If the Washington Post story is accurate, and we highly suspect it is, the Dept. Of Homeland Security just agreed to pay about 100 employees an average of $240,000.00 each in back pay to make up for promotions unjustly denied them as long ago as 1990.   Our compliments to these employees for hanging in there so long and to the law firm that made it all happen.  [Reposted from January 2017]

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The one thing we look for from any consulting firm offering to train negotiators on either side of the labor management table is whether the instructors actually were chief negotiators.  While we think the world of career neutrals who never worked for labor or management, they rarely can offer the insights and tips a seasoned negotiator can after decades of actually being the chief bargaining advocate. That is why we are excited to see the “Learning Everywhere” collective bargaining program.  It is delivered by folks who sat in the chief’s chair on the union as well as the agency side of the table for decades. We do not know any other firm offering that. Continue reading

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FMLA FAQ: Can a Chiropractor Certify FMLA Leave for the Chronic Bad Back?

This is another one of those short articles to read over and log into your long-term memory.  As our population ages, it is going to experience more bad back problems.  This post from a fellow blogger just might help you avoid a quick, but wrong answer to a question down the road. Union reps might want to send a link to it to members who might be dealing with the issue right now.

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Federal employees do not have many rights in law or regulation to demand a reassignment, which means that unions can do a lot of good at the bargaining table boosting those rights through collective bargaining.  While they do that, we thought we would share a recent EEOC comment on the right to be reassigned when needed to accommodate a disability.  In this case, the employee’s workplace produced an allergic reaction known as contact dermatitis. Here are a couple of key passages from the decision in which it found the agency violated the law by not even looking for a reassignment opportunity.  We have underlined some of the more significant portions and put in bold print those passages we think might surprise most readers. Continue reading

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FLRA sure has not decided whether feds can do this, but at least one federal circuit court has just decided that private sector employees can pursuant to their labor law rights as bargaining unit employees.  We are passing this news along not with any advice that federal employees of union leaders try it, but to just plant the idea that it might be possible.  Of course, feds operate in a different world than private sector employees thanks to privacy laws and classified material in a workplace, but it just might be possible to get by all that. One place to start would be to read about the new court decision in the FranczekRadelet blog posting entitled, “Second Circuit Upholds NLRB Whole Foods Decision Allowing Employee Recording in the Workplace.”

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No one on the union side of the table should ever argue that it is easy to evaluate employee performance.  It is not.  But at the same time, AFGE just showed that OPM, a wholly-owned subsidiary of OMB, makes it far harder than it need be. (This post first appeared in December 2012 and is reproduced with minor edits here. It also happens to be our 800th posting over almost six years.  Enjoy the 4th if we do not blog before then.) Continue reading

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Few things are as frustrating as winning a grievance, arbitration or ULP only to find that the sole remedy imposed is an order that management not violate the law or contract again.  FLRA claims that remedies should “restore, so far as possible, the status quo that would have obtained but for the wrongful act,” and that they should be chosen in part as a “deterrence of future violative conduct.”  Even the courts have talked tough about remedies, “An approach to remedies that systematically fails to deter non-compliance, or dilatory compliance, with the Statute’s directives is fundamentally at odds with the Authority’s responsibilities. . .”  Continue reading

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If you have followed us over the years you know that we believe that one of the most effective ways to challenge a promotion decision is through the EEO charge process. If the selectee is in a different protected class than you, e.g., gender, race, age, national origin, disability status, etc. and you think you were better qualified for the job, FILE, FILE, FILE.  At worst, you still won’t get the job. At best, you will get it with some retroactive pay and a few thousand dollars of compensable damages.  Even if you wind up somewhere in between those two results there are a lot of very good options there too.  A very recent EEOC decision out of Homeland Security highlights one way to win these cases. Continue reading

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There are zillions of stories about former FBI Director James Comey these days, but we haven’t seen one yet analyzing the method used to fire him.  That is what LR/ER practitioners on both sides of the table should be studying for some lessons learned.  Comey was a long-term, high level, well-respected official with a long string of achievements and friends in government.  He was an organizational star by any measure, although hardly politically perfect.  When it is time to remove people like that from their jobs there is a well-known routine in Washington that permits them to leave with dignity and avoid creating an enemy for life.  The person doing the firing has the integrity and class to tell them to their face, they are given some formal award or recognition, perhaps even given or promised another job, and sent away with best wishes that they can spend more time with their family after sacrificing so much over the yearsContinue reading

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The President did what he does best and fired all seven members of the FSIP. It is not a surprise.  His predecessors in office did the same thing. It is patronage and political control at work.  The first thing to watch for is how long Trump leaves the jobs vacant because once a union petitions the Panel to resolve an impasse the agency cannot implement the proposed change, absent very limited exceptions.  If Trump leaves the jobs open for a year, he will effectively be tying the hands of agency managers seeking to make changes to support the new Administration. The next thing to watch for is who he puts in the jobs and what they immediately do.  We are betting it is another appointee from the Heritage Foundation like it was in the last Republican administration.  In fact, we will not be surprised if it is Becky Norton Dunlop herself who led the George W. Panel to finding against unions in about 90% of the cases by our best estimate. We also expect the new Panel will stop letting parties use private neutrals to arbitrate their disputes, which has kept things moving quickly during the Obama years.  Control over all cases will likely be centralized in the new Chair by requiring the full Panel vote on everything. Continue reading

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