President’s Newsletter – March 29, 2019
Your board has been hard at work since taking office. We want to first update you on a constitutional claim we are pursuing on your behalf. Executive VP Judge Danette Mincey has prepared a legal memorandum in relation to our reporting structure: Mincey Memo
Post Lucia, the Department of Justice has issued guidance that we are inferior officers. Inferior officers must report to a principle officer. In our agency, the only principle officers are the commissioner, deputy commissioner, and the inspector general. Our reporting structure is not constitutional. Esteemed constitutional scholar and George Washington University Professor Alan Morrison submitted a letter to the agency on our behalf, asserting our constitutional claim. We have consulted with other constitutional scholars on this matter, and they have also agreed with Judge Mincey’s analysis. The agency has not responded. We will let you know when we receive a response. We believe that agency mission is best served, and the due process rights of claimants are best protected, when the largest judicial corps in the world is led by a chief judge who reports directly to a principle officer.
As reported in the latest union newsletter, the first session of negotiations wrapped up last week. We have reached agreement on a few of the less contentious matters with limited changes. We also agreed to the preamble. We are working hard to get the best agreement for members. It’s important that we put these negotiations in context of what has been happening to other unions representing employees in OHO. Below, I have included the status of other OHO negotiations.
AFGE Council 220 and NTEU Chapter 224 went to impasse on critical provisions including official time, grievances, telework, and duration of the contract. The Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP) is generally considered by most federal sector unions as being anti-union now. However, we will do the best we can, regardless of the membership of the Impasses Panel. You can review the FSIP members’ biographies at this link: FSIP BIOS
Several members of Congress sent a letter to Acting Commissioner Berryhill concerning the AFGE Council 220 bargaining go to: Congressional Letter
For more information on AFGE Council 220’s bargaining go to this link: AFGE Bargaining
A letter NTEU sent to Acting Commissioner Berryhill concerning NTEU Chapter 224’s bargaining can be found here: NTEU Letter
Of course, we want to reach a fair and equitable agreement that ensures the expectations for productivity are sustainable and enables us to do the high-quality work the American public deserves. We come to the table in good faith with sincere resolve to reach an agreement. I know we all care deeply about public service and ensuring the due process rights of claimants. We need the adequate time and support to fulfill our duty.
Judge Mincey and I were back on Capitol Hill this week, advocating for our union. You can read the IFPTE newsletter article here: Capitol Hill
Time to Join
Now, more than ever, we need to be unified. On non-duty time, please talk to your colleagues who haven’t joined or who have left the union. If anyone utilizes the following link, we will assist them in signing up: Join Union
We will be checking in with more information as we proceed. The next negotiation session begins on April 9th. Thank you for your support!
Melissa McIntosh AALJ President