The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) got a rare slap on the wrist from the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP) when the panel rejected the department’s obvious effort to declare an impasse when contract negotiations with AFGE’s Council 222 were not even done.
In a victory for our union, FSIP, whose job is to resolve impasses between unions and agencies in contract negotiations, declined to get involved as the parties have not really reached an impasse.
HUD asked FSIP for assistance on Jan. 10, but according to the meeting schedule, both parties had agreed to meet on Jan. 27-31, Feb. 10-15, and Feb. 24-28 to continue contract negotiations with the assistance of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services.
“The Panel’s investigation – as demonstrated by the Agency’s own submissions – reveals that that parties remain active participants in the above facilitated negotiations schedule,” FSIP Chairman Mark Carter wrote in a Feb. 5 letter rejecting the agency’s request. “Moreover, the FMCS Mediator currently working with the parties has declined to release the parties from mediation due to their continued bargaining efforts and potential for additional resolution.”
AFGE applauds the panel for doing the right thing. Since President Trump issued three anti-worker executive orders in 2018 to gut employees’ workplace rights and destroy unions, agencies have rushed to declare impasses during negotiations in order to send their proposals to be imposed by the panel.
AFGE last year filed a lawsuit against the panel alleging that it exceeded its authority when it issued a decision imposing several anti-worker provisions in a collective bargaining agreement between AFGE and the Social Security Administration.
“AFGE Council 222 is grateful that the FSIP has seen through HUD management's newest attempt to short-circuit the bargaining process,” said Council 222 President Ashaki Robinson. “Hopefully, the agency will finally come to the table with a genuine effort to bargain in good faith so that the long-standing amicable labor-management relationship at HUD can be maintained. "