The National Weather Service Employees Organization today filed a charge against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), alleging that the agency committed an unfair labor practice by unilaterally implementing a policy of disqualifying applicants for positions if their resumes did not include specific information. The charge, which was filed with the Washington Regional Office of the Federal Labor Relations Authority, claims that the agency violated the Federal Service Labor Management Relations Statute by failing to consult with the union before changing the manner in which applications were evaluated. NWSEO was granted “national consultation rights” in 2002, which obligates NOAA to provide the union with prior notice of any proposed substantive change in conditions of employment as well as allowing the union a reasonable time to present its views and recommendations regarding the changes before they are made.
On or about Jan 6, 2022, NOAA began to disqualify applicants for promotion or reassignment if their resumes did not specifically include certain information such as the applicant’s citizenship, whether male applicants were registered for Selective Service, as well as certain specific information about paid and non-paid work experience such as job title, duration of employment expressed in a particular date format, and hours per week. According to the charge, these new requirements were imposed without consultation with NWSEO and without notice to employees or applicants. As a result, dozens of employees represented by NWSEO in its various bargaining units within NOAA were disqualified for consideration for positions for which they applied, including positions identical to those which they presently encumber.
The charge will now be investigated by the Federal Labor Relations Authority’s (FLRA’s) Office of General Counsel. If the FLRA’s Regional Director determines as a result of her investigation that there was a violation of the Federal labor statute, she will issue a formal complaint against NOAA and bring it to trial before a Federal Administrative Law Judge.