U.S. Federal Labor Relations Authority

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Policy Statements

In order to promote clarity in federal sector labor-management relations, the Federal Labor Relations Authority periodically issues general statements of policy or guidance. These are known as “Policy Statements.”  The procedures under which the Authority issues Policy Statements  are set forth in part 2427 of the Authority’s regulations (5 C.F.R. §§ 2427.1-2427.5).

Listed below are all of the Authority’s Policy Statements that are currently in effect, as well as the Authority’s decisions denying requests for Policy Statements.

The Authority's Policy Statements are being published in this single, searchable, indexed database in compliance with Executive Order 13892.

Policy Description




Question:  Section 7115(a) -- When written dues assignments in effect on January 11, 1979, may be terminated through revocations by the employees concerned.

Answer:  Section 7115(a) does not apply in those situations where the parties to an existing collective bargaining agreement have mutually agreed in substance to renew or continue the six-month intervals for the revocation of dues assignments.  The 1-year period applies where a labor organization or an agency objects to such a renewal or continuation; and such 1-year period begins to run from:  (1) the ending date of the preceding six-month interval during which the employee could have revoked his/her dues authorization; or (2) the date on which the employee authorized dues withholding.




Question: What is the scope of the negotiated grievance procedures in existing agreements.

Answer:  Section 7121 -- Does not apply in situations where the parties to an existing agreement containing grievance procedures negotiated under section 13 of the Order wish to maintain those negotiated grievance procedures.  However, where either party to an existing negotiated grievance object to the renewal or continuation of the existing negotiated grievance procedures, section 7121 requires that the parties renegotiate the scope of their grievance procedures in compliance with the provisions of that section.





Question:  (1) Whether employees who are on official time under section 7131 while representing an exclusive representative in the negotiation of a collective bargaining agreement are entitled to payments from agencies for their travel and per diem expenses; and (2) whether the official time provisions of section 7131(a) encompass all negotiations between an exclusive representative and an agency, regardless of whether such negotiations pertain to the negotiation or renegotiation of a basic collective bargaining agreement.

Answer:  Yes.  In addition, agreements existing on January 11, 1979, may be renewed or continued if the parties desire.  Any objection by either party prevents the continuation or renewal of those agreement provisions under section 7135(a)(1).




Question:  Whether a group of FMCS mediators are precluded from being determined to be an appropriate bargaining unit under the exclusion of Section7112(b)(4).

Answer:  Questions relating to the appropriateness of units should be resolved through the appropriate procedures.  Request for a policy statement was not granted.  See also, 9-RO-14.




Question:  What is the effect of the Act on several inconsistent provisions of existing agreements.

Answer:  This question could be resolved through the appropriate procedures, i.e., ULP procedures.  Request for a major policy determination was not granted.




Question:  Does the employer have an obligation to bargain at the demand of the exclusive representative on a mandatory subject for bargaining during the term of an agreement.

Answer:  This matter can be more appropriately resolved by other means, i.e., ULP procedure.  Request for a general statement of policy or guidance was denied.




Question:  Request for clarification of 0-PS-1 regarding the revocation of written dues assignments under section 7115(a).

Answer:  Request for a general statement of policy or guidance was denied.  The questions presented can more appropriately be resolved by other means, i.e., negotiability or ULP procedures.




Question:  How will the parties to a collective bargaining agreement achieve enforcement of a binding arbitration award under section 7121(B)(3)(c); and will the Authority entertain petitions for enforcement and issue a final order which is enforceable in federal court under section 7123(b).

Answer:  An arbitration award to which no exception has been filed does not constitute an "order of the Authority" under section 7123(b).  Questions concerning clarification or interpretation of the Arbitrator's award arising in connection with compliance can be addressed by the Arbitrator or the parties may jointly submit the question of compliance to arbitration for resolution.  Failure to comply with an Arbitrator's decision may also be processed under the ULP procedures.  Request for a major policy determination was denied.




Question:  The propriety of an agency recouping an amount equal to union dues erroneously deducted from a supervisor's pay.

Answer:  The matter raised can be more appropriately be resolved by other means; that is, ULP procedures.  Request for a major policy determination was denied.




Question:  What is impact of Agency determination that an employee is a supervisor or management official under"merit pay" provisions of the CSRA on determining under5 U.S.C. § 7112 the employee's inclusion in, or exclusion from, a unit of exclusive recognition?

Answer:  No impact.




Question:  Whether employees who are on official time under 5 U.S.C. § 7131(d) while representing a Union areentitled to travel and per diem expenses from their agencies.

Answer:  The matter raised can be more appropriately be resolved by other means; that is, negotiability procedures.  Request for a major policy determination was denied.




Question:  Whether an Agency is required to maintain the status quo when the exclusive representative appeals the Agency's determination that a proposal is nonnegotiable pursuant to section 7117.

Answer:  Where an Agency engaged in negotiations allegedly takes unilateral action to alter the status quo and fails to meet its obligation to bargain in good faith, the ULP procedures provide an appropriate mechanism to resolve issues of fact and law.  The request for a major policy determination was denied.




Question:  Whether or not a bargained-for privilege in a collective bargaining agreement covering certain employees can be extended by the Comptroller General to include employees not included in the unit covered by the agreement.

Answer:  ULP's provide a more flexible mechanism for the adjudication of issues of fact with respect to the alleged consequences resulting from the Comptroller General's ruling.  The request for a general statement of policy or guidance was denied.




Question:  Whether appeals of adverse actions involving the National Guard technicians must be excluded fromcoverage of negotiated grievance procedures.

Answer:  This question can more appropriately be resolved under the procedures in section 7117 and part 2424 of the Authority's Regulations.  Request for a major policy determination was denied.




Question:  Whether an employee of an agency who is not in the same bargaining unit for which a collective bargaining contract is being negotiated can be granted official time for representation of an exclusive bargaining unit within the agency.

Answer:  This question could be resolved through the ULP procedure.  Request for a statement of policy or guidance was denied.




Question:  How does the Authority view, define, interpret critical terms in 5 U.S.C. § 7103(a)(11) (definition of "management official")?

Answer:  Refer to 7 FLRA No. 24 (1981).  In that case, the Authority, based upon a detailed discussion of the intent of the Statute as reflected in its language, legislative history, and purposes, interpreted critical terms in § 7103(a)(11) and then applied the definition of management official to the facts of the case.






Question:  Does 5 U.S.C. § 7119 authorize the Federal Service Impasses Panel to resolve obligation to bargainissues?

Answer:  No.  The Panel's authority under § 7119(c)(5)(A)(ii) and (B)(iii) to assist the parties in resolving an impasse through whatever methods or procedures the Panel considers appropriate does not include:  (1) resolving negotiability disputes which arise during the collective bargaining process; and (2) resolving questions concerning the underlying obligation to bargain.

Note:  Order Denying Motion to Clarify issued.




Question:  Does the Federal Service Impasses Panel have the authority to require the parties to maintain the status quo and bargain where there is no obligation to bargain?  Alternatively, must the assertion of noduty to bargain first be reaffirmed or denied by theAuthority?

Answer:  In this forum, no answer.  The unfair labor practice procedure is the proper means to address the questions.




Question:  What courses of action are open to an Agency when, in the face of an allegation of nonnegotiability, a Union declines to file a petition for review, but continues to insist in impasse proceedings that the disputed proposal be included in the labor agreement?

Answer:  In this forum, no answer.  The guidance sought by the Agency is provided by existing Authority precedentas listed.




Question:  Is an Agency head authorized to review and approve or disapprove provisions imposed upon the parties by the Federal Service Impasses Panel in resolution of an impasse?  If so, under what procedures may an exclusive representative obtain review of such action?

Answer:  Yes, an Agency head is authorized to review and approve or disapprove all provisions of collective bargaining agreements.  An exclusive representative may obtain review of such action either through the pro-cedures for determining negotiability under 5 U.S.C.§ 7117, or through the unfair labor practice procedures under 5 U.S.C. § 7118.




Question:  Is there any limitation to the General Counsel's power to enter into unilateral informal settle-ment agreements in cases where there has been an alleged violation of 5 U.S.C. § 7116(b)(7) concerning a strike, work stoppage, or slowdown, or picketing of an Agency in a labor-management dispute?

Answer:  No.  The General Counsel, through his or her Regional Directors, clearly possesses the authority to informally settle all allegations of unfair labor practices where the offered settlement will effectuate the purposes and policies of the Statute.




Question:  Does 5 U.S.C. § 7119 authorize the Federal Service Impasses Panel to direct parties to use binding Interest arbitration to resolve their impasses?

Answer:  Yes, refer to 31 FLRA No. 94 (1988).




Question:  Is there a duty on the part of an agency to continue to cooperate with impasse proceedings if a question concerning representation arises following the Panel's assertion of jurisdiction over an impasse?

Answer:  In this forum, no answer.  The Panel's request for a general ruling denied because the record developed as a result of the Panel's request did not provide an adequate basis to determine, in the context of a general ruling, the full spectrum of parties' rights and obligations regarding bargaining during pendency of a QCR (question concerning representation).  Indeed, the nature and extent of such rights and obligations may well depend on the facts and circumstances of particular cases.




Question:  Are matters and proposals which are within the bargaining subjects set forth in Section 710~(b) (1) of the Statute negotiable at the election of agency management at the level of exclusive recognition even though those matters and proposals also may be within the subjects set forth in section 7106(a) of the Statute  

Answer: The issue involved in the General Counsel's request is not appropriate for resolution through the issuance of a general Ruling, so the request was denied. The issue involved in the General Counsel's request is addressed by the Authority in its decision in National Association of Government Employees, Local R5-184 and U. S .Department of Veterans Affairs. Medical Center. Lexington, Kentucky, 51 FLRA No . 36 (1995).




Question:  Does an agency have an obligation to bargain at the demand of the exclusive representative on a mandatory subject of bargaining that is not covered by an existing agreement during the term of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA)?

Answer:  We find this request to be dependent upon the circumstances of the parties and the agreement language at issue, so much so, that this issue of law and policy may be developed more fully in the context of an actual dispute between actual parties.  Accordingly, any policy statement or guidance issued by the Authority would be unlikely to prevent the proliferation of future cases.  Therefore, the Authority denied this request.