AFGE union files second labor relations charge against EEOC over telework policy

Members of the American Federation of Government Employees set up a banner before a protest of a government shutdown on Jan. 8, 2019, in Philadelphia. Mark Makela / Getty Images)

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The American Federation of Government Employees has brought a second unfair labor practice complaint against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, arguing that the agency is still refusing to bargain in good faith over proposed changes to its teleworking policy.

It follows an initial charge by the union, brought in November last year, in which it argued the department had forced through policy changes that would require staff to return to the office full time in early 2022 without bargaining over the issue.

In a statement to this publication at the time, EEOC said it was “strongly committed” to bargaining in good faith over the issue.

EEOC is one of several federal agencies grappling with how to manage the return to office for staff, and the changes to technology systems needed to increase flexibility for employees.

In its latest charge, AFGE accuses EEOC of failing to provide information to the union when asked, and failing to respond to requests for additional information.

“The agency has continued to refuse to bargain in good faith with the union,” said the complaint. “The changes that were announced without prior notice and an opportunity to bargain include ending maximum telework, dates, phases and notice for reentry.”

According to the union, the chair of the EEOC — in a town hall on Nov. 17 and in an email on Nov. 19 — announced in writing changes to working conditions that “have a more than deminimis impact.”

In December, the Environmental Protection Agency struck an agreement with its federal staff union that employees within each bargaining unit will be required to come into the office just twice over the course of each pay period.

AFGE is understood to be working on a protest letter over EEOC’s failure to bargain that will be distributed to lawmakers.

EEOC did not respond to a request for comment.

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American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), EEOC, telework
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