Category: Union Counsel

Role of ELR Specialists

The primary role of an agency ELR Specialist is to provide expert consultative and transactional services to agency supervisors, managers, and executives concerning federal sector employee and labor relations.  Sometimes, these specialists are even further sub-categorized as to specialties.

What Your Union Doesn’t Know Can Hurt You

The representation of federal employees in discipline and adverse actions is complicated.  In our experience, most local labor unions are not technically prepared to provide such representation to safeguard an employee’s career and future financial security.

Change of Supervisor

The Federal Services Labor Management Relations Statute, although somewhat “watered down” by years of case law, reserves a supervisory assignment, and most matters involving assignment of work in any regard, to the sole discretion of the agency.  

Union Representation During Counseling

The first thing any bargaining unit employee should do when determining whether they have a right to union representation is refer to their Master Agreement (union contract) or contact a Union Representative

Administrative Leave & Authorized Absence

The terms Administrative Leave and Authorized Absence are essentially synonymous (we will use the term Administrative Leave for the purposes of this post).  Further, we distinguish that for the purpose of this article, we are not addressing such leave used by union representatives for official time related to union activities.

Responding to Proposed Actions

During the course of your federal career, you may find yourself the subject of a proposed agency action.  Frankly, the longer your career and more complex your job functions, the greater this likelihood.

Are You Required to Invoke FMLA?

If a federal employee has sufficient leave balances there is no requirement the affected employee first be approved under the FMLA prior to a supervisor approving the use of accrued sick leave (SL) or accrued annual leave (AL) in lieu of sick leave

Does It Hurt To Have A Union Representative?

The underlying premise of the benefits of representation is that the representative, whether union, friend, legal, or relative, is qualified to provide such representation and more knowledgeable than the person needing the representation.

Can a Union Negotiate Performance Awards?

In general, awards in the federal service are not considered an entitlement.  That statement is the prevailing guiding principle.  However, in 1997 the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), issued significant rules deregulating performance management systems and related awards.

Dealing With… Hostile Work Environment

Note, this article is part of our continuing series of articles titled “Dealing With….”.  This special series is designed to provide simple practical advice of immediate usefulness to federal employees (and even local and state employees to a certain degree) dealing with…

When Unions Go Bad

Somewhat regularly, we field calls from union members in the federal sector (and even union officials) regarding issues with union representation or leadership. The issues may involve claims of failure to provide union representation (including adequate representation are most common), the…

Can It Hurt To Have A Union Representative?

There is a prevailing theory that it is usually better to have union representation, than not have union representation, given such need.  While we are certainly proponents of labor organizations and their representational roles, particularly since we have been on…

Dealing with… Protected Health Information (PHI)

Note, this article is part of our continuing series of articles titled “Dealing With….”.  This special series is designed to provide simple practical advice of immediate usefulness to federal employees (and even local and state employees to a certain degree) dealing with…

Question of Nondisclosure Agreements

What most people agree with, including many of his own supporters, is that Trump is a “shapeshifter” constantly changing positions and never discussing any position in substance or depth or with accuracy.

Duty of Fair Representation

“I Hate My Union. They Are Corrupt and Incompetent” That is an actual quote we received from a  dues paying union member of a large federal employee bargaining unit.  Such sentiments are not unusual.  Many union members feel disenfranchised for a variety of…

SF 50 Codes (Nature of Action & Legal Authority)

While it is true we could not have come up with a more boring title for this article, we frequently field questions concerning the SF-50 Notification of Personnel Action, and more specifically, the enigmatic Nature of Action and Legal Authority…

$900,000 Federal Agency EEO Settlement

Believe it or not—-It’s True On January 29, 2016, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in federal district court, settled an EEO case with a federal employee for $900,000.00 (this is not a typo).  In Lenkiewicz v. Housing and…