April 04, 2002
Magda Lynn Seymour
Diane S. Witiak
(202) 639-6419

AFGE National Agreement Provides RIF Rights for Title 38 Employees

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)-According to the U.S. Court of Appeals, Title 38 employees have the same reduction-in-force (RIF) rights as other civil service employees. But, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), which represents the bulk of Title 38 employees, is quick to point out that employees in its bargaining units already had the right to challenge RIF decisions under the union's master agreement.

"Realizing the critical need for RIF rights for Title 38 employees, AFGE made sure adequate protections were provided in its national collective bargaining agreement covering all employees working for the Department of Veterans Affairs, including Title 38 employees," states AFGE National President Bobby L. Harnage. "Employees covered under AFGE's master agreement have had the right for quite some time to grieve any part of a RIF action that does not comply with law and regulations."

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in its decision April 1, 2002, (Kay Coles James v. Elisabeth Von Zemenszky and MSPB, Case No. 00-3418) found that Title 38 employees (physicians, registered nurses and physician assistants) were covered by Title 5's RIF rights and not the Department of Veterans Affairs' RIF manuals.

"We're happy to see that the court has finally clarified Title 38 employees' RIF rights and protections," Harnage added. "Faced with an Administration that's more interested in meeting arbitrary privatization quotas than providing critical patient care to our nation's veterans and warfighters, federal employees need all the rights and protections afforded to them."

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