WASHINGTON – The National Veterans Affairs Council (NVAC) of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), working with the firm of Massey & Gail, LLP, and with the assistance of the AFGE’s General Counsel’s Office, is suing the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP) and the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA). The NVAC represents over 350,000 employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and is challenging the appointment of the FSIP’s members.
In the complaint, the Plaintiffs allege that:
“The Impasses Panel wields enormous power over federal unions and their employing agencies. Faced with a negotiation impasse, the Panel can assert jurisdiction and issue an order binding on the parties for the duration of the labor-management contract, imposing contractual terms to which neither party has agreed. The Panel takes these actions with no supervision whatsoever; its rulings are final, binding, and immune from judicial review,” the complaint states. “Because they exercise “significant authority pursuant to the laws of the United States,” Panel members must be appointed pursuant to the strictures of the Appointments Clause of the United States Constitution, with confirmation by the U.S. Senate. And, given their enormous power, Panel members must remain scrupulously neutral.”
The Council is seeking several remedies, including a declaration that the Panel is not properly constituted, that their decisions be declared null and void, and that they be enjoined from issuing further decisions until they are properly constituted.
“No agency is above the law and these members were appointed illegally. It is our hope that the Court recognizes this for what it is – an attempt to force anti-employee policies into union contracts through FSIP,” said Alma Lee, President AFGE NVAC. “I am shocked at the lengths this Administration will go to fulfill their union-busting agenda. Now the improperly appointed FSIP members are thumbing their noses at Congress’ bargaining process too.”