Appeals Court Rules Against Defense Workers

In a 2-to-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled last week that the Department of Defense (DoD) has the right to “curtail” collective bargaining rights for more than 400,000 federal employees for the next two years. The decision dismisses a lower court injunction barring implementation of personnel rules proposed as part of the DoD’s controversial National Security Personnel System (NSPS).

The ruling will allow the DoD to circumvent civil service protections for government workers and to abrogate collective bargaining agreements practically at will. At risk will be federal workers’ hours of work, shifts, alternative work schedules, overtime and more.

“We are appalled by the hostility the Bush administration continues to display toward federal workers,” said IAM Government Employees Director Frank Carelli. “It was bad enough when the Department of Defense overreached in developing the regulations for the new personnel system. It’s even worse now that the court has taken the liberty to expand it.”

The IAM vowed to stand with the United Defense Workers Coalition (UDWC),, a coalition of 36 unions representing 750,000 government workers. “We will not back up, back down or retreat from this administration’s assault on federal workers,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “Together with UDWC, we will move for a full court review of the latest decision.”

In more encouraging news, the U.S. House of Representatives voted last week 397-27 to support collective bargaining in the DoD and to stop the department’s attempts to eliminate due process rights. “We believed all along that we would need a legislative fix for NSPS,” said Carelli. “Now it’s up to the Senate to act.”

Please contact your Senator by clicking here and urging them to restore the rights of federal workers.