AFGE Activism in Action: 218 Lawmakers Urge Congress to Protect Our Rights

Categories: The Insider

On Sept. 5, Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland sent a letter to House leadership signed by 218 lawmakers, calling on Congress to take immediate action to prevent the White House from undermining the collective bargaining rights of federal employees.

This letter was initiated by AFGE and organized with help from nearly a dozen other federal labor unions. It’s the culmination of weeks of hard work and diligent efforts by AFGE members and staff across the country.

In the letter, which was sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House appropriations leaders, the lawmakers say that agency budgets being finalized this month by Senate and House appropriators must include House-passed language that would prevent President Trump’s political appointees from unilaterally stripping federal employees of their collective bargaining rights and protections against whistleblower retaliation and other mismanagement.

“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 lawmakers state.

President Trump issued three executive orders last year designed to bust federal labor unions and eliminate workplace protections for federal employees. Even though the administration is not allowed to carry out the orders while the case is challenged in court, some federal agencies have forced through many of the worst provisions by hijacking the collective bargaining process.

The House-passed Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill (HR 3351) includes language that would prevent federal agencies from unilaterally imposing anti-worker collective bargaining agreements. The language would require agencies to abide by current law and bargain in good faith with federal employee unions.

“This is do or die time for federal employee unions and our collective bargaining rights,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said. “If Congress fails to act now, there could be nothing preventing the administration from decimating our contracts and stripping federal employees of basic rights and protections at the worksite. On behalf of the 700,000 federal and D.C. government workers AFGE proudly represents, I urge House leaders to protect our democracy by fighting to retain this language in any appropriations bill that becomes law.”

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