National education and labor news

DeVos trying to bust Education Department’s union

Unionized workers at the U.S. Department of Education filed a complaint on March 13 accusing the department of attempting to bust their union.

The Education Department on Feb. 9 issued a 40-page document it called a “collective bargaining agreement” and said it would no longer bargain with its employees’ union, the American Federation of Government Employees Council 252. The document used the union’s logo without permission.

“You can’t even call it a ‘collective bargaining agreement’ because it wasn’t collective, it wasn’t bargained and there was no agreement,” said Ward Morrow, the union’s assistant general counsel.

In response, the union, which represents nearly 4,000 federal employees in the department, filed a complaint with the Federal Labor Relations Authority alleging the action constitutes union busting.

“The agency has imposed an illegal document that we had absolutely no bargaining over,” said Claudette Young, the union’s president. “It’s a total attempt to strip employees of their collective bargaining rights and bust the union. This is an attempt to tie our hands.”

The Education Department’s unilateral decree aims to curb union activity by taking away union office space and equipment and denying paid leave to union officers for their representational tasks. The American Federation of Government Employees has made numerous attempts to meet with Betsy DeVos, but the education secretary has yet to sit down with her employees’ representatives.

The union expects an investigation from the Federal Labor Relations Authority in response to the complaint.

The Intercept, March 15
The Hill, March 1

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