Unit Clarification Petitions
Unit clarification involves determining whether a position is properly classified in terms of the collective bargaining arrangement between unions and federal agencies. A Unit Clarification Petition, or UC Petition, is the official tool used in this process.
In unit clarification, the essential questions are:
- Do changing circumstances require that the job role be made part of a particular collective bargaining unit within the federal agency?
- Alternatively, do those circumstances require the removal of a job role from that particular bargaining unit?
Your Rights as a Federal Employee Acting as a Union Official
As we mentioned in our page on Unfair Labor Practices, the Federal Service Labor-Management Statute states:
- “Each employee shall have the right to form, join, or assist any labor organization or to refrain from such activity, freely and without penalty or reprisal, and each employee shall be protected in the exercise of such right.”
In addition, the FLRA allows for unions – but not federal employees individually – to file UC Petitions to determine classification within an existing collective bargaining unit. (This includes uncertified bargaining units.)
In short, federal employees have the legally recognized right to take part in organized labor (or not), for the purpose of contract negotiations and resolving grievances arising out of discrimination or retaliation.
However, the union itself (through its representatives) must pursue unit clarification.
Why File a UC Petition?
Unit clarification determines the specific process by which federal employees protect their rights against discrimination and retaliation in the workplace, as well as pursue contract negotiations involving pay and other terms.
This is why it is often essential for unions to succeed on their UC Petitions.
Union officials file UC Petitions for a variety of reasons, including:
- Job roles that fall under more than one bargaining unit
- A new role that requires clarification as to which bargaining unit it belongs
- New duties or an evolved skill set on the part of the employee(s)
In addition, unions may file a UC Petition in order to create a new collective bargaining unit – as opposed to modifying an existing unit – for a larger group of similarly situated employees.
Contact Snider & Associates
At Snider & Associates, we represent unions and union officials in drafting and filing UC Petitions. Our goal is to ensure that federal employees are properly classified and are able to enjoy the protections and benefits of union membership, if they so choose to take part in it. To discuss this further, call or email us today.