On July 16, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit overturned, on jurisdictional grounds, a lower court ruling blocking the implementation of three controversial Trump Workforce Executive Orders taking aim at federal employee unions.
In a letter to Congress, Metal Trades Department President James Hart asked Senators and Representatives to take legislative action to block and reverse these destructive Executive Orders.
See the text of the full letter below:
Dear House / Senate Member
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit overturned, on jurisdictional grounds, a lower court ruling blocking the implementation of three controversial Trump Workforce Executive Orders taking aim at federal employee unions.
In its ruling issued on July 16, 2019, the three-judge panel stated in overruling the lower court decision that the suit lacked judicial jurisdiction and that federal employees and their representatives can only seek relief from the court after going through the administrative process, namely the Federal Labor Relations Authority. This decision condemns the federal workforce to a fate dictating that workers must sit back and watch their rights being trampled upon by overzealous agency management personnel, as unions are now forced to address contract and statute violations by filing Unfair Labor Practice charges with the FLRA, an agency filled with partisan appointees, devoid of a general counsel, and plagued with huge case backlogs.
The appeals court overturned an August 2018-decision from the District of Columbia federal district court, which invalidated nine key provisions of the President’s three Federal Workforce Executive Orders, 13836, 13837 and 13838, that conflicted with the original intent of Congress when passing the Civil Service Reform Act and Federal Labor-Management Relations Statute in 1978.
Those provisions include:
- The imposition of a 25% cap on the use of official time,
- The prohibition against employees’ right to petition and communicate with Congress,
- The ban on the use of official time by union representatives to prepare and present grievances,
- The one hour per bargaining unit employee formula to be applied to set an aggregate cap on the use of official time,
- The limitations placed on unions’ use of agency facilities, such as office space and computers,
- The exclusion of challenges to performance ratings and incentive pay from the scope of the negotiated grievance procedure,
- The limitation of performance improvement periods to 30 days, with agencies alone having the discretion to apply longer periods,
- The direction to agencies to press for the exclusion of removals from the scope of the negotiated grievance procedure, and
- The prohibition against bargaining over “permissive” subjects.
The Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO, and its 17 International Union Affiliates seeks your support in pursuing legislative remedies to block and reverse these destructive executive orders. The days of disrespecting the federal workforce by this Administration must come to an end.
In a letter to Representatives Cummings, Neal, Davis and Fitzpatrick, the Federal Workers Alliance — of which the Metal Trades Department is a member — expressed its support for the ALJ Competitive Service Restoration Act. The legislation was introduced in response to President Trump’s Executive Order 13843 that removes federal Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) from the competitive service to excepted service.
The FWA, which collectively represents 300,000 federal workers, explains that the EO “allows political appointees at agencies throughout the federal government to pick and choose inexperienced political friends to serve as ALJs who could move forward the partisan agenda of whoever may be occupying the White House.”
Outlining the dangers of not addressing the EO, the FWA went on to ask all House members to support the legislation.
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On June 11, 2018 the following letter was sent to President Trump signed by 21 members of Congress objecting to his recent Executive Orders regarding federal employees.
See the full text of the letter below. Or download a pdf here.
The Honorable Donald Trump
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania A venue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Trump:
We are writing to express our objections to the recent Executive Orders issued on May 25, 2018, providing guidance to all federal agencies involving employee representation rights, collective bargaining, and due process.
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.
Federal employees work to secure our borders, keep our airways safe, support our military, and maintain order by policing our communities. In fact, we are proud that more than 30 percent of the federal workforce is comprised of veterans who have also served our country through military service. Federal workers have taken an oath of service to our great nation, and we take very seriously their duty to provide the American public with quality services. That is why we believe that now, more than ever, it is important to uphold and strengthen the working relationships between federal workers and agency leadership.
Management and labor must work collaboratively to ensure that the workplace is safe, fair, and productive. The federal government is most efficient when these two entities can work together to address challenges and improve the delivery of public services. When such a system exists, the result is agency cost savings. Tax payers deserve a government they can trust to provide important public services, and they also expect a just and fair government.
As one of the largest employers in the nation, and as stewards of taxpayer dollars we must ensure that the federal government strives to be a model employer that provides stellar services to the American public. We are concerned that the recent Executive Orders embark upon a path that will undo many of the longstanding principles protected by law, which establish checks and balances not only in the federal workplace, but for the American public.
We believe that the three Executive Orders undermine existing labor laws and we ask that you rescind them.
Dear Speaker Ryan, Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leaders Pelosi and Schumer:
This past Friday, May 25, 2018, President Trump usurped Congressional authority as well as undermined settled policy and law when he issued three executive orders denying the rights of federal workers contained within Title 5 governing civilian personnel matters.
Title 5 is the driving factor that ensures that corruption, patronage, and politics do not influence the federal workforce. However, President Trump disregarded the constraints on his constitutional powers, and unilaterally proclaimed what amounts to be new law — despite the fact that bipartisan majorities of both houses of Congress have consistently supported Title 5.
The Metal Trades Department, and its 17 affiliated International Unions, have one simple request, stand with the federal workforce and take legal action to block the implementation of the President’s unlawful actions.
America’s workers are counting on you to transcend the banality of partisan politics that threaten the core of our democratic institutions. The workers that comprise the Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO, respectfully and forcefully request that you confront, and stop, the President’s illegal actions.