Can the FLRA help retired or other former employees when an agency or a union interferes with that person’s current or potential employment? For example, suppose a federal agency negotiated a settlement with an employee that in lieu of termination she could resign with a clean record so long as she never applied for a bargaining unit position anywhere in that agency’s federal department.  Or imagine if a union, in lieu of disciplining and potentially prosecuting a local officer for theft let him resign the agency so long as he never worked in the future in an agency that union represented.  What could the FLRA do?

Although we think of FLRA as protecting current employees from unfair labor practices, the Authority has made it clear that it will stand up for retirees and other former employees as well.  For example,

the Judge erroneously concluded that Bradley’s retirement from federal employment moots this case. As the General Counsel asserted in his exceptions to the Judge’s decision, Bradley was an employee at the time of the violation, and in any event, it is uncontested that retired employees are allowed to maintain membership and run for office in the union. Thus, meaningful relief could have been afforded to Bradley, and the case is therefore not moot on that basis. AFGE and Nedra T. Bradley, 53 FLRA 364 (1997)

Yet, in several cases, courts — including the Supreme Court — have applied the Act to “former federal employees” seeking reinstatement of their government positions or benefits…. This same rationale applies to former federal employees vis-à-vis their unions.  Hudson v. AFGE


Consequently, where an agency or a union attempts to interfere with a retiree’s or former employee’s potential employment relationship with another federal agency or block that person’s ability to fully participate in union activities likely commits a 7116() or 7116(b) unfair labor practice. Liabilities range from a posting to back pay with interest.


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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