USPTO Terminates Examiner Collective Bargaining Agreement
In a Memo dated March 1, 2006, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has announced its intent to terminate the collective bargaining agreement with the Patent Office Professional Association. According to POPA President Robert Budens,
[T]he "proposals for a new contract that slaps your professionalism in its
face, reduces or eliminates most of your rights and protections, attempts to
kill the union that defends you, and threatens the very integrity of the U.S.
patent system." When the agency so desperately needs to hire and retain a highly
skilled workforce to improve quality and reduce pendency, it is incomprehensible
why management would want to make the USPTO a less attractive place to work.
Nevertheless, they have the right to terminate our existing contract that has
served this agency well for twenty years. Management's
2006 proposals are lengthy (93 pages) and their wording is often very
subtle. Unfortunately, that very subtlety can mean the difference between an
employee right or benefit or unfettered management discretion to do anything it