Bush Administration Strikes Out on NSPS

The Bush administration struck out swinging at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Defense (DoD) on its attempt to implement sweeping new personnel rules in a blatant attempt to gut collective bargaining rights and strip civil service protections for hundreds of thousands of federal workers.

In separate court decisions in suits brought by a coalition of federal sector unions, federal judges have ruled sections of the new personnel rules at DHS and the National Security Personnel System (NSPS) at DoD violate collective bargaining rights and are illegal. That stopped the new rules for workers whose jobs are covered by union contracts, but allows them for non-union workers.

At DHS, the Bush administration has fought the court ruling but lost in a federal appeals court. DHS just announced it was abandoning a further appeal to the Supreme Court. “This is a great victory for federal workers,” said IAM Government Employees Director Frank Carelli. “The IAM and NFFE Federal District 1, including NFFE FD 1 President Rick Brown and General Counsel Susan Grundmann, were key players with the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) to stop these unfair personnel rules.”

A similar court ruling covering DoD union-represented workers has stopped NSPS, but the Bush administration has not yet given up its appeal. Federal sector unions succeeded in convincing Congress to block funding for portions of NSPS that the court found illegal. The measure was passed by both the Senate and House and survived a Defense Appropriations Conference Report, which is expected to win final approval by Congress before its next recess.