Labor relations authority begins regulatory reform effort

As the Federal Labor Relations Authority moves forward with the first changes to arbitration regulations in 25 years, unions say the proposed reforms could make the process more fair and efficient.

In the initial phase of a more extensive process, FLRA on Thursday announced some proposed changes to how arbitrators award damages and how parties could appeal awards in those cases. FLRA Chairwoman Carol Waller Pope called the changes "another step in our efforts to better serve our customers and provide them with meaningful and clear guidance."

Pope said FLRA designed the changes after an internal working group met with arbitrators, labor relations experts and members of the federal employee community in Washington, Chicago and Oakland, Calif.

The reforms include changing the appeals period to begin the day after an arbitrator makes an award, rather than the same day; allowing labor and management to ask FLRA to expedite its decisions on conflicts other than unfair labor practices; and extending the filing period if parties have asked for help through the Collaboration and Alternative Dispute Resolution Program, which helps labor and management resolve their differences without turning it over to an arbitrator.

CADRP participated in only 16 cases in fiscal 2009, but managed to resolve or convince the parties to withdraw 15 complaints during that time. FLRA issued 215 decisions during that same period.

Teresa Idris, general counsel for the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, praised FLRA for focusing not simply on streamlining the arbitration process, but also on arbitration education -- an area Pope said will be a priority. FLRA expanded its training programs in October, and is conducting training sessions in collaboration with the Merit Systems Protection Board in support of President Obama's executive order creating labor management partnerships.

"This two-pronged approach is in keeping with the FLRA's overall focus on becoming more user-friendly and effective," Idris said.

Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said she would examine the new rules closely and submit formal comments, but the proposed regulations "appear to be positive steps towards reducing misuse and abuse of the process." She cautioned, however, that FLRA needs more than regulatory reform.

"What is really needed to improve the work of the FLRA is adequate funding, including funding for staffing," she said. "FLRA staffing has not kept pace with the demonstrated need, causing lengthy delays in decisions related to exceptions filed to an arbitrator's decision. Given the vital role of the FLRA in federal sector labor-management relations, that has to change for the better."

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

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

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

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