President Carter's plan for tougher management control over standards that U.S. white collar workers must meet to get promotions, raises or keep from being fired got the green light yesterday from the Federal Labor Relations Authority.
In a complex decision that was 5 months in the making, the FLRA delt a blow to unions, saying that the government does not have to negotiate with them in setting standards for productivity or performance. FLRA is the highest administrative body in government for in-house labor-relations matters.Unless a court overturns an FLRA ruling, it becomes government policy.
New job performance standards, coming no later than next fall for most workers, will determine how tough bosses can be when it comes time to decide whether to give an employe:
A dismissal notice.
Federal unions argued that the job standards envisioned by the Civil Service Reform Act are too important to individual works to be set solely by management.
Under the current job performance system -- which administration officials say is little more than a rubber-stamp procedure -- 9 on every 10 employes get a regular longevity pay raise (worth about 3 percent) whenever they come due. The Carter Administration wants to make the job standards "more meaningful."
Those job standards also will contain "critical elements" for each job. A "critical element" is a facet of the job that is so important that an employe who fails to meet it can be denied a raise, or be fired, even if his or her overall performance is acceptable. The critical elements like the job standards themselves, are not negotiable issues with unions, the FLRA said.
The labor authority did toss a little good news to the unions. It said that management will have to bargain on certain "procedural aspects" of the performance standards, but not the actual standards themselves.
Union and management officials studying the FLRA ruling yesterday were still trying to determine what "procedural aspects" are, and how important negotiation on them can be in bringing unions into the job-standards picture.