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Labor Management Employee Relations Branch

The MRP Labor Management Employee Relations (LMER) Branch provides a full range of LMER services for APHIS, FAS, and AMS. The Branch evaluates management and human resources policies in order to determine their labor relations impact and/or implementing requirement; determines the need for and develops APHIS and AMS policies, practices, and procedures related to the conduct of labor-management relations; develops and maintains relationships with APHIS and AMS unions, partnerships, and associations. Within APHIS, serves as management's primary representative in contract negotiations and in the development of negotiation strategies; adjudicates grievances filed under negotiated procedures, and charges of unfair labor practices; coordinates arbitration and Impasses Panel case handling. Represents APHIS and AMS in third-party labor management related matters; provides labor relations training for managers, supervisors, and union officials; provides general labor relations research services to managers and supervisors; provides mediation and consultative services to resolve disputes; and, maintains liaison with recognized bargaining units and officials of the agencies serviced, the Department, Office of Personnel Management, professional societies, and officials in other Government agencies.

The MRP Labor Management Employee Relations Branch (LMER) is also responsible for providing advice and counsel to supervisors and managers throughout APHIS, FAS, and AMS in identifying the best method(s) to correct misconduct and performance problems. As “Advocates of the Process”, when consulted, LMER Specialists inform all employees of their rights and responsibilities. The members of the Branch work on a wide variety of cases and are responsible for preparing proposal and decision letters and arranging for oral conferences as required. In addition, the Branch assists supervisors and managers in preparing demonstration opportunities and in taking appropriate action, if those plans are not met. Finally, the Branch is responsible for handling administrative grievances, and assists in the handling of any appeals to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) resulting from adverse action decisions.


The mission of the Labor Management and Employee Relations Branch is to provide quality advice and services to internal and external customers in any phase of activity dealing with labor management and/or employee relations issues. Our goal is to enhance our customers’ ability to fulfill their mission and at the same time meet our statutory obligations under the Federal Service Labor Management Relations Statute.

Core Values

  • All customers are treated with respect as demonstrated through actions that are responsive and thorough.
  • Communication will be done in a relevant way - using current technology when appropriate - for the purpose of facilitating program understanding, work facilitation and improved business relationships.
  • Seeking opportunities to build collaborative relationships with both internal and external customers.

Labor Management Employee Relations support customers by:

  • Utilizing a combination of a collaborative and compliance based approaches as appropriate.
  • Anticipating, understanding, and responding to customer needs.
  • Providing consultative services which offer alternatives and options.
  • Representing the Agency in third party proceedings (Arbitration, mediations, FSIP/FLRA hearings).
  • Providing assistance with bargaining national agreements and change bargaining.
  • Developing and presenting quality training on all aspects of labor management and employee relations.
  • Drafting effective corrective actions for conduct and performance issues.
  • Providing expert guidance in responding to grievance and appeals, both administrative and negotiated.

Contact Information
Email Labor Management Employee Relations Branch at


Branch Chief, Cory Brown (DC), 202-557-0063,
Section 1 Chief, Ubaldo “UB” Herrera, 910-884-5568,
Section 2 Chief, Patrick O’Connor, 202-799-7088,


Branch Chief, Annette Cureton (DC), 202-799-7107,
Section 3 Chief, Frank Sobolesky, 202-799-7087,
Section 4 Chief, Ben Murphy, 612-336-3373,


Labor Management Employee Relations Branch Programs & Services for Employees Only Employees Only

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