Did the FY 2004 National Defense Authorization Act authorize the Defense Department to temporarily curtail the collective bargaining rights of the Department's civilian employees? Yes. At least that was the conclusion reached by a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in American Federation of Government Employees v. Gates.
By its terms, the Act authorizes DoD to curtail collective bargaining through November 2009. But after November 2009, with certain specified exceptions, DoD again must ensure collective bargaining consistent with the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978.Judge Brett Kavanaugh wrote the opinion of the court. he was joined by Senior Judge Stephen Williams. Judge David Tatel dissented.