DHS asks judge to minimize MaxHR injunction

The Homeland Security Department has asked a federal judge to narrow the range of her injunction against MaxHR, the department’s new personnel system.

Eager to introduce the new system, DHS filed a motion last week arguing that the “Court should limit its injunction solely to the provisions found to be invalid and allow the remainder to become effective.”

Judge Rosemary Collyer of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia blocked two main elements of MaxHR Aug. 12.

In her decision, Collyer wrote that MaxHR would gut the unions' ability to collectively bargain by giving DHS officials the right to unilaterally negate collective bargaining agreements. She also said that an element of the new program would strip the Federal Labor Relations Authority of its role as an independent arbiter in labor disputes.

DHS has asked Collyer to limit the injunction to five specific subsections of the regulations that she found illegal under the Homeland Security Act of 2002, which created the department.

Unions disagreed with DHS’ reasoning that eliminating a few problematic subsections of law will make MaxHR workable.

“We think they’re inextricably intertwined and that [DHS] reads the judge’s decision too narrowly,” said Robert Shriver, assistant counsel at the National Treasury Employees Union, who initially argued the case before Collyer. “A lot of other regulations have to be removed or modified to address the concerns she raised.”

DHS filed the request Aug. 26 and has asked Collyer to make her decision on or before Oct. 7. That would give the department time to appeal her initial decision before the 60-day deadline to appeal expires on Oct. 11, Shriver said.

NTEU plans to respond to DHS’ motion by Sept. 9, Shriver said.

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