July 1, 1999 · PR 112-99
Contact: Patty Reilly


The Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) announced today the release of its 20th Anniversary Retrospective, "

FLRA 20 Years 1979-1999

." The publication is part of a series of commemorative events undertaken by the FLRA in its anniversary year. Other events include two recently completed national training conferences attended by nearly 500 people.

The 20th Anniversary Retrospective presents an overview of the FLRA's development since its creation by Title VII of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. The publication traces the FLRA's evolution over the years from emphasizing statutory enforcement through litigation, to developing and expanding initiatives promoting the practice of constructive labor relations through interest-based resolution of disputes. Significant case law, case trends, and statutory amendments are also described.

The Retrospective highlights three recent accomplishments:

  • Since 1995, the FLRA has rewritten its regulations governing representation petitions, negotiability appeals, unfair labor practice (ULP) charges and litigation, and bargaining impasse resolution. The revised regulations incorporate central principles of interest-based problem solving, now a cornerstone of FLRA practice. They also are designed to ease procedural burdens on parties, be "user-friendly", and refine the legal and factual issues in dispute.

  • An emphasis on strengthening the quality of adjudication has lead to increasing deference from appellate courts. The percentage of Authority decisions favorably reviewed by federal courts has significantly increased: from 52% of decisions issued during the FLRA's first 16 years and reviewed on the merits, to over 84% of decisions issued in 1995-1998 and reviewed on the merits. Most recently, the two Authority decisions reviewed this term by the United States Supreme Court were both affirmed, contrasting with affirmance of only one of the five Authority decisions reviewed by the Supreme Court in prior years. In all seven cases appealed to the Supreme Court since the FLRA's creation, Federal agencies challenged the Authority's construction of the Federal labor statute as too expansive.

  • The FLRA has been recognized as innovative and effective. The FLRA recently received a Hammer Award for its revised ULP litigation process. Earlier this year, the FLRA was named as one of 98 semi-finalists (from a pool of 1,600 candidates) in the Innovations in American Government Awards Program, for its initiative to "mainstream" collaboration and alternative dispute resolution throughout the FLRA's programs.

The Preface to the 20th Anniversary Retrospective, signed by the FLRA's presidentially-appointed leadership, describes the training conferences and this publication as "important building blocks for a vibrant collective bargaining program for the future." It continues: "The goal is to promote stable, constructive labor relations that contribute to a more effective government, thereby achieving Congress' purpose when it recognized that labor organizations and collective bargaining in the civil service are in the public interest."

The 20th Anniversary Retrospective is available on the FLRA's web site at www.flra.gov or by request to the Authority. For further information, please contact Patty Reilly at (202)-482-6500.

The FLRA is an independent agency that administers the labor-management relations program for 1.9 million non-Postal Service Federal employees worldwide, approximately 1.1 million of whom are exc