By a vote of 50 to 49, the Senate confirmed Susan Tsui Grundmann to the three-member Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA), which administers the Labor-Management relations program for approximately 2.1 million non-postal federal employees and, among other things, supervises union elections, adjudicates unfair labor practice complaints, and resolves questions concerning the negotiability of bargaining proposals. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) was the only republican to vote in support of Ms. Grundmann.
Ms. Grundmann, endorsed by NTEU, is well qualified for this position and has years of experience litigating and advising clients on labor and employment matters and previously served as the Chair of the Merit Systems Protection Board. She has a history of acting fairly and interpreting the law impartially. The confirmation of Ms. Grundmann to replace Member James Abbott, who is serving in a hold-over capacity, flips the balance of power on the FLRA and comes at a critical time. For the last several years, the anti-union majority of the FLRA aggressively sought to cripple collective bargaining and destroy the effectiveness of unions. They have done this by issuing decisions, policy statements and regulations that have changed longstanding interpretations of the federal sector labor statute. For example, they have narrowed agencies’ obligation to bargain and the scope of bargaining, changed the longstanding rule for when employees may change dues withholding authorizations, and broadly interpreted the categories of workers who do not have collective bargaining rights, thereby stripping many employees of their right to join, form or assist labor organizations.
Ms. Grundmann has the knowledge and experience to aid Chairman DuBester in resetting the FLRA and ensuring that conflicts in labor-management relations are heard by a neutral arbitrator that adheres to the law and years of FLRA precedent. NTEU applauds the Senate for acting to restore the FLRA and will continue the fight to confirm the remaining FLRA nominees and ensure that federal employees are treated with dignity and respect. I will keep you updated on additional developments.