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.
The public interest exception provides the administrative discretion and flexibility needed to eliminate anomalies and inequities that might arise from a too literal conformity to industry pay practices.View Full Point of Law
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.