At some point after the new White House Lord of the Manor arrived in 2017 word came down to the VA that some unnamed folks in the chain-of-command wanted to look tough on the residents of the Administrative State, the Dark State and the Shadow State.  (Most of us call those folks the America’s professional Civil Service)  So, it was decided to fire dozens and dozens of VA employees without negotiating with the unions over the new procedures management was using.  Nothing puffs-up an authoritarian boss’s ego like instantly taking away a family’s livelihood.  Those employees and their kin were helpless except for one tiny thing the overseers overlooked.  The employees’ union. Here is how it kicked that illegal leadership decision to the curb.

Their union stood up for them by filing an unfair labor practice charge. It claimed that VA leadership violated the law by using the new streamlined procedures for firing employees without first completing negotiations with the union. Fedweek just reported that VA management has settled with the union and is preparing to distribute about $100 million in back pay to its former employees who were used as props in the prior Administration’s political power play. This can mean lots of reinstatements, retroactive leave, years of additional retirement system credits, etc. Of course, nothing will make up for the trauma these families suffered over losing their income in just a few short days.

The sad part of this story is how long it took for this to get resolved—and we are blaming FLRA.  It has the power once a ULP is filed to go to court to get an immediate injunction to stop an agency from violating the law. Had it done that it would have saved the VA about $100 million and many, many families the damages that come with losing an income, e.g., foreclosed homes, repossessed cars, cancellation of children’s extra-curricula activities, etc.  Unfortunately, FLRA takes the position that those kinds of things are not serious enough for them to go to court. Wasting $100 million of VA’s budget is no big deal to FLRA.

The bottom line is that had the union not been there–and supported by its dues-paying members, not freeloaders–a lot of innocent lives would have been irreparably harmed just to feed a political narrative.

About AdminUN

FEDSMILL staff has over 40 years of federal sector labor relations experience on the union as well as management side of the table and even some time as a neutral.
This entry was posted in Bargaining Law, FLRA and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to

  1. Ningauble3020 says:

    God damn right.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.