KIKO-ABBOTT RIP UP ANOTHER ARBITRATION AWARD
Continuing their campaign of overturning virtually any arbitrator award that dares to sustain a grievance, this dynamic duo of decisional dissembling has created yet another reasons for screwing over employees. Moreover, they did it without citing a single federal or private sector case as precedent for doing so after about 40 years of federal sector case law and about 80 of private sector law. In this new case, they stated an arbitrator does not have the right to deal with all the issues flowing from a remedy s/he imposed even if s/he formally retained jurisdiction over the rollout of that remedy. Kiko and Abbott believe that if the initially ordered remedy has been implemented, no matter how imperfectly, the arbitrator loses the ability to settle the parties’ dispute over the flawed implementation of the original remedy. Continue reading
EEOC REJECTS “LIP SERVICE” FOR THE DEAF/HOH (AN UPDATE)
There is not any breaking news here or newly-established legal precedent—and that is sad. This post is about yet another fed who requested a sign language interpreter for a last-minute meeting a manager called with employees. Rather than postpone the meeting to get an interpreter, management decided it was important to have it immediately. It told the employee it would hold the same meeting the next day when it could get an interpreter. But, it never did, and the employee filed charges. Shocked? We kind of are because too many employees seem to think there must be a long-running pattern of discrimination before they have a legitimate complaint. This employee proved once again that is not the case. A single incident can result in a discrimination judgment and money for the employee. Here is how EEOC held the law applied. (But also be sure to check out a new EEOC decision explaining when it will certify a class action on behalf of all deaf/HOH employees. That could be a very powerful tool for forcing agency change. See Tessa v. Perdue, Agriculture, EEOC No. 0720170021 (2017). Continue reading
CONGRATS TO NWSEO ON DECISION-MAKING OPENNESS
It is easy to keep union members, even stewards and some officers, in the dark about what is happening in the bargaining table to revise the current term contract. In fact, hoarding information about those kinds of decision-making venues can be a real rush for those leaders that thrive on control. That is why we were happy to see the lengths the which the National Weather Service Employees Organization leadership goes to open up the traditionally secret national bargaining process. If you have an interest in openness, check out the Contract Connect series of postings at the NWSEO web site. If you do not care about decision-making openness within the union, then consider how powerful a bargaining tool this can be. Would an agency really want to put forth a truly absurd and offensive position at the bargaining table if it knew that would be shared with the workforce?
Posted in Bargaining
AN APPROACHING ATTORNEY FEE APOCALYPSE?
Not long ago, deep inside the bowels of a management think tank on a well-guarded federal reservation, some LR managers noticed that in three virtually identical D.C. area, employee suspension cases won by the employees the attorneys from three different firms billed (and were awarded) vastly different amounts. In one case, the attorney was given $4,750.00 (AFGE, 63 FLRA 486 (2009)); in the second case, the attorney was awarded $58,000 (See Shrewsberry, MSPB DC-3443-12-0288-A-1 (2014)); and in the third the law firm walked away with $384,565. It was one of those “Ah-ha” moments that triggered a highly targeted agency effort to bring the awarding of attorney fees, especially in the Washington, D.C. area, under control. Fedsmill.com has tried to alert unions to the coming threat to employee rights to attorney fees not once, not twice, not three times, not four, nor are we stopping at five with the recent posting entitled, “Remember, Laffey is Not Enough.” Thankfully, there seems to be some union interest developing in defending this vital employee right, especially in connection with agency demands that the union must give up employee rights to attorney fee reimbursement if they want more official time—or even to retain what they have. We are not going to roll out another round of advice with a full posting. Rather, we are going to respond to one reader who asked to be told only the issues agencies are likely to focus on with their bargaining demands. We see five agency demands that unions must prepare to negotiate over: Continue reading
HOW KIKO AND ABBOTT CAN TORMENT THE GAY COMMUNITY
We certainly are not advocating they do this; in fact, that would be terrible. However, Kiko and Abbott have repeatedly proven their loyalty to the President who appointed them by gutting employee rights and tormenting their union representatives. So, now that the President has decided that he is going to deny visas to the gay partners of diplomats as part of his cult’s approach to American justice and fairness, the odds are the two Trumpettes on the FLRA will once again not only follow his lead, but do so proudly. After all, what is the big deal about a few thousand screwed over employees if that is what it will take to get Kiko and Abbott more political appointments? Continue reading
CHURCH LADY SMITES DOD
Score another one for all the Sunday church-going Christians in their battle to spend their Sabbath worshiping. This time DOD learned the hard way that it must offer a “reasonable accommodation” to allow employees to practice their religion and when they do not they can pay dearly. In this case more than $25,000 in damages. Continue reading
Posted in Religion
GRADE/STEP PAY SYSTEM INSUFFICIENT TO DEFEAT PAY DISCRIMINATION
Most feds think that they cannot win an equal pay claim because the grade and step structure of the GS salary system is almost automatic. But a Circuit Court recently decided that there are ways to get around that to prove discrimination and earn the harmed employees not only back pay but a future raise. Take a look at this blog posting from jacksonlewis for a more detailed story about how to file a successful pay discrimination claim.
FIVE UNION RIGHTS YOU MAY NOT REMEMBER
We all know that union activists cannot be fired, denied a benefit, or even poorly evaluated if the decision is based on or even related to our choice to be union activist. But over the years FLRA has certified that union leaders have a few others rights that you might have forgotten about. So, FEDSMILL.com thought you a reminder of them would help along with excerpts from the precedential FLRA case. Continue reading
REMEMBER, LAFFEY IS NOT ENOUGH
A good attorney working for a union cannot only make arbitrations virtually cost free, but also build up a sizeable litigation fund for the union when bigger threats appear—if they know how to properly petition for attorney fees. Moreover, fee awards can be a LM relationship altering moment for an agency if the fees awarded are many times the amount of the employee’s back pay award. Imagine an LR Specialist having to tell some executive the following: “Remember that overtime case I advised you not to settle? Well, we lost the arbitration and will have to pay the employees $60.00 in back pay. And I might as well be the one to tell you that in addition to the $60.00 we tried so hard to avoid paying, the arbitrator gave the union $56,000 in fees?” Agency executives are quickly catching on to the fact that attorney fee awards can cost many, many times the grievant’s back pay check. That alone should motivate LR and SES folks to be far more open to settlements short of arbitration. But it is also driving them to get term contract provisions limiting fee exposure. Consequently, it worth focusing on the various parts of getting attorney fees. Continue reading