News: Unfair Labor Practice charges filed with FLRA
Scroll down below to see news stories archived from the "FL 1998 Home" page reporting Unfair Labor Practice charges (ULP's) filed by NFFE Local 1998 against Passport Services.  

For information and training on how to file a ULP, click on the "Union Stewards" link above, and then click on Chapter 16 of the NFFE Local 1998 Steward Manual.  

Unfair Labor Practice charges are governed by the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute - 5 U.S.C. 71 (pictured at right).  



  News stories on Unfair Labor Practice charges filed by NFFE Local 1998
ULP filed in response to implementation of internal controls guidelines
January 29, 2009: NFFE Local 1998 Vice President Rob Arnold filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge (ULP) with the Federal Labor Relations Authority after Passport Services Management implemented changes in working conditions as part of a new emphasis on internal controls.  Determining the internal security practices of the Agency is a Management Right under the Federal Service Labor Management Relations Statute (5 U.S.C. 7106), but that same law gives unions the right to bargain over the procedures and appropriate arrangements for the implementation of changes relating to that authority.  A ULP is an allegation that the Agency violated the law, specifically 5 U.S.C. 7116.  The Union had sought to separately account for the time that employees had to perform new locking and security functions, and had sought to obtain tools (such as lockers) for employees to be able to comply with locking requirements, but Management refused to bargain with the Union and never responded to the Union's proposals.  The ULP also alleged that Management implemented a new regulation in conflict with the collective bargaining agreement already in effect, and also that Management inappropriately made inaccurate statements regarding the Union's role in developing internal controls policies.  

Unfair Labor Practice charge filed against Passport Services Management
November 28, 2008: NFFE Local 1998 filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge (ULP) against Passport Services Management regarding the implementation of performance elements for approximately 100 bargaining unit employees.  Management had notified the Union of changes in late 2007 and the Union had invoked its right to bargain over those changes.  The parties had agreed to first address the Passport Specialist position - a position held by 1,300 of the 1,400 employees represented by the Union - and then turn to the other positions, including File Assistant, Contact Representative, Processing Clerk, and Cashier.  The parties did bargain to completion on the Passport Specialist position (including an implementing memo and a mechanism for gathering input into the elements) but Management abruptly implemented the elements for the other positions without bargaining with the Union.  

Unfair Labor Practice charge filed against Passport Services for disciplinary action taken against Union representative
September 9, 2008: NFFE Local 1998 Recording Secretary Jennifer Gile filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) regarding a "Letter of Warning" that a Regional Director gave to a Union Senior Steward.  The Senior Steward had been in a labor-management meeting with the RD to discuss the Union/Management Council and was later disciplined for alleging raising his voice and criticizing the RD in the meeting and for not using a "subject line" when he sent emails to the RD in his capacity as the Union representative.  The Union believes that FLRA caselaw firmly and repeatedly has established that the verbiage, tone, and volume of speech in labor-management discussions is considered protected.  For example, in 51 FLRA No. 2, the Authority ruled that an Agency committed an Unfair Labor Practice when it suspended a Union official for two weeks for using curse words directed at a Management official in a labor-management meeting.

HQ contracts out passport application acceptance; Union files Unfair Labor Practice charge 
June 12, 2007: NFFE Local 1998 filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge after Passport Services Management refused to honor the Union's request to negotiate over a plan to have non-governmental contractor workers accept passport applications at the Philadelphia and Boston Passport Agencies.  Accepting an application involves identifying the applicant, ensuring that he/she is who he/she claims to be, recording evidence, taking fees, administering the oath, witnessing the signature, signing the application, and entering it into the computer.  This has always been considered an "inherently governmental function" by both employees and Management, and this change appears to conflict with Department of State and Passport Services written policy.  Passport Services has firmly instructed acceptance facilities (e.g., clerks of court, post offices) that they may not use contractors to accept passport applications.  HQ notified the Union of this proposal on May 29th and the Union responded that same day that it objected to that plan for a number of reasons, though none were personal or professional criticisms of the contractor workers themselves. Government workers take an oath of office to the country and the Constitution.  Contractors do not have the same clearance level as government workers, and the contractors do not have the training or experience that Passport Specialists have in performing acceptance functions, especially the key role of detecting passport fraud and identity theft.  The Union believe that the integrity of the passport issuance process should not be sacrificed even though there is a large backlog of applications.  The Union also objected to this plan on the basis that adjudicators in many offices had been pulled from adjudication to perform functions that contractors could perform, despite the massive backlog, so this plan does not increase productivity.  Because Management implemented the change without bargaining with the Union, the Union feels that Management committed an unfair labor practice (a violation of 5 U.S.C. 7116).  This story was covered by the Federal Daily in the June 20, 2007 online edition.  


  Other documents/information relating to ULP's filed by  NFFE Local 1998

Memorandum of Understanding resolves ULP charge
1-29-2008: MOU signed by Union and Management to resolve Unfair Labor Practice charge regarding Management's decision to contract out the passport application execution/acceptance function: MOU   

Unfair Labor Practice Charge upheld by FLRA 
November 27, 1991: The FLRA upheld an Unfair Labor Practice Charge filed by NFFE Local 1998 regarding Passport Services' refusal to provide the addresses of bargaining unit employees: 43 FLRA No. 36


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This site is owned & maintained by IAMAW FD1 NFFE FL1998, the union that represents the bargaining unit employees of Passport Services (a division of the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs). The views expressed here are those of the Union and not the federal government. 



  Updated March 14, 2009