Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO Applauds Court Ruling on Executive Orders

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO applauds the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia’s ruling, issued late Friday, on the legality of Trump’s three Executive Orders gutting collective bargaining for federal workers.

Just before Memorial Day, Donald Trump signed three executive orders affecting more than 300,000 federal workers right to union representation in their workplace. The Metal Trades Department, in its alliance with a dozen other labor organizations—the Federal Workers Alliance (FWA)—then filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to block implementation of the orders, challenging their legality.

The court ruling, in part, declared that President Trump’s Executive Orders, to the extent that they conflict with the will of Congress, are invalid.

“All workers deserve the right to union representation. This most recent attack by the Trump Administration is just another example of those in power attempting to usurp workers’ rights. Thankfully, the courts saw the attacks for what they were, an illegal attempt to use Presidential powers to nullify existing laws,” said James Hart, president of the Metal Trades Department.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s decision enjoined the President’s subordinates from implementing or enacting the following provisions from the Executive Orders:

EO #13836 (restrictions on collective bargaining order), ordered invalid:
5(a) setting timelines for bargaining
5(c) revoking LM partnerships
6 removing permissive subjects from bargaining
EO #13837 (use of official time), ordered invalid:
3(a) official time limits per bargaining unit
4(a) lobbying on official time
4(b) advance written notice for official time
EO #13389 (removal procedures)
3 negotiating grievance procedures out of CBAs
4(a) removing grievable subjects like performance reviews
4(c) 30 days to get into compliance (like PIPs)

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The Metal Trades Department is a trade department of the AFL-CIO. It was chartered in 1908 to coordinate negotiating, organizing and legislative efforts of affiliated metalworking and related crafts and trade unions. Seventeen national and international unions are affiliated with the MTD today. More than 100,000 workers in private industry and federal establishments work under contracts negotiated by MTD Councils. Workers retain membership in their own trade unions.

The Federal Workers Alliance is a coalition of 13 labor unions that represent more than 300,000 federal government workers employed in hundreds of occupations ranging from teachers in Department of Defense Dependent Schools, to Immigration Judges, to NASA rocket scientists, to welders at naval shipyards

FWA Supports Amendment to Defund Implementation of Trump Executive Order

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)

Senators Tester, Heitkamp, McCaskill Pen Letter Condemning Trump Executive Orders on Federal Employees

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.”

MTD President Hart Letter to Federal Sector Union Members Re: President Trump’s Executive Order Implementation (IMPORTANT)

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.

Fraternally yours,

Jimmy Hart

Trump’s fight with federal employee unions gets real on Monday

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 >

U.S. Senators Send Letter to Trump Urging Him to Rescind Executive Orders 13836, 13837, and 13839

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.

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