Administration Appeals Two Decisions Related to Collective Bargaining and Official Time

Within the past week, the Trump administration has announced its intention to appeal at least two decisions, including a federal judge’s recent decision that invalidated nine provisions of the president’s executive orders on matters relating to the workforce. The invalidated orders pertained primarily to federal employees’ use of official time and other activities relating to collective bargaining.

According to Federal News Radio’s Nicole Ogrysko, the Veterans Affairs Department is also separately “appealing an independent arbitrator’s decision, which recently determined the agency had violated the terms of its contract with the American Federation of Government Employees.”

In AFGE’s successful argument, Ogrysko writes, “the union argued the agency used provisions in the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act to implement new performance management guidance,” guidance which AFGE said “ contradicted the collective bargaining agreement VA signed with the agency back in 2011, because it eliminated the need to give employees a chance to improve with a performance improvement plan,” a stance with which the arbitrator ultimately agreed.

The outcome of the decision promises to be momentous, with Ogrysko pointing out that the ruling, if successful, would ultimately equate to an expansive rehiring process, as the arbitrator in the case demanded that the VA “rescind previously-taken adverse actions or removals that it took against employees for unacceptable performance who didn’t receive a performance improvement plan.”

Both appeals seemingly indicate that neither side is yet poised to back down in the ongoing federal workforce disputes surrounding the appropriate application and usage of collective bargaining and official time.

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