November 13, 2005
Emily Ryan
(202) 639-6421

Homeland Security Union Cross-Appeals DHS Plea

(Washington)—The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and other unions today filed a cross-appeal in response to a Department of Homeland Security appeal regarding a federal court decision to block implementation its proposed personnel regulations, known as MaxHR. Among its more than half a million members, AFGE represents DHS workers across the board, from Customs and Border Protection to FEMA to TSA.

“As the nation’s homeland security union, it is incumbent upon us to continue fighting for the rights of DHS employees throughout the country,” AFGE National President John Gage said. “Both the administration and the agency seem to be determined to bring down DHS while advancing their own interests. AFGE is here to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

In August, Judge Rosemary M. Collyer of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a memorandum opinion that forbade DHS from implementing the labor-relations portion of its new personnel system, which is designed to replace the current General Schedule (GS) civil service system. Last month, after hearing oral argument from AFGE and other unions in opposition to the agency’s request to implement new work rules that will impede whistleblower and other employee protections, Judge Collyer declined DHS’ motion for an amendment to the judge's opinion that would permit the agency to go ahead with the new work rules.

“DHS’ proposed regulations would take away basic due process rights. Forget about lowering morale, if MaxHR was implemented, there is no doubt that DHS would see a dramatic loss of employees. This agency was created to protect the citizens of the United States. It cannot afford to make any mistakes, such as alienating and/or losing employees and losing the trust of the American public.”

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