Pay & Benefits Watch Pay & Benefits WatchPay & Benefits Watch
Key developments in the world of federal employee benefits: health, pay, and much more.

Red Pen Scare

ARCHIVES

Officials at the Homeland Security Department are weeding through pre-existing collective bargaining agreements to seek out unenforceable provisions, according to a DHS employee.

"Unenforceable," according to the labor management directive from DHS, means those "provisions in a collective bargaining agreement that are inconsistent" with the department's personnel system.

Michael Knowles of the Citizenship and Immigration Services bureau and an American Federation of Government Employees representative, said that human resources officials have been "basically going [through] with a red pen saying this is unenforceable or this is not consistent."

Knowles was asked by AFGE to attend several meetings with DHS human resources officials designed to open communication with the unions on the new system. These ongoing meetings are being held in the run-up to the Aug. 1 deadline for the implementation of the labor relations section of the new personnel system.

The collective bargaining agreements now in place are holdovers from agencies that existed before the creation of the Homeland Security Department. The former Immigration and Naturalization Service, for example, had an agreement from 2000 that is still in effect.

Homeland Security spokesman Larry Orluski said the search for unenforceable provisions will help managers and employees, not hurt them.

The process of going through existing bargaining agreements is to "make it clear for employees and managers and supervisors. They need to know what portions [of their agreements] still pertain and what portions don't…Managers have to know where things stand, and that's the idea," Orluski said.

"I don't know where the red pen thing came from," Orluski said. "But it's going to go to them in an Excel spreadsheet."

Charles Showalter, president of AFGE's National Homeland Security Council, said the process is not so benign.

"Right now, the agency is under the direction of some of these people designed to break the backs of unions," Showalter said. They are "looking to the contract, seeing what they think they can get away with, seeing what some of the authorities granted by Congress are and how far they can push those. It's a matter of some people within the agency trying to make it so they can do whatever they want with impunity."

After the Aug. 1 implementation, employees and their unions can appeal the decisions on what provisions are unenforceable to the Homeland Security Labor Relations Board, the members of which are appointed by the department's secretary. Nominations can be submitted by unions.

 
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.