The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) plans to sue President Barack Obama’s Department of Labor over a dispute with the administration’s plans to increase parking prices for government employees, The Daily Caller has learned.
In an email to AFGE Local 12 members, union president Alex Bastani said the Obama administration “has refused to provide the Union with any response to the Union’s proposals on the changes to the parking garage.”
“The three senior individuals on our bargaining team have been involved in bargaining in over a hundred different subjects of bargaining during a combined eighty years,” Bastani wrote in the email obtained by TheDC. “We have never seen management refuse to provide a response to the Union. Management has made it clear that it intends to move forward on July 1st with the parking increase without the involvement of the Union and despite any hardship expressed by the employees.”
Bastani laid out specific actions the union plans to take in its efforts to retaliate against the Obama administration, too. Bastani said the union will be filing several formal complaints with different government agencies, and will be pushing for a “Temporary Restraining Order” in an effort to stop the administration “from implementing the changes to parking” until disputes between the union and the Obama administration are resolved.
Bastani also said the union plans to “explore whether a class action can be filed pursuant to the Rehabilitation Act for those employees who are disabled and park in the Frances Perkins Building Garage,” and will attempt to bash the Obama administration’s efforts through “local media, the local congressional delegation, other affected AFGE Locals, and engag[ing] in public protest.”
According to The Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard, the parking cost increase for federal employees is expected to bump up from about $35 per month to about the average Washington rate of $220 to $260 per month.
Bastani told TheDC the union plans to move forward with its official steps against the administration in the next couple of weeks. He said the union will file a complaint with the Federal Services Impasse Panel within 15 days. Bastani also said the union will file unfair labor practice charges and its request for a restraining order against the Obama administration “next Friday.”
He said that the Obama administration “refused to respond to all the Union’s proposals.”
Some of the union’s more specific objections, Bastani told TheDC, include: “We object to the Agency contracting out the parking after several contracting out scandals at DOL, we object to the fact that the Agency is essentially taking away a subsidy from car poolers, individuals with children in the day care center, and the disabled. We object to the garage in a federal building being opened up to the general public after the Oklahoma bombing in 1995 and the World Trade Center Bombing in 2004, let alone 911.”
While the AFGE-affiliated AFL-CIO has endorsed Obama for re-election, the incumbent president’s campaign has run into to some issues currying support from the union crowd.
Americans for Limited Government spokesman Rick Manning – a former Bush administration Labor Department official – told TheDC this fight between the AFGE and the Obama administration is just the latest bout in a relationship plagued with hypocrisy.
“It is truly ironic that the Labor Department, a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of the AFL-CIO and SEIU, is facing a potential unfair labor practices lawsuit,” Manning said in an email. “It is just desserts, as the Labor Department has done everything in its power to skew the relationship between labor and management toward Big Labor, perhaps this will give them a better real world understanding of the challenges facing the management side when dealing with a local union.”
A spokesperson for the Obama DOL hasn’t immediately responded to TheDC’s request for comment.
Follow Matthew on Twitter