Subject: DOD LR System Concepts

TO: Our DOD Clients

Here we go! Its DOD's initial outline for its labor relations program. Wouldn't you love to be in their shoes and get to design a new program that repealed every law and FLRA decision you didn't like?

The biggest joke is the Defense Labor Relations Board (DLRB), which is supposed to take the place of FLRA. There is no way in the world this meets the definition of an independent, third party to resolve disputes. We think it violates the statute that created this system. According to 5 USC 9902(m)(6), the new system "shall provide for independent third pay review of decisions." The DLRB is not independent and it is not a third party. An arbitrator or FLRA are third-party decisionmakers.

The biggest carrot for the unions is the "fee for service" idea. Nobody would be required to join a union, BUT anybody wanting services from the union would have to pay a service fee.

The proposal says that in order for a union to win all representation elections in the future, it must get more than 50 percent of the votes in the bargaining unit. The rule now is that unions only need more than 50 percent of the employees in the unit who show up to vote.

The proposal would allow employees to drop union dues at any time after 1 year from the date dues withholdings began. Right now, the rule is that employees are held to dues withholdings in 1 year increments and must wait until their anniversary date to get out.

WOW! Talk about turning an old rule on its head. The proposal says that existing and new DOD regulations will supersede anything in a labor contract.

The proposal lists among management's new rights (in addition to all the rights they already have) the right to determine pay and allowances and differentials and the right to make FLSA determinations. We got news for DOD. The statute says that 5 USC Chapter 53 (on pay rates and systems) and Chapter 55 (pay administration) cannot be waived. 5 USC 9902(d) The stautute also gives DOD no power to make FLSA determinations (like whether an employee is exempt or non-exempt).

The proposal makes it clear that DOD does not want to do much bargaining at the local level at all. It prefers to bargain one time, at the national level. And DOD defines bargaining as "consultation." We call that "collective begging."

The proposal also waters down the formal discussion and Weingarten rights. Basically the only formal discussion a union can go to is one that management invites the union to attend. A union will not be permitted to represent employees during investigations by professional investigators such as CID and OSI (where they need union representation the most!)

There will be no more data request law. The union will have to rely on the Freedom of Information Act to get whatever it wants.

As far as official time is concerned, official time will be available only for certain uses listed by management and management must approve the time in advance. Nothing in the proposal appears to contemplate "instutitional" official time, such as a set percentage of officiall time for a given union officer throughout the year.

The proposal says there will be no grievances or MSPB appeals. All disputes must be presented to the DLRB. If management or the union have any complaints about each other, these must be presented to the DLRB as well. Deadline to file : 15 days!

Oh well, its only a proposal right? We'd be less worried about it if we got to bargain over it. But that right has been lost, so there isn't much out there to stop DOD from ramming this down our throats.

At least we know we're in good company. This is exactly the sort of labor relations program Wal-Mart would probably design. All we can say is '"VOTE DEMOCRATIC IN NOVEMBER!!!"

Click here to read DoD's Proposal for Labor Relations