On January 21, 2021, one day after his inauguration, President Biden announced his selection of Ernest DuBester as the chairman of the Federal Labor Relations Authority, which governs labor-management relations and often decides disputes between unions and agency management. The designation is not subject to Senate confirmation.
Chairman DuBester has served as a member of the three-person FLRA panel for about 12 years, and previously served as chairman twice, for a few months each time. Over the last four years, many of the decisions issued by the fiercely anti-labor-dominated panel concluded with "Member DuBester dissenting." The decisions in thoose cases, according to Government Executive, did not understand the federal labor management statute, "eroding fundamental rights in the area of collective bargaining."
Chairman DuBester has already voluntarily recognized the FLRA's own union, which his predecessor, Colleen Duffy Kiko, decertified in 2018. The remaining Republicans, one of whose term has expired but has not yet been replaced by President Biden, contested that decision.
AFGE Local 476 joins AFGE National in applauding the selection of Chairman DuBester, and thanks Chairman DuBester for his fortitude over the past four years.
On March 24, 2021, President Biden appointed Charlotte Dye to serve as acting general counsel of the Federal Labor Relations Authority. Ms. Dye was deputy general counsel of the FLRA since 2019.
The general counsel's position was vacant since 2017, creating a backlog of about 450 unfair labor practice complaints, according to Chairman DuBester, which could not move forward without a general counsel to review them. Trump's failure to fill the position for over three years appeard to be an attempt to hamper union responses to improper agency actions. Unions brought countless other unfair practice complaints grievances, requiring them to go through a lengthy and costly arbitration process, rather than join the endless queue of cases awaiting action at the FLRA.
Ms. Dye joined the FLRA in 1992. Before serving as the Authority's deputy general counsel, Ms. Dye was the regional director of the FLRA's Dallas regional office. The FLRA closed both the Dallas and Boston offices in 2018, another move that was viewed as a means of interfering with unions' efforts to halt agency violations of the Federal Labor-Management Statute.
President Biden has demanded the resignations of all ten members of the Federal Services Impasses Panel, according to the Government Executive. The FSIP, part of the Federal Labor Relations Authority, resolves impasses in contract negotiations between agencies and unions. The FSIP can impose binding contract terms on federal agencies and labor unions. All of the FSIP's members are appointed by the president. They usually serve set terms, but do not require Senate confirmation.
The previous administration had appointed fiercely anti-labor advocates, "most of whom lacked experience in labor-management relations or conflict resolution," as the Government Executive reported. The FSIP, over the last four years, supported agencies' efforts—including HUD's—to implement the three anti-labor executive orders, imposing contract terms that severely restricting union officials’ access to official time, reduced employee rights, and removed language regarding benefits such as telework.