AFGE reaches major settlement with Department of Education

Settlement covers multiple cases filed after DoE’s illegal, anti-union actions in 2018

Washington, D.C. – The American Federation of Government Employees, which represents hundreds of thousands of federal workers across the United States and abroad, has reached a settlement agreement with the U. S. Department of Education (DoE).

The settlement resolves 14 Unfair Labor Practice complaints issued by the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) against the agency, 10 grievances and arbitration decisions, and other outstanding litigation disputes resulting from the DoE’s 2018 decision to replace AFGE’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with an agency-composed document that was not bargained over with AFGE and severely limited AFGE members’ rights in the workplace.

“AFGE will always fight to protect the rights of the employees we represent and for our rights as a union,” said AFGE President Everett Kelley. “This fight took over four years, but we defeated the Trump administration’s illegal attempts to bust the union at the Department of Education. Our members’ rights were ultimately restored, and that should be a lesson to any future administrations that would try these kinds of union-busting tactics. AFGE will never give up fighting for the employees we represent, and we will ultimately prevail.”

This settlement rectifies some of the most egregious actions of the unilateral management edict enforced by the Department of Education under Trump-era Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and includes provisions that will:

  • Restore all payroll dues deductions removed from employees without their consent and pay AFGE for union dues the Department failed to deduct because of its illegal actions. Between May of 2018 and 2020, all AFGE members at the agency, roughly 600 workers, were removed from dues deductions.
  • Enact a CBA that combines the previously agreed upon 2013 contract and new provisions as opposed to the one-sided 2018 DOE-imposed edict. The new contract will be in effect until May 2023 and can be reopened by either side.
  • Allow employees in the bargaining unit to file grievances over actions they were previously prevented from filing by the 2018 agency edict.
  • Return AFGE office space and equipment, and compensate union officials for official time they were denied.
  • Make whole bargaining unit employees who were either disciplined or endured performance-based actions due to the agency’s unilateral reorganization.
  • Begin bargaining over policies that could not be bargained over due to the imposed edict.
  • Pay nearly $200,000 in attorneys’ fees to AFGE for the 10 grievance/arbitration cases covered by the agreed-upon settlement.
  • Send every bargaining unit employee postings signed by the Secretary or Deputy Secretary of the Department of Education to resolve each of the 14 unfair labor practice complaints issued by the FLRA.


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