AFGE Local 1812

AFGE Local 1812 and BBG in Appeals Court

Salvador Blanco, Attorney Leisha Self, AFGE Local 1812 President Tim Shamble, and Roxana Romero

Dateline: 03/14/14, Washington, D.C. Several of the illegally RIFed employees of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) attended the Appeals Court hearing on Thursday, March 13, 2014 in Washington, D.C.

 Salvador Blanco, Luis Guardia, Alberto Muller, and Roxana Romero attended the hearing along with AFGE Local 1812 president Tim Shamble. Attorney Leisha Self argued part of the case on behalf of the Union employees. A decision by judges Garland, Tatel, and Pillard against the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) in this case should finally end the long nightmare that has been inflicted on the 16 employees.

On November 19, 2011 Federal Arbitrator Suzanne R. Butler had ruled that 16 employees at the OCB had been illegally RIFed in late December 2009. Among other things, she had ordered their immediate reinstatement. The BBG refused and instead appealed Arbitrator Butler's decision to the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA).

The FLRA denied the BBG's appeal on September 25, 2012 (66 FLRA No.182). The United States Congress established the FLRA as the final arbiter of federal labor disputes but under limited circumstances a decision by the FLRA can be appealed to Court. If an unfair labor practice (ULP) is a part of the decision the Appeals Court has jurisdiction. Both the Arbitrator and the FLRA made clear that the basis for their respective decisions did not involve an ULP.

Undeterred, on November 20, 2012 the BBG appealed to the Court anyway. More than a year later that appeal was heard. In the meantime these employees have been prevented from doing their jobs for over four years. Many have suffered severe financial harm. At least one of the employees has had his home foreclosed on.

Salvador Blanco, Luis Guardia, Attorney Leisha Self, and AFGE Local 1812 President Tim Shamble

If the Court rules that they do not have jurisdiction in this case it virtually would be the end of the line for the BBG. It is very unlikely that they would appeal to the Supreme Court. They would be legally required to implement the Arbitrator's decision. In the interim, the illegally RIFed employees try to maintain as best they can hopeful in the belief that justice will finally be done.

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