- Published: July 24, 2023
Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sent a video message from its Management Board to employees—including the approximately 11,000 FAA employees PASS represents—telling them that they will need to return to the office a set number of days per pay period beginning October 9. This was a clear violation of the collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) that PASS has with the agency.
The union was misled early last week when a senior labor relations official informed PASS that a notice would be forwarded to unions prior to an announcement to employees. “This would have allowed us the opportunity to clarify to upper management that this message conflicts with our CBAs and to bargain if necessary over the matter,” said PASS National President Dave Spero. Instead, the message was sent directly to employees, bypassing the unions who represent them. PASS finds it disingenuous that management stated in the video that FAA leadership is committed “to work closely and thoughtfully with all of you [employees] and our labor partners during this process.” That didn’t happen.
“I spoke to Acting FAA Administrator Polly Trottenberg after we found out that the message had gone to employees with a token heads up given to us just minutes before,” continued Spero. “I told her in no uncertain terms that this action was in clear violation of our contracts.” PASS did not, and was not, given the opportunity to discuss, collaborate or influence the decision to “revise” telework agreements.
On Friday, the union filed a national grievance over the matter.
In addition, the FAA’s change to telework is not consistent with guidance issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in April. The guidance dictates that decisions regarding return-to-office policies are to be data driven and require a feedback element. The agency has not identified or provided any data to support its unilateral decision. “If the FAA Management Board’s action was data-driven, it would not have conducted its decision-making in secrecy without communication with or input from the collective bargaining representatives of its employees,” said Spero.
“This ill-advised change to telework policy tramples on our contracts,” he continued. “We are constantly being told that this is the most labor-friendly administration in the history of this country, I call on the Biden Administration to demonstrate in no uncertain terms that it is.”