RETURNING TO A WORKABLE 7116(d) FORUM SELECTION ANALYSIS
What if you want to file a grievance and a ULP with FLRA over the same incident? For example, suppose you want to challenge a member’s suspension as a violation of the contract and an act of union animus. For decades there were clear, objective rules for when you could do that. During the last President’s anti-union administration, they were replaced with a totally subjective, eye-of-the-biased-beholder process. It is time to restore the more predictable rules for practitioners, but the question is how given that the legal question only arises in the normally unappealable arbitration exception process. Here is our suggestion. Continue reading
WHAT IS SURFACE BARGAINING?
It is an illegal form of bargaining. It is used to delay bargaining progress. It can be very costly to a union. It makes the union look powerless in front of its members. What follows is a list of statements from FLRA and judicial decisions that identify examples of surface bargaining, along with a Fedsmill comment or recommendation after each. Continue reading
WHY EEO ALLEGATIONS ARE A GOOD GAMBLE TO TAKE
Private law firms are taking in bundles of attorney fees representing federal employees in EEO complaints. This is money unions could be collecting along with the positive publicity of tangibly helping an employee if only they would allege EEO violations more often in grievances. In a case issued last week, we saw how the employee won a retroactive promotion based on facts she was unaware of (and one that did not exist) when she filed the charge. Continue reading
THE FLRA UPDATES ITS NEGOTIABILITY REGS, E-FILING SYSTEM, AND FORMS
If you sit on a lot of bargaining teams and especially if you serve as the union’s chief spokesperson, this is important for you. As the title states, FLRA has made several significant changes to the negotiability process. For now, the best place to get a sense of what it has done is its press release. We have always seen agency assertions of non-negotiability as opening a pandora’s box of trouble for the agency if the union takes advantage of all its tactical negotiability options. For a sense of what those options are, check out “Test yourself #2- Strategic Negotiability Decisions.”
PAY ATTENTION TO DUBESTER’S BAT SIGNAL
Ernest Dubester led a one-man unprecedented campaign to stop what was probably the most unethical reign of anti-union revenge the FLRA ever witnessed. But he was only one vote against those of two others who were pledged to punishing unions and employees for voting for the wrong people. So, generally the best he could do was deliver well-reasoned dissenting opinions and hope the courts would reverse the majority opinions–which they often did. But we at FEDSMILL look at those dissents as bright spotlights on the provisions of the labor law warning of their potential for political abuse–like a Bat Signal. Without a change in the statute, it will take a bundle of creative union strategies to insult them and employees from further abuse in the future. For example,… Continue reading
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Tagged Ernie Dubester
WHAT IS A GRIEVANCE RECOVERY PERIOD?
The FLRA has said that it “specifically distinguished between contractual back pay recovery periods and contractual time periods for filing grievances.” Consequently, we practitioners had better know the difference, particularly when we sit down to write a labor agreement. Here are a few comments that we think will help them the most. Continue reading
FEDS SCRAMBLE TO SAVE THEIR STALKER’S DREAMS
About two weeks ago we posted about how the Governor of Florida is threatening to “slit the throat” of federal employees if he is elected president. Yet, as I write this, thousands of federal employees are scrambling to help the citizens of Florida deal with a storm the likes of which has not been seen there in over 100 years. Their work also will likely save the governor from the potential political backlash this storm’s damage will do. Will the governor praise them, thank them, or even recognize them for doing what he and his state employee cannot do. ABSOLUTELY NOT! Will he claim credit for their good work? ABSOLUTELY! Here is a short list of which feds are at the heart of the rescue effort in Florida:
- IRS will help Floridians reconstruct lost records, apply for tax benefits, and delay filing returns.
- SSA will redirect thousands of monthly payments from addresses that no longer exist to new ones.
- EPA will deploy to check on the contamination of Florida’s waters
- Commerce will shift staff to get funds to damaged small businesses.
- DHS will move hundreds of FEMA folks to Florida for a month or more to help the victims.
- HHS Public Health resources will be redirected to fight against disease outbreaks.
- The VA will refocus priorities to ensure Florida’s veterans get the emergency help they need.
- Agriculture will jump in to see what Florida’s crop growers and processors need.
All they will all do it for a guy who promises to gut their agencies’ budgets, unemploy them, and damage their families’ futures. WHAT A CLASSY GUY THAT GOVERNOR IS!
OVER AT AFGE, WOW!
I was talking with two long-time AFGE national staff leaders last week about the state of federal labor relations when I remembered how that union had the classiest training program for local leaders when I broke into the field. So, I decided to check in with what they are doing today because for a decade or so their training efforts had declined—in my opinion. Boy, have they come back strong. For example, since we were talking about collective bargaining, I focused on that and here is just some of what I found. Continue reading
A CASE OF OLD-FASHION EEO REPRISAL
I like to think that knuckle-dragging managers are fewer and fewer these days, but then a case like this comes along. A Navy employee, Cory, was upset about being passed over for promotion and went on his social media page to claim that he thought it was due to discrimination. That ignited the worst instincts of his Branch Chief who promptly proceeded to: Continue reading
CBP MANAGEMENT AGAIN SHOOTS WILDLY FROM THE HIP
While bargaining unit Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers must meet a very high standard for firearm accuracy, my more than 40 years of experience with CBP demonstrated that CBP managers often shoot from the hip—and possibly blindfolded. It happened again where an applicant for a CBP Officer position who had myasthenia gravis was rejected. Management sprayed claims all around without ever zeroing in on the actual target or legal issue in the case. Here is the story behind how the applicant just got the job, four years of back pay, and extra money to cover compensatory damages and the income tax hit of receiving such a large check in one year. Continue reading