Federal Manager's Daily Report

The FLRA has proposed to allow federal employees who are paying dues to stop those payments at any time after a year has passed, rather than being restricted to only one point during a year.

Proposed rules in the March 19 Federal Register involve a provision in federal labor law stating that once an employee elects to have union dues withheld from pay, that request “may not be revoked for a period of 1 year.” The FLRA for decades has interpreted that to mean that dues withholding may be revoked only within windows at intervals of one year.

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Recently the FLRA issued a policy statement at the request of OPM saying that while the law clearly requires an initial wait of one year, it imposes no limits afterward. That statement indicated that a formal rules proposal would follow.

In that proposal, FLRA said in terms similar to those of the policy statement that it “is seeking to assure employees the fullest freedom in the exercise of their rights” to support or not support a union. While the majority of federal employees are covered by union bargaining units, only a minority are dues-paying members.

Also as in the policy statement, one of the FLRA members dissented from the proposed rule change, saying it “discards well-reasoned FLRA precedent governing revocation of union-dues allotments and, therefore, further weakens the institution of collective bargaining in the federal sector.”

Federal unions have denounced the planned change in similar terms and already have challenged it in court.

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2020 Federal Employees Handbook