There are four major categories of cases that come before the Authority Chairman and Members for resolution:
FLRA Regulations, at section 2429.4, also permit the General Counsel, the Assistant Secretary of Labor, or the Federal Service Impasses Panel to refer for review and decision or general ruling any case involving a major policy issue that arises in a proceeding before any of them.
Decisions of the Authority are published and are available on this website. If you are unable to find a particular Authority decision, contact the Office of Case Intake and Publication for assistance.
Following issuance of a final Authority decision or order, a party can move for reconsideration if it can establish extraordinary circumstances. Motions must be filed within 10 days after service of the Authority's decision and must satisfy the requirements in section 2429.17 of the Regulations.
Any party aggrieved by an Authority decision, with the exceptions noted below, may institute an action for judicial review within 60 days after the decision issues. The Authority may also seek enforcement of its orders, temporary relief or restraining orders in the appropriate United States court of appeals. The Office of Solicitor represents the Authority in court proceedings.
The labor relations statute sets out a specific procedure for employees to petition to be represented by a labor union and to determine which employees will be included in a "bargaining unit" that a union represents. Implementing this procedure, the FLRA conducts elections for union representation and resolves a variety of issues related to questions of union representation of employees. These issues include, for example, whether particular employees are managers or "confidential" employees excluded from union representation, whether there has been election misconduct on the part of agencies or unions, and whether changes in union and agency organizations affect existing bargaining units. Information about the procedures to follow and how the Authority has interpreted the law and regulations concerning these issues can be obtained from Authority decisions, the Representation Manual and from frequently asked questions about representation.
Petitions to resolve representation matters are filed with the FLRA's Regional Offices. Information that you may need about this process includes the form for filing a petition, the statutory section describing representation standards and procedures, the regulations describing the process, and General Counsel Guidance on particular subjects. Staff in the FLRA Regional Offices will help you determine if the issue you have is one that can be resolved through this kind of petition. They may also investigate the petition, conduct meetings with individuals affected by the petition, hold hearings to resolve disputed factual issues, and conduct elections. The Regional Director of the Office concludes this process by issuing either a Decision or a Direction of Election. The vast majority of representation petitions filed with the FLRA are resolved by the Regional Office.
A party who is not satisfied with a decision issued by a Regional Director may appeal that decision to the Authority within 60 days. The reasons to object to a decision are limited and are set out at section 2422.31 of the FLRA's regulations. Information concerning the filing of this kind of "Application for Review" is contained in the Authority's regulations. Specific questions about appeals can be directed to the Office of Case Intake and Publication. Information concerning how the Authority has resolved specific questions appealed to it is contained in its decisions. In most cases, the Authority grants or denies petitions for review within 60 days.
Either an agency or a union may appeal an arbitrator's decision within 30 days from the date the award is served. Exceptions to arbitration awards are filed with Case Intake and Publication and must meet the requirements specified in Part 2425 of the Regulations. Once properly filed, the Authority will review an award to determine whether the award is deficient because:
- the award is contrary to any law, rule or regulation
- the award fails to draw its essence from the collective bargaining agreement
- the award is based on a nonfact
- the award violates public policy
- the arbitrator denied a party a fair hearing
- the arbitrator exceeded his or her authority
- the award shows bias
- the award is ambiguous, incomplete or contradictory
The Authority will not consider exceptions to an award relating to actions based on unacceptable performance that are covered under 5 U.S.C. § 4303; removals, suspensions for more than 14 days, reductions in grade or pay, or furloughs of 30 days or less that are covered under 5 U.S.C. §7512, and matters similar to those covered under 5 U.S.C. §§ 4303 and 7512 that arise under other personnel systems. Challenges to these actions may be taken elsewhere.
Authority decisions involving exceptions to arbitration awards are not subject to judicial review, unless the decision involves an unfair labor practice under section 7118 of the Statute.
A union may file a petition for review challenging either an agency head's disapproval of negotiated contract language or an agency's claim that bargaining proposals are contrary to law, rule or regulation. Petitions for review are filed with Case Intake and Publication and must meet the requirements contained in Part 2424, Subpart C of the Regulations. Forms and checklists are available to assist with filing petitions for review, statements of position and reply briefs.
Shortly after a petition is filed, Case Intake and Publication contacts the parties in each case and schedules a Post-Petition Conference with representatives of each party. The representatives must be prepared and authorized to discuss such matters as:
- the meaning of the proposal or provision in dispute
- any disputed factual issues
- negotiability dispute objections and bargaining obligation claims
whether the proposal or provision in dispute is also involved in an unfair labor practice charge, grievance or impasse procedure
Conferences are conducted by Authority staff members. A representative of the Collaboration and Alternative Dispute Resolution Program (CADRO) may also be present to provide information on ADR services and offer settlement assistance. Following the conclusion of the Conference, a report is served on the parties and the filing of position statements commences. After the position statements have been filed, and the entire record is reviewed, the Authority issues a decision. The decision will include, as appropriate, a bargaining order, a direction to rescind a disapproval, a statement that a matter is bargainable at the election of an agency, or an order dismissing the petition for review.
Further information on how to file a petition for review and whether a negotiability appeal is the correct forum for resolving a dispute can be found in the Guide to Negotiability Appeals and Filing a Case. Also, you may obtain a training video on negotiability appeals. Videos may be obtained by contacting Case Intake and Publication at (202) 218-7740.
Unfair Labor Practice Cases
The Statute sets forth many rights and obligations that are enforced through an unfair labor practice action. Guidance and Manuals prepared by the Office of General Counsel provide a great deal of information on those rights and obligations. If an individual employee, a union, or an agency believes that an unfair labor practice has been committed under section 7116 of the Statute, that party should contact the appropriate Regional Office for assistance. The Regional Offices are responsible for investigating and processing charges that unfair labor practices have been committed.
In almost all instances, investigations of alleged unlawful conduct, issuance of complaints by Regional Directors and actions taken by an Administrative Law Judge, up to and including preparation of a recommended decision, occur before the Authority's involvement in an unfair labor practice complaint. On occasion, the Authority becomes involved at earlier stages of an unfair labor practice proceeding. For example, the Authority must approve a formal settlement agreement under section 2423.25 of the Regulations and it must approve a General Counsel request to seek temporary relief, such as a restraining order, pursuant to section 2423.10 of the Regulations.
Exceptions to a recommended decision of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), must be filed with Case Intake and Publication and must meet the requirements in Section 2423.40 of the Regulations. Any exception that is not specifically argued is deemed to be waived. When no exceptions to a decision of an Administrative Law Judge are filed, the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the Judge become, without precedential significance, those of the Authority. When exceptions are filed, the Authority, upon review of the recommended findings and conclusions, issues a decision that affirms or reverses, in whole or in part, the decision of the Judge. In limited circumstances, the Authority will also render a decision in a stipulated unfair labor practice, without a prior decision by an Administrative Law Judge, where the case is transferred directly to the Authority.
If an unfair labor practice has been committed, the Authority will issue an order requiring the party to cease and desist from the unlawful conduct and to take appropriate remedial actions. If there is a finding that no unfair labor practice has been committed, the Authority will dismiss the complaint.