Lawmakers pen letter urging Congress to protect feds' collective bargaining rights
- By Sherkiya Wedgeworth
- Sep 09, 2019
A letter signed by more than 200 lawmakers and initiated by federal employee unions is urging Congressional leadership to take immediate action to prevent the Trump administration from “undermining” the collective bargaining rights of federal employees.
“This is the first time in four decades that federal unions have had to come to Congress to ask for protection of the institution of fair collective bargaining, including their ability to collect union dues and obtain adequate amounts of official time to carry out legally-required representational duties,” the letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic budget leaders states.
According to the 218 lawmakers who signed the letter, agency budgets being finalized this month by Senate and House appropriators need to include a provision that would prevent the president’s political appointees from stripping federal employees of their collective bargaining rights and protections against whistleblower retaliation and other mismanagement.
Although a district court judge largely invalidated a collective bargaining executive order issued by the Trump administration last year that restricted employees’ use of “official time,” and limited collective bargaining rights, the White House is continuing to fight the decision in court.
“Without this provision, the Trump administration will likely succeed in crushing the federal employee unions, making a mockery of the collective bargaining guarantee and rendering the task of effectively representing union members all but impossible,” the letter continues, adding, “We who affirm the right of American workers to form, join, and operate independent labor unions must stand up for our federal employee unions in this precarious moment. They have sought our assistance as a last resort, but they need our help and they are unlikely to survive the Trump administration’s assault on their rights without our action.”
The Trump administration contends that the case challenging the collective bargaining and other workforce executive orders that curtail union activities at federal agencies should be heard by the Federal Labor Relations Authority, and not in court.