Union to take NSPS case to Supreme Court

Officials of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) said today they would file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the Defense Department from implementing portions of the National Security Personnel System (NSPS).

The officials announced their plans after the U.S. Court of Appeals denied on  Aug. 10 a motion by AFGE and the United Department of Defense Workers Coalition for an en banc, or full court, review of the court's earlier decision upholding NSPS regulations and overturning a lower-court ruling.

AFGE expects this week to file a motion to stay the issuance of the appeals court's mandate in the case and within 90 days proceed with a petition to ask the Supreme Court to take the case, officials said.

'AFGE has been presented with the opportunity to bring this issue to the honorable justices of the U.S. Supreme Court and will face this head on,' John Gage, AFGE national president, said in a statement. 'The [Bush] administration and DOD need to be taken to task on this issue. It's time to stop the bullying and abuse this administration is directing toward DOD employees.'

Gage added that if NSPS were to be fully implemented, DOD workers 'would be subjected to an arbitrary, dishonest and unfair working atmosphere.'

A series of court decisions on NSPS began in February 2006, when a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan gutted NSPS provisions that related to labor relations, collective bargaining, independent third-party review, adverse actions and DOD's proposed internal labor relations panel. However, on May 18, the Court of Appeals upheld the regulations in a 2-1 decision.

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