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Unfair Labor Practices

Unfair Labor Practices (ULPs) may apply to certain actions taken by an employer or a labor union in violation of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (FSLMRS) or the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The FSLMRS and NLRA protect the rights of employees and employers, encourage collective bargaining, and curtail improper public and private sector labor and management practices. Often times ULPs can be litigated either in the grievance/arbitration procedure before the FLRA or the NLRB. Typically, ULPs that involve federal agencies fall under the FSLMRS and those that involve private employers fall under the NLRA.

Unfair Labor Practices by Employers

When an employer interferes with employee rights to organize, form, join, or assist a labor organization, the employer may have violated the NLRA or the FSLMRS. The NLRA prohibits an employer from interfering with employees as they engage in concerted activity; dominating or assisting a labor union; discriminating against any employee because of union activity; or retaliating against an employee for filing a ULP charge. The NLRA and the FSLMRS also requires a federal agency or private company to bargain collectivity in good faith with the labor union.

When an employer hinders employees from bargaining collectively, engaging in other concerted activities for mutual aid or protection, or keeps the employee from exercising the right not to participate in any of these activities, the employer can be in violation of the NLRA or FSLMRS. In addition, if an employer threatens to take away an employee’s job or benefits if that person should join or vote for a union, the employer may also have committed a ULP under the NLRA or FSLMRS.

Unfair Labor Practices by Labor Unions

The NLRA and the FSLMRS prohibits a labor union or its agents from actions such as, but not limited to, causing or attempting to cause an employer to discriminate against an employee; refusing to bargain with an employer or the employees it represents; requiring excessive union dues; or requiring an employer to pay for employees that are not needed.Labor unions are also generally prohibited from restraining and coercing employers when the employee is exercising his or her rights under the NLRA or FSLMRS. This prohibition does not impair the rights of a labor organization to prescribe its own rules concerning membership in the labor organization. Even conduct that does not actually restrain or coerce employees but is reasonably calculated to do so can be prohibited.

Remedies for Unfair Labor Practices

If a federal agency, employer or a labor union commits an Unfair Labor Practice, the guilty party may be ordered to cease and desist from the illegal action. If an individual employee is injured by an Unfair Labor Practice, the employer may be ordered to compensate the employee. Compensation can come in the form of reinstatement, payment of lost wages and benefits, and seniority credits. Parties guilty of Unfair Labor Practices may also be required to post a notice informing workers of an Unfair Labor Practice decision.

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