Federal Labor Relations Authority beefs up training efforts

The Federal Labor Relations Authority plans to hold 14 training sessions nationwide as a first step toward reviving its labor relations education program.

"There's been a whole generation of practitioners we've missed, in terms of just regular training," said Julia Clark, FLRA's general counsel. "We understand that the parties, both agencies and unions, had stopped coming to our agency because we weren't providing the kind of effective dispute resolution assistance that they really needed. They're coming back, and we want to fill that void. It seems that the first step is to make sure the practitioners are well-versed in their rights and responsibilities."

Clark said during her confirmation hearing in July that she planned to make training a priority for FLRA, which faced a substantial backlog of cases after the Bush administration left key positions in the agency vacant for much of 2008. In an interview with Government Executive on Wednesday, Clark credited FLRA's career staff with moving quickly to restart preliminary training programs.

The sessions, held at FLRA's regional offices, will offer basic and more advanced training in union and management rights and responsibilities under federal labor law. The training presentations already are available on FLRA's Web site for workers who cannot attend the sessions. And Clark said the agency plans to develop a fully interactive online training program based on these initial presentations so federal employees can receive basic training on their own. That would allow the agency to focus its resources on more advanced programs that will build relationships between labor and management organizations, she said.

According to Clark, FLRA has not had to do much work to convince agencies that improving labor relations training is a good idea.

"From my very earliest days with the agency, as I got the opportunity to have conversations with agency representatives [and] chief human capital officers, they initiated the conversation: 'Will you come to us and train our people?' " she said.

Requests flowed in so fast, she noted, that FLRA's budget was not big enough to keep up with the demand. Some of the agencies that sought training ended up absorbing travel and lodging expenses for FLRA staff, she said.

Despite the temporary spike in workload, training programs could eventually reduce the burden on FLRA, Clark said, by better preparing agencies and unions to resolve their own disputes. "We're really in a position to move to the next level to help the parties work with each other and help the parties resolve disputes on their own," she said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.