AFGE FORCES AGENCY TO PAY INCENTIVE AWARDS
A tip of the hat to the victory AFGE tied up this week forcing an agency to pay incentive awards. (AFGE, 68 FLRA 1049) The contract merely said, “only when and if the [Agency’s] budget permits awards to be granted.” When sequestration and various OMB directives discouraging awards, the agency decided not to pay the awards employees had already earned. At the union’s urging the arbitrator agreed that the agency was obligated to pay them because it had the burden to prove “not merely the existence of sequestration and the OMB guidance, but that [these events] actually prohibited [the Agency] from paying.” When it could not, he ordered the agency to grant the awards retroactively. It will be interesting to see if the agency pays only unit employees or finds a way to also pay non-unit employees.