(WASHINGTON) - Confidently standing its ground as the nation’s homeland security union, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) announced that it will appeal a recent decision by Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) Regional Director Robert Hunter that a 2006 election for sole representation over Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employees was fair and just.
“AFGE believes Mr. Hunter got wrong a number of issues dealing with the numerous advantages and institutional benefits CBP provided NTEU during the campaign,” AFGE General Counsel Mark Roth said. “It is our duty as a labor union to bring light to, and stand up against management wrongdoings. CBP effectively cut off AFGE’s ability to communicate with CBP employees prior to the election, and we won’t back down until this injustice is made right.”
One of AFGE’s major concerns was the lack of fair and equal access to CBP employees prior to the election. NTEU had more than double the CBP members than AFGE, and as such, had access to more than twice the amount of people voting in the election. AFGE’s request for both unions to have a right to one mailing to all eligible voters—at each union’s own cost—was denied.
“A precedential issue underlies the entire appeal,” Roth added. “Since 9/11, access to high-security agency employees has been virtually cut off, including just names and work locations. Given that, did CBP have the right to allow NTEU a veto over AFGE’s request that both unions be allowed equal access to a mailing provided by CBP at the union’s cost? We think not.”
“The decision to appeal has no bearing on the rights of CBP employees,” AFGE National President John Gage said. “While we wait the decision of the appeal, AFGE will continue to aggressively represent its CBP members. Our CBP unit remains intact with all rights and privileges. AFGE is proud to represent CBP employees, and would never put them at risk.”
AFGE first appealed the election results on July 6, 2006 arguing that CBP “did not exhibit neutrality, denied AFGE access to the bargaining unit, and unilaterally altered past practices that made AFGE appear in a bad light with employees.” Additionally, AFGE argued that there were procedural errors in conducting the election that warranted nullification of the election results.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 750,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.