AFGE won certification to represent Defense Department employees who have been transferred to a new agency, the Defense Health Administration (DHA).
These 4,000 professional and non-professional employees were previously part of the Army, Navy, and Air Force at Ft. Bragg, Pope Airfield, and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina. Before the transfer, the workers at Fort Bragg and Pope Airfield were represented by AFGE Local 1770. Employees at Seymour Johnson were represented by the National Association of Independent Labor.
This certification is a result of an AFGE petition with the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA). AFGE last year won our first FLRA certification to represent DHA headquarters employees. The North Carolina certification is our second certification but represents the first medical treatment facility certification.
The 4,000 employees are part of the 35,000 civilian bargaining unit employees who will be transferred to DHA. AFGE and other unions are petitioning the FLRA for certification to represent these employees in 20 so-called “direct markets” and a group of small markets and stand-alone facilities in 85 locations. AFGE has 20 petitions pending.
“This is the largest reorganization in the Defense Department since the Air Force was broken out from under the Navy in 1947, and so this is a massive undertaking particularly for AFGE which represents the vast majority of the employees who are affected by this reorganization,” said AFGE Deputy General Counsel Cathie McQuiston. “We’re doing everything we can to protect employee rights and maintain our union recognitions as part of this reorganization.”
It's not clear when this initial phase of pending cases will revolve, but McQuiston hopes it will be this year so not to adversely affect employees who are being transferred to DHA. These employees are still covered under their old contracts with the Army, Navy, or Air Force, and new contract negotiations with DHA won’t happen until the certifications are complete.
“We have been and will continue to keep in contact with our locals to provide guidance and advice as the legal process plays out during this transition,” McQuiston added.