WASHINGTON-At the suggestion of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today notified the court that it would withhold implementation of major portions of its proposed new personnel regulations, known as "MaxHR," until Aug. 15, 2005.
The court’s suggestion came after the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and four other unions sought a preliminary injunction against the implementation of the personnel system.
During the almost two-hour heated hearing, Judge Rosemary M. Collyer expressed skepticism that the proposed labor relations system includes any procedure that could be considered “collective bargaining” as required by the law that allowed DHS to establish such a system. Specifically, she expressed concern over the virtual omission of the Federal Labor Relations Administration (FLRA) from the labor-relations procedures, and the lack of consultation with the FLRA by DHS and other agencies when developing the new personnel system. Collyer suggested that DHS delay implementation so that she could more thoroughly investigate its legality.
“This delay is a major victory not just for AFGE, but for all DHS employees who continue to be under the protection of their current contracts and the Civil Reform Act,” AFGE National President John Gage said. “The delay proves what AFGE has been saying all along—that the DHS regulations are unfair, unjust, and unconstitutional. We are confident that this delay will provide the judge with enough time to legally block implementation of these draconian regulations.”
AFGE represents the largest constituency of DHS employees, including Border Patrol, Customs & Border Protection officers, Immigration & Customs Enforcement officers, FEMA workers and civilian Coast Guard employees.