(Washington, D.C.)-Filed late yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) has asked the court to rule that the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) newly revised Circular A-76 violates the Federal Activities Inventory Reform (FAIR) Act.
In addition, the union's complaint (Case No. 03-3944) asks the court to enjoin Angela Styles, Administrator of OMB's Office of Federal Procurement Policy, from "…attempting to convince/coerce/force executive agencies to use the illegally delimited definition of 'inherently governmental' in preparation of their FAIR Act lists."
AFGE's suit states that "Defendant Styles' goal is to dramatically increase the number of jobs and/or functions that these agencies will find to be not inherently governmental.… In so acting, Defendant Styles has exceeded the bounds of OMB's statutorily defined powers and her acts constitute an abuse of discretion, are arbitrary, capricious, and are not in accordance with law…."
AFGE contends that the new A-76 Circular violates the FAIR Act by substantially narrowing the definition of inherently governmental functions; adopting a new, heightened standard for agencies to apply when evaluating whether certain financial payment related functions are inherently governmental; and imposing new limits on the challenge process which illegally restrict union challenge rights.
"This revised Circular exposes many AFGE's members to the new risk that their job functions will be reclassified as 'commercial' and, therefore, subject to conversion, while at the same time depriving them of their full statutory challenge rights," said AFGE National President Bobby L. Harnage, Sr. AFGE's suit points out that thousands of federal employees working for the Social Security Administration and Veterans Benefits Administration could be removed from the agencies' inherently governmental lists under the Circular's illegal definitions.
The American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, is the largest union for government employees, representing 600,000 federal workers in the United States and overseas, as well as employees of the District of Columbia. Learn more about AFGE's efforts to stop the senseless privatization of government jobs at www.afge.org.