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Second judge blocks new federal work rules

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- A judge blocked the Bush administration's new personnel system for federal workers saying the rules "entirely eviscerate collective bargaining," a report said.

The ruling Monday by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan halted implementation of a Department of Defense system intended to streamline work rules and base pay on performance. In August, federal Judge Rosemary Collyer blocked a similar system for the Department of Homeland Security, which has appealed.

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In a 77-page decision, Sullivan ruled that the Pentagon's National Security Personnel System would leave employees without a fair process to appeal disciplinary actions.

"The design of these regulations appears to rest on the mistaken premise that Congress intended flexibility to trump collective bargaining rights," The Washington Post reported of Sullivan's ruling.

The rulings affect nearly 800,000 civilian employees.

Even so, Mary Lacey of the National Security Personnel System said the Pentagon still plans to move 11,000 non-union employees to the new system in April.

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