The AFGE union has filed a suit seeking to have recent decisions of the Federal Service Impasses Panel overthrown on grounds that the members of the panel should be subject to Senate confirmation rather than direct presidential appointees.
The FSIP, an arm of the FLRA, considers deadlocks in bargaining between agencies and unions and in recent times has issued a string of rulings that unions believe severely undercuts their role in the federal workplace on alternative work schedules, telework and other matters. As part of their challenges to those rulings, the unions have contended that the FSIP board itself is improperly constituted.
The union said the suit is “seeking several remedies, including a declaration that the panel is not properly constituted, that their decisions be declared null and void, and that they be enjoined from issuing further decisions until they are properly constituted.”
One argument that unions have raised is that the law requires that members can be removed only by the President, typically a feature of positions in which Senate confirmation is required.
In an action interpreted as a bid to overcome that argument, President Trump late in 2019 delegated to the head of the FLRA the authority to remove FSIP members based on “whether the decisions are consistent with the requirement of an effective and efficient government,” among other possible factors.