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USDOT, Bureau of Engraving and Printing v. FLRA


    Citation. United States Dep’t of the Treasury v. FLRA, 995 F.2d 301, 1993 U.S. App. LEXIS 14491, 301 U.S. App. D.C. 401, 143 L.R.R.M. 2609 (D.C. Cir. June 18, 1993)

    Brief Fact Summary. The Federal Service Labor Relations Statute (FSLRS) gives federal employees the right to collectively bargain with government employer units over their conditions of employment, excluding matters “specifically provided for” by federal statute. Unions representing six bargaining units submitted a variety of wage negotiating proposals to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (Bureau), and the Bureau refused to bargain, invoking the “specifically provided for” exception.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. Agencies must provide a reasonable explanation for their decisions.

    Facts. The FSLRS gives federal employees the right to collectively bargain with government employer units over their conditions of employment, excluding matters “specifically provided for” by federal statute. The Bureau refused to consider the proposals submitted by its worker unions, on the grounds that the statute governing the wages of Bureau employees Section: 5349, met the “specifically provided for” exception. The unions appealed to the FLRA, which found the unions’ proposal negotiable. The Bureau then appealed to the Court of Appeals.

    Issue. How did the “specifically provided for” exception apply to the wages of so-called “prevailing rate” employees?

    Held. Reversed and remanded because the Authority acted inconsistently with its own prior decisions and failed to off an intelligible explanation of its shift. In a recent case, the Authority found that a statute with the same language met the “specifically provided for” exception. The language of Section:5349(a) governing wages of Bureau employees was identical to the language of Section:5343(a) of the Prevailing Rate Systems Act. The Authority failed to make a distinction between the two in order to justify its differing conclusion in this case. Dissent. None. Concurrence. None.

    Discussion. The agency’s decision in this case was inconsistent with its prior decisions and didn’t hold up as reasonable.


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