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AILA Doc. No. 19081303 | Dated July 25, 2022
In 2019, DOJ petitioned the FLRA in an attempt to strip immigration judges (IJs) of their right to unionize. On June 25, 2021, EOIR submitted a withdrawal of opposition to the “Respondent’s Motion for Reconsideration and for Stay” stating that it would not oppose NAIJ’s bid to regain union status. On December 7, 2021, the Biden administration reversed a Trump-era attempt to strip the immigration judges of their collective bargaining rights and once again recognized the employee union. On January 21, 2022, the FLRA rejected requests to throw out its decision decertifying the union.
This featured issue page provides additional updates and other resources.
The Associated Press reports that NAIJ asked the federal government to restore its union recognition after EOIR’s chief judge resigned after two years on the job.
In a 2-1 decision, the FLRA rejected requests by both EOIR and the NAIJ to throw out its controversial November 2020 decision decertifying the union.
On December 7, 2021, the Biden administration reversed a Trump-era attempt to strip the immigration judges of their collective bargaining rights and once again recognized the employee union, effective December 7, 2021.
For more information, read this Government Executive article: Biden Administration Recognizes Immigration Judge Union, Reversing Trump Decision
On June 25, 2021, EOIR submitted a withdrawal of opposition to “Respondent’s Motion for Reconsideration and for Stay” and won’t oppose NAIJ’s bid to regain union status.
On November 3, 2020, NAIJ issued the following statement, writing:
“Today the Federal Labor Relations Authority reversed two decades of precedent and issued a baseless decision effectively decertifying the National Association of Immigration Judges as the union of immigration judges. See the decision here. We are outraged, though not surprised, by the lack of legal analysis. As dissenting member Ernest DuBester notes, the decision is pure ‘sophistry.’”
For more information, check out this article in Government Executive: FLRA Overturns Its Own Regional Director, Busts Immigration Judges’ Union
On November 2, 2020, the Federal Labor Relations Authority issued a decision and order on review, and overruled the July 31, 2020, regional director’s decision and concluded that EOIR immigration judges are management officials, and stripped more than 450 federal employees of their collective bargaining rights.
The decision stated that:
“…Federal Labor Relations Authority Regional Director Jessica S. Bartlett (the RD) denied the Agency’s petition to clarify the bargaining unit (the unit) to exclude all immigration judges (IJs) on the grounds that they are management officials and therefore not appropriate unit members under § 7112(b)(1) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (Statute). The RD found that changed circumstances existed to support a re-examination of the Authority’s finding that the unit could include IJs. Despite the changed circumstances, the RD found that the unit was still appropriate because IJs are not management officials. The Agency filed an application for review of the RD’s decision. After a thorough review of the record, including the Union’s opposition and the amicus curiae from the Association of Administrative Law Judges, the Authority finds that existing case law warrants reconsideration. As such, we grant the application for review, find that IJs are management officials, and, therefore, exclude them from the bargaining unit.”
On July 31, 2020, the FLRA issued a decision rejecting EOIR’s petition to decertify the NAIJ - “IJs are not management officials within the meaning of section 7103(a)(11) of the Statute and EOIR’s petition is dismissed.”
On August 9, 2019, DOJ petitioned the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) in an attempt to strip immigration judges of their right to unionize. DOJ claims that the National Association of Immigration Judges (NAIJ) is no longer a valid union because the judges are managers who can’t form unions under the Federal Service labor-Management Relations statute. DOJ cited a series of "factual and legal developments" it says have added managerial weight to the judges' authority and rendered moot the FLRA's 2000 ruling rejecting the Executive Office for Immigration Review's bid to break up the union.
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 19081303.
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