Less than two months after the end of the longest government shutdown in history, which forced 800,000 employees to go without a paycheck for 35 days, the Trump administration is back attacking federal employees.
Its detailed plan to gut federal employees’ workplace rights and bust their unions was released March 18, but it’s buried deep within the General Services Administration (GSA) and Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM’s) joint budget request for 2020. The proposal is the administration’s most anti-democracy, anti-worker proposal yet.
It represents a full-frontal attack on our rights to fight unlawful conduct and illegal practices in the federal workplace such as racial discrimination, retaliation, and unfair disciplinary actions.
Taken together with the administration’s illegal, union-busting executive orders and White House-supported anti-worker legislation, it’s clear this administration is sabotaging our government, its workforce, and democracy itself.
Here’s how the attack plan looks under the GSA-OPM budget request:
1. Degrade federal jobs and create another class of federal employees with little or no workplace rights
New employees are likely to be hired at lower pay as OPM is establishing new pay systems for some workers.
2. Cut the time employees can use to defend themselves against unfair treatment
They also want to cap the time employees can be on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). Currently, unions can negotiate the PIP process, and most PIP plans are 90 days. The administration wants to cap it at 30 days. It would be at the agency’s sole discretion whether to extend this period. With everything the administration is doing, such as cutting official time for union representatives to help employees fight unfair practices, employees may have very little recourse if they are unfairly punished.
3. Diminish our bargaining rights
Unions could not negotiate changes if management labels them an “emergency.” Currently, unions negotiate the impact and implementation of changes in the workplace unless there is an emergency, which agencies have to prove. Under the proposal, they don’t have to prove it. This will affect work schedules, staffing levels, and other important working conditions.
4. Limit unions’ ability to challenge unlawful conduct by undermining the FLRA
5. Drive out employees by cutting their benefits
All FERS participants would be forced to pay half of the cost for the annuity – eventually 7 percent of salary.
New term employees would get no FERS pension – just 5 percent of salary matched by the government into the TSP.
Awards for medical malpractice for FEHBP covered services would be capped at $250,000 indexed for inflation. There will be many more reductions in rights for federal employees who are victims of medical malpractice.
Don’t get mad. Fight back!
These proposals are outrageous, and we need all deck to fight their attack. Call your representative and senators and ask them to reject these anti-democracy proposals.
Please make sure you are not on government time or using government equipment (your work email or cell phone) when contacting your lawmaker.