Senate Committee Ranking Members Respond to Trump Executive Orders by Standing with Federal Employees

Three Senate Committee Ranking Members respond to the May 25th Trump Executive Orders by asking the White House to rescind them.

Thumb upFollowing the President’s issuance of the three Executive Orders (EOs) on May 25th, NTEU has been working to educate Capitol Hill on the harm these actions will have on federal employees, as well as on federal employee labor organizations and your day-to-day representational duties. Earlier this week, 45 Senate Democrats sent a letter asking the President to rescind the EOs and to direct agency and department heads to cease and desist from abrogating existing collective bargaining agreements. Now three additional Senators, Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Ranking Members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and HSGAC Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, respectively, sent their own letter requesting the same of the White House. Continue reading “Senate Committee Ranking Members Respond to Trump Executive Orders by Standing with Federal Employees”

Federal Employee Unions ask OSC to Investigate Retaliatory Actions against Agency Staff who do not Implement the Trump Executive Orders in Violation of the Law

24 federal employee unions ask OSC to proactively investigate retaliation against labor relations employees who push back against implementing the Trump Executive Orders that violate the law.

United States of America Office of Special Counsel seal or logoYesterday NTEU, along with 23 federal employee unions, sent a letter to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) out of concern about potential retaliatory action against agency labor relations professionals who continue to engage in good faith bargaining as required under the Federal Service Labor-Relations Statute and ignore the new requirements in the Trump Executive Orders (EOs) that violate the law. The letter requests OSC to be proactive in investigating retaliation, as well as implied threats of retaliation, taken against agency labor relations employees who push back against carrying out these EOs and to remind federal employees that they can blow the whistle on violations of law, rule, or regulation by contacting the Inspector General or the Office of Special Counsel.

NTEU continues to fight these illegal EOs at every level. To find out more, and to see what you can do, click here and visit here.

Executive Order Litigation Update

NTEU has expanded its legal challenge to contest provisions in each of the Executive Orders issued on May 25, 2018. The court now expects to issue a ruling by the end of July 2018.

U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
U.S. District Court, District of Columbia

On June 15, 2018, NTEU filed an amended complaint over the above-described Executive Orders (EOs) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. As you will recall, NTEU’s June 6, 2018 complaint in that court challenged the EOs imposition of a 25% cap on the use of official time; the prohibition against using official time for lobbying; the ban on the use of official time by union representatives to prepare and present grievances; and a provision that would generally set performance improvement periods (PIPs) at 30 days and give agencies the sole and exclusive discretion to apply longer periods. Continue reading “Executive Order Litigation Update”

NTEU Vows to Fight Harmful HHS Proposals

HHS Targets AWS, Telework, Awards, and More

opened mouth black haired boy in gray full zip jacket standing on grass field taking selfieNow that the president’s harmful executive orders have been issued, HHS has decided to restart bargaining over a new contract—after delaying the process for nearly three years— and has proposed changes to the contract that would erode or outright eliminate important rights.

Among other things, HHS proposes totally eliminating 13 articles from the contract including those addressing alternative work schedules (AWS), telework, awards, details and reassignments, and transit subsidies. Without these contract articles, HHS would be able to unilaterally make decisions on all these important subjects, including eliminating these programs altogether.

HHS is also seeking to strip employees of key rights, including restricting their access to a union steward to help resolve workplace issues. Another management proposal would prohibit employees and the union from challenging unfair management decisions in 40 different areas. This means that the agency can make completely arbitrary decisions in these areas with no accountability, including performance ratings; disciplinary actions; decisions involving awards and incentive pay; and disputes over leave, promotions and AWS.

The agency’s proposals are an attack on and an insult to hardworking HHS employees. NTEU will stand firm in defense of your rights during what will undoubtedly be long and contentious negotiations.

NTEU’s Proposals

NTEU is not just fighting to protect your existing rights and benefits—we want to expand them. Here are highlights of some of the union’s proposals:

  • Increased performance and incentive awards
  • A new agency-wide student loan repayment program
  • Make it easier for employees to use accrued annual and sick leave
  • Six weeks of paid parental leave and up to six months of leave for new parents
  • Improved merit promotion system and more fairness and transparency for details and reassignments
  • Employee involvement, through their union, in decisions about office space,

    relocations, and office sharing/desk sharing

HHS Bargaining Tactics

Logo of the Department of Health and Human ServicesAfter NTEU opened the current contract in July 2015, HHS stalled for two years. NTEU took the case to the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP), a group of presidential appointees who are authorized to resolve federal collective bargaining disputes, and the FSIP imposed ground rules on the parties. HHS then refused to follow those rules, prompting NTEU to take legal action, which is still pending.

Last year, the current administration replaced the FSIP members with new members who are extremely anti-employee. With impasses now going to the newly-appointed FSIP and prompted by the new executive orders, HHS notified NTEU that it now wants to “bargain.” HHS then unilaterally established an expedited bargaining schedule. NTEU has responded by formally challenging the legality of HHS’ unilateral actions, but we have submitted our proposals to protect our bargaining position.

HHS is treating its employees and NTEU with disrespect, if not contempt. NTEU needs the support of every employee in what will be a prolonged and difficult fight to protect your workplace rights and benefits that you have enjoyed, and that we worked so hard over many years to achieve. Look for more to come on what you can do to support our fight.

Your Union Fighting to Improve Your Working Conditions

An Article By Doug Sanders, NTEU Field Representative and Assistant Counsel

NTEU Field Representative and Assistant Counsel Doug Sanders
NTEU Field Representative and Assistant Counsel Doug Sanders

As your NTEU National Field Representative, I assist NTEU Chapter 254 in protecting your right to have representation when meeting with Agency Management about your working conditions. Last year, Management at the National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) in Jefferson, Arkansas, took it upon themselves to bargain changes in the working conditions of several of your colleagues, namely their office arrangements. NTEU is the representative of all bargaining unit employees when it comes to your working conditions, to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and with respect. The Agency knows this – after all, it’s the law, and the Agency also agreed to this when it negotiated the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the Union. Because Management attempted to negotiate directly with its employees, and did not afford them the right to have a Union representative present when it did so, Chapter 254 decided to remind Management of their obligations by filing a grievance to make sure this does not happen in the future. Continue reading “Your Union Fighting to Improve Your Working Conditions”

Update on HHS Term Bargaining and National Grievance/ULP

NTEU has filed a national grievance/ULP against HHS for its tactics related to term bargaining; and the parties have exchanged initial proposals.

Wooden gavelI want to update you on some recent, important developments regarding term bargaining with HHS. NTEU opened the existing collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in July 2015. While bargaining ground rules, HHS engaged in numerous stall tactics that we believe were in bad faith and cost the parties nearly two years. In 2016, we were finally able to get before an Obama-appointed neutral Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP) member, who on December 31, 2016, imposed ground rules on the parties. Thereafter, and consistent with its years-long efforts to delay any bargaining over new contract terms, HHS disapproved the ground rules on January 31, 2017. NTEU immediately filed an unfair labor practice (ULP) with the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA), which is currently pending. Continue reading “Update on HHS Term Bargaining and National Grievance/ULP”

Executive Order Litigation Update

NTEU has filed a motion asking the court to preliminarily enjoin unlawful provisions of the challenged Executive Orders.

Wooden gavelAs I informed you in previous posts, NTEU has filed a court challenge to several provisions of two Executive Orders that were issued on May 25, 2018. ​On June 8, 2018, NTEU filed a motion with the court, asking that the challenged Executive Order provisions be preliminarily enjoined. If granted, this motion would prevent the unlawful sections of the orders from being implemented until the court has a chance to evaluate fully NTEU’s legal arguments. Continue reading “Executive Order Litigation Update”