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


National Agreement
An agreement made at the agency headquarters levels between the agency and a union chosen to represent its employees. It governs the extent to which supplementation by local agreements is permitted.

National Consultation Rights
In the Federal Government, a union that has exclusive recognition on an agency-wide basis, or is the exclusive representative of a substantial number of agency employees is granted consultation right. To fulfill these rights, the agency must inform the union of substantive changes in conditions of employment, give the union time to present its views and recommendations, consider those views and recommendations, and give the union written reasons for the final action.

National Union
Ordinarily, a union composed of a number of affiliated local unions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics in its union directory defines a national union as one with agreements with different employers in more than one state, or an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, or a national organization of employees.

Negotiability
Negotiability refers to whether a given topic is subject to bargaining between the agency and the union. The Federal Labor Relations Authority makes final decisions on whether a subject is negotiable.

Negotiated Grievance Procedure
A systematic procedure agreed to by the negotiating parties for the resolution of grievances. The negotiated grievance procedure is applicable only to employees in the bargaining unit.

Negotiation
The process of offers and counter-offers on a proposal to reach a mutual agreement.

Objection to Election
A formal complaint filed with FLRA contesting election results because of alleged irregularities on the conduct of a representation election or the preceding campaign activities. If the objection is sustained, the election results could be set aside.

Official Time
7131 (a) of the Statute states: 'Any employee representing an exclusive representative in the negotiation of a collective bargaining agreement under this chapter shall be authorized official time for such purposes, including attendance at impasse proceeding, during the time the employee otherwise would be in a duty status. The number of employees for whom official time is authorized under this subsection shall not exceed the number of individuals designated as representing the agency for such purposes.' and 7131 (d) states: 'Except as provided in the preceding subsections of this section- 
  • any employee representing an exclusive representative, or                  
  • in connection with any other matter covered by this chapter, any employee in an appropriate unit represented by an exclusive representative, 
shall be granted official time in any amount the agency and the exclusive representative involved agree to be reasonable, necessary, and in the public interest.' 

Open End Agreement
Collective bargaining agreement with no definite termination date, usually subject to reopening for negotiations or to termination at any time upon proper notice by either party.

Open Period (Window Period)
In the Federal Government, the 45-day period (105 to 60 days prior to contract expiration) when a union holding exclusive recognition is subject to challenge by a competing union or by employees in the bargaining unit who no longer desire representation by the recognized union. An open period becomes available near the expiration date of a contract or 3 years after the effective date of the contract, whichever occurs first.

Open Shop
A place of employment where union membership is not a condition of employment.

Open Union
A union that will admit any qualified persons to membership, usually upon payment of initiation fees.

Option
A potential, often partial, solution to meet one or more interests in interest-based bargaining.

Organizing
That initial stage of union activity at an installation when a membership base is developed. This may then be followed by attempts to gain exclusive recognition.

Past Practice
Existing practices sanctioned by use and acceptance, that are not specifically included in the collective bargaining agreement.

Pattern Bargaining
The practice whereby employers and labor organizations reach collective agreements similar to those reached by the leading employers and labor organizations in the field.

Petition
A form filed with the FLRA's Regional Offices to resolve any matter related to the representation of employees. 

Picketing
Patrolling, usually near the place of employment, by members of labor organization to publicize the existence of a strike, to persuade employees and the public to boycott the employer. Organizational picketing is carried on by labor organizations for the purpose of persuading employees to join the organization or authorize it to represent them. Recognition picketing is carried on to compel the employer to recognize the labor organization as the exclusive negotiating agent for its employees. Informational picketing is directed toward advising the public about the issues in dispute. In the Federal service it is an unfair labor practice to picket an agency in a labor-management dispute if such picketing interferes with an agency`s operations.

Position
One party`s proposed solution to an issue in position-based bargaining; the how

Premium Pay
Compensation at greater than regular rate. May refer to overtime, shift differentials, or penalty rates.

Preventative Mediation
Procedures designed to anticipate potential problems of employee relations. These procedures may involve early entry by a third party into employment disputes before a strike threatens. 

Primary National Subdivision
A first-level organizational segment (of an agency) that has functions national in scope that are implemented in field activities. For example, the Internal Revenue Service is a primary national subdivision of the Department of the Treasury

Private Sector
That part of the US economy consisting of companies, industries, or corporations that are privately owed and encouraged in profit-making endeavors. Commonly referred to as private industry.

Professional Employee
Person performing work requiring advanced knowledge in a field of learning acquired by prolonged, specialized study in an institution of higher learning or hospital, as opposed to a general academic program. Duties require consistent exercise of judgment, are predominantly intellectual and varied in nature, and work output cannot be standardized over a given period of time.

Public Sector
Refers to Federal, state, or local Government. A public sector organization is any agency, office, or bureau that is funded, directly or indirectly, by public tax revenues.

Raiding (No-Raiding Agreement)
Term applied to a labor organization`s attempt to enroll member belonging to another labor organization or employees already covered by a collective agreement negotiated by another labor organization, with the intent to usurp the latter`s bargaining relationship. A no-raiding agreement is a written pledge signed by two or more labor organizations to abstain from raiding.

Rank and File
Members of an organization, exclusive of officers and employees of that organization.

Ratification
Formal approval of a newly negotiated agreement by vote of the labor organization members affected.

Real Wages
Purchasing power of money wages, or the amount of goods and services that can be acquired with money wages. An index of real wages takes into account changes over time in earning levels and in price levels as measured by an appropriate index, for example, the Consumer Price Index.

Recall
Process of bringing laid-off employees back to work, usually based on the same principles that governed order of layoff in reverse order (for example, last worker laid off is first to be recalled).

Recognition
Employer acceptance of a labor organization as the one authorized to negotiate, usually for all members of a negotiating unit.

Recognition Petition
Document filed by a union, group of employees, or management with the Federal Labor Relations Authority requesting an election to determine whether or not employees wish to be (or continue to be) exclusively represented by a given labor organization.

Regional Director
The Director of a region of the Federal Labor Relations Authority. The Authority has nine regions: Boston, New York Washington, DC, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Remedial Action (Remedy)
That portion of the decision or award of a third party (arbitrator, FLRA, etc.) which specifies corrective action to be taken.

Reopening Clause
Clause in a collective agreement stating the time or the circumstances under which negotiations can be requested prior to the expiration of the contract. Re-openings usually restrict the number of issues subject to renegotiation during the term of an agreement.

Reorganization
Any agency initiated change that can affect the character and scope of the bargaining unit. Reorganizations include: reduction in force, transfer of function, realignment, restructuring, re-engineering, downsizing, the disestablishment of one entity and/or the creation of another involving some or all of the employees in the bargaining unit. 

Reporting Pay
Minimum pay guaranteed to a worker scheduled to work who reports for work and finds no work available, or less work than can be done in a guaranteed period. Sometimes identified as call-in pay.

Representational Activities
Activities performed by a union (or the union`s representative) on behalf of the employees the union represents. Such activities include meeting and negotiating with management, investigating problems, handling grievances, and policing the terms of the collective bargaining contract.

Runoff Election
A second election conducted because the first produced no winner according to the rules. If more than two options were present in the first election, the runoff may be limited to the two options receiving the most votes in the first election. The option that receives a majority of the votes cast by bargaining unit employees is declared the winner.

Scope of Bargaining
The issues concerning personnel and practices and other matters affecting working conditions about which an agency and a labor organization having exclusive recognition may negotiate. 

Secret Ballot
The expression of a choice in any election or vote taken on any matter. A secret ballot denotes that an individual`s expression of choice is cast in such a manner that he or she cannot be identified with that choice.

Seniority
Term used to designate an employee`s status relative to other employees, in determining such things as order of promotion, layoff, and vacation. Straight seniority is seniority acquired solely through length of service. In qualified seniority, other facts such as ability are considered along with length of service. Departmental or unit seniority is applicable in a particular department or agency, rather than in the entire establishment. A seniority list ranks individual workers in order of seniority.

Shift
Term applied to the daily working schedule of a plant (installation) or its employees.

Showing of Interest
The required evidence of employee interest through petition signatures, signed and dated authorization cards, allotments of dues forms executed by the employee, an existing or recently expired agreement, or other evidence which is submitted to FLRA requesting a representation election or inclusion on the ballot. In decertification requests, a “showing of interest” can consist of signed and dated petitions or cards from employees indicating that they no longer desired to be represented by the current certified union.

Sickout
Employees agreeing to stay off the job in order to protest certain working conditions and giving illness as the reason for their absence. Under Title VII, such action is prohibited of Federal employees.

Slowdown
A deliberate reduction of work output without an actual strike in order to force concessions from employers. Under Title VII, Federal employees are specifically prohibited form engaging in a slowdown.

Standard
Agreed-upon qualities of an acceptable solution in interest-based bargaining.

Standard Agreement (Form Agreement)
Collective bargaining agreement prepared by a national or international union for use by, or guidance of, its local unions, designated to produce standardization of practices in the union`s bargaining relationships.

Statue
A law.

Statutory
Of or relating to statute. A statutory appeal procedure is an appeal procedure prescribed by law.

Steward (Union or Shop Steward)
A local union`s representative in a plant or department elected by union members (or sometimes appointed by the union) to carry out union duties, such as handling grievances, collecting dues, and soliciting new members. Stewards are usually fellow employees who are trained by the union to carry out the duties described above.

Strike Vote
Vote conducted among members of a labor organization to determine whether or not a strike should be called.

Successorship
Successorship involves a determination of the status of a bargaining relationship between an agency/activity, which acquires employees who were in a previously existing bargaining unit, and a labor organization that exclusively represented those employees prior to their transfer. 

Supervisor
In the Federal service, means an individual having authority in the interest of the agency to hire, direct, assign, promote, reward, transfer, furlough, layoff, recall, suspend, discipline or remove employees, to adjust their grievances, or to effectively recommend such action, if the exercise of the authority is not merely routine or clerical in nature but requires the consistent exercise of independent judgment. For nurses and firefighters, the term “supervisor” includes only those individuals who devote a preponderance of their employment time to exercising the preceding duties.  

Supplemental Agreement
An agreement negotiated subsequent to the basic or initial agreement. Also, an agreement often negotiated at the local level to augment a national agreement.

Suspension
From of a disciplinary action of a temporary nature, as in removing a worker from his job for a stipulated time with the consequent loss of pay.

Sweetheart Agreement
A collective agreement exceptionally favorable to a particular employer, in comparison with other contracts, implying less favorable conditions of employment than could be obtained under a legitimate collective bargaining relationship.

Technological Unemployment
Displacement of workers caused by, or attributed to, the installation of labor-saving methods or machinery.

Temporary Relief
Specific action requested (petitioned) of a U.S. court for remedy of a particular situation for a stated period. In many cases, temporary relief consists (1) staying the implementation of a proposal, or (2) stopping an action from having continued effect and returning to the status before the action took place. 

Third Party Process
Refers to a method of settling a dispute through recourse to an impartial party.

Tour of Duty
Term applied to whatever shift on which an employee is working.

Unfair Labor Practice
Action by either an employer or union, which violates the ststute, such as refusal to bargain in good faith. 

Unilateral Action
Implementation of management decisions concerning personnel policies and matters affecting working conditions that were developed without union input. Unilateral actions in areas requiring consultation or negotiation are subject to unfair labor practice charges.

Unit Issues
Issues concerning any representational matter involving the unit for which the labor organization holds exclusive recognition. Examples include

Wage Determination
Process of establishing wage rates and wage structures through collective bargaining and other methods.

Wage Differentials
Differences in wages among occupations, plants, areas, industries, type of worker, etc.

Wage Scale
A schedule specifying the pay structure for an establishment, industry, or locality.

Wage System Employees
Federal Government employees, in trades and labor occupations, whose rates of pay are determined on the basis of prevailing rates for comparable work in the area.

Weingarten Right
Name taken from a private sector case. Refers to the right of a bargaining unit employee to be represented by the union under specific circumstances. That right exists when (1) the employee is examined in an investigation (an investigatory examination) conducted by an agency representative, (2) the employee reasonably believes disciplinary action against him or her may result, and (3) the employee requests union representation. 

Whipsawing
The tactics of negotiating with one employer at a time and then using each negotiated gain as a lever against the next employer.

Work Stoppage
A temporary halt to work, initiated by workers or employer, in the form of a strike or lockout.

Zipper Clause
An agreement provision specially barring an attempt to reopen negotiations during the term of the agreement. See Reopening Clause.