OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author’s opinion
Joe Biden will soon be filling the ranks of the Federal Service Impasses Panel with a fresh slate of members of his choosing.
Biden is moving to push deals under the table to get his progressive allies added to the ranks of the federal government while thousands of Americans remain stranded in Afghanistan amid the Taliban’s takeover of the country.
Biden is also dealing with record-high inflation, the ongoing pandemic, and unmitigated at the US-Mexico border, which saw some of the highest numbers of illegal border crossings in two decades.
The panel is a component of the Federal Labor Relations Authority and is designed to bridge communication between federal agencies and federal employee unions.
Agencies and unions often request support from the panel with collective bargaining disputes if mediation between the groups reaches an impasse, hence the name.
Federal agencies have often struggled with federal employee unions over collective bargaining practices and the inability to arrive at satisfactory solutions for either group, as previously reported by the Federal News Network when the Department of Health and Human Services agreed to negotiate a new contract with the National Treasury Employees Union to reset their relationship.
Under Biden, the panelists he selected come from union backgrounds. The panel, proposed by President Joe Biden includes the following ten nominees:
- Martin H. Malin
- Wynter P. Allen
- Jeanne Charles
- Howard Friedman
- Edward F. Hartfield
- Marvin E. Johnson
- Mark G. Pearce,
- Pamela Schwartz
- Joseph E. Slater
- Tamiko N.W. Watkins
FNN reports that most of the panelists are union members and leaders:
Malin, who founded the Institute for Law and the Workplace at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Chicago-Kent College of Law, served for eight years on the impasse panel during the Obama administration. The White House said he has published an extensive list of articles and books on labor law.
Many of Biden’s appointees have experience working for employee unions themselves.
Friedman is a former president of the National Treasury Employees Union chapter representing attorneys at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He helped create USPTO’s telework program back in 1997, the White House said.
Allen, now a partner at the Alden Law Group, worked as a staff attorney for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Johnson, also a former FSIP member, previously worked for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, FLRA and the National Treasury Employees Union.
And Schwartz, a 35-year patent examiner, held various leadership positions at the Patent Office Professional Association, an independent labor union representing examiners and others at USPTO.
Amid Biden’s push to get his own people into the ranks of the impasse panel, Biden asked for the resignation of the previous ten members in February, while most of them agreed to leave after being asked, two members were fired.
The impasse panel, under the Trump administration, rewrote large portions of agency-union contracts — a fact that federal employee unions took issue with when Biden stepped into office.
Unions and employment attorneys said that federal agencies would often declare an impasse to take their labor disputes to the panel, which would then rule in their favor, according to FNN.
“The FSIP was in dire need of objective labor relations professionals and this new list of appointees meets that standard,” Tony Reardon, NTEU’s national president, said Monday, according to FNN. “We look forward to the FSIP returning to its role as a neutral mediator in federal sector bargaining, just as Congress intended.”
According to the publication, the American Federation of Government Employees said it supports Biden’s new slate of impasse panel members.
“We are confident that these members will fairly resolve labor disputes between unions and agencies and restore dignity and fairness to the panel and its important work on behalf of federal employees,” Everett Kelley, AFGE’s national president, said.
Article Source : Conservativebrief.com