a statutory unilateral change violation, the parties agreed to settle the case. The Agency agreed to reissue a Directive without a certain provision requiring employees to stand up while speaking to travelers and to observe suspicious activity. The Agency agreed to give notice and an opportunity to bargain should it decide to implement the provision in the future. (8/16)
Parties Agree to Bargain over Procedures and Appropriate Arrangements related to Installation of Video Cameras
The Regional agent facilitated a private settlement agreement where they agreed to bargain over procedures and appropriate arrangements related to the installation of video cameras in government vehicles. During the pilot phase, the Agency agreed not to discipline any employee as a result of an incident filmed by a camera. The Agency agreed to post a Notice acknowledging its duty to bargain. (4/16)
Parties Agreed in a MOU to recalculate Element on Timeliness Standard in Performance Review
The agency unilaterally changed the review period on the Post-Endorsement Technical Review (PETR) assignment folder cover sheet from ten working days to ten calendar days. The parties settled the case and the union withdrew the matter. The parties entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with a Notice. The parties agreed to recalculate Element 5 on the 2015 performance reviews for each employee in the affected office to reflect a timeliness standard of ten working days to complete a PETR, and re-rate those employees. Second, if the change in Element 5 results in an overall higher rating for the employee, that employee would be given a time off award. Third, the union was given access to the data used to make the timeliness calculations. And fourth, the parties agreed to conduct a group performance planning meeting with all affected staff to discuss the timely completion of PETR’s. (8/16)
Parties Agree not to Require Nursing Mothers to perform firearms qualifications and to Carry Firearms
Before May 2014, nursing mothers were not required to perform firearms qualifications or perform duties that necessitated carrying a gun. In October 2014, the Union learned that the Agency was attempting to change the practice so the Union requested to bargain and subsequently met with the management. The parties discussed options and the Agency agreed not to implement any changes until the parties reached an agreement as to a policy. But, in May 2015, before completing negotiations, the Agency implemented the change–and offered accommodations not previously discussed or negotiated with the Union.
The Region found that the change was more than de minimis since employees were required to perform tasks that exposed them to lead and forced them to either stop breast feeding their babies or risk lead exposure to their infants. See e.g. Dep’t of Def., Air Force, Air Force Logistics Ctr., Tinker AFB, Okla., 25 FLRA 914, 917 (1987) (Authority found change that increased possible health hazards was more than de minimis.) The Region rejected Respondent’s claim that any established past practice was superseded by three nationally-negotiated polices—Use of Force, Temporary Light Duty, and Lactation Support Program. The Region concluded that these policies did not specifically address nursing mothers, and therefore, did not prove the practice was changed or that the Union waived its right. The Union counsel testified that nursing mothers were not discussed during the negotiations.
The parties resolved the matter with a Settlement Agreement. Respondent agreed not to require nursing mothers to perform firearms qualifications and carry firearms if a nursing mother makes a request accompanied by medical documentation or certification restricting their exposure to firearms due to potential lead exposure. The nursing mothers might be required to provide updated medical documentation or certification after six months. Respondent agreed to abide by the agreement until the parties at the national level reach an agreement that supersedes this one. (8/16)
Parties Agree to Bargain over Union Impact and Implementatoin of Changes to Advancement Qualifications
The Regional Director issued a complaint alleging the Agency violatied of section 7116(a)(1, (2) and (5) when it failed to give the Union notice and opportunity to bargain the implementation of a new advancement qualification policy for wage-grade pipefitters; retaliated against the employees for contacting the Union about the new policy; and commented that the employees would not be promoted because the Union got involved. Post complaint, the Region assisted the parties in reaching a bilateral settlement agreement. The Agency agreed to retroactively promote two bargaining employees with backpay and interest; to post and distribute electronically a Notice to All Employees; and to bargain with the Union over the impact and implementation of any changes to advancement qualifications. (12/16)