Metal Trades Department President James Hart sent the following letter to President Trump regarding concern over the more than half a million dollars in funds being diverted from construction projects at worldwide military installations.
September 10, 2019
President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Trump:
On behalf of the Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO, I would like to express my deep concern about your decision to divert more than half a billion dollars from construction projects at worldwide military installations.
This action will not only affect the morale and readiness of today’s active military, but our wage grade metal trades workforce that is depending upon many of the upgrades to federal maintenance facilities that your administration worked hard to successfully fund.
For the last 17 years, our nation has been at war. We now have the first generation of servicemen and women who all volunteered to serve and possibly die for their country during a military conflict. This is no small sacrifice. The very least we can do is to ensure that these war fighters, families and their support services are reinforced by the country they have dedicated their lives to.
Restoring the promises made to our nation’s service members and supporting metal trades cast is the right thing to do. To this end, we respectfully request that you reverse your decision to redirect funding and reinvest in our nation’s military and federal workforce.
Thank you for considering this important request.
By James Hart, Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO President
Labor Day has great meaning to many. For me, it’s a call to action, a reminder to double down on our efforts and encourage our brothers and sisters and all Americans to defend the labor movement against those who would seek to erase the past and erode the rights our unions have gained for us over the years.
There is a long history of workers rising up to fight back against the injustices placed upon them. Our history still has yet to be written.
Labor has seen many victories this year from teacher’s strikes to grocery and hotel workers winning improved wages and benefits.
But, as labor leaders and union members, it’s clear our job is not done. It has only just begun. In our Metal Trades councils across the country, there are 21st century labor heroes blazing new paths, fighting injustice and making lives better for all workers. Neither the Metal Trades or organized labor needs to apologize for its beliefs, policies and actions, as they are not rooted in the self-interest of labor, but related to the basic unmet needs of all workers. Let’s take a moment this holiday weekend to remember the working class heroes that came before us by marching side by side with our next generation of labor leaders and members who are fighting for safer conditions in our factories, plants, and construction sites, equal pay for women, minimum wage laws, or dignity and progress in our workplaces.
May God bless America, our nation’s armed forces, first responders, and every worker who toils and commits to truly making America great. Please enjoy this weekend of reflection and celebration with friends, colleagues, and loved ones, and as always enjoy a safe and healthy holiday!
The Metal Trades Department joined its allies at the Federal Workers Alliance (FWA) in a letter to congress asking the Chairpersons and Ranking Members on the Appropriations Committees/Subcommittees of jurisdiction, to block the Department of Justice’s blatant union busting of IFPTE Judicial Council 2/The National Association of Immigration Judges, representing the nation’s more than 400 Immigration Judges (IJs).
See the full letter (pdf)
The Metal Trades Department is proud to join with the Philly Shipyard in announcing the Philly Shipyard has been selected for the Antares repair. The SS Antares is an Algol class vehicle cargo ship, owned by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) and managed by TOTE Services. The SS Antares undergoes routine repair and maintenance during its scheduled dry docking every five years.
Work on the SS Antares is expected to last approximately two months. Philly Shipyard’s objective is to win similar repair and maintenance contracts going forward in order to continuously utilize its drydocks as part of its plan to reconstitute its workforce.
“This is the first step in restoring the Philly Shipyard to its prominence,” said Metal Trades Department President James Hart. “We are pleased that this contract will allow the yard to recall some of our vital Philadelphia Metal Trades workforce and will continue to work with the yard to pursue additional opportunities.”
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.