The Department of Veterans Affairs and the American Federation of Government Employees reached an agreement at the end of July 20 that effectively wiped out the last four years of labour relations as the parties worked to reach a new collective agreement. Ibidun Roberts: Well, you see, that`s the thing. We do not know who is pulling the strings. Right now, it`s the same lawyer under the Trump administration. He`s a career collaborator, so he wouldn`t change. Political appointees would change. But it seems that they are still using people who really like what was going on during the Trump administration and who want to get there, who want to continue now. That`s why we talked to the VA lawyer about this case. We talked to their negotiating team because they are very similar to the Trump administration and come to the table.
They are simply not willing to engage in what they are legally required to do. You will not be willing to negotiate in good faith or enforce the arbitrator`s award. That`s what they did under the Trump administration, they would come to the table and then negotiate illegally. That is what we have in front of us. Now they have no interest in correcting the negotiation failure in the past. And indeed, what they want to do is preserve their illegal implementation of the Accountability Act, rather than going back and fixing and talking as if it had not been implemented. What they have done is try to sign the guidelines that they developed in 2017, which is in direct contradiction to the arbitrators` award, which is that we need to remedy everything that has resulted from their illegal implementation. As you know, federal employees have the option of contacting the MSPB or an adjudicator if they are fired, demoted or suspended for more than 14 days.
So I`m happy to do that. We had several staff members turn to the MSPB, who turned to an arbitrator. And that arbitrator said you have to agree on what you`re going to do with the employees who appealed. We made suggestions to the VA on what to do with these employees. The VA rejected our proposal and did not accept his. So they turned their noses up at the arbitrator who asked us to make an agreement for the employees who appealed, and they simply refuse to do so. Tom Temin: And by the way, the number of VA employees who would report to it would be an agreement. D. Notwithstanding the provisions of Subdivision A relating to any local ordinance or resolution that grants or permits collective bargaining, no public servant or employee of such official elected pursuant to Section VII, Section 4 of the Virginia Constitution shall be endowed or have the power to act as a negotiator of public officials or employees. Recognize. or to bargain collectively with such a union or association or its representatives with respect to matters concerning them, their employment or service, or to enter into a collective agreement. «I hope this will serve as a roadmap for other agencies and unions,» Dargon said.
«It`s been a tough four years for federal and VA workers who have worked specifically on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, giving the union a seat at the bargaining table it deserves. So we are as reasonable as possible with the VA who wants to meet virtually. We`ve done it, we`ve exhausted it, we expect to meet in person soon. The other part is that the VA lawyers are not in the room. So while we believe they are advising the bargaining team, they are not really sitting at the table. So if some of these conversations arise, the VA doesn`t have an answer. In fact, they once told us that they had to go back to VA`s lawyer to find out what to do. So if they don`t even have the right people at the table to move us forward, they are already not negotiating in good faith, we need to have the right people at the table to reach an agreement, and they have not done so. They don`t whistle Dixie, but they are not able to respond. If you have any questions regarding the filing of CBAs and arbitration awards, please contact OPM`s Accountability and Workforce Relations staff at LRG@opm.gov. If you have any questions about specific CBAs in this database, please contact the organization associated with this CBA.
For information on representative data for all tariff units certified by the Federal Labour Relations Authority, including name, description, location, collective bargaining unit employee population and other information, please refer to the Federal Workforce Management Information System. Tom Temin: And have you talked to anyone from VA about it? Even if they tell you they won`t, or if they take their time to do it. I think my question is: Are these the same people you would negotiate with under the Biden administration and with whom you did not negotiate under the Trump administration? Ibidun Roberts: According to the agreement, it would be all the employees in the VA bargaining unit, that is, just over 100. And I think 60,000 employees in the bargaining unit. For the employees against whom they have already acted, there are about 5000. So some of them are no longer employees at this point. But for the rest of the bargaining unit, there are well over 100,000 bargaining unit employees who would be affected by these negotiations. Executive Order 13836, Developing Efficient, Effective and Cost-Effective Approaches to Collective Bargaining in the Federal Sector, signed by the President on May 25, 2018, requires organizations to file each collective agreement (CBA) and its expiry date within 30 days of the CBA`s effective date. EO 13836 also requires OPM to make these ACAs publicly available on the Internet.
This promotes transparency by allowing the public to see the types of agreements between federal sector organizations and unions. Organizations are also required to submit arbitral awards to OPM within 10 business days of receipt. OPM has published a memorandum on the publication of the CBA database, which provides guidance on the requirements for the submission of authorities for ACAs and arbitral awards. Tom Temin: I think you could say they`re all bad guys here in a sense. But the fact that 5,000 people are affected means you have a large number of individual cases that need to be resolved and understood in one way or another, as well as the whole negotiation process until 2017.Tom Temin: We`re talking to Ibidun Roberts, she`s a lawyer who represents the National VA Council of the American Federation of Government Employees. And back to the negotiation sessions. What is going on? I mean, you`re sitting across the street from a table in a VA lawyers` room. And the union says, let`s talk about this, this and the other.
What is the other party doing? Are they whistling Dixie? Do they play cards? I mean, how do they react when you tell them these things? In addition to restoring relations between the union and the VA to the contract signed in 2011, the agreement sets parameters for both to maintain a large part of this contract and negotiate only 12 articles when drafting the new contract: discipline and adverse measures; income promotion; performance appraisals; local supplements; medium-term negotiations; the official time; details and temporary promotions; Employee rewards and recognition; investigations; safety, health and the environment; upward mobility; and technology to manage, track and measure the work of the Veterans Benefits Administration. «More than 79% of VA`s workforce is made up of collective bargaining unit employees, and we strive to maintain strong and lasting relationships with the unions that represent the department`s unionized workforce to provide first-class services to veterans,» said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. .