Unfair Labor Charges and Investigations
As a Federal Employee you have a right to file an unfair labor practice. What is an unfair labor practice (ULP)? A ULP is not automatically something that is unfair, concerns labor, or is an agency practice. The Federal Service Labor Management Relations Statute, 5 U.S.C. 71116 et seq. defines unfair labor practices. Most notable, as relates to an individual, are the following sections:
- (a) (1) to interfere restrain or coerce an employee in the exercise of any right under the statute
- (a) (2) to discourage membership by discrimination in regards to conditions of employment
- (a) (4) to discipline or discriminate because the employee filed a complaint, gave an affidavit or gave information or testimony concerning anything under the statute
In order to have a valid claim under any of these sections one must be able to tie it to some sort of union activity. A failure to make a connection will result in any charge filed being dismissed, absent withdrawal.
Once a ULP charge is filed you will be contacted by an investigator of the FLRA to give a sworn statement. In addition, even if you are not the person who filed the charge you might be asked to give an affidavit in support of a charge. If interviewed (usually by phone) you have the following rights:
- You can keep your contact with the FLRA confidential. You have the ability to give the statement on your own time – RDO etc. and also if done during working hours at the facility it must be done in a private area away from management.
- You have the right to have a representative with you – LR Staff Representative, FacRep, etc. This can be done by phone. The FLRA will never tell you that but you have the right to ask for one to be present. Your representative can ask clarifying questions.
- Prior to signing the statement you have the right to review the statement with your representative. Once again you have to affirmatively ask for that to happen. Depending on the investigator you might have to give a copy of the draft statement to your representative.
- Even though the FLRA investigator has drafted the statement, it is your statement. Make any changes, corrections etc. in order to make sure it says exactly what you want it to say.
If you have any questions about any of this you should contact your FacRep, RVP, or National Office Labor Relations Staff Representative.