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Bargaining Unit Status (BUS) Codes

Every civilian position in the Coast Guard is assigned a Bargaining Unit Status (BUS) code. BUS codes are 4-digit numbers used to identify which Bargaining Unit a position belongs to, if any. If a position is in a bargaining unit, the BUS code also identifies which one it belongs to.

  • A Bargaining Unit is a group of non-supervisory employees usually sharing similar conditions of employment and working conditions and determined by the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) to have a clear and identifiable community of interest such that their exercise of rights will promote effective dealings with, and efficiency of the operations of, the agency involved called an Appropriate Unit.
  • The codes help identify an organization’s exclusive representative, more commonly known as a Union. For example, Base Support Unit Kodiak is exclusively represented by the Association of Federal Government Employees (AFGE). The BUS code for this unit is 3575. Except for where certain units have been consolidated, every Appropriate Unit has a unique BUS code.
  • Units that have been declared Appropriate but do not have an exclusive representative will have a BUS code of 7777. This means there is no Union currently representing this unit, but it is eligible for representation if a petition is filed to do so.
  • Some positions have a BUS code of 8888. This code identifies positions that are not eligible for representation by a Union. This does not necessarily mean that an entire unit is exempt from Union representation. Because the position itself is covered, the duties of the position must be reviewed. A position might be in a unit which has Union representation but the position may be coded as 8888 because of an exemption. The Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute identifies those positions that are excluded from a Bargaining Unit. See list below for 6 categories of Bargaining Unit exclusions:
    • Management Officials
    • Supervisors
    • Confidential Employees (Only refers to those with direct access to Labor-Management Relations info)
    • Employees engaged in Personnel Work
    • Employees engaged in National Security activities
    • Employees involved in Internal Audit functions
  • Professional employees have the option of being covered or not. If professional employees elect not to be covered, they will have a BUS code of 7777. They require highly specialized degrees and often require licenses to perform the job; i.e. engineers, lawyers. Professional Employees are engaged in the performance of work:
    • Requiring knowledge of an advanced type;
    • Consistent exercise of discretion and judgment in its performance;
    • Which is predominantly intellectual and varied in character (as distinguished from routine mental, manual, mechanical, or physical work); and
    • This is of such character that the output produced or the result accomplished cannot be standardized in relation to a given period of time.
  • Students and Temporary employees may also be excluded in certain situations. Student and temporary appointments are looked at on an individual basis taking into consideration the unit description and the length of the appointment.
  • A BUS code can be found on an employee SF-50 Notice of Personnel Action in box 37. Again, it is important to remember that a position is assigned a BUS code, not an employee. When an employee leaves the position, the BUS code remains with that position. If he/she takes a position in another unit, the new position may have a different BUS code which will be reflected on the new SF-50.
  • Employees are not obligated to become members simply because they are in a bargaining unit. Nor is Union membership automatic just because the position is in a Bargaining unit. Employees must pay Union dues to become official members. Employees are covered by the negotiated contract of that unit and have a right to Union representation regardless of membership.