A FSIP DECISION TO REMEMBER
Although this one is about an old case, it is one you are likely to never uncover if looking for ways to solve a ULP problem. Everyone knows that a union can pursue a ULP allegation through FLRA or the grievance-arbitration route. But this case points out a very rarely used path that takes one into the Panel for resolution. In this case, NFFE, 2012 FSIP 053 (2012) filed a ULP charge against the agency claiming that it had unilaterally and illegally changed the tour of duty for some employees. It filed a ULP charge through the FLRA. Before the hearing it got the agency to agree that it had violated the law, but could not convince it to reimburse the employees for all the annual leave they had had to use on Saturday’s to cover their military reserve weekend duty. Typically, the union could accept settle the case without a remedy or risk losing everything and push forward to a hearing on the allegation and the remedy. In this case, however, NFFE and the agency agreed to “negotiate” over the remedy and if they could not reach agreement, let FSIP settle the dispute as it would any contract squabble. The Panel obviously agreed and it appears to have imposed the same remedy FLRA would have, e.g., a status quo ante order to reinstate the leave employees took. One advantage of using the Panel to settle these disputes is that their decisions are not reviewable. Had the union put the case before an ALJ or arbitrator either party could have appealed the decision to the FLRA and from there to the courts, delaying resolution for years. So, keep this one in mind the next time you are struggling to settle a ULP allegation.