The Federal Service Impasses Panel has sided with the VA over many terms of a new contract with the AFGE union which would cover more than 260,000 employees but which the union already is challenging and looking to a Biden administration to overturn.
The VA had declared an impasse a year ago on the duration of the contract, equal employment opportunity procedures, health and safety protections for employees, official time, labor-management training, discipline and more. The FSIP ruling reflects Trump administration positions on those issues, as directed in two of the 2018 trio of federal workplace executive orders.
The AFGE, though, said the contract award is unenforceable since certain articles of the existing contract are the subject of a suit in federal court and because of separate suits arguing that FSIP decisions are void on grounds that its current members were appointed improperly.
The award further could be reversed by a Biden administration, the union says, because it “will have the power to encourage the negotiation of a fair VA contract, bargain in good faith and rescind” the executive orders.