Unionized feds rally with Hill Democrats

Federal employee unions heard from leaders and members of Congress as they push back on proposed changes to federal workforce rules.

Nancy Pelosi addresses a union rally on Capitol Hill. Sept. 24, 2019. FCW photo by Lia Russell
 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi addresses a union rally on Capitol Hill (Photo credit: Lia Russell)

Unionized federal employees, union leaders and Hill Democrats rallied on Capitol Hill on Sept. 24 in opposition to the Trump administration's workforce policy, including three executive orders currently being disputed in court, the current state of union negotiations that includes rollbacks of telework agreements and a planned merger of the Office of Personnel Management into the General Services Administration.

"This administration is trying to crush our federal workers, brothers and sisters. The executive orders, the federal shutdown, and now political hacks are tearing our union contracts apart," said Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO. "They're trying to impose collective bargaining agreements that aren't collective and weren't bargained for, and sure as hell weren't agreed to."

Members and leaders of the American Federation of Government Employees, the National Treasury Employees Union and the National Association of Letter Carriers were also represented at the rally.

The rally came about a week after the Office of Personnel Management proposed new rules that allow for more oversight of the probationary period for beginning federal workers, give new flexibility for disciplining workers accused of misconduct or persistent poor performance and eliminate the practice of clearing employee records of misconduct complaints or adverse action as a condition of a settlement.

Ty Owens, an IT specialist at the Department of Health and Human Services and president of NTEU Chapter 229, told FCW that many factors that made federal work an attractive option when he started 16 years ago are now under siege.

"When I originally started, the federal job was one that most people would look to and want to get," he said in an interview. "But right now, because of the attacks on federal employees and their retirement [options], it's very hard to recruit young and talented people. As a matter of fact, I would tell my son not to go work for the federal government, under the current situation we find ourselves." He mentioned that as a union official, he's had to file more grievances than in previous years, when unions could sit down with managers to reach a compromise. "There's more bullying going on now, nepotism and intimidation [are] rampant throughout HHS at this time."

Greg Grass, an employee at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at HHS and a member of NTEU Chapter 286, said the Trump administration "doesn't care about the rule of law, it doesn't care about previously negotiated agreements, it's just saying it can do whatever it wants and making arbitrary agreements."

Grass added that new workplace rules went into effect last month that mandated him and his coworkers to create entirely new work schedules, barring him from teleworking as he has for the past nine years, and disrupting other workers' childcare and transportation schedules, which meant added living costs. According to Grass, SAMHSA gave them a week to resubmit new schedules and two weeks to comply, without providing rationale for the new changes. "It's an unnecessary hardship for no purpose."

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made an appearance in support, along with other Democratic Party leaders including Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mazie Hirano (D-Hawai'i) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), as well as Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.).

"We must remain vigilant and demand protection and respect for professionalism and nonpartisanship, in the nature of our federal service," said Pelosi. "We respect our public service employees, who are engaged in meeting the needs of the American public."

Correction: This story was corrected to identify Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO president, as a speaker at the rally. The story originally ascribed his remarks to another union official.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.