The nation’s largest union representing federal government employees plans to take President Donald Trump to court over new rules for its workers.
Trump signed executive orders last week making it easier for any federal agency to fire workers in their employ. “These executive orders will make it easier for agencies to remove poor-performing employees and ensure that taxpayer dollars are more efficiently used,” Andrew Bremberg, director of the White House’s Domestic Policy Council, said on Friday.
But the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents around 700,000 federal employees, sees it differently, arguing that a provision of Trump’s executive orders from last week violates workers’ First Amendment rights to organizing.
One of the provisions, according to the lawsuit, would restrict workers who are part of the union from using work time to discuss grievances with their superiors. The order specifically “prohibits employees who are union representatives from receiving official time for the purpose of representing” other employees, the lawsuit asserts.
“This president seems to think he is above the law, and we are not going to stand by while he tries to shred workers’ rights,” AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. said in a statement. “This is a democracy, not a dictatorship. No president should be able to undo a law he doesn’t like through administrative fiat.”
The lawsuit asserts that the actions the president took require legislative, not executive, action — meaning that Congress would have to pass a bill first before they can become enforceable.
Every worker deserves to have their rights respected by their employer — and that includes workers who serve in the federal government. A private sector employer cannot simply change his or her mind about benefits and protections for workers with the stroke of a pen, and neither should the president be able to do so for workers in our nation’s government.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters