NTEU Chapter 296
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  • NTEU Notches Two Big Wins for Employee Rights
    May 31, 2022

    NTEU Notches Two Big Wins for Employee Rights

    Two critical collective bargaining rights that the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) had taken away from unions were restored this week by a federal court that ruled in NTEU's favor. (Read the midterm bargaining mandate and de minimis mandate)

    Together, these decisions return to federal employees and their unions the power to negotiate new topics even after a contract is signed, plus expand the workplace changes that can be bargained.

    The first decision restores a statutory right that unions had for 33 years before the FLRA erased it nearly two years ago. It means that once again unions can initiate midterm bargaining on topics unforeseen during term negotiations. A key example is the global pandemic: Without this right, agencies would have implemented workplace changes like health and safety protocols, maximum telework and return to office without employee input.

    In the second case, the FLRA in 2020 decided that only major changes to the conditions of employment could be bargained by federal employee unions. This narrow standard put limits on the types of workplace changes that required bargaining. NTEU objected and the appeals court agreed, ordering the previous “de minimis” standard – which had been in place for more than 34 years – to be reinstated. So now, a federal agency must bargain over everything but the most trivial of matters.


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