The Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) requires that collective bargaining agreements between agencies and unions establish grievance procedures that an employee, union, or agency can use to pursue a workplace dispute. If the dispute involves an equal employment opportunity (EEO) complaint, a serious disciplinary action, or an unfair labor practice (ULP) that can be filed, respectively, under an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint procedure, as a Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) appeal, or as a ULP with an FLRA Regional Office, then the employee may choose between the grievance procedure or another statutory procedure. The last step in the negotiated grievance process is binding arbitration, conducted by an arbitrator whose services are paid for by the union and/or the agency. Arbitration may be invoked by an agency or a union, but not by an individual employee.
Once an arbitrator issues an award, either an agency or a union may appeal the arbitrator's decision by filing an "exception" to the arbitrator's award with the Authority within 30 days. Exceptions are filed with the Office of Case Intake and Publication. The Authority's review of an arbitrator's award is very limited, and the grounds for appeal are specified in the Authority's Regulations. Information that may be helpful in filing exceptions to an arbitrator's award is found in the Authority's Regulations, the Authority's Guide to Arbitration, the Authority's arbitration forms, and the Check List For Filing an Arbitration Appeal With The Authority.
Specific questions about exceptions can be directed to the Office of Case Intake and Publication. Information about how the Authority has resolved particular kinds of disputes over arbitration awards can be obtained from the Authority's Decisions. Unless a ULP is involved, the Authority's decision is final and binding and may not be appealed to any court. Once an arbitrator's decision has become final and binding, the refusal of a party to comply with the award may constitute a ULP. In such situations, enforcement of the award may be accomplished by filing a ULP charge with an FLRA Regional Office.