NASA v. FLRA, 527 U.S. 229, 9 (1999)

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Cite as: 527 U. S. 229 (1999)

Opinion of the Court

266-267, does not justify the conclusion that the text of the FSLMRS—which expressly grants a comparable right to employees in the public sector—should be narrowly construed to cover some, but not all, interviews conducted by agency representatives that have a disciplinary potential. Congress' specific endorsement of a Government employee's right to union representation by incorporating it in the text of the FSLMRS gives that right a different foundation than if it were merely the product of an agency's attempt to elaborate on a more general provision in light of broad statutory purposes.2 The basis for the right to union representation in this context cannot compel the uncodified limitation proposed by NASA and its OIG.

Employing ordinary tools of statutory construction, in combination with the Authority's position on the matter, we have no difficulty concluding that 7114(a)(2)(B) is not limited to agency investigators representing an "entity" that collectively bargains with the employee's union.


Much of the disagreement in this case involves the interplay between the FSLMRS and the IGA. On NASA's and NASA-OIG's view, a proper understanding of the IGA precludes treating OIG personnel as "representative[s]" of the agencies they are duty-bound to audit and investigate. They add that the Authority has no congressional mandate or expertise with respect to the IGA, and thus we owe the Authority no deference on this score. It is unnecessary for us to defer, however, because a careful review of the relevant IGA provisions plainly favors the Authority's position.

2 See id., at 608, n. 5 (Congress recognized that the right to union representation might evolve differently in the federal and private sectors); H. R. Conf. Rep. No. 95-1717, p. 156 (1978), FSLMRS Leg. Hist. 824; cf. Karahalios v. Federal Employees, 489 U. S. 527, 534 (1989) (the FSLMRS "is not a carbon copy of the NLRA").


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