Washington D.C. – The administration’s choice for general counsel of the Federal Labor Relations Authority is not qualified and the Senate should reject her nomination, according to Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union.
Reardon announced the union’s opposition to Catherine Bird’s nomination in a letter today to the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
NTEU negotiators encountered Bird during contentious, frustrating and ultimately failed contract negotiations last year with the Department of Health and Human Services where she was a political appointee representing the agency.
“She is new to federal sector labor law and her actions at the HHS table do not give NTEU any confidence that she will make impartial or legally correct decisions about whether to issue complaints or dismiss unfair labor practice charges filed by unions,” the letter states.
NTEU filed an unfair labor practice charge and five national grievances related to the bad faith bargaining by HHS negotiators, including Bird, who refused to discuss the agency’s proposals and blatantly rushed the process to the Federal Service Impasses Panel where administration appointees could impose the agency’s terms over the union’s objections.
“Given Ms. Bird’s central role in these actions and continued efforts at HHS to undermine collective bargaining rights, it is highly likely that if she is confirmed, the FLRA General Counsel will be weaponized to continue to further weaken union rights and protections by failing to prosecute union-filed charges of statutory violations,” Reardon wrote.
NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 33 federal agencies and departments.