Unions allege Department of Veterans Affairs infringes on employees' right to freely associate

By Noddy A. Fernandez | Dec 8, 2018

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) – Two labor unions allege a federal agency has violated the constitutional rights of some of its employees.

National Federation of Federal Employees and National Association of Government Employees Inc. filed a complaint on Nov. 28 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the Department of Veterans Affairs and its Secretary Robert Wilkie alleging violation of the Administrative Procedure Act and the U.S. Constitution.

According to the complaint, effective Nov. 15, 2018, the VA determined that certain employees may not under any circumstances perform union representation activities while on "official time." The plaintiffs allege that the defendants have violated the First Amendment by infringing on the right to freely associate.

The plaintiffs hold the defendants responsible because the defendants "repudiation of its collectively bargained agreements illegally and irrationally discriminates against the First Amendment rights of Title 38 employees," the suit states.

The plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief and grant any other relief which the court deems proper. They are represented by Jefferson D. Friday, Renee L. Mantone and Suzanne Summerlin of the National Federation of Federal Employees in Washington, D.C.

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia case number 1:18-cv-02778-ESH

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