Dear Bargaining Unit Employee:
We want to formally inform you of the VA’s recent actions that have been the source of rumors that your rights have changed.
On November 8, 2018, the Department notified AFGE that it would be repudiating several provisions of our Master Agreement effective on November 15, 2018. The notice rescinded nearly 30 provisions of our agreement regarding the use of official time that the Department has deemed to be inconsistent with 38 U.S.C. 7422. This rescission prohibits union representatives, that are Title 38 employees, from using official time. AFGE has filed a lawsuit to challenge the Department’s actions.
First, you are still a bargaining unit employee entitled to representation and collective bargaining rights. Congress explicitly and specifically granted Title 38 employees collective bargaining rights in the Department of Veterans Affairs Labor Relations Improvement Act of 1991. The Department has no authority to change an act of Congress.
If management tells you otherwise, it is patently false. Please let the Local know immediately if this occurs, because it is an unfair labor practice, designed to interfere with your rights under the Federal Service Labor Management Relations Act.
Next, we are committed to fighting this action at all levels, Locally and Nationally. We are working together to adapt to and address this temporary change while our lawsuit is pending. To be clear, the VA’s illegal conduct affects WHO can represent you, not whether you are represented. We will make sure you have a representative for all matters in which you are entitled. So, continue contacting the Local for all your needs as usual.
As you know, the VA and the Administration lost in Federal court on their actions under the Executive Orders. Although they have appealed, they are unable to continue implementing the EOs. This recent action is the VA’s flailing attempt to continue its union-busting activity. While the Union will absorb the harm caused, we will not let it affect you.
AFGE Local 910 KCVA