Lawmakers support union lawsuits against executive orders

Four current and former lawmakers are backing lawsuits from federal unions against three executive orders aimed at making it easier to fire federal employees and restrict union activity.

US Congress House side Shutterstock photo ID: 156615524 By mdgn editorial use only
 

A group of four current and former lawmakers are supporting federal unions' lawsuits against the trio of executive orders aimed at making it easier to fire federal employee and restricting union activity.

The lawmakers — current Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Peter King (R-N.Y.) and former Reps. William Clay (D-Mo.) and Jim Leach (R-Iowa) — filed an amicus brief in support of the unions' case July 2.

Federal unions had filed separate lawsuits that were combined by a district court judge and will be heard in a July 25 hearing.

The lawmakers' court filing argues the executive orders conflict with the intent of Congress in passing civil service and labor-management relations statutes. Clay and Leach served in Congress when it passed the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978.

On the executive order aimed at curbing official time, the lawmakers argue the executive order infringes on employees' ability to bargain over their official time.

"By unilaterally prohibiting the use of official time for certain activities, capping the amount of official time that civil servants may be authorized, and decreeing the way official time will be authorized, the official time executive order is incompatible with the statutory scheme Congress adopted," the brief reads. "The president's attempts to deprive employees of their right to negotiate over this time should be rejected."

The brief also argues the executive order making it easier to fire employees attempts to circumvent Congress and collective bargaining by creating a new category through which employees can be removed.

Federal unions, including the American Federation of Government Employees and the National Treasury Employees Union, applauded the lawmakers for joining their lawsuit.

Other members of Congress have urged the Trump administration to rescind the executive orders. In June, 21 House Republicans pushed the administration to rescind the trio of executive orders, and days later, 23 House Democrats and 45 Senate Democrats added their support.

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