(Washington)—Oral arguments in the American Federation of Government Employees’ case against the Department of Homeland Security proposed personnel regulations (MaxHR) will be heard before a panel of three judges in the D.C. Circuit Court on April 6. AFGE and four other unions filed a lawsuit in early 2005 to block MaxHR, which they say is unconstitutional.
“DHS’ proposed regulations would take away basic due process rights,” AFGE National President John Gage said. “Forget about lowering morale; if MaxHR were 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.”
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. In October, 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 appealed, to which AFGE issued a cross-appeal. Additionally, AFGE recently filed a brief related to the case.
“DHS’ proposed regulations twice have been stopped from implementation,” Gage said. “AFGE clearly has made its case against MaxHR.”
The oral arguments will he heard by Senior Judge Harry T. Edwards
and Circuit Judges A. Raymond Randolph
and Thomas B. Griffith
. (More information on the panel can be found at www.afge.org.)