Union wants injunction against HR system upheld

A union representing thousands of Homeland Security Department employees has asked a federal judge to uphold a full injunction against the implementation of MaxHR, DHS' new personnel system.

The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) filed a motion today opposing the Aug. 26 motion DHS submitted to Judge Rosemary Collyer of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, NTEU President Colleen Kelley said.

In its motion, DHS asked Collyer to limit the injunction she issued against MaxHR Aug. 12. DHS requested that the injunction apply only to five specific subsections of the regulations that Collyer found illegal and also asked for permission to implement the rest of the personnel system.

Kelley said the changes DHS submitted to Collyer did not go far enough. The judge’s decision “invalidated more than a dozen regulations that are inextricably intertwined with the rest of the regulations,” Kelley said.

The elements that Collyer blocked were essential underpinnings of DHS' proposed changes, Kelley said.

In her ruling, Collyer said she blocked two main elements of MaxHR that would weaken rights and protections that Congress purposely wanted DHS employees to have under the Homeland Security Act of 2002, which created the department.

Specifically, Collyer said those parts would gut the unions' ability to collectively bargain by giving DHS officials the right to unilaterally negate collective bargaining agreements. She also said that one element of the new personnel system would strip the Federal Labor Relations Authority of its role as an independent arbiter in labor disputes.

“The court was right to block the entire scheme," Kelley said, adding that DHS needs to “go back to the drawing board for its entire labor relations system."

The Homeland Security Act requires DHS to work with the NTEU on any changes for at least 60 days and inform Congress of the results, Kelley said.

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