Federal Unions Win DHS Personnel System Decision in Federal Appeals Court

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Contact:  Randy Erwin   (202) 216-4451 (office)   (202) 898-1866 (fax)  


Washington, DC — Today, the US District Court for the District of Columbia issued its long-awaited ruling on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) personnel reform.  The National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE), along with sister unions, prevailed in a resounding victory.


In a unanimous decision from a largely conservative bench, the court upheld Judge Collyer's decision, stating that the new rules on collective bargaining violate the statutory command in the Homeland Security Act (HSA) that DHS ensure collective bargaining for its employees.  Further, the DC Circuit expanded the lower court's decision by holding that the DHS rules inappropriately restrict bargaining by shrinking the scope of bargaining well below what Chapter 71 provides. 


"The DHS appellate decision sends a clear message: DHS cannot reinvent collective bargaining in the absence of Chapter 71," stated NFFE General Counsel, Susan Tsui Grundmann.    


Although the court affirmed the lower court on the role of the MSPB and found the mitigation of penalties claim not ripe for review, the court concluded by affirming Judge Collyer's injunction on the entire labor relations section of the DHS regulations.


"We are very pleased that the court has affirmed the position of the unions," said NFFE National President Richard N. Brown.  "It is unfortunate that DHS did not take proper steps to ensure workers rights in the first place."

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