|NTEU Victories Help Restore Balance at Bargaining Table|
NTEU Victories Help Restore Balance at Bargaining Table
Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a favorable, unanimous decision that vacated a Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) decision limiting collective bargaining rights. The court’s ruling in favor of NTEU and two other unions restores the longstanding status quo that the FLRA tried to jettison and means that agencies must bargain over any management-initiated change that has more than a minor, “de minimis” impact on a condition of employment.
The FLRA had attempted to weaken collective bargaining by only requiring bargaining over “clear and meaningful” and substantial changes to conditions of employment. But the D.C. Circuit held that the FLRA’s decision to abandon its longstanding precedents “was not sufficiently reasoned” and therefore “arbitrary and capricious.” The court thus vacated the FLRA’s “cursory policy statement.”
Today’s decision follows last week’s legal victory in which NTEU won a separate court decision reversing two rulings by the FLRA restricting midterm bargaining and allowing agencies to insert “zipper clauses” in contracts effectively stopping midterm bargaining. NTEU had presented the oral argument before U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on behalf of a coalition of unions.
Tomorrow, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is scheduled to vote on several nominations for the FLRA. NTEU endorses these nominations and urges the Senate to quickly act to ensure that the FLRA has a majority of members who are fair and committed to upholding the law and ensuring the federal employees are treated with dignity and respect.
In the meantime, NTEU hopes that the FLRA will heed the D.C. Circuit’s admonition, which it has now delivered repeatedly, that it must issue reasoned decisions.