Steps Can Be Taken To Improve Federal Labor-Management Relations and Reduce the Number and Costs of Unfair Labor Practice Charges

FPCD-83-5: Published: Nov 5, 1982. Publicly Released: Nov 5, 1982.

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GAO reported on the efficiency of the unfair labor practice (ULP) process under the Civil Service Reform Act to determine the nature of ULP charges and complaints and to identify ways to avoid them.

GAO believes that many disputes between agencies, employees, and unions could be resolved informally, thereby improving labor-management relations and avoiding the high costs associated with the formal ULP process. GAO found that many ULP charges are filed as a result of allegations that managers failed to negotiate changes in working conditions. GAO believes that assessment of these changes to determine whether they substantially effect employees could reduce the number and cost of ULP charges. GAO also found that an alternative to the ULP process, the negotiated grievance/arbitration procedure, is not used because unions incur greater costs when using this procedure. Precedent decisions and precharge discussions can be used more frequently to resolve disputes. GAO also found that, if managers are properly trained in collective bargaining and if agencies monitor and evaluate the ULP process, the number and costs of ULP charges can be further reduced.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OPM is developing detailed guidance for appraising employees but this guidance does not specifically address labor relations. OPM believes it is the agency's responsibility to address such specifics. No further followup is necessary since two of the three recommendations were adopted and followup on this recommendation alone would not be worthwhile.

    Recommendation: The Director of OPM, to help prevent situations giving rise to ULP's, should develop guidelines for agencies to use in assessing managers' labor relations performance, where appropriate, and in implementing systems to monitor and evaluate the ULP process.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), to help situations giving rise to ULP's, should work with the General Counsel of FLRA to determine how ULP information accumulated by FLRA can best be used to monitor and evaluate the ULP process.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Federal labor Relations Authority (FLRA) should require the parties involved in alleged ULP's to hold discussions to try to informally resolve issues before having a formal ULP charge investigated by FLRA.

    Agency Affected: Federal Labor Relations Authority

 

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