Operations of the Federal Labor Relations Authority

GGD-84-96: Published: Sep 11, 1984. Publicly Released: Sep 11, 1984.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed several aspects of the operations of the Federal Labor Relations Authority to determine whether it is fulfilling its responsibilities under the Civil Service Reform Act. GAO determined: (1) what changes the Authority has made or is planning to make in its case processing and administrative operations; and (2) whether the Authority prepares a compilation of its case decisions to assist interested parties in resolving their differences. In addition, GAO obtained the views of several large federal employee unions and agencies on the Authority's impact on federal labor-management relations.

For fiscal year 1983, the Authority continued to meet its 75-day time targets for processing cases. It also established informal goals to decide its negotiability, unfair labor practices, and arbitration cases within 1 year and its representation cases within 6 months. Although the Authority has met its case processing time goals and is considering reducing them, it has been criticized by federal employee unions, federal agencies, and congressional representatives for its untimely processing of cases which have made its third-party dispute resolution process ineffective. These delays prolong labor-management disputes because both parties lack an incentive to reach agreement while the Authority is considering the issue. The Authority has formed a special task force to analyze its operations, made several organizational changes, has delegated certain authorities to its regional directors, and established a special arbitration task force. One of the primary goals of a new executive director is to try to resolve the Authority's case processing problems. In addition, the Authority has requested written proposals concerning possible modifications to its case processing procedures. After written submissions are received and reviewed, interested parties will be invited to address these matters at open meetings. Finally, the Authority has issued three bound volumes of case decisions and made them available to interested parties. Because of the actions taken, GAO will defer its review to allow time for the Authority to take the actions it has decided are needed.

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