The collective bargaining rights of federal employees have come under attack in recent years. Legislation intended to protect them has been turned on them and used against them.
American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) National Veterans Affairs Council Outside Council Ibidun Roberts discussed the VA Accountability Act, collective bargaining rights and the Federal Service Impasse Council on America’s Work Force Union Podcast.
VA Accountability Act
Roberts said the VA Accountability Act started as a piece of legislation meant to protect rank and file VA employees from unfair managers. Unfortunately, the act has been disproportionately used against rank and file members.
The act was written to provide a shorter timeline for disciplinary actions to be decided on and taken against an employee. Decisions used to take roughly 30 days to be implemented, the VA Accountability Act requires implementation to take only 15 days.
Additionally, the act lowered the threshold of proof needed to take action against an employee or manager.
Roberts said this has caused roughly 4,000 AFGE members to be terminated and only about three managers to face disciplinary action.
National VA Council
Roberts said VA employees overwhelmingly voted down contract ratification after only 18 of the 74 articles of the contract were agreed on.
The contract negotiation has been reopened and concentrated mediation is being done on the 18 articles.
Federal Service Impasse Panel
The Federal Service Impasse Panel was established as the federal employee version of a strike. Since federal employees are not permitted to strike, this panel determines and imposes the language of an agreement.
Roberts looks forward to this panel being reorganized by President Biden, as the members serve at the pleasure of the president. She said President Trump stacked the panel with corporate sympathizing lawyers.