Survey of Reserved Management Rights

FPCD-79-35: Published: Apr 18, 1979. Publicly Released: Apr 18, 1979.

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The Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) is responsible for interpreting and administering the Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA) of 1978 as it relates to the labor-management relations program in the federal service. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is responsible for providing guidance, technical assistance, training, and information to agencies on labor-management relations. With these responsibilities, the FLRA and OPM play important roles in the application and effectiveness of reserved management rights and collective bargaining in the federal government.

The Federal Labor Relations Council (FLRC) negotiability decisions and discussions with union and management officials are not always clear about which conditions of employment are negotiable and which are not. What impact CSRA will have on management rights and scope of bargaining is still unknown. Unions tend to want to broaden the scope of bargaining and therefore they define management rights narrowly. Agency management, on the other hand, tends to try to reduce bargaining scope by broadly defining management rights. Based on observations and discussions, these views and positions have not generally changed, nor does CSRA resolve the problem. An agency's determinations of nonnegotiability previously could be appealed by the union to the FLRC and now the appeal may be taken to either FLRC or FLRA. The CSRA continues the old structure of reserved management rights with only a few modifications. The impact, range, and significance of reserved management rights as they relate to the scope of bargaining will be primarily determined and established by FLRA and OPM and/or application of the new law's intent.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: FLRA and OPM should take action to: (1) encourage collective bargaining in the federal service and at the same time promote better relations and a more cooperative attitude between employees and management; and (2) establish clear criteria or guidelines for determining negotiability over conditions of employment which are subject to reserved management rights.

    Agency Affected:


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