If management plans to add or reduce the number of employees, reorganize
the way work is done, adopt new or different equipment, change or improve
operating methods, relocate to new office space, adopt a new work schedule,
etc., they must meet their labor relations obligation if bargaining unit
employees are affected. Management has rights they may exercise; however,
before exercising their rights, they must notify the union if those rights
involve changing the working conditions of bargaining unit employees. Not
only does management have to notify the union, they must bargain the impact
and implementation of the planned changes before any changes can be made.
Such bargaining is commonly referred to as Impact and Implementation, or I&I
bargaining and is the most common type of midterm bargaining.
- Management rights (i.e. hire, layoff, assign work, determining
budget or organization, contracting out, internal security practices)
are protected within the Federal Service Labor Management Statute or 5
U.S.C. Chapter 71. When a decision is made that will change the working
conditions of bargaining unit employees, management has a duty to notify
the union, and, upon request, bargain on procedures that they will
follow in implementing its protected decision, as well as on appropriate
arrangements for employees expected to be adversely affected by the
- If the procedures and appropriate arrangements for a proposed change
in condition relates to a provision already contained in the collective
bargaining agreement, there is no duty to notify the union. This
exception to the duty to give notice of changes in conditions of
employment is also referred to as the “covered by” doctrine. This means
that the agency does not have to engage in midterm or I&I bargaining of
particular matters because they are already covered by the current
collective bargaining agreement.
- There may be a contractual notice period in which management must
notify the union. Refer to the unit’s collective bargaining agreement
for such a time frame. For example, a contract may require management to
notify the union, who in turn has 10 days to respond before management
moves forward with implementation. If there is no contractual notice
period, it may be based on past practice or may vary based on the extent
of the proposed changes.
- The Statute states that when management is going to change the
conditions of employment for employees in the bargaining unit,
management has an obligation to provide the union with reasonable and
adequate advance notice of the change and has a duty to bargain with the
union as appropriate. Therefore, you will need to factor more time into
your plans for making a change.
- If the union does not respond to the notification within the
appropriate time, management may implement the proposed changes. If the
union does provide a timely request to bargain, management has a duty to
bargain and must hold off on making proposed changes.
- Changes may not be made until proper union notification has been
made and any resulting negotiations are completed. Failure to notify the
union, or bargain when appropriately requested, is grounds for an Unfair
Labor Practice charge because this violates the Statute. This may result
in an order for the Coast Guard to return to the status quo, including
making impacted employees whole, as well as to retroactively bargain.
- Changes that are not covered by a management right, i.e. dress
codes, elimination of rest periods, elimination of a coffee pot, etc.
means the substance of the proposed change is negotiable with the union.
- Making a change is not always easy when bargaining unit employees
are affected. Although this may seem time consuming, we must follow the
Statute. Therefore whenever you are planning to make a change, contact
your servicing HR Specialist or Command Staff
Advisor for advice and guidance and to assist you with proper
notification to the union regarding your proposed change(s).