FLRA Reduced from Seven Regional Offices to Five in Two Months, Still Lacks General Counsel

The Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) has announced that it will close another office, shuttering the doors of its Boston office just one month after announcing the closure of its Dallas office.

The FLRA notes it “administers the labor-management relations program for 2.1 million non-Postal federal employees worldwide, approximately 1.2 million of whom are represented in 2,200 bargaining units.”

The announcement also comes less than one month after the agency, one of several created under the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, celebrated its 40th anniversary.

According to Nicole Ogrysko at Federal News Network, “plans to close the two offices were detailed in the agency’s strategic plan and 2019 budget justification and cited the president’s government reorganization initiatives.”

With the closure, FLRA will be down to five remaining regional offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, San Francisco, Denver, and Chicago. The move is just another in a period of increased uncertainty and instability across the network of civil service institutions that serve the federal workforce.

Ogrysko writes that FLRA “declined to comment on the impact the office closures would have on agency employees or if further plans to close more regional offices were in the works.”

The FLRA also currently lacks a General Counsel. And relatedly, the three-person Merit Systems Protection Board has been without a quorum for 21-months, with its only member’s term set to soon expire, while the U.S. Office of Special Counsel has similarly faced a mounting workload and decreased bandwidth, issues each agency detailed on a recent episode of FEDtalk on Federal News Network.

Mark Robbins, the only remaining member of the MSPB, explained on the program that the failure to fill the Senate-confirmed seats has seen a backlog of more than 1,600 cases develop. Robbins further noted that he faced a backlog of less than 100 cases when he began, and the catch-up process was roughly six months, highlighting just how daunting the issue has become.

FLRA released a short FAQ further detailing the impact the decision will have on the agency’s case flow.

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