Labor Department and union wrangle over transit subsidy

An 18-month-long dispute over increasing the transit subsidy benefit for some employees at the Labor Department led union members to stage a second protest Tuesday in front of the agency’s headquarters.

An 18-month-long dispute over increasing the transit subsidy benefit for some employees at the Labor Department led union members to stage a second protest Tuesday in front of the agency's headquarters.

Members of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 12, which represents Labor employees in the Washington area, braved the heat Tuesday afternoon, marching up and down in front of their workplace demanding that Labor officials raise their transit subsidy from $65 to $100. Union members staged an earlier protest rally last October.

A Clinton-era executive order required agencies to offer transit subsidies to employees in the Washington metropolitan area. Initially the maximum amount employees could receive was $65 a month, but in January 2002 the ceiling was raised to $100 a month and many agencies followed suit.

Labor Department officials decided in January 2002 to address the measure during negotiations with the union for a new collective bargaining agreement.

"The bargaining agreement we have with Local 12 predates the Internet," said Patrick Pizzella, assistant secretary of Labor for administration and management. "It goes back to 1992, and there are a lot of things that need to be updated to bring the contract into the 21st century."

But the negotiations have dragged on for 18 months, with the department filing an unfair labor practices charge with the Federal Labor Relations Authority against the union, contending that union officials would not bargain with department officials. FLRA decided in favor of the Labor Department on Sept. 30, 2002 and the next day all employees in the Washington area who were not part of the AFGE Local 12 bargaining unit received an increase in their transit subsidy. Recently the two parties took the issue to the Federal Service Impasses Panel. In the meantime, the transit subsidy for AFGE Local 12 members remains locked at $65.

"They are holding us hostage for contract negotiations," said Larry Drake, president of AFGE Local 12. "They want us to give up something to get this, and we're not giving up anything to get this; we're entitled to it."

The transit subsidy should not be part of the protracted negotiation proceedings with the Labor Department, Drake said.

According to Pizzella, the successful negotiation with Labor Department field office employees to increase the transit benefit shows there is a track record of the department negotiating over the issue. Nearly 9,000 employees in Labor Department field offices got the increase in July 2002.

"We did negotiate with our field locals, successfully, and the increase in the transit subsidy was one of the outcomes of those negotiations," Pizzella said. "We're hoping to sit down with them as we did the union that represents our field employees."

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., joined the union members on Tuesday, challenging Labor Secretary Elaine Chao to raise the subsidy and settle the matter.

"Who ever heard of the notion that the union has to negotiate for things they are entitled to under the law?" Norton asked the group of more than 100 employees standing on the sidewalk waving their fists and yelling "Subsidy now, Chao!" and "Give us our $100!"

"[The executive order] says 'shall implement' it doesn't say 'may implement,'" Norton continued.

Pizzella insisted the situation might have been resolved if negotiations with union officials had not stalled.

"We wanted to negotiate with them and they were less than forthcoming until we took actions to bring things to a head," Pizzella said.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.