Workforce

21 House Republicans ask Trump to rescind workforce orders

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A group of 21 Republican lawmakers wants the Trump administration to reconsider three executive orders on federal unions that they say undermine existing labor laws.

In a June 11 letter, the House members, mostly moderates who represent large groups of federal employees or union members, urged President Donald Trump to rescind three orders pushed out recently which workforce experts believe could significantly weaken workplace protections for federal employees.

The first executive order makes it easier for agencies to terminate poor-performing employees and requires agencies to report disciplinary actions and management to the Office of Personnel Management for publication. A second order cuts down on the amount of paid time federal employees can spend conducting union business. The third creates an interagency working group on labor negotiations and requires union contracts to be published online.

"As Members representing a significant number of hard working federal employees and retirees, we urge you to uphold the current law and long-standing federal labor statutes that protect America's civil service from discrimination, unfair treatment, and sexual harassment," the members write.

The orders were met with stiff resistance by federal labor unions -- who responded by suing the President and the Office of Personnel Management -- and Democratic members of Congress. The addition of 21 Republicans to opponents of the orders is significant. In a May 29 interview, a House Democratic staffer speaking on background told FCW that previous attempts at similar legislative reforms have been blocked by bipartisan opposition.

The members want the White House and OPM to go back to the drawing board and negotiate new reforms through the collective bargaining process.

"As one of the largest employers in the nation, and as stewards of taxpayer dollars, the federal government strives to be a model employer that provides stellar services to the American public," the members write. "We are concerned that the recent Executive Orders embark upon a path that will undo many of the longstanding principles protected by law…not only in the federal workplace, but for the American public."

"We are heartened by this showing of support for our members and all federal employees," said J. David Cox Sr., national president of the American Federation of Government Employees. "The EOs are a direct rebuke to the checks and balances in our Constitution and comes dangerously close to encroaching on the rights of Congress to legislate," Cox added.

About the Author

Derek B. Johnson is a former senior staff writer at FCW.

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