The law provides that union representatives attending formal meetings can comment on what management says, offer opposing perspectives, and generally do what is necessary to safeguard employee & union interests.  But they can’t take charge, usurp or disrupt. Those very vague FLRA statements can lead to arguments between union and management reps.  Here is a way to avoid that.

The union can offer not to speak in the formal meeting the manager is holding, which obviously avoids even a tiny potential for it to take charge, usurp or disrupt, or simply unnerve the manager.  However, in return the union would ask that it be given a short time at the end of the meeting to meet with employees alone to discuss what management covered in the meeting.  Perhaps the union suggests that it will be given a minimum of 15 minutes at the end of any meeting and longer if the meeting is unusually long.  A lot of managers will find that an attractive trade-off because it avoids them being put on the defensive in front of their own staff.  It helps the union because it can now speak openly without managers hearing the advice it provides employees.  And both parties benefit because it should cut down on individual employees leaving the work group to drop into the union office with questions about what was covered in the meeting.

Just a thought.

About AdminUN

FEDSMILL staff has over 40 years of federal sector labor relations experience on the union as well as management side of the table and even some time as a neutral.
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