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Veterans Affairs - Glossary of Terms
Category: Government and organisations > Veterans Affairs
Date & country: 14/07/2008, US
Words: 172


Absenteeism
Failure of worker to report to work when scheduled.

Accretion
Accretion refers to the addition, without an election, of a group of employees to an existing bargaining unit. 

Administrative Law Judge
An individual, who under the aegis of the Federal Labor Relations Authority, hears and makes decisions in unfair labor practice cases and other matters as may be assigned.

Advance Notice
In general, an announcement of an intention to carry out a certain action, given to an affected or interested party in sufficient time to prepare for the action.

Adverse Action
An official personnel action, usually taken for disciplinary reasons, which adversely affects an employee and is of a severity such as suspension for more than 14 days, reduction in grade or status, or removal. For most Federal employees, an appeal system established by statute exists and the employee may choose to use the statutory procedure or, if coverage under the contract permits, the negotiated procedure, but not both.

Affected by issues raised
This phrase is used in representation proceedings and refers to any party and other labor organizations, or agencies, or activities that have a connection to employees affected by, or questions presented in, a proceeding. Generally, after a petition is filed, the Regional Director will notify any labor organization, agency or activity that the parties have identified as being affected by issues raised by the petition, that a petition has been filed with the Regional Director. The Regional Director will also make reasonable efforts to identify and notify any other party affected by the issues raised in the petition. 

Agency
For labor relations purposes, agency refers to any executive agency, the Veterans Canteen Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, Library of Congress, and Government Printing Office, but is not to include the General Accounting Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, Tennessee Valley Authority, Federal Labor Relations Authority, or Federal Service Impasses Panel.

Agreement
See Collective Bargaining Agreement. 

American Federation of Labor (AFL)
National Federation of autonomous trade unions formally organized in 1886, although tracing its origin to 1881. Merged with Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in December 1955, and ceased to exist at that time as a separate organization.     

Apprentice
An individual who enters into an agreement to learn a skilled trade and to achieve a journeyman status through supervises training and experience, usually for a specified period of time. 

Appropriate Unit
7112(a) of the Statute states: 'The Authority shall determine the appropriateness of any unit. The Authority shall determine in each case whether, in order to ensure employees the fullest freedom in exercising the rights guaranteed under this chapter, the appropriate unit should be established on an agency, plant, installation, functional, or other basis and shall determine any unit to be an appropriate unit only if the determination will ensure a clear and identifiable community of interest among the employees in the unit and will promote effective dealings with, and efficiency of the operations of the agency involved.' (Underlining added) (See also 2421.14 of the FLRA's Rules and Regulations.) 

Arbitrability
Refers to whether a given issue is subject to arbitration under the negotiated agreement.

Arbitration
Method of settling employment disputes through resource to an impartial third party whose decision is usually final and binding.

Arbitrator
An impartial third party whom disputing parties submits their differences for decision (award). An ad hoc arbitrator is one selected to act in a specific case or a limited group of cases. A permanent arbitrator is one selected to serve for the life of the agreement or a stipulated term, hearing all disputes that arise during this period.

Assessment
Special charge levied by a union on its members to meet financial needs not covered by regular dues.

Attrition Arrangement
A process of relying on voluntary quits, deaths, and retirements to reduce an employer's labor force instead of resorting to dismissal of workers.

Authority
See Federal Labor Relations Authority.

Authorization Card
A statement signed by an employee authorizing a labor organization to act as his representative in dealing with the employer, or authorizing the employer to deduct labor organization dues from the employee's pay.

Award
In labor-management arbitration, the final decision of an arbitrator, binding on both parties.

Back Pay
Pay awarded an employee for compensation lost due to an unjustified management action.

Bargaining
  See Collective Bargaining.

Bargaining Rights
Legally recognized right of the labor organization to represent employees in negotiations with employers.

Bargaining Unit
The purpose of the secret ballot election is to determine whether the employees in an appropriate unit wish to be represented by a Labor organization 'for the purpose of collective bargaining.' If the labor organization wins the election, the FLRA issues a certification naming the labor organization as the exclusive representative. Then, the agency automatically accords the labor organization exclusive recognition. As the exclusive representative, the labor organization is entitled to bargain collectively for the employees in the unit. These employees now make UP the bargaining unit. 

Base Rate
Amount of pay for work performed during a unit of time-hour, day, week, month or year-exclusive of overtime or incentive earnings.

Bilateralism
A system whereby the parties in an employee-management relationship have a voice in the determination of personnel policies, practices, and other matters affecting their working conditions. The employee`s views are expressed through their elected representative, the labor organization, in the collective bargaining process.

Binding Arbitration
Method of settling employment disputes through recourse to an impartial third party (an arbitrator). The arbitrator`s decision is usually final and binding. (In the Federal Government binding arbitration is required as the final step in a negotiated grievance procedure. It may also be used to settle impasses if its use is approved by the Federal Labor Relations Authority.)

Blue-Collar Workers
Term for workers, usually those employed in trades and labor occupations, which are paid by the hour. Similar to Federal Wage System Employees.

Boiler Plate Language
Standardized or frequently used contract language.

Boycott
Effort by a labor organization usually in collaboration with other organizations, to discourage the purchase, handling, or use of products of an employer with whom the labor organization is in dispute.

Bumping (Rolling)
Practice that allows a senior employee (in seniority ranking or length of service) to displace a junior employee in another job or department during a layoff or reduction in force. See Seniority.

Business Agent
Generally, a local union`s full-time paid employee or official whose duties include day-to-day dealing with employers and workers, adjustment of grievances, enforcement of agreements, and similar activities. See International Representative.

Bylaws
Provisions, which supplement charters or constitutions of unions or other organizations, and set forth the rules for the organization.

Carve out
Establishing a separate bargaining unit employees who previously were included in a larger unit. Generally, this practice is prohibited whenever an ongoing effective and productive relationship between the already established larger unit and management are found to exist.

Certification
The determination by the Authority, its agents or representatives, of the results of an election, or the results of a petition to consolidate existing exclusively recognized units. (See section 2421.13 of the FLRA's Rules and Regulations.) Most common usage

Certification Bar
From the date of the certification of a union as the exclusive representative, a 1-year period during which that union cannot be challenged by another labor organization. This bar protects a union from challenge in the absence of a negotiated agreement.

Chief Steward
Assists and guides shop stewards with their union duties and is often the union representative in the grievance procedure after a grievance goes beyond the first level.

Classification Act Employees
Federal Government employees, typically professional, administrative, technical, and clerical employees whose salary rates and certain other conditions of employment are determined by the Congress. These employees are known as General Schedule employees, as distinguished from Federal Wage System employees.

Cleanup Time
Paid time allowed for workers to clean their work places or tools or to wash up before leaving the plant at the close of the workday or for lunch.

Clothing Allowance
Monetary allowance for clothing and/or its upkeep, granted by an employer to employees required to wear special clothing in the performance of their work.

Compelling Need
 In the Federal Government, a basis upon which rules or regulations issued by an agency or a primary national subdivision of an agency may serve as a bar to negotiations with a labor organization. A labor organization may challenge the agency`s interpretation of compelling need before the Federal Relations Authority (FLRA). In its regulations, FLRA prescribes illustrative criteria for determining compelling need.

Confidential Employee
An employee who acts in a confidential capacity with respect to an individual who formulates or effectuates management policies in the field of labor-management relations.

Conflict of interest
In labor-management relations, this term usually refers to actions or positions of management officials (managers and supervisors), which could cause or appear to cause a lessening of loyalty to management`s interest due to involvement in the leadership or management of labor organization.

Consolidated Unit
Section 7112(d) permits an agency and a labor organization to consolidate units for which the labor organization holds exclusive recognition. 

Consolidation
A procedure to combine existing bargaining units into one or more larger appropriate bargaining units.

Consultation
An obligation on the part of employers to consult the labor organization on particular issues before taking action on them. In the Federal Government consultation refers only to the duty owed by agencies to labor organizations, which have been accorded national consultation rights. That duty involves informing the union time to present its views and recommendations, considering those views and recommendations, and giving the union written reasons for the final action.

Contract Bar
A denial of a request for a representation election because of an existing negotiated agreement. In the Federal Government, the Federal Labor Relations Authority will not authorize a representation election if a written agreement already exists and is binding upon the parties. Note, however, that the contract bar does not prevent a union from filing a request for election during the appropriate open period, that is the period between 105 and 60 days prior to expiration of a contract. 

Contracting Out
Practice of having certain work functions performed by outside contractor, using their own work forces.

Controlling Agreement
A collective bargaining agreement, which governs the terms of any agreements subordinate to it. See National Agreement.

Credited Service
Years of employment counted for seniority.

Cross-Unit Representation
An employee is not entitled under the Statute to cross unit lines to represent an employee in another bargaining unit unless the union and the agency have negotiated provisions to allow such cross-unit representation. 

Decertification
FLRA withdrawal of a labor organization`s recognition as an exclusive representative. An agency or the employees in the bargaining unit can initiate request for decertification.

Disaffiliation
Withdrawal of a local union from its national or international union membership or withdrawal of a national or international union from it Federal membership.

Disciplinary Actions
Management-initiated actions designed to correct errant employee behavior.

Dispute
Any disagreement between an employer and a labor organization requiring resolution; for example, the inability to agree on contract terms or grievances. 

Duration Clause
A clause in a collective bargaining agreement, which specifies the time period in which the agreement is in effect. There may be separate duration clauses for specific provisions in the contract. Duration clauses may provide for automatic termination on a certain date, or automatic renewal for a specified period of time.

Election Agreement
A document agreed to by agency management and the labor organizations competing for exclusive recognition which states the conditions and procedures under which campaigning or electioneering will be conducted: provisions for election observers, date and hours of election, challenge ballot procedures, mail balloting, position on the ballot, payroll period for voter eligibility, etc.

Election Bar
A 1-year period following a representation election in which there can be no other elections to challenge an exclusive representative status. Even if the election fails to result in the selection of an exclusive representative, the 1-year bar stands and there can be no other election held in the same unit. This bar allows a period of stability for the parties involved (employees, management, and the labor organization). 

Eligibility Issues
Issues related to the eligibility of employees to be in the bargaining unit.

Employee
An individual employed in an agency, or an individual (under specific conditions) whose employment in an agency has ceased because of an unfair labor practice. Refer to 7103(a)(2) of Title VII for specific conditions and exclusions. 

End Run
Going outside of or bypassing the stipulated levels in processing a grievance under the negotiated procedure.

Environmental Pay
A differential added to the base pay of an employee for working under hazardous or environmental conditions.

Exclusive Representative
7103(a)(16) of the Statute defines an 'exclusive representative' as any labor organization which: A. Is certified as the exclusive representative of employees in an appropriate unit pursuant to section 7111 of this title; or B. Was recognized by an agency immediately before the effective date of this chapter as the exclusive representative of employees in an appropriate unit-
  • On the basis of an election; or                    
  • On any basis other than an election, and continues to be so recognized in accordance with the provisions of this chapter; 


Executive Order 10988
Issued in 1962 by President Kennedy, setting the framework for collective bargaining in Federal Government. The Order defined the scope of participation by unions in determining personnel policies and working conditions not established by statue. Executive Order 10988 was superseded by Executive Order 11491 in October 1969.

Executive Order 11491 (As Amended)
Issued in 1969 by President Nixon, setting forth the parameters and general guidelines for bilateralism in the Federal Labor Relations program. It established administrative bodies to carry out the Order and also provided for unfair labor practice procedures; recognition of labor organizations; and standards of conduct for labor organizations before the effective date of Title VII.

Expiration Date
Formal termination date established in a collective bargaining agreement or the earliest date at which the agreement may be terminated.

Fact-Finding Board
A group of individuals appointed to investigate, assemble, and report the facts in an employment dispute, sometimes with authority to make recommendations for settlement.

Formal Discussion
Discussions between an agency representative(s) and a bargaining unit employee(s) or the employee`s representative(s), on an employee`s grievance, or personnel practice or policy, or other condition of employment which affects bargaining unit employees. The union has the right to be present at these discussions. 

Fragmentation
A team applied to the practice of splitting an installation`s work force into several small bargaining units rather than striving for a limited number of larger units. This can have the effect of whipsawing management. See whipsawing.

Fringe Benefits
Generally, supplements to wages or salaries received by employees at a cost to employers. The term encompasses a host of practices (paid vacations, pensions, health and insurance plans, etc.). No agreement prevails as to the list of practices that should be called fringe benefits. Other terms often substituted for fringe benefits include wage extras, hidden payroll, non-wage labor costs, and supplementary wage practices. The Bureau of Labor Statistics uses the phrase “selected supplementary compensation or remuneration practices,” which is then defined for survey purposes.

Gag Rules
Refers to any instructions, order, or laws prohibiting someone from discussing or advocating something. In an effort to stem union-related activities, presidential executive orders in the late 1800`s and early 1900`s prohibited Federal employees from lobbying Congress for wage increases and improved working conditions. 

General Counsel
An individual appointed by the President, to the FLRA. The General Counsel is responsible for investigating unfair labor practice (ULP) allegations, filing and prosecuting ULP complaints and exercising other powers prescribed by the FLRA.

Good Faith Bargaining
Defined by law as the obligation to approach negotiations with a sincere resolve to reach a collective bargaining agreement: to be represented by properly authorized representatives who are prepared to discuss and negotiate; to meet at reasonable times and convenient places as frequently as necessary; to avoid unnecessary delays in negotiations; and in the case of the agency, to furnish insofar as possible information requested by the union.

Grievance
Any complaint by any employee or by any labor organization relating to the employment of the employee(s). Also any complaint concerning the effect or interpretation or claim of breach of a collective bargaining agreement; or any claimed violation, misinterpretation, or misapplication of any law, rule, or regulation affecting conditions of employment. Whether a complaint is formally recognized and handled as a grievance depends on whether the subject of the complaint is covered under the grievance procedure.

Grievance Procedure
A systematic procedure for resolution of grievances, which usually provides for processing at successive levels of the employer`s organization. See Agency Administrative Grievance Procedures and Negotiated Grievance Procedures.

Grievance Steps
The steps in a grievance procedure by which a grievance moves from one level of authority in the company and union to the next higher level. The steps are usually specified in the agreement.

Impasse (Deadlock, Stalemate)
A situation in which the parties are unable to reach agreement on negotiable matters. 

Industrial Union (Vertical Union)
A union that represents all or most of the production, maintenance, and related workers, both skilled and unskilled, in an industry or company.  Industrial unions may also include office, sales, and technical employees of the same companies. 

Injunction
Court order restraining one or more persons, corporations, or unions from performing or not performing some act that the court believes would result in irreparable injury to property or the rights of others.

Interests
One party`s concern, need, or desire behind an issue; why the issue is being raised.

International Union
A union claiming jurisdiction both within and outside the United States (usually Canada).  Sometimes the term is loosely applied to all national unions; that is, “international” and “national” are used interchangeably.

Intervention/ Intervener
The action taken by a competing labor organization (intervener) to place itself as a contender on the ballot for a recognition election originally initiated by another union (petitioner). Interveners must produce a 10 percent showing of interest to be included on the ballot. Intervener may also refer to a party in a proceeding whose intervention has been permitted or directed by the Federal Labor Relations Authority.Investigatory Examination:An examination conducted by an agency representative in which an employee is questioned as part of an inquiry to get facts. 

Issue
A subject of discussion or negotiation in bargaining; the what; the problem to be solved.

Job Posting
Listing of available jobs, usually on a bulletin board.

Joint Bargaining
Process in which two or more unions join together to negotiate an agreement with a single employer.

Jurisdictional Dispute
Conflict between two or more labor organizations over the organization of a particular establishment or whether a certain type of work should be performed by members of one organization or another. A jurisdictional strike is a work stoppage resulting from a jurisdictional dispute.

Just Cause
Good or fair reasons to take some action.

Labor Force
In census terms, all persons age 14 or over, employed or unemployed or unemployed (but looking for work). Term is often used to designate total employment of a particular company or industry.

Labor Organization (Union)
An organization composed in whole or in part of employees, in which employees participate and pay dues, and which has as a purpose the dealing with an agency concerning grievances and conditions of employment. 

Level of Recognition
Establishes the level at which bargaining must take place. It is one of the factors in determining appropriateness of the unit. 

Living Document
This term expresses the belief that terms of an agreement, particularly a long-term agreement, should be subject to review and renegotiated by the parties if conditions change or unforeseen events come about, despite the absence of a reopening clause. 

Local Union (Local, Chapter)
Labor organization representing a bargaining unit located in a particular area or establishment (work place) in order to gain concessions from or resist demands of employees.

Long-Term Contract
Generally, a collective bargaining agreement with a duration of 2 or 3 years or longer, as distinguished from a 1-year contract.

Management
Broad term used to define any individual who represents the agency in an official capacity, most commonly, supervisors and managers.

Management Officials (Managers)
In the Federal service, means an individual in a position the duties and responsibilities of which require or authorize the individual to formulate, determine, or influence the policies of the agency.

Management Rights
The right of management to make day-to-day personal decisions and to direct the work force without notification to or consultation with the exclusive representative. Usually “management rights” refers to a specific list of management authorities that are not subject to collective bargaining. 

Manning Table
A listing of the positions or number of workers to be used in the operation of a particular machine or process.

Master Agreement
A single or uniform collective agreement covering a number of installations of a single employer or the members of an employers` association. See Multi-Employer Bargaining.

Mediation
A procedure by which an impartial third party (a mediator) is used to settle disputes. The mediator assists in resolving the dispute by attempting to find a solution satisfactory to both parties in a dispute but renders no binding decisions. In the Federal Government, mediation is required before impasses can be referred to the Federal Service Impasses Panel. 

Multi-Employer Bargaining
Collective bargaining between a union or unions and a group of employers, usually represented by an employer association and resulting in a uniform or master agreement.

Multi-Unit Bargaining
Multi-unit bargaining occurs when an agency and a labor organization that is the exclusive representative for more than one unit in that agency agree to negotiate one collective bargaining agreement to cover employees in all of the units.