Responding to the growing number of unionized federal workers, in 1969, President Nixon issued Executive Order 11491. The order was a pragmatic attempt to develop a comprehensive, centrally administered federal labor relations system. Control was to be placed in the hand of the Federal Labor Relations Board. The situation remained essentially static until the U.S. Congress passed the Title VII provisions of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 which expanded the council's aegis and evolved it into the Federal Labor Relations Authority.
Since 1979, the authority has rendered numerous case law decisions threading that gray area between the collective bargaining privileges ceded to federal unions and the strict prohibition against their engagement in strike activities, coercive leverage used by organized labor in the private sector to effect management's decisions. Yet, over that period, there has been little critical and analytical attention paid to those decisions, some of which blatantly contradict one another.