January 07, 2021

Brittany Holder
[email protected]

Largest Defense Department Union Charges Arizona Air Force Base with Violating Federal Labor Law Over Bogus Contract

Categories: DoD

Illegal action by Davis-Monthan AFB to trash AFGE’s negotiated union contract follows similar move by other officials under Trump administration

WASHINGTON – The American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 300,000 employees in the Department of Defense, has charged management at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona with violating federal labor law by repudiating our previously negotiated labor contract and unilaterally replacing it with an illegal management edict.

“The actions by management officials at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base follow an egregious and illegal pattern of anti-worker and union-busting activity by the Trump administration that simply cannot be allowed to continue,” AFGE National President Everett Kelley said.

AFGE filed two unfair labor practice charges with the Federal Labor Relations Authority on Jan. 6 on behalf of Local 2924, which represents 1,200 employees at Davis-Monthan AFB, following action by the agency to repudiate the existing collective bargaining agreement signed in 2011 and unilaterally replace it with a book of management rules.

“Management’s illegal book of rules was not negotiated with the union, even though the document purports to have the union’s approval,” AFGE District 12 National Vice President Mario Campos said. “Through this illegal document, management has removed the ability of employees to file a grievance over nearly all issues, including claims for back pay, overtime, and other compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act.”

Management already is using the illegal document to deny employee grievances, said AFGE District 12 National Representative Harley Hembd, who is the chief negotiator for Local 2924 on the contract.

Representatives with AFGE and Davis-Monthan were in the midst of bargaining ground rules to be used for negotiating a new contract to replace the 2011 agreement, which expired in April but remained in effect, when management unilaterally declared an impasse, cut off negotiations, and implemented its own rules on the workforce. 

This is hardly the first time that officials under the Trump administration have refused to negotiate with AFGE in good faith and illegally implemented fraudulent documents purporting to be negotiated contracts. In September 2020, AFGE charged management at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona with violating federal labor law by sending workers a bogus document that purports to be a new contract between the union and the agency.

In addition, the Education Department and Environmental Protection Agency both unilaterally imposed non-negotiated management edicts on its workforces, although AFGE forced EPA to go back to the table and complete negotiations on a legitimate contract after filing grievances and unfair labor practice charges against the agency.

“Over and over again, the Trump administration has defied the law and shown complete disregard for federal workers and their collective bargaining rights,” Kelley said. “We will continue to fight these illegal actions with everything at our disposal as we look forward to working with the incoming Biden administration to undo the damage that has been done to employees’ rights and protections.”

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