Aug. 16, 2005 – In a win for unions challenging proposed changes to the way federal employees are hired, promoted, deployed and paid, a federal judge Friday found that rules cutting off collective bargaining run counter to the law establishing the Department of Homeland Security and would amount to removing due process protections from workers facing disciplinary action. The decision prevented the rules from going into effect yesterday.
The suit charged that rules announced earlier this year which prohibit bargaining over technology, staffing and other matters undermined workersâ€™ rights by altering the relationship between the unions and the federal government.
District Court Judge Rosemary M. Collyer largely agreed, stating that the proposed system "failed at one of its basic requirements: it does not ensure collective bargaining rights."
Labor groups hailed the ruling. John Gage, President of AFGE, termed the decision "an astronomical win." The AFL-CIO issued a supporting statement yesterday, noting that the decision could have an impact on many other federal employees.
Government officials did not immediately comment on the ruling. Yesterday, DHS officials were to meet to discuss how to deal with the ruling, the Washington Post reports.
Five unions brought the suit against DHS in January: the National Treasury Employees Union, American Federation of Government Employees, National Federation of Federal Employees, Metal Trades department of the AFL-CIO and National Association of Agriculture Employees.