Negotiability Issues

Negotiability disputes occur where unions and agencies disagree over the legality of specific contract proposals or provisions. These disputes involve agency claims that a contract proposal made during bargaining involves a subject that is outside the duty to bargain under all circumstances. They also occur where an agency head disapproves negotiated contract language on the ground that it is contrary to law. Examples of these disputes include whether a proposal is contrary to a government-wide regulation or whether it affects management rights set out in the Statute.

When an agency refuses to bargain over a proposal because it claims that it is not negotiable, the union may file an appeal with the Authority. There are specific regulations that govern when an agency claim of this sort triggers a right to file an appeal, and how the appeal is filed. Information that may help you if want to file or respond to a negotiability appeal are the Authority's forms for filings, the Authority's Regulations, and the Guide to Negotiability. Specific questions about appeals can be directed to the Office of Case Intake and Publication. Authority decisions in negotiability cases are appealable to the federal courts of appeals.

Alternative dispute resolution of negotiability issues is available through the FLRA's Office of Collaboration and Alternative Dispute Resolution, which applies interest-based, dispute resolution techniques to resolve these disputes without litigation.

Negotiability issues can also be resolved through the unfair-labor-practice (ULP) process. This is appropriate where the parties have both negotiability and bargaining obligation disputes. There are specific Authority regulations that explain the procedural options of parties who have a bargaining problem that includes both a bargaining-obligation dispute and a negotiability dispute.