LIES & RACISM FROM THE VETERAN AFFAIRS

An employee alleged that the VA treated her disparately in not selecting her for the position of RN Manger/Specialty Clinic (Nurse Manager), and it sure looks to us that VA managers lied to hide their blatant racism.  On top of that higher-level VA management decided to defend their behavior.  The EEOC record shows that the employee, who we will call Arleen, was an African-American over 40, applied and was qualified for the Nurse Manager position; was considered for the position in question; was not selected for the position despite her qualifications; and the selectee was outside of her protected classes. In other words, she met the prima facie discrimination criteria that forced the agency to explain its decision. Continue reading

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NAMING GRIEVANTS: A SOURCE OF UNION POWER 

Two members come to you, the union steward, complaining that the manager is no longer following the agreement’s provision about how to distribute overtime and they want to grieve.  After they leave, you call two other union members who work in the same group and ask if they want to grieve.  One says yes and the other no.  You never ask the three employees of the same group that have refused to join the union.  What can you do here to make the nonmembers regret their decision? Continue reading

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AREN’T ABBOTT & KIKO CUTE?

Reading a recent decision by these twinkling Trumpettes, reminded us of the four-year old who denies he has been eating candy even though his faced is smeared with chocolate. The adults in the room invariably struggle to suppress broad smiles despite the bold-faced lie.  In this new Abbott and Kiko decision they boasted that they changed the 7116(d) rules about when a grievance and separate FLRA ULP can be filed dealing with the same matter in order to “CLARIFY” precedent. Taking the readers on both sides of the L-M table to be idiots, they then reviewed how they abolished the existing objectively triggered criteria in favor of such clear-as-mud criteria as when the two cases are “substantially similar,” one is a “derivative of” the other, and they did not differ “in any meaningful respect.” (See Dept. of Education and AFGE, 71 FLRA 516 (2020)) If you think those three criteria make things clearer for either the union or management reps, stop reading now.  There is no hope for showing you that the criteria were changed solely to permit whoever is in charge of the FLRA to overrule the arbitrator if they do not like the bottom line of the award, e.g., did the neutral award back pay or any other tangible remedy. Continue reading

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GRIEVING ULP CHARGES

While the traditional place to file a ULP allegation is with the FLRA, there are considerable advantages to grieving it—especially if you make some small changes in your contract grievance procedure. Continue reading

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WHEN HIGHER AUTHORITIES INTERFERE WITH BARGAINING

One of the more maddening parts of bargaining for a union involves an agency rejecting a union proposal without a good explanation. For example, when the bargaining agency refuses to agree to any increase in the employee uniform allowance, but fails to provide a reasonable answer why. A reasonable explanation for opposing the increase might include an inability to pay, comparability with other uniformed employees, examples of employee abuse of the current reimbursement, etc. Although there can be several explanations for such senseless intransigence, one is that a higher power has made it very clear via an order or just a stern warning that the management negotiators are not to bargain on the matter. Unions often have responded by filing ULPs relying on the following FLRA precedents listed in Dept. of Energy, 34 FLRA 361 (1990): Continue reading

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WAS THE TRUMP-BORDER PATROL COUNCIL DEAL A BRIBE?

On December 16 the Washington Post revealed Trump intervened in the Border Patrol Council’s collective bargaining negotiations with CBP management to give the union a deal no other union in the federal sector can get from their agency executives.  That raises the question of whether the transaction involved an illegal bribe. So, let’s address that. Continue reading

Posted in Bargaining Law | Tagged | 2 Comments

RELIGIOUS ACCOMMODATION GONE NUTS?

Maybe a better title for this post would be “One Small Step for a Catholic, One Giant Leap for Catholicism.” EEOC just reported that the VA excused an employee from attending a simple training program on LGBTQ cultural awareness. The employee said that even being in a room where tolerance for needy, sick and wounded gay veterans was to be discussed clashed head on with his Catholic faith. (Check out Kendall C. v. VA, EEOC No. 2019004162 (2019)).  Continue reading

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TRUMP PAYS OFF BORDER PATROL UNION

The December 16th Washington Post reported that the President finally paid off the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) for breaking with virtually every other federal employee union in the 2016 election to support his campaign. Even though Trump imposed on all the unions that did not support him executive orders limiting union official time to one hour a year per unit employee, The Post reported that the  president leaned on Border Patrol management to triple the number of official time hours the Border Patrol Council had under the old contract. We estimate that equates to about 5 hours a year per unit employee—rather than the one hour a year to which he has limited all other unions. Those repressive executive orders also stripped a lot of protections from the average federal employee.  Here is the Washington Post article. The Border Patrol Council has chosen to not post a copy of its new agreement on its web site yet for all other unions to read. Let’s hope that some union can use this information to build a case that the President has acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner  to exempt this union from the orders that apply to all others.

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WHEN AN EMPLOYEE’S CHILD IS DISABLED

Pass Me On to Unit Members: What protection does an employee have when a child’s sickness requires that the parent stay home, but the parent does not have leave to do so? Can the parent demand a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? No. But the mom or dad can do something if the employer tries to discipline or fire them due to their association with a disabled child. The law firm of Saxton & Stump just posted a story about a new federal court decision that outlines how an employee can be protected from any adverse personnel action motivated by any association with ANY person protected by a civil rights act—not just the ADA. If this happens to a bargaining unit employee, check with a union rep.  While the employee could file an EEOC charge of “associational discrimination, ”the union can pursue that claim along with any violation of other laws, federal regulations, or the labor agreement to have an arbitrator reverse the damage the employer did.

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NOT SO FAST PANEL PUPPETS

AFGE’s very creative General Counsel’s office scored a major litigation victory recently in a case where it argued that FSIP must have at least 7 members on the Panel before it can render a decision.  That requirement of law has been on the books for decades, but overlooked by everyone until AFGE staff asked the proverbial “What if?” question. Spooked by the lawsuit, the White House did not wait for a court to club it into submission.  It moved swiftly to make sure the Panel always had at least seven members, and it had its finger puppets at the Panel issue a decision “ratifying all the decisions it issued during a twenty-six month period when it did not have seven members.  To that we say, “Nice try, but no cigar” for the following reasons: Continue reading

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