After the FLRA ordered the Air Force to bargain collectively with its civilian employees over access to an on-base shopette, the Air Force challenged the decision arguing that the issue is not a proper subject of bargaining. The court agreed with the Air Force that Congress has given the military unfettered discretion to determine whether civilians may patronize commissaries and exchanges, though for reasons that are slightly different from those offered by the Air Force. Given the relevant legislative directives, the court cannot imagine that Congress intended to empower a civilian agency like the Federal Labor Relations Authority to second-guess the military’s judgment about non-military access to commissaries and exchanges. In this case, by requiring negotiation over the Shoppette proposal, the Authority has similarly second-guessed the Secretary’s judgment in deciding how best to use a military benefit to achieve military purposes. Therefore, the court held that civilian access to commissaries and exchanges is not a proper subject of collective bargaining because Congress has vested the military with “unfettered discretion” over the matter. Accordingly, the court granted the petition for review and vacated the Authority's order. View "USAF v. FLRA" on Justia Law