After nearly three and a half years, the Federal Labor Relations Authority has an official to tackle the backlog of unfair labor practice appeals and complaint recommendations pending at the agency, as the Biden administration announced March 24 that Charlotte Dye had been selected to serve as acting general counsel.
“The [Office of General Counsel] is the independent investigative and prosecutorial component of the FLRA. Through its five regional offices, the OGC investigates, settles and prosecutes unfair labor practice charges, resolves representation disputes, including the conduct of secret ballot elections, and provides training to union and management representatives,” the news release announcing the nomination said.
The FLRA has not had a Senate-confirmed general counsel since the start of the Trump administration and has lacked a general counsel of any sort since November 2017.
Federal Labor Relations Authority leadership argues that statute prevents the agency's employees from being represented by a union, but some lawmakers question that reasoning.
Without such an official, the OGC can continue to investigate charges of unfair labor practices, but cannot issue a formal complaint on such charges, creating a backlog of cases that can neither be prosecuted or settled through OGC.
“The Federal Labor Relations Authority has been hamstrung for more than three years without a general counsel, so we are pleased the position has been filled in an acting capacity,” said National Treasury Employees Union National President Tony Reardon in a statement.
“Filling this vacancy will allow the authority to, once again, issue unfair labor practice complaints or prosecute those complaints before an administrative law judge, as the law requires. The current backlog of pending cases where an FLRA regional office has determined that a complaint has merit can now finally be addressed, which is essential for protecting the rights of federal employees across government.”
Dye currently serves as the deputy general counsel at the FLRA and has been working for the agency in some capacity for nearly 30 years.
The reinterpretation of federal statute would change when employees are able to decide to end voluntary contributions to their union.
“We are hopeful that Charlotte Dye will rule fairly, and we will begin seeing resolutions to issues important to AFGE members and federal workers across the country — including two AFGE unfair labor practices against the Department of Education and Environmental Protection Agency for unlawful implementation of contracts and bargaining in bad faith,” said American Federation of Government Employees National President Everett Kelley in a statement.
Biden has yet to nominate someone to receive Senate confirmation as FLRA general counsel.