AFGE scored a major win against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when the federal impasses panel ordered the agency to adopt the union’s proposals regarding removals and awards in a new contract.
The Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP) last week ruled that removals and awards should not be excluded from the grievance procedure as the agency had proposed.
“This means employees will be able to file a grievance against an unjust removal or award, a big win for AFGE and federal workers,” said AFGE President Everett Kelley, commending AFGE Labor Relations Specialist John Howard for ably leading the bargaining team and handling the FSIP work along with Deputy General Counsel Cathie McQuiston.
The panel’s ruling moved contract negotiations between AFGE and the EPA closer to completion. Negotiations dragged on due to the Trump administration’s all-out assault on EPA employees and public health.
Last year the administration trashed EPA employees’ union contract and unilaterally imposed its own anti-worker rules on 7,500 employees as a result of Trump’s executive orders. AFGE forced EPA management to return to the table after filing unfair labor practice charges and grievances over the agency’s decision to repudiate our previously negotiated contract.
During recent contract negotiations, AFGE negotiators pushed back against the agency’s anti-worker proposals and scored improvements in all 13 articles negotiated. This has resulted in a new five-year contract that strengthens employee rights, improves health and safety, and more. Employees in June ratified the contract, avoiding having the management directive imposed on them for seven years.
However, the union and the agency could not reach an agreement on a few articles, including one on grievance procedures which has just been decided by the FSIP.
Our union still has three Unfair Labor Practice charges filed against the EPA, alleging that the agency engaged in bad faith bargaining as to the official time article.