Washington—For a group of unions, including AFGE, oral arguments began today against the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) personnel system before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. AFGE is the largest union in DHS.
During the course of the one-hour oral argument, the three-judge panel was very critical of the government’s position on the issue of the meaning of “collective bargaining” and of the non-reviewable discretion imbued by DHS regulations.
U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer blocked DHS from implementing its new labor relations system August 12, 2005, stating the proposed regulations failed to ensure collective bargaining and gave the Federal Labor Relations Authority additional jurisdiction by assigning it to review decisions of the new Homeland Security Labor Relations Board.
AFGE and the other unions entered today’s hearing after months of briefs from both their side and that of DHS. The final brief by DHS was filed on the appeal February 13, while the group of other unions filed their final brief two weeks later on February 27.