Appeals Procedures

What must be part of all Federal grievance procedures?

The Statute indicates that all Federal collective bargaining agreements must contain a grievance procedure.  Criteria that must be included in all Federal grievance procedures include:


  • The right of an exclusive union representative to present and process the grievance on behalf of its members

  • The right of an employee to present a grievance on his/her own behalf with the union representative present

  • The right to binding arbitration, should the grievance not be settled to the satisfaction of the union or the employer [§7121(b)(3)] [Note: When the parties have exhausted every step of the negotiated grievance procedure and the dispute still has not been resolved, the final step must be binding arbitration. This requirement comes from Statute section 7121(b)(3)(C).]


Binding arbitration is the settlement of a dispute by an impartial third party, an arbitrator, who makes a final and binding decision on the matter. Binding arbitration can be invoked by the union or management, but an employee cannot invoke arbitration on his/her own.


Grievances should always be resolved at the lowest level possible, and binding arbitration should be considered only as a last resort. Once a grievance is in the hands of an arbitrator, management and the union may lose control over the terms of the final decision and the arbitrator’s award may end up being objectionable to both parties. However, a benefit of arbitration may be the resolution of a matter which has been festering for a long time.

Learn More