BBG Watch Commentary
The Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) Law Judge slammed the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) in very sharp language for violating the law and “using illegal means” by failing to comply with a final arbitration award against the agency in a case involving hiring of non-citizens over U.S. citizens.
As a result of the violation, BBG lawyers were ordered by FLRA Chief Administrative Law Judge Charles R. Center to cease and desist from failing to comply with the awards issued by Arbitrator George E. Marshall, Jr, on August 27, 2007 and June 15, 2010, and to post a notice of the violation.
The union representing BBG’s federal employees, American Federation of Government Employees, AFGE Local 1812, has posted an editorial on Judge Center’s decision, which we repost in full.
By American Federation of Government Employees, AFGE Local 1812
Slowly and inexorably, Agency officials are running out of legal maneuvering room to thwart justice. The BBG, which too often flaunts the law, is coming, albeit reluctantly, to the inevitable realization that they are not almighty nor above the law.
On May 28, 2014 Chief Administrative Law Judge, Charles R. Center, issued his ruling regarding AFGE Local 1812’s charge against the Broadcasting Board of Governors for failing to comply with Federal Arbitrator, George E. Marshall’s awards (WA-CA-12-0532). It has been an unnecessarily long process. The first of Arbitrator Marshall’s awards was issued on August 27, 2007 and directed the BBG to stop denying United States citizens the priority in hiring they were entitled to for positions within the Agency.
After losing at arbitration, the Agency filed exceptions to the FLRA. The exceptions were dismissed on November 25, 2011. The Agency then filed with the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The Court granted a motion to dismiss the appeal on April 24, 2012. According to Judge Center in his ruling:
“…the Respondent’s opposition ceased to have any legitimate legal basis on April 24, 2012, when the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dismissed the petition for review of the Authority’s decision. Since that dismissal, the Respondent has continued to refuse to comply with the awards and is using illegal means to avoid the obligations imposed by its own negotiations as well as the Statute.”
The real loser in all this is the American taxpayer. In each case where a non-US citizen was selected for a position while a qualified US citizen bargaining unit employee was not hired, the US citizen is owed back pay to the date he or she should have been hired or promoted. The clock has been ticking for many years. The amount of back pay and the amount of legal fees owed to the Union attorneys are significant, not to mention the resources wasted by the Agency in dragging this out. It is not the bureaucrats responsible for the legal stalling tactics who will have to foot this bill but all of us who pay taxes.
In a recent meeting with VOA employees, Governor Matt Armstrong gave the “rule of law” as evidence of a functioning free and democratic society. We hope that he and his colleagues genuinely believe in the rule of law and bring this matter to a conclusion without further costly legal delay tactics.