Julie with a B

Saturday, August 13, 2005
Restructuring of government personnel policies a no go
Some time ago the administration announced that it was streamlining some of the rules for its personnel department. Homeland Security was not to have the usual civil servant rules. But:
"The Department of Homeland Security has reserved for itself the right to declare any part of any collective bargaining agreement null and void" by issuing directives or taking "whatever other actions may be necessary to carry out the department's mission," she said.
The rules, issued in February by the Department of Homeland Security and the federal Office of Personnel Management, said the agency needed "flexibility to carry out its vital mission." Homeland security officials "must be able to make split-second decisions to deal with operational realities," the department said.

But hold on a governmental minute. What they wanted was to hold the employees to the rules, but not the employer.

Under the personnel rules, Judge Collyer said, "the Department of Homeland Security may be required to bargain in good faith," but "there is no effective way to hold it to that bargain." Under such circumstances, she said, "a deal is not a deal, a contract is not a contract, and the process of collective bargaining is a nullity."
In other words, Judge Collyer said, "collective bargaining would be on quicksand" because the department could unilaterally "absolve itself of contract obligations" while employees and their unions would be bound by those agreements. - - -"A system of 'collective bargaining' that permits the unilateral repudiation of agreements by one party is not collective bargaining at all," she said.

Also it looks like they didn't want any whining or moaning if employees were disciplined, even if unfairly. Heck, just look what happened to Bolton! His underlings had the chutzpah to complain! Can't have that happening!
Judge Collyer also criticized procedures adopted by the Bush administration to dismiss, demote and discipline employees of the Department of Homeland Security.
These rules, she said, do not provide "fair treatment" or "due process" for employees who appeal disciplinary actions.

Certainly there are some parts of personnel that could be made less cumbersome, but taking away the right of redress isn't one of them.
Colleen M. Kelley, president of the treasury employees union, described the ruling as "a victory for the rights of employees in all federal agencies."
She predicted that it would "reverberate through the entire federal employee community, inasmuch as the administration has proposed extending the department's personnel model" to other agencies.


<< Home

Powered by Blogger