WASHINGTON – The union representing 300,000 federal workers in the Department of Defense has charged DoD with failing to properly consult the union over the planned transfer of more than 1,200 information technology employees.
The American Federation of Government employees filed an unfair labor practice (ULP) charge with the Federal Labor Relations Authority on May 20. The complaint contends that DoD failed to notify AFGE or seek the union’s input about its plans to transfer IT workers from the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) to the Defense Information Services Agency (DISA), which is part of a larger plan to put DISA in charge of more than 1,200 IT positions currently assigned to individual DoD agencies.
Under Title 5 of the U.S. Code, federal agencies are required to consult with labor unions over any proposal that would substantively change employment conditions, provided that those unions represent a substantial number of agency employees but are not the exclusive representative at the agency.
“The Department of Defense has clearly violated the law by failing to notify AFGE of this proposal and not allowing the union to provide our views and recommendations regarding these proposed changes and the impact they could have on the employees we represent,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said.
One of AFGE’s bargaining councils first received notice of the planned transfer of DCMA employees to DISA on April 12. AFGE subsequently learned of the larger, departmentwide IT consolidation plan through discussions with DCMA management and published news reports.
This is not the first time DoD has violated AFGE’s national consultation rights. The union currently has an unfair labor practice charge pending against DoD over the department’s failure to notify the union over plans to consolidate medical employees currently working at individual DoD services and agencies into the newly created Defense Health Agency.
“The changes DoD is proposing would affect tens of thousands of employees, but the department has made no attempt to communicate with these workers or get their input into these plans,” AFGE Defense Conference (DEFCON) Chair Don Hale said. “Employees deserve a seat at the table when decisions are made that affect their jobs, and we will keep fighting to make sure that happens.”