Legal Reference

Negotiating between agency management and labor unions occurs at various times and for different reasons. The most prominent occasion is the formal negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement.

These are called full scope negotiations. This process results in a written collective bargaining agreement signed by both management and the union establishing various personnel policies, practices, and conditions of employment.


Negotiations also can arise as a result of management proposed changes to bargaining unit employees’ conditions of employment which are not addressed in the parties’ negotiated agreement or where there is no current agreement.

In these cases, when an agency decides to make changes to conditions of employment during the life of an agreement or when there is no agreement, two types of negotiations may result:

• negotiations on the decision itself (substance bargaining); and/or
• negotiations on the effects of the proposed change— normally referred to as impact and implementation bargaining, which occurs when management’s proposed change falls within management rights.

Management rights is a term which defines areas over which management exercises exclusive decision-making authority and are not subject to negotiation.

There are two categories of management rights, mandatory and permissive. “Mandatory” rights include the right to:

• determine the mission, budget, organization, number of employees, and internal security practices of the agency;

• hire, assign, direct, layoff, and retain employees in the agency, or to suspend, remove, reduce in grade or pay, or take other disciplinary action against such employees;


• assign work, to make determinations with respect to contracting out, and to determine the personnel by which agency operations shall be conducted; and

• make selections for appointments; and take whatever actions may be necessary to carry out the agency mission during emergencies.

Even with respect to these rights, management must bargain, upon request, over the procedures it will use in exercising its rights and on appropriate arrangements for employees adversely affected by the exercise of those rights. For example, in a reduction-in-force, the decision to RIF is a management right, but outplacement or other assistance for displaced employees are negotiable issues.