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United States Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Engraving and Printing v. Federal Labor Relations Authority

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
995 F.2d 301 (1993)


The Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) (defendant) administered the Federal Service Labor Management Relations Statute (FSLMRS), 5 U.S.C. § 7101 et seq. The FSLMRS generally allowed federal employee unions to bargain collectively with government units. However, the FSLMRS stated that employees were not allowed to bargain about matters “specifically provided for” by federal statute. The Prevailing Rate Systems Act (PRSA) was a federal statute that set the pay-rate standard for most federal employees in 5 U.S.C. § 5343. In 5 U.S.C. § 5349, the PRSA used identical language to set the pay-rate standard for employees in the Department of the Treasury's Bureau of Engraving and Printing (Bureau) (plaintiff). The only substantive difference between § 5343 and § 5349 was that § 5343 described the rate setting process in greater detail. In two recent cases arising from § 5343 and involving employee unions, the FLRA had held that setting the pay-rate standard was “specifically provided for” by statute, and that, therefore, the FSLMRS barred the unions from bargaining about prevailing-pay standards. Unions representing Bureau employees sought to bargain with the Bureau over the method by which the Bureau set employee pay rates under § 5349. The Bureau refused. The unions appealed to the FLRA. Contrary to the FLRA's holdings in the two § 5343 cases, the FLRA ruled that § 5349 did not involve an employment matter “specifically provided for” by statute, and that, therefore, the FSLMRS did not bar the Bureau union from bargaining about the prevailing-pay rate under § 5349. The Bureau appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Williams, J.)

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