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.
San Francisco – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued this statement after President Trump issued executive orders rolling back decades-long protections for federal workers, making it easier to fire workers, slashing official time and urging agencies to negotiate contracts unfavorable to workers:
“President Trump’s executive orders strike a sweeping blow to the time-honored and legally-mandated freedom for federal employees to negotiate better futures. His spiteful attack on the men and women of labor hurts workers and their families, and devastates the efficacy of the federal workforce. It is particularly egregious that the President, spurred by Congressional Republicans, is taking a hatchet to official time, which is a vital tool for addressing serious workplace grievances, including sexual harassment claims. With no justification, the President has moved to eliminate workers’ freedom to seek justice, dignity and equality in the workplace.
“These executive orders are the latest salvo in the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans’ cynical campaign against labor and federal workers. From the start, Republicans have fought to gut official time, slash federal employee compensation through pay freezes and cuts to FERS, and cripple the workforce with hiring freezes and unfilled vacancies.
“Democrats are committed to giving workers A Better Deal, with Better Jobs, Better Wages and a Better Future, by working to ban laws that undermine workers’ freedom to negotiate through unions, ensure accountability for predatory corporations that violate workers’ rights and strengthen the right to strike for better wages and working conditions. Democrats will never stop fighting to protect every hard-working American’s right to a fair shot in today’s economy.”
See the Executive Order
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.
By Kellie Mejdrich, CQ
March 19, 2018 – 10:01 p.m.
House Republican leaders have proposed extending a rule that allows cuts to individual federal employees’ salaries as part of a measure approved late Monday night setting up floor procedure for two unrelated bills.
Tucked into a floor rule (H Res 787) that tees up consideration for two unrelated bills (HR 4566, HR 5247) relating to financial services and health policy is a provision that extends the “Holman rule.” The Holman rule is a standing order provided in the House rules adopted in January 2017 (H Res 5). Previously, the Holman rule was in order through the first session of the 115th Congress, and the new rule introduced Monday would extend it through the second session.
The Holman rule, created in 1876 by Rep. William S. Holman, D-Ind., allows floor amendments on appropriations bills to target individual salaries or workforce levels. The rule essentially permits floor amendments that “retrench” expenditures — in other words, cut spending — using legislative language that was not previously authorized. The cuts could reduce federal salaries, compensation from the Treasury and amounts of money in individual spending bills.
The House in July considered a Holman rule amendment as part of the Republican-written omnibus measure (HR 3219). Proposed by Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., the amendment would have cut a certain division of the Congressional Budget Office. It was rejected by a vote of 116-309 on July 26.
House Republicans’ decision to reinstate the rule now for the second session of the 115th Congress may signal a willingness by leadership to give rank-and-file members broader latitude to force cuts in spending bills.
But that type of procedure can be difficult for the House majority to manage because it can be used as a dilatory procedure by the minority. As House Rules Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, recalled in January 2017: “Certainly, I mean, if you go back and look how it was used . . . what term would you put to it, ‘abused?’ Or ‘utilized?’”
Most of the provisions that are known as the Holman rule were removed from the standing rules in 1983. House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Chairman Tom Cole, R-Okla., spoke out against reinstating the rule in April 2016 during a Rules Committee hearing.
Cole said the proposal “would significantly expand what amendments could be offered on appropriations bills” and “would diminish the roles of the authorizing committees, make them less central to the legislative process and at the same time make it harder to pass appropriations bills.”
Cole said reinstating the rule “would involve appropriations bills in more controversies and increase the number of amendments to appropriations bills, which has already exploded in recent years.”
He noted at the hearing that during the last year in which the Holman rule was in effect, 59 floor amendments had been offered to 10 appropriations bills brought to the floor. In 2015, 456 amendments were proposed on just seven bills.