5 USC 7114(b)(4): Collective Bargaining

About This Project

This project uses data compiled by the Sunshine in Government initiative, a coalition of journalism and transparency groups. SGI compiled data from federal agency annual FOIA reports to track how often b(3) exemptions were used. SGI also standardized the exemptions since some agencies used slightly different citations of the same laws. In some cases, agencies listed general laws without specifying a section under which information was withheld. This project does not include information from agencies that use no b(3) exemptions in 2008 or 2009. ProPublica compiled information about FOIA denials.

                           PART III--EMPLOYEES
           Subpart F--Labor-Management and Employee Relations
Sec. 7114. Representation rights and duties

    (a)(1) A labor organization which has been accorded exclusive 
recognition is the exclusive representative of the employees in the unit 
it represents and is entitled to act for, and negotiate collective 
bargaining agreements covering, all employees in the unit. An exclusive 
representative is responsible for representing the interests of all 
employees in the unit it represents without discrimination and without 
regard to labor organization membership.
    (2) An exclusive representative of an appropriate unit in an agency 
shall be given the opportunity to be represented at--
        (A) any formal discussion between one or more representatives of 
    the agency and one or more employees in the unit or their 
    representatives concerning any grievance or any personnel policy or 
    practices or other general condition of employment; or
        (B) any examination of an employee in the unit by a 
    representative of the agency in connection with an investigation 
            (i) the employee reasonably believes that the examination 
        may result in disciplinary action against the employee; and
            (ii) the employee requests representation.

    (3) Each agency shall annually inform its employees of their rights 
under paragraph (2)(B) of this subsection.
    (4) Any agency and any exclusive representative in any appropriate 
unit in the agency, through appropriate representatives, shall meet and 
negotiate in good faith for the purposes of arriving at a collective 
bargaining agreement. In addition, the agency and the exclusive 
representative may determine appropriate techniques, consistent with the 
provisions of section 7119 of this title, to assist in any negotiation.
    (5) The rights of an exclusive representative under the provisions 
of this subsection shall not be construed to preclude an employee from--
        (A) being represented by an attorney or other representative, 
    other than the exclusive representative, of the employee's own 
    choosing in any grievance or appeal action; or
        (B) exercising grievance or appellate rights established by law, 
    rule, or regulation;

except in the case of grievance or appeal procedures negotiated under 
this chapter.

    (b) The duty of an agency and an exclusive representative to 
negotiate in good faith under subsection (a) of this section shall 
include the obligation--
        (1) to approach the negotiations with a sincere resolve to reach 
    a collective bargaining agreement;
        (2) to be represented at the negotiations by duly authorized 
    representatives prepared to

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    discuss and negotiate on any condition of employment;
        (3) to meet at reasonable times and convenient places as 
    frequently as may be necessary, and to avoid unnecessary delays;
        (4) in the case of an agency, to furnish to the exclusive 
    representative involved, or its authorized representative, upon 
    request and, to the extent not prohibited by law, data--
            (A) which is normally maintained by the agency in the 
        regular course of business;
            (B) which is reasonably available and necessary for full and 
        proper discussion, understanding, and negotiation of subjects 
        within the scope of collective bargaining; and
            (C) which does not constitute guidance, advice, counsel, or 
        training provided for management officials or supervisors, 
        relating to collective bargaining; and

        (5) if agreement is reached, to execute on the request of any 
    party to the negotiation a written document embodying the agreed 
    terms, and to take such steps as are necessary to implement such 

    (c)(1) An agreement between any agency and an exclusive 
representative shall be subject to approval by the head of the agency.
    (2) The head of the agency shall approve the agreement within 30 
days from the date the agreement is executed if the agreement is in 
accordance with the provisions of this chapter and any other applicable 
law, rule, or regulation (unless the agency has granted an exception to 
the provision).
    (3) If the head of the agency does not approve or disapprove the 
agreement within the 30-day period, the agreement shall take effect and 
shall be binding on the agency and the exclusive representative subject 
to the provisions of this chapter and any other applicable law, rule, or 

(4) A local agreement subject to a national or other controlling agreement at a higher level shall be approved under the procedures of the controlling agreement or, if none, under regulations prescribed by the agency. (Added Pub. L. 95-454, title VII, Sec. 701, Oct. 13, 1978, 92 Stat. 1202.) Partial Suspension of Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Subsec. (a)(1) and (4) of this section suspended with respect to any matter proposed for bargaining which would substantially impair the implementation by the United States Forces of any treaty or agreement, including any minutes or understandings thereto, between the United States and the Government of the host nation, see section 1(b) of Ex. Ord. No. 12391, Nov. 4, 1982, 47 F.R. 50457, set out as a note under section 7103 of this title.