NTEU REELS IN $2.61 MILLION FOR FDIC DISCRIMINATION VICTIMS
Long-time FEDSMILL readers might remember our posting entitled, “FDIC Flips, Flops, Flaps, & Flails” in which we described how mightily FDIC management was struggling to get off the hook of a multi-million dollar class action age and race discrimination case NTEU had won in arbitration. Well, to make a long story short, it stopped struggling recently and paid out $2.61 million to the harmed employees.
This is another of those NTEU mega-grievances where it challenges the legality of the management performance award or pay-for-performance programs by statistically testing it to see if the rights of any group protected by a civil rights act were violated. (See “NTEU Arbitration Victory Against Merit Pay.” When the union got t he data showing how awards were distributed by race, gender, national origin, and age, it found the African-America FDIC employees as well as those 40 and older were not getting a share of the awards money that statistics suggested they should. In fact, NTEU’s statistical analysis told its legal staff that there was very little chance the distribution of awards money was the result of random chance.
Armed with that data the union filed a nationwide grievance alleging discrimination and asking for back pay for the impacted employees. The arbitrator initially found against NTEU, but FLRA told the arbitrator to rethink his analysis because he had not followed the civil rights law in reaching his decision. On his second try the arbitrator saw precisely what NTEU attorneys were saying and ruled that management had illegally discriminated against these two protected classes. This time the agency appealed, but FLRA agreed with NTEU and the arbitrator.
Without any more appeal options, FDIC realized it had been firmly hooked and after prolonged settlement talks it worked out a back pay formula to repay the harmed employees.
Aside from enforcing critically important civil rights laws for federal employees, NTEU appears to use these grievances to pressure management to clean up sloppy performance award system by negotiating the mechanics with NTEU.