(WASHINGTON)—The American Federation of Government Employees on July 6 filed an appeal with the Federal Labor Relations Authority arguing that improper interference by Customs and Border Protection management prevented voters in an election for sole union representation from having equal access to information about the choices on the ballot.
In the appeal, AFGE argues that CBP “did not exhibit neutrality, denied AFGE access to the bargaining unit, and unilaterally altered past practices that made AFGE appear in a bad light with employees.” Additionally, there were procedural errors in conducting the election that warrant nullification of the election results, so AFGE asked the FLRA to “set aside the election and run it anew.”
AFGE’s appeal includes the following arguments, among others:
- Lack of neutrality: CBP “repeatedly exhibited a lack of neutrality between the AFGE and NTEU … It is undeniable that the Agency's conduct resulted in employees’ drawing a coercive inference that it was in their best interest to vote for NTEU and not AFGE.”
- CBP posted NTEU contact information as the union to contact on the Agency’s intranet Web telephone directory.
- Bargained with NTEU regarding matters affecting AFGE-represented employees.
- Permitted NTEU electioneering on the Agency’s e-mail system while denying AFGE e-mail access for electioneering and representational matters.
- Adopted NTEU standards and implemented them Agency-wide.
- Permitted NTEU access to newly hired CBP officers without extending the same to AFGE.
- Lack of Access
- CBP refused AFGE’s request for both unions to have a right to a pre-election bargaining unit mailing (at the union’s expense) and gave NTEU the veto power over the right to access the entire electorate.
- Required AFGE representatives to be escorted by Agency officials while permitting NTEU representatives unfettered access.
- Denied site visits for the purposes of electioneering.
- Interference with Representation
- CBP failed to adhere to contractual grievances and arbitration provisions.
- Unilaterally changed conditions of employment without articulating exigent circumstances.
- Procedural Errors
- AFGE challenged the exclusion of almost 5,000 employees, almost 20% of the entire population of eligible voters. This is more than the Authority’s practice to allow only 15% of the entire population of voters’ eligibility to remain in dispute.
- CBP also failed to follow regulations in the manner in which the notice was posted.