The evolution of industrial relations in the federal public service has been unique in two main respects.1 First, early in the twentieth century, prior to the establishment of a legislative framework that provides employees with the right to form unions and collectively bargain, federal government employees established a variety of associations that sought to represent the employment interests of employees to the government (as employer). This occurred in the absence of any formal legislation or other legal regulations to establish these associations.2 Some major segments of the federal work-force, such as the postal employees, have been organized into associations since the earliest days of the Canadian labour movement, although a major proportion of federal government employees remained unorganized, and many employees elected not to be members of any association.3 Overall, from early on in the twentieth century, there was a fairly high degree of employee organization in some form.