Union Accuses Pentagon of Ducking Bargaining Rules With Transfers of IT Employees

Union Accuses Pentagon of Ducking Bargaining Rules With Transfers of IT Employees

The American Federation of Government Employees on Tuesday accused the Defense Department of neglecting its duty to consult with the nation’s largest federal employee union over a decision to transfer more than 1,200 IT employees to the Defense Information Services Agency.


The union filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the department last week on behalf of workers at the Defense Contract Management Agency, although the filing notes that the Pentagon’s April decision to transfer IT workers to DISA impacts several other agencies within the Defense Department whose workforces are represented by AFGE.


“On or about April 12, 2019, AFGE, through one of our bargaining councils, received notice that the Department of Defense was beginning to execute a plan to transfer IT personnel from the Defense Contract Management Agency to the Defense Information Services Agency,” the union wrote. “[AFGE] represents tens of thousands of employees that may be impacted by this plan, and the DoD in violation of law has failed to provide AFGE with a [National Consultation Rights] notice and give AFGE an opportunity to have its views considered prior to implementation.”


Victor Matos, western region vice president at AFGE Council 170, which represents DCMA workers, said that when an agency elects to significantly change the working conditions or conditions of employment for members of a bargaining unit, it is required to consult with union officials.


“Now, the union doesn’t have a right to affect whether [an agency] carries out a decision necessarily, but the union does have the right to negotiate over the impact and implementation,” Matos said. “The idea is to develop a mitigating strategy to lessen the blow or have a more phased implementation to help ease employee ..