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Updated On: Feb 21, 2007


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Unfair Labor Practices

The labor relations statute creates rights and obligations on the part of unions, management and employees. If either labor or management fails to perform its obligation to the other party, an unfair labor practice (ULP) charge may be filed. A ULP charge may also be filed if either labor or management interferes with the rights each has been given under the Statute. Employees may also protect their rights under the Statute by filing ULP charges against labor or management.

For example, it is illegal for agency management to threaten or retaliate against employees for seeking union representation or to refuse to provide a union information that the law requires the agency to provide. Similarly, unions may not try to influence management to discipline employees who did not join the union or refuse to represent employees because they are not union members. Neither an agency nor a union may refuse to bargain with the other in good faith. You can find out information about how the Authority has interpreted the statute as applying to specific situations by searching Authority decisions and can find additional information on specific subjects by searching General Counsel Guidance.

ULP charges are filed with the FLRA's Regional Offices, who can answer questions about this process. Information you may need about this process include the form for filing a charge, the statutory section describing the violation, the regulations describing the process, General Counsel information on Unfair Labor Practices and General Counsel guidance memoranda on particular subjects. Alternative dispute resolution of ULP charges is also available.

The Regional Offices of the FLRA pursues charges filed with them by issuing complaints that are generally heard by Administrative Law Judges (ALJs). The procedures for hearings before ALJs are contained in regulations. After a hearing, the ALJ issues a decision recommending either that the complaint be dismissed or that a violation be found and relief ordered. If an appeal is not filed with the Authority, the ALJ's decision becomes final. In addition, the Office of the ALJ has a Settlement Judge Program, which attempts to settle ULP complaints.

A union, agency, or employee that is not satisfied with a decision issued by an ALJ may appeal that decision to the Authority within 25 days. Information concerning the filing of appeals is contained in the Authority's regulations and check lists. Specific questions about appeals can be directed to the Authority's Case Control Office. Final Authority decisions concerning ULP complaints can be appealed to federal courts of appeal.

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