Federal labor relations is often a more difficult challenge for agency managers than their other program responsibilities. Big and small ”p” politics, personalities, varied and complicated statutory requirements, case law and perceptions all affect the way the program, processes and relationships operate.

DHA associates have managed labor relations programs at the field activity, regional, and headquarters levels in Federal agencies. Our staff includes many who are recognized as leaders in the labor relations field and received awards from the agencies for whom they worked.

DHA associates on average have more than 30 years’ experience in labor relations program management, negotiations, mediation and impasse handling on behalf of a federal agency. They have experience in analyzing federal agency labor agreements and in advocacy before the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA), Federal Services Impasses Panel (FSIP) and Arbitrators. DHA staff members have substantial experience in developing and delivering labor relations training to Federal agencies.

DHA recognizes the complexity and sensitivity surrounding the decision making process in Federal agencies. Our people have worked on and through the hard issues with Federal managers and human resources officials like you. We are always prepared to hear your needs and offer practical, measured and legally defensible solutions.

So if you need technical assistance, expert advice or training in labor relations related matters please give us a call. Our discussions both before during and after we provide a service are always confidential.

General Services

  • Advice and assistance, on request, related to specific labor relations issues as may arise in the area of collective bargaining; such as:
    • Recognition and new unit issues.
    • Bargaining unit scope.
    • Bargaining unit inclusions/exclusions.
    • Dues withholding issues.
    • Information Requests.
    • Meetings with Employees.
    • Program Administration and Management.
  • Point papers, briefings and attendance at meetings to discuss matters related to collective bargaining.

Bargaining – Contract and I&I

Contract Bargaining

  • Assistance in bargaining organization including setting goals and milestones for preparation and identifying which part of the organization should perform which tasks in the preparation process.
  • Assistance in developing management proposals that are reflective of organizational needs.
  • Analysis of union proposals to include:
    • General observations and recommendations.
    • Specific analysis of each proposal for negotiability.
    • Specific analysis of each proposal to identify problems such as:
      • Redundancy or repetition.
      • Conflict with other proposals.
      • Specific or general language not in the apparent interest of the agency.
      • Ambiguous language not in the agency’s apparent interest.
      • Costly provisions.
      • Provisions that unnecessarily limit management flexibility.
      • Provisions with no apparent affect that may cause problems at arbitration.
    • Specific analysis of each proposal to determine the effect of the language on first line supervisors who must administer the agreement, such as:
      • Burdensome or cumbersome administrative procedures.
      • Specific requirements placed on a supervisor or manager regarding the taking of any action.
      • Excessive requirements for meetings or discussions.
    • Specific recommendations of contract language or bargaining approaches for each area in which problems are identified.
  • Development of supervisory surveys to determine what language is helpful or harmful, and what changes supervision perceives as necessary
  • Strategic and tactical advice related to bargaining preparation, ground rule negotiations, conducting management surveys, negotiations, impasse handling and related matters.
  • Preparing issues for mediation and impasse.
  • Post Agreement Activity:
    • Development of a supervisory handbook providing guidance on the interpretation and application of the agreement. This includes an article-by-article explanation of the agreement terms.
    • Supervisory training on the new agreement to include transmittal of Management’s policies and interpretations regarding the agreement.

Impact & Implementation Bargaining

  • Identifying issues appropriate for I&I bargaining
  • Developing a management approach.
  • Advising on Risks/rewards.


  • Handling bargaining unit issues (see above) and case handling.
  • An individual to serve as team advisor at or during the actual negotiations.
  • Serving as chief negotiator.
  • Grievance handling advice.
  • Analyzing grievances and preparing responses.
  • Arbitration case handling.
  • Analyzing unfair labor practice allegations and preparing an agency response.
  • Unfair labor practice case handling.


DHA’s labor relations training capacity is substantial. All DHA programs are Agency friendly and can be customized to fit your needs more often than not at no additional cost. Our training provides the best value at a competitive price. Staff associates have conducted both off the shelf and agency-specific programs in each of the following areas:

  • Bargaining team training focusing on bargaining tactics and/or on preparation and support or to meet both needs as required.
  • Pre and post-election training to help managers deal with a union organizing drive and, if the union becomes recognized, the transition to an organized environment.
  • Basic labor relations training for new labor relations staff members, staff attorneys and others with a need for in depth training on the statute and its operational effect on agency management.
  • Supervisory training that either focuses on the obligations and opportunities available under the law and labor agreement or an agency-specific issues and the rights arising from a negotiated agreement.
  • Unfair labor practice advocacy that deals with the handling of a case from the filing of a charge through investigation, settlement, hearing and appeal.
  • Arbitration advocacy that prepares representatives to handle all aspects of a grievance from working through the steps to preparing and presenting an arbitration hearing.
  • Specialty courses that focus on such topics as:
    • Managing a labor relations program
    • Impact and implementation bargaining
    • Representation and unit issues
    • Negotiability and appeals
    • Mediation and impasse handling