Agency Appeals Ruling Ordering Labor Union Vote

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NCUA last week appealed a ruling by federal labor authorities ordering a union election for NCUA employees, likely delaying the ballot for six months or more.

The federal credit union regulator claims that the Federal Labor Relations Authority's West Coast Region erred in December when it approved a collective bargaining unit for the proposed employees union that included NCUA examiners.

The FLRA is the federal authority over public sector employment issues. In its appeal, NCUA claims the examiners, which make up half the agency's 935 workers, should not be included in the proposed union because they are part of management, so are ineligible to participate in the bargaining unit.

Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, which is organizing NCUA employees, scoffed at NCUA's position, noting the agency originally claimed the examiners were "supervisory" personnel. She said the union does not believe the labor authority was in error when it issued its ruling. "It's very difficult to imagine that half of the workforce at NCUA are management officials. They (examiners) do not make policy, they implement it."

"It's very clear the agency's appeal is designed to delay the employees' statutory right to vote on union representation," Kelley added.

The National Treasury Employees Union already represents examiners at the FDIC and OCC (Office of the Comptroller of the Currency), as well as employees at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

NCUA's appeal is expected to delay any union vote, expected as soon as April, for six months or longer.

Kelley noted that the certification process at NCUA has already been lengthy, with employees having filed a petition, signed by half the agency's workers, to organize last April 11.

In its appeal, NCUA claims the functions of its examiners go beyond "simply implementing and effectuating policy." "Their functions, undertaken with little supervisory oversight, collectively set the agency's supervisory agenda and drive budget and resource allocations at the agency's highest levels," the appeal stated. "It is in that regard that Examiners influence, decide and bring about the agency's supervisory plans and courses of action, thus satisfying the FLRA's test for determining who is a 'management official.'"

The FLRA, in its December ruling, had approved a collective bargaining unit that included field examiners, but not supervisory examiners, and had ordered NCUA to hold a union election among employees.

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