In a letter addressed to President Biden, the Federal Workers Alliance is urging the President to “send immediately to the Senate a nomination for FLRA Member to accompany the nomination of Ernest W. DeBester as FLRA Chairman.”
See the full text of the letter below, or download the pdf.
FWA POTUS Letter re FLRA FSIP w attachment PR
Dear President Biden:
We, the undersigned, write as members of the Federal Workers Alliance (FWA), an alliance of more than 30 national unions that collectively represent more than 300,000 federal workers across the country, to request that the Biden-Harris Administration take urgent action to restore order and functionality to the Federal Labor Relations Board (FLRA). It is our request that the Biden Harris Administration send immediately to the Senate a nomination for FLRA Member to accompany the nomination of Ernest W. DuBester as FLRA Chairman.
In passing the Civil Service Reform Act, Congress made the specific finding that “labor organizations and collective bargaining in the civil service are in the public interest.” In that vein, the Federal Labor Relations Authority is tasked with “carrying out the purpose of [Federal Service Labor Management Relations Statute.]” While Kiko and Abbott remain on the FLRA, the Authority continues to act in a manner that undermines the law promoting collective bargaining. Their judgment on FLRA cases continues to produce decisions that are inherently biased against labor and the collective bargaining process. Their decisions are clearly aimed at diminishing the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute meant to protect the proper balance of workplace labor rights.
The failure of Abbot and Kiko to adhere to sound legal reasoning has become even more apparent as cases have been reviewed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. A good example is the case National Treasury Employees Union v. FLRA, where the Court found that the FLRA’s finding that NTEU’s proposal was not negotiable did not constitute “reasoned decision-making.” This was a unanimous decision that included a panel existing of two republican appointed judges, including a Trump nominee. Telework discussions and negotiations will be vitally important as the government seeks to reopen safely in the midst of the Delta variant of COVID-19. The current makeup of the FLRA will be a detriment to that process.
Furthermore, U.S. Representative Gerald E. Connolly, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, directed a stern letter of reprimand to then-Chairman Kiko, criticizing three “radical policy decisions” that “discarded decades of labor-management relations precedent and violated their own rules to achieve the goal of limiting collective bargaining” for nearly 1.2 million federal employees. See Attachment, November 30, 2020 Letter.
If the goal is to protect collective bargaining rights to federal employees, and to promote the collective bargaining process, the lack of respect that Kiko and Abbot have shown for precedent and the rule of law makes them wholly unqualified to serve on the FLRA. The manufactured legal reasoning cited in decisions by Kiko and Abbott have resulted in thousands of employees being stripped of legitimate workplace rights and union protections. These decisions have severely restricted employees’ free exercise of rights guaranteed by the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute — even on the most fundamental of things — such as bargaining over working conditions.
The current majority provided by Kiko and Abbott have vacated decades of workable precedent. It will take years, if not decades, to rebuild these frameworks, and some of the damage may be permanent. In 2021 alone, poor decisions and concurrences have done considerable harm, such as radically expanding the applicability of 7116(d) bar on grievances. Any delay in changing the current makeup of the FLRA indulges the risk of further damage.
On a separate but related note, we appreciate the Biden-Harris Administration’s decision to remove all members of the Federal Service Impasse Panel (FSIP) upon taking office in January. We believe it is time to appoint new members. Given that the appointments to FSIP do not require Senate confirmation, it is our hope that the Administration can move quickly to staff those positions with qualified, experienced personnel to begin again its important work to resolve impasses during collective bargaining. A growing FSIP backlog halts progress on critical workplace issues and leaves both employees and agencies in limbo as they await adjudication, potentially for years on end. This delay will likely negatively impact the ability of unions to eradicate the harmful effects of the executive orders issued by the Trump Administration.
In the interest of the welcomed and admirable commitment of the Biden-Harris Administration to bring respect and dignity into the workplace, we urge you to nominate new members to the FLRA and FSIP as quickly as possible. Doing so will provide relief from a disturbing precedent installed by the previous administration to diminish the systematic protections that administer fairness and effectiveness within the federal workforce.
In a letter to the House of Representatives, the Metal Trades Department expressed its support of the the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021 (H.R. 6).
See the full letter.
In a letter to Congress the Metal Trades Department has asked leaders to assist the Department in lobbying President Biden to reinstate Obama Executive Order 13495 which was revoked by Trump in 2019.
The Obama EO 13495, “Non Displacement of Qualified Workers Under Service Contracts,” provided some protection to qualified service workers when a government contracts was replaced with a new contract and successor contractor at the same location.
See the full letter
3.16.21 Correspondence to House-Senate Leaders EO Revocation-Restoration 13495
In a letter supporting IAMAW Loal Lodge S6 workers on strike at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, Metal Trades Department President James Hart urged Senators Collins and King to use their resources to “combat against corporate greed and the union busting agenda of the General Dynamics Company, whose untenable actions threaten the national security mission of our country and the social fabric of the Pine Tree State.”
The 4300 workers at Bath Iron Works have been on strike for more than a month.
7.29.20 MTD-Sen Collins BIW
We urge all members of Congress to strongly support the “HEROES ACT” Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act.
June 29, 2020
Hon. Mitch McConnell
United States Senate
Hon. Charles Schumer
United States Senate
Hon. Nancy Pelosi
U.S. House of Representatives
Hon. Kevin McCarthy
U.S. House of Representatives
RE: “HEROES ACT” Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act
Dear Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, and Leader McCarthy:
The Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO and the undersigned labor unions represent tens of thousands of shipbuilder’s, shipbreakers, harbor construction workers, longshore workers, and other essential port and maritime workers. We build, maintain and operate the ships and facilities that provide our nations supply chain and national defense. We are the American workforce that continues to perform their duties diligently and with distinction, regardless of risk or exposure to COVID-19, ensuring that food and medical supplies are unloaded and delivered to combat this heinous virus.
Unfortunately, a number of our nation’s essential maritime employees have already passed away from COVID 19. Many more in the maritime and its related workforces have been hospitalized due to coronavirus illnesses and now face long term consequences to their health and family finances.
We strongly support the changes in the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act embodied in the “Heroes Act” passed by the House of Representatives on May 15, 2020. The Act, in separate sections, creates a presumption of causation of workplace illness arising from virus exposure for certain federal workers and for workers covered under the Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act. It is imperative that maritime industry “Heroes” receive the temporary or permanent disability benefits provided by the Act, as well as reasonable medical expenses and death benefits. The legislation does not blame employers or insurance carriers for the pandemic. The only legislative requirement of employers is that they comply with applicable safety and health regulations. Employer experience ratings or premiums will not be affected, as insurance carriers are provided relief through the legislation that allows them to recoup losses for COVID-19 related expenses.
This provision among many contained in the “Heroes Act” is an important next step in our country’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, providing compensation and critical health and safety protections for workers. The affiliates of the Metal Trades Department, and their partners in the labor movement, strongly urge the Senate to adopt the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act provision(s) in the House of Representatives Heroes Act.
As you begin to complete your work on the next round of stimulus and worker protection legislation, the undersigned organizations urge you to enact bipartisan policy provisions that will guarantee the health and safety of all American workers.
Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO
Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO
Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO
Federal Workers Alliance
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
International Brotherhood of Boilermakers
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers
International Longshoremen’s Association
International Longshore and Warehouse Union
International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots
National Association of Government Employees-SEIU
National Federation of Federal Employees
Operative Plasterers’ & Cement Masons’ International Association
Laborers’ International Union of North America
6.29.20 SENATE HEROES - CARES ACT SIGN ON LETTER
The Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO joined multiple labor organizations in a joint letter to Congress urging leaders to act swiftly to pass legislation that ensures every eligible voter is able to participate in the 2020 elections amid COVID-19 and that future elections are resilient to national emergencies – including natural disasters and pandemics.
See the pdf of the full letter below.
6-16-2020 Joint Union letter on Racial Justice & Elections