(WASHINGTON) – The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and its partners in the United Department of Defense Workers Coalition (UDWC) filed a petition for a full court review of a ruling which upheld the Defense Department’s National Security Personnel System (NSPS). (U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, No. 06-5113)
On May 11, the U.S. Court of Appeals issued a sharply divided 2-1 decision reversing previous court rulings that gutted NSPS provisions pertaining to labor relations, collective bargaining, independent third party review, adverse actions, and a DoD proposed internal labor relations panel. As a result of a strong dissenting opinion issued by Judge Tatel and because of previous court rulings, the Coalition feels strongly about its chances for a reversal. The UDWC issued the petition for en banc (or full court) review on July 2. The court confirmed receipt of the petition on July 6 and ordered DoD to provide a response within 15 days.
“The court’s order to the Department of Defense demonstrates the seriousness with which the court is taking this action,” said AFGE General Counsel Mark Roth.
AFGE and the UDWC will continue to seek legislation aimed at equalizing the asymmetrical balance of power in addition to its action before the court. The House of Representatives has already overwhelmingly demonstrated its support in curtailing DoD’s ability to undermine employee rights by passing language in the 2008 Defense Authorization Bill which struck down major portions of the DoD personnel system. UDWC coalition members are actively engaging Senate leaders to follow suit.
“AFGE has dedicated itself to protecting DoD employees from being subjected to unfair working conditions,” said AFGE National President John Gage. “We are confident in our chances before the court and in the meantime will continue our aggressive legislative strategy.”