As you know, on Saturday August 25, NTEU and other federal sector unions secured an historic victory when a U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Columbia invalidated nine provisions of the President’s three Executive Orders (EOs), issued on May 25, 2018. The court found that nine provisions of the EOs, directing agencies to secure specific provisions in their collective bargaining agreements and dictating an inflexible approach to bargaining, directly conflicted with the statutory requirement that agencies bargain in good faith. The Judge enjoined President Trump “and his subordinates” from implementing or giving effect to the EO provisions that were struck down.
Based on the Judge’s ruling and the fact that HHS’s bargaining proposals were “aligned with” the now-invalidated EOs, NTEU sent a letter earlier this week to HHS’s Chief Negotiator, Secretary Azar, and the HHS General Counsel demanding that HHS withdraw the request for assistance it filed with the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP) on August 13, 2018, and return to the term bargaining table to resume and complete the negotiations.
It is clear in our dealings with HHS at the bargaining table that the agency’s bargaining strategy came directly from the EOs. For example, the agency refused to discuss or answer NTEU’s questions about its proposals, did not afford NTEU an opportunity to explain all of its proposals or submit counterproposals, and declared the parties at impasse before bargaining had even begun. Because the court struck down the provisions of the EOs that encourage, if not require, such bad faith bargaining tactics, NTEU has insisted that HHS return to the bargaining table and negotiate in good faith.
I will let you know how HHS responds to NTEU’s request to return to the term bargaining table. Meanwhile, NTEU will also file an opposition to HHS’s FSIP petition. If you have any questions or comments about this issue, please share them with your chapter president.