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Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)

Federal Sector Labor Organizations Required to Give Members Notice of Their Civil Service Reform Act Rights

Federal sector labor organizations are required to inform members of their democratic rights including, among other things, the right to inspect collective bargaining agreements, to participate in officer elections and other union activities, and to exercise free speech rights without fear of retaliation. Notice must be given by hand delivery, U.S. mail, e-mail, or any combination as long as the method is reasonably calculated to reach all members.

Notice to new members must be given within 90 days of their joining the labor organization. All members must be given notice of their rights in writing once every three years.

Federal sector unions may use the DOL publication Union Member Rights and Officer Responsibilities under the Civil Service Reform Act, (HTML or PDF), as the notice or they may devise their own language to inform members of their rights as long as it accurately states all union-member democratic rights contained in the standards of conduct regulations.

A Federal sector union which maintains a Web site must have a conspicuous link to Union Member Rights and Officer Responsibilities under the Civil Service Reform Act or to the union's own statement of members' rights.

This rule covers federal employee unions subject to the standards of conduct provisions of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. - 7120), the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (22 U.S.C. - 4117(d)), or the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. - 1351(a)(1)).

With respect to their relationship with their union, federal employee union members have, among other rights:

  • equal rights to participate in union activities;
  • freedom of speech and assembly;
  • a voice in setting rates of dues, fees, and assessments;
  • the right to inspect copies of collective bargaining agreements;
  • protection of the right to sue;
  • safeguards against improper discipline; and
  • the right to be a candidate and run for office.

Enforcement Authority

DOL can investigate and prosecute violations of the rule on its own initiative or after receiving a complaint from a union member. If a member wishes to file a complaint they should contact the nearest OLMS field office.


Federal Register Notice HTML | PDF

Informing Members of the Standards of Conduct Provisions for Federal Sector Labor Organizations - Frequently Asked Questions

Compliance Assistance - The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA) Standards of Conduct

Union Member Rights and Officer Responsibilities under the Civil Service Reform Act (HTML Version) (PDF Version)


Last Updated: 1-13-12