Thursday, May 23, 2013

USDOT, Bureau of Engraving and Printing v. FLRA case brief

USDOT, Bureau of Engraving and Printing v. FLRA case brief
995 F.2d 301, 301 U.S. App. D.C. 401, 143 LRRM 2609 (D.C. Cir. 1993)

CASE SYNOPSIS: Petitioner federal employer sought review of a decision from respondent, Federal Labor Relations Authority, which found intervenor unions' proposals to negotiate the method by which wage rates of crafts were set, adjusted, and maintained negotiable.

FACTS: The unions sought to negotiate the method by which the crafts were set, adjusted, and maintained. The employer would not bargain over the proposals and invoked the management rights exception of 5 U.S.C.S. § 7106(a)(1) and the matters specifically provided for under 5 U.S.C.S. § 7103(a)(14)(C). The Authority found the proposals negotiable. On appeal, the court reversed because the Authority acted inconsistently with its own prior decisions and offered no intelligible explanation of its shift. In order to have decided the way the Authority did it had to either have distinguished case law or to have rejected case law and explained the rejection. The Authority tried to distinguish its precedents but the distinctions did not add up. The statute governing the employer's wages of its employees, 5 U.S.C.S. § 5349(a) used a two factor formula that looked to the prevailing rates of similar private sector employees and to the demands of the public interest. Given the apparent lack of a legally significant distinction between the prevailing rate aspects of §§ 5349(a) and 5543, the Authority's effort to distinguish the two statutes from each other and the case from case law fell apart.

CONCLUSION: The court reversed the Authority's judgment and remanded the cause for a more reasoned examination of the Authority's precedent and the statutory provisions at issue.

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