(WASHINGTON) - The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) has scored an impressive legal victory in the union’s fight to put an end to Air Force policy that requires Air Reserve Technicians (ARTs) to wear uniforms while working as civilian defense employees. After AFGE Local 1367 filed a grievance, an arbitrator ruled that ARTs at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, (TX) don’t have to wear uniforms.
The Air Force has imposed the uniform policy for ARTs nationwide. Civilian defense workers who must periodically revert to active duty status had concerns that they would not be able to maintain their civilian employee rights while in military uniform.
AFGE has filed a lawsuit to prohibit implementation of the policy. In many locations, the Air Force has agreed not to impose the new uniform requirements pending the outcome of AFGE’s law suit but managers at some Air Force bases such as Lackland sought to enforce requirements anyway.
In fact, following receipt of the arbitrator’s decision, Lackland Base Commander, Brig General John Fobian ordered the current policy to remain in effect pending further review. His order suggests that the Air Force will likely appeal the arbitrator’s decision to the Federal Labor Relations Authority.
“To require civilian defense workers who serve as reservists to wear uniforms and to obliterate their rights is just plain wrong, “ said AFGE National President John Gage. “We will continue to fight to until this policy is reversed.”