Union sues over A-76 revisions

A second federal employee union has gone to court to challenge the Office of Management and Budget's revised rules for competing federal jobs.

The American Federation of Government Employees last week filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania alleging that OMB's definition of what constitutes an inherently governmental job is illegal.

AFGE's suit follows charges filed by the National Treasury Employees Union in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on the same grounds in June.

Both unions allege that OMB's definition of inherently governmental in OMB Circular A-76 contradicts the Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act of 1998. In the most recent suit, AFGE claims OMB's limited definition will open more federal jobs to competition with the private sector.

Bobby Harnage, AFGE national president, said the narrower definition "exposes many AFGE members to the new risk that their job functions will be reclassified as commercial and therefore subject to conversion, while at the same time depriving them of their full statutory challenge rights."

AFGE's complaint said the new definition designates only those positions that "establish policies or procedures" as inherently governmental, while other positions would be considered commercial.

The union also challenged the revised circular's contention that only a single challenge may be filed when an agency changes its designation of a federal position. AFGE claims the FAIR Act allows interested parties to challenge every agency designation of a job.

AFGE is asking the court to stop the implementation of the revised circular with the new definition and use the designation of inherently governmental from the previous rules.

Jason Miller writes for Government Computer News


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