Staff Retreat On the Budapest to Bucharest Labor Relations Crawl.  Be Back in Early May.

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TEST YOURSELF: The Specific Notice Obligation

 We have said it often before.  The biggest process mistake management can make while bargaining is to violate this obligation, and aggressive enforcement of this obligation by the union increases its visibility, credibility, and bargaining clout.  Simply stated, the law requires management to give the union “specific notice” of any change in conditions of employment before the agency can implement the change. But there are a lot of subtleties and details union negotiators should know well.  We have posed 10 True-False questions below followed by the answers.  Test yourself to get a sense of how well you know this area of law. Continue reading

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THE MONTROSE OPTION

Given this may be the most important check a local union has on its union’s national office, we were only too glad to help when one local union recently asked us to lead it through a Montrose process. They were not sure which national union they wanted to affiliate with, but they were positive they wanted to get away from the union they were with.  The Montrose option permits local unions to easily and quickly disaffiliate from their national union and join another union or go independent.  The steps in the process are discussed well in NAGE, 25 FLRA 728 (1987). Continue reading

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THE WORST CASE SCENARIO FOR ATTORNEY FEES?

As we all wait to see how Abbott and Kiko put their Trumpian scent an employee’s right to get attorney fees when back pay is awarded, unions need to prepare for the worst case scenario.  That may have been described in a 1984 Comptroller General case titled, Leland M. Wilson: Claim for Attorney Fees and Interest, CG B-205373(04/24/84). In short, the CG examined the law and suggested the only time employees can get attorney fees if their case involves a grievance over an adverse action or prohibited personnel practice. Here is what the CG wrote, Continue reading

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TO THE UNBELIEVABLE AFGE. CONGRATS AGAIN! 

If you have been following us for years you know that we believe the single most important indicator of a union’s quality is its membership strength. Show us a union with a long record of membership growth and we will show you one that gives employees they want, that shares power across several levels of leaders, that operates around deep values rather than superficial PR slogans, and that is a model for others. AFGE just filed its latest LM-2 report and it shows that for the 18th year in a row it has a net increase in membership. That is unbelievable given the rapidly decreasing size of the federal workforce. AFGE now has four times more members than any other federal union—and for that it deserves a very respectful tip of the hat for a job well-done.  We are not saying that AFGE is without aspects that could be improved, but as measured the people that count the most, it is a raging success.   

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PROMOTION ILLEGALLY DENIED DUE TO RISK OF FUTURE INJURY

Promotions can be denied when an employee’s disability creates a risk of injuring himself or co-workers in the future; there does not have to be a record of past injuries. But, the law requires agencies denying promotions to meet a certain criteria, and when the DoD’s Pentagon Force Protection Agency ignored them, it resulted in an EEOC order that it rehire the employee with eight years of retroactive pay. Continue reading

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HAS MAX STIER HAD A STROKE?

Max runs the Partnership for Public Service which, in turn, runs the annual “Best Places to Work” survey that is universally acclaimed.   However, it seems Max thinks his own survey is worthless based on his recent endorsement of Dale Cabaniss to run OPM. Max was quoted in Govexec recently as saying, “Dale Cabaniss will bring a strong background and excellent experience to OPM….The Partnership for Public Service is pleased to see this nomination, and we look forward to working alongside Dale to strengthen the federal workforce.” Continue reading

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TIME TO RECONSIDER THE “SEVERE & PERVASIVE” SEXUAL HARASSMENT STANDARD

If you have ever represented an employee complaining about sexual harassment you know that case law requires a very high degree of proof, i.e., you must prove the improper behavior was “severe and pervasive.” A good article out of a D.C law firm spells out how absurd that is and highlights the need for union reps to challenge that standard when they get into one of these cases.  It may turn out that the law remains as is, but that does not mean we should stop confronting the courts with the unreasonableness of that high bar.

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WHEN NOT TO GRIEVE WIGI DENIALS

 In virtually every other situation, the rule of thumb is that the deadline for filing a grievance begins to run when the agency issues its written decision. But not when a WIGI is involved–and not knowing the WIGI rule cost one employee a lot of back pay. Continue reading

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DALE CABANISS: RESTOCKING THE SWAMP

Our Commander-in-Chief (aka The Swamp Master) is about to release another invasive, slithering marauder into his swamp.  The mere mention of her name calls to mind such environmentally destructive forces as Dutch Elm disease, feral pigs, and the Northern snakehead. She is Dale Cabaniss, and Trump wants to put her in charge of the federal merit, retirement and insurance systems atop OPM Continue reading

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