Top Federal Labor Agency Fires Its Union

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February 14, 2019 6:06 p.m.

I’m not sure about the legalities of this. But it seems kind of remarkable. Federal Labor Relations Authority Chairwoman Colleen Duffy Kiko has announced that she’s decertifying the authority’s own union. In other words, she’s firing the agency’s union.

(I only heard about this by seeing a post about it in The Hive (membership required).)

Her argument is that the agency isn’t allowed to have a union under the 1978 Civil Service Reform Act. She says that the Agency is specifically exempted and thus she’d be breaking the law to recognize the union. I’m no expert on the law. But it’s worth noting that the law is 40 years old. So no other chair in the last 40 years thought this was a problem.

Government Executive magazine also notes a 1980 DOJ opinion which held that this was not what the law said. The issue seems to be a provision that DOJ decided was about preventing conflicts of interest rather than preventing the Agency’s employees from having a union.

President Trump nominated now-Chairwoman Colleen Duffy Kiko in September 2017 and she was confirmed by the Senate in November 2017.

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