WASHINGTON—The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has set January 24, 2006, as the hearing date for an AFGE-led lawsuit against new Department of Defense (DoD) work rules, the National Security Personnel System (NSPS). Further, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia assured an expeditious determination the merits of the case. The judge’s decision came after arguments heard from AFGE Associate General Counsel Joe Goldberg.
“We are eager to make our case on the illegality of the Department of Defense’s new workplace rules,” said Goldberg.
AFGE, together with the Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO, the United Power Trades Organization, the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the International Association of Fire Fighters, the Association of Civilian Technicians, the Laborers International Union, the National Association of Government Employees, and the National Federation of Federal Employees filed the lawsuit against the DoD on November 7. Last week, representatives from AFGE and the Department of Justice, which represents DoD, agreed to delay implementation of major sections of the NSPS until Feb. 1, 2006. Today’s meeting in court decided the January 24 timeline for the case.
“We are very pleased that the court has agreed to hear the case in timely manner,” said AFGE National President John Gage. “Over 600,000 federal workers await the ruling. The NSPS could have grave implications for the safety of America’s fighting men and women and for safeguarding the public coffers.”
Last month, a federal court found significant portions of similar personnel rules drafted by the Department of Homeland Security to run afoul of the law. Rather than heeding the warning sounded by the court in that case, the DoD moved forward with comparable work rules. The new regulations for DoD personnel revoke most due process rights (rendering whistleblower protections moot), allow supervisors to punish employees in their paychecks, create a so-called “pay-for-performance” system that pits employees against each other for pay increases, and end all meaningful collective bargaining. Portions of negotiated contracts may be voided on the say-so of a political appointee.