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Federal Employees News Digest : Feb. 11, 2013
Phil Piemonte, Managing Editor E-mail: email@example.com What's Inside44 February 11, 2013 • Vol. 62, No. 28 New appointments draw attention to reformed FLRA Even as agencies reel under looming cuts and possible furloughs, the Federal Labor Relations Authority---overseer of most mechanisms that govern and adju- dicate fair pay and benefits for federal employees---continues to remake itself as several top members prepare to retain their seats under President Obama's sec- ond administration. The FLRA's leadership---or "decisional authority"---usually comprises three presi- dentially appointed members, including one who also serves as the chairman. All three members sit for five-year terms, and direct the agency's more than 100 employ- ees, as well as function as the final word on the labor-management cases over issues of representation, arbitration, negotiability and unfair labor practices that are referred by components of the agency. President Obama in December chose to reappoint two of the three FLRA members whose terms were ending---member Ernie DuBester and FLRA Chairman Carol Waller Pope. More recently, DuBester, who will serve as chairman until Pope is confirmed, also appointed Sarah W. Spooner as executive administrator. Spooner's recent trajectory took her from her position as counsel for regulatory and external affairs to become acting executive administrator. Flra—then and now In 1978, Congress passed the Civil Service Reform Act, and the FLRA was cre- ated to govern non-postal federal employ- ees and their rights to organize, bargain collectively, and---as the agency website puts it---"to participate through labor organizations of their choice in decisions affecting their working lives." The agency oversees the Office of the General Counsel, the Federal Service Impasses Panel and the Office of Administrative Law Judges. The FLRA and its components are spread among seven regional offices that handle roughly 4,000 cases a year. Through those offices, FLRA ultimately administers labor-management relations for 2.1 million non-postal federal employees worldwide--- about 1.2 million of whom are union- represented in 2,200 bargaining units. The agency also serves as an "hon- est broker" in situations where feds are selecting a new organization to represent them. Most recently, for example, FLRA in 2012 administered the election in which Transportation Security Administration employees voted to choose the American Federation of Government Employees to become their exclusive representative. reforms in place since 2009 Spooner, who will serve as FLRA execu- tive director and chief operating officer, told FEND that in the last three years, "the FLRA has engaged in a process of revital- ization, reinvention, and reengagement." As a longtime career employee of FLRA, Spooner explained that these reforms had Food fight APage 1 story in The Washington Post last week about the eating habits of federal workers gave me a brilliant idea about how feds can improve their public image: They could volun- teer---or be required to volunteer---to become guinea pigs for a variety of well- intentioned tests. The Post headline that sparked this inspiration sort of tells it all. It read: "At USDA, a no-fry zone causes a stir; Agency that sets dietary guidelines finds its own workers can be cool to healthful cafeteria fare." The piece, as you might suspect, was both a factual and tongue-in-cheek look at the eating habits of federal workers in several government cafeterias. They included those at the Departments of Agriculture, Energy and State and at the Executive Office Building, which is part of the White House. Favorites in many cafeterias included anything fried---espe- cially chicken, catfish (who knew?) and french fries. The article noted that the government has hired a firm to supply food, healthy food that is, to civil servants. It was clear, at least from the employees' eating habits as reported by the newspaper, that some of the people who set those eat-this- don't-eat-that nutritional guidelines for INSIGHT BY MIKE CAUSEY continued on page 2 For more news...see Federal Daily at www.FederalDaily.com • Obama calls on Congress to act 3 • In Brief 4 • Rulings Roundup 6 • Informed Investor 7 • Federal Benefits Q&A 8 continued on page 3
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Feb. 18, 2013