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WH acts to make firing feds easier, unions react

The Trump administration took a big step in its long march to peel back legal and regulatory protections on wrongful firing and discrimination against federal employees—and feds are reacting in outrage and focused action to stop the move.

The Office of Personnel Management last week published a final rule to help formalize squashing those longstanding protections—in a move that H.R. experts and fed organizations are slamming as opening the door to rising abuse and beatdowns on long-enshrined employee rights.

The new administration rule is seen as strengthening three executive orders President Trump issued over two years ago—in May 2018. These laid down the outlines, facilitating firing of feds—including shortening the time frame that feds have to improve performance and preserve their position—slashing federal resources allotted for legitimate union activities, among other curbs.

The orders have faced multiple court challenges by fed unions, but White House officials appear to be committed to pressing on with them unaltered, despite obvious legal and moral defects, as well as impracticality, union leaders say.

“These rule changes erode key protections for civil servants that will make it easier for federal agencies to discriminate against federal employees and fire them for political reasons,” American Federation of Government Employees president Everett Kelley said in a statement.

Other major unions also are expressing strong member opposition against the new rules.

“Like the executive orders that inspired them, these OPM rule changes clearly have but one goal: to gut due process and get rid of federal employees as fast as possible,” National Treasury Employees Union president Tony Reardon said in a release.

The union said weakening fed protections does not add efficiency, and only benefits the worst actors among private-sector parties that they regulate. “[Who] benefits from a smaller, weaker government? Financial scam artists who don’t get caught by the SEC; polluters who don’t get caught by the EPA; tax cheats who don’t get caught by the IRS; and on and on,” Reardon said.

The new rules “are just the latest in a series of attacks by this administration on the apolitical government employees who serve our country with honor and distinction,” Kelley said. “AFGE will be reviewing this final rule very carefully and weighing our legal options accordingly, but it’s worth noting that none of the concerns raised by our comments were addressed in the final rule.”

Reader comments

Mon, Oct 26, 2020

Clinton was poor in his treatment of federal employees. Reduced COLAS, promotions and gender bias at its peak.

Wed, Oct 21, 2020

At the Big Outfit in Bethesda, it is the crooked stupid managers who need strict performance measurements. They are the worlds most gender and aged biased individuals. They pick on employees that have or had medical issues and tend to rate employees on the lower scale of performance when in fact the employees are doing their fair share and more of the work assignments. These managers hire family members through the crooked actions of the administrative and executive officers who help design a tailor made application for the hiring process. They also cheat on annual leave by pretending they are telecommuting. Division directors were out on golf courses or not present in their offices on a daily basis. One stooge was out of the office and came in one day a month. Time to reign in the crooked management minions. Hard working employees have no chance of promotions. Those who are promoted are drinking and social buddies of the management which destroys morale since they do not take their positions seriously.

Wed, Oct 21, 2020 No accountability for Executive

Federal employees have performance goals, yes. And so do Presidents!

Wed, Oct 21, 2020

As a former longtime employee with NASA and now currently a civil servant working for the city, I happen to disagree with the previous individual. For too many years, I've witnessed countless hours of sleeping on the job, many hours spent online viewing extremely inappropriate material without getting any work done, along with many hours of verbal socializing and once again,,, not getting any work done with a result of no one ever being held accountable. On the contrary, I applaud the president's actions and I hope and pray that they stick.There are those who have chips on their shoulders and feel that society always owes them something. Not always true!

Tue, Oct 20, 2020

The last administration was just as bad. They refused to negotiate new contracts in good faith. And they forced changes without legally required bargaining. The last Administration to treat federal employees with respect was Bill Clinton. They all have their faults.

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