On July 16 the Federal Workers Alliance (FWA), of which the Metal Trades Department is a member, sent a letter in support of Representative Scott’s amendment to defund the implementation of President Trump’s latest Executive Order that moves federal agency ALJs from the competitive service to the excepted service.
The FWA thanked Rep. Scott for his amendment and urged the Rules Committee to make it in order, and all House members to support it.
See the text of the full letter below:
July 16, 2018
Hon. Robert Scott, Ranking Member
Education & Workforce Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
2101 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Ranking Member Scott:
On behalf of the Federal Workers Alliance (FWA), representing upwards of 300,000 workers from across the federal government, we are writing in support of your amendment to defund the implementation of President Trump’s latest Executive Order that moves federal agency ALJs from the competitive service to the excepted service. This latest Executive Order is intended to pack the courts with political friends who will move forward the partisan agenda of whoever may be occupying the White House.
The Trump Administration is inaccurately claiming that this Executive Order is needed to address the recent Supreme Court decision, Lucia v SEC. However, the decision in that case was very narrowly tailored to apply only to the SEC, not other government agencies such as SSA, where over 80% of our federal ALJs are working. Yet, the Administration took the opportunity of the Lucia ruling to all but do away with Administrative Procedures Act (APA) protections that guarantee ALJ independent decisions, and thereby due process protections for the American public.
The Administration has also said that this Executive Order is necessary to protect ALJs, which is also incorrect. Instead it will allow for political appointees at government agencies to award ALJ jobs to ideologically aligned friends and supporters who will do their bidding for them. What exactly will this mean? The rebirth of the Spoils System where disability benefit determinations, Medicaid determinations, and worker safety and pay complaints, among others, will be decided based on ideology, and not the law. As the independent, impartial adjudicator goes away, so will the due process protections for the American public.
The Administration is contending that even though ALJs are being moved from the competitive service to the excepted service, they will nonetheless continue to enjoy Title V civil service protections. While this may be true on paper, the reality tells a difference story, as ‘excepted’ employees can be put on probation/trial work periods for up to two years, or more. During this time an ALJ has no worker protections, including through the Merit Systems Protection Board
(MSPB), and can be fired for no reason at all. Furthermore, if ALJs can be hired based on politics, all it takes is another stroke of a pen to ensure they can be fired the exact same way.
By providing a path around Title V protections, political hires will take precedent over competitive hires and consequently, when caseload declines, subject the “competitive” ALJs to a Reduction in Force (RIF). The Administration made clear in its May 25th anti-labor EO’s that the concept of seniority will no longer apply in any collective bargaining agreement, so a RIF can be used to pick and choose the ALJs the agency wants to remove. Who will be first: Union Officials? Judges who award benefits too often? Judges who do their jobs with integrity and won’t be cowed by abusive and unethical management directives?
Lastly, the Administration is contending that the EO will only apply to newly hired ALJs. Here again, that is misleading and inaccurate, as James Sherk, special assistant to the president for domestic policy, was quoted in a July 10th Government Executive article saying that, “agency heads can ratify existing judges under the new rules…”.
Make no mistake about it, this Executive Order opens the doors wide for a total politicization of the adjudicatory process. Regardless of political party or ideology, lawmakers across the political spectrum should be alarmed at the impact that this Executive Order will have on the due process protections for the American public.
FWA thanks you for your amendment and urges the Rules Committee to make it in order, and all House members to support it. If you or your staff have any questions, please contact FWA Legislative Chair Matt Biggs at (202) 239-4880.
American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO (AFT)
Federal Education Association/National Education Association (FEA/NEA)
International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF)
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW)
International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT)
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE)
International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots (MM&P)
Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA)
Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO (MTD)
National Association of Government Employees, SEIU (NAGE)
National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE)
National Weather Service Employees Organization (NWSEO)
Overseas Federation of Teachers, AFT, AFL-CIO
Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS)
Patent Office Professional Association (POPA)
Seafarers International Union of North America (SIU)
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART)
SPORT Air Traffic Controllers Organization (SATCO)
United Power Trades Organization (UPTO)
In a two page letter addressed to President Trump, ranking members of the Senate, John Tester, Claire McCaskill, and Heidi Heitkamp blasted the May 25 Executive Orders as undermining “federal employees’ legal right to fair representation in the workplace.”
The letter says that the EOs will have “a detrimental impact on the morale of the workforce, do not promote efficiency of service, and are not in the public interest.”
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
As you know, President Trump issued three Executive Orders back in May 2018, that pertain to the representation of Federal sector employees by labor organizations. Those executive orders set today, Monday, July 9, 2018, as the date for implementation of much of the orders’ provisions. The Metal Trades Department joined a coalition of twelve other labor organizations to file suit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. In that suit, the MTD and the other unions challenge the executive orders as being issued without authority under the U.S. Constitution or federal law, as well as the fact that certain provisions of the executive orders contradict established federal law. The lawsuit is ongoing, with metal trades unions having filed a motion for summary judgment at the end of June 2018 and the government set to file its response on July 16, 2018. There will be additional filings after that, along with an oral argument scheduled for Wednesday, June 25, 2018. The court will then issue a verbal decision on the unions’ challenge to the executive order on the following day, Thursday, June 26, 2018.
In the meantime, if you are approached by any agency representatives seeking to meet with the council to discuss the implementation of the executive orders and/or negotiations over matters such as ground rules, official time, performance, discipline, grievance procedures and arbitration, please contact me immediately.
In an article posted on July 9, The Washington Post reports that federal agencies on Monday will begin implementing executive orders from President Trump on how to confront employee unions.
Thirteen unions, including the Metal Trades Department, have signed on to a legal challenge of the orders, charging that he exceeded his authority and broke the law guaranteeing federal workers union representation. A judge is expected to consider all of the lawsuits later this month.
See the article here >
In a letter dated June 19, 2018 more than 40 Senators wrote about their serious concerns about the Executive Orders issued in May which affect the “foundations of our civil service system.”
The letter urges President Trump to rescind the orders which “undermine the lawful rights and protections afforded to federal employees.”
In closing the letter, the group states that, “It is time to stop the attacks on our federal workers. These are also attacks on our veterans, who make up roughly one-third of the federal civilian workforce. We need to keep politics out of the civil service, and we urge you to reconsider these executive orders.”
The Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO thanks those that are standing up for our federal workers and urges all Senators to support the civil service.
See the full text of the letter below.
President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania A venue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear President Trump:
We write to express our serious concerns about recent actions to undermine the foundations of our civil service system. We respectfully request that you reconsider and rescind Executive Orders 13836, 13837, and 13839, which undermine the lawful rights and protections afforded to federal employees. At a minimum, we hope you will ensure that managers at federal agencies do not use these executive orders inappropriately to circumvent existing collective bargaining agreements between agencies and federal workers.
The approximately two million men and women in the federal civil service are dedicated and hardworking professionals. They safeguard our national security and food safety, perform lifesaving medical procedures, deliver Social Security and veterans’ benefits, and fulfill countless other responsibilities on behalf of our citizens.
The recent executive orders undermine the decades-old rights of federal employees to fair representation in the workplace. These orders significantly reduce the extent to which federal agencies will negotiate collective bargaining agreements with their workforce. Instead, federal agencies or outside panels will impose workplace policies without good faith negotiation.
Imposing arbitrary limits on the time that federal employees can carry out statutory duties to represent fellow employees -known as official time -makes it harder to resolve workplace disputes and root out waste, fraud, and abuse. The law already requires federal agencies and unions to negotiate agreements that require official time to be “reasonable, necessary, and in the public interest” (5 U.S.C. § 7131) and official time has helped prevent cover-ups of disease outbreaks, address racial harassment, and expedite benefits for veterans.
We support improving the performance of the federal workforce, but these executive orders will do the opposite. These executive orders discourage federal agencies from using their discretion to create reasonable plans for federal employees to improve their performance if they are at risk of demotion or termination. Firing employees without due process undermines the merit-based civil service system, and opens the door for managers to satisfy their own personal vendettas or political agendas.
Some federal agencies already appear to be abrogating existing collective bargaining agreements by citing these executive orders. We ask that you direct agency and department heads to cease and desist from doing so.
It is time to stop the attacks on our federal workers. These are also attacks on our veterans, who make up roughly one-third of the federal civilian workforce. We need to keep politics out of the civil service, and we urge you to reconsider these executive orders.
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.