February 1997

Presidents' Conference: Mark Your Calendars!

Here we go again with another Presidents' Conference! We want to express our appreciation to all our Union clients for encouraging us to schedule another conference after the last one was cancelled. This year, we are returning the conference to its original design, which was an exclusive gathering in Denver for our valued clientele.

The Presidents' Conference will be held on Friday June 27, and Saturday June 28, 1997, at the Sheridan Denver West near our office. This time, attendance will be limited to 75 individuals, with our Union clients receiving first priority. More details will follow in newsletters in the coming months and we will also be mailing a promotional flyer as the time approaches.

Welcome New Client

We are delighted to welcome AFGE Local 1867 to our family of Union retainer clients. Local 1867 represents employees at the Air Force Academy and at other facilities around Colorado Springs. The Local President is Mr. Mike Little.

Employee Input on Performance Standards

Most of you are probably sick of hearing management at arbitration hearings over performance appraisals remind the employee that he or she had a right to provide "input" when the performance standards were written. A recent decision from the FLRA proves this right means very little. The union attempted to specify in its proposal the number of prescriptions that a pharmacy technician would be required to fill in a certain period of time. The Authority ruled this proposal was non-negotiable as it interfered with management's sole right to draft performance standards. VA Medical Center, Mountain Home, Tennessee, 52 FLRA No. 48 (1996).

"Robust" Behavior

Sometimes management gets you so mad that you feel you have to say something. When a union representative does " mouth-off " management sometimes disciplines the employee. A recent decision from the National Labor Relations Board proves that conduct which would otherwise be insubordinate may be excused if the union representative was provoked into it. The representative gave the supervisor an obscene gesture, called him a liar and said he would deal

with him on the outside. The NLRB ruled that he had been provoked into this outburst when the supervisor imposed unlawful restrictions on his union activities and threatened to fire him for those activities. Caterpillar Inc., 154 LRRM 1001 (1996).

EEO Rulings

A disturbing trend continues in the federal courts where EEO claims are dismissed because they do not challenge "ultimate" employment decisions like discharge or denial of a promotion. The Fifth Circuit has ruled that an employee had no right to complain about general acts of harassment in reprisal for the filing of her EEO complaint. Mattern v. Eastman Kodak Co., 72 FEP Cases 1441 (5th Cir. 1997) ... Getting injunctions from federal courts to prevent a personnel action from being taken is always difficult. Now, a federal district court in Washington, D.C. says that an injunction to prevent a federal agency from taking a discriminatory personnel action is even harder to get. The court says that a showing of "extraordinary" irreparable injury is required in order to stop the federal government from carrying out a personnel action. Bonds v. Heyman, 72 FEP Cases 1589 (D.D.C. 1997).