While frontline federal workers are fighting the coronavirus outbreak – notably those at FEMA, CDC, Department of Veterans Affairs, and many others – the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) decided to move forward with its proposed rule to financially weaken these employees’ unions.
“The Authority’s proposed rule is contrary to both settled law and Congressional intent that clearly establish that dues allotments are only revocable at yearly intervals,” said AFGE President Everett Kelley. “That they would push forward with this kind of union busting in the midst of a pandemic, while front-line federal employees like VA caregivers, airport screeners, food inspectors, and other personnel are being forced to fight the administration for basic safety protocols and personal protective equipment, is truly disgraceful.”
Federal workers are not required to join a union. If they voluntarily choose to join, they pay dues. Members join because they understand the benefits of being in a union, having a strong union contract, and because they support democracy, equality, and a voice for employees at work. By joining, they exercise their First Amendment right to support the union.
The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA) makes an employee’s dues deduction through payroll “irrevocable for one year.” Both the legislative history and guidance from OPM’s predecessor agency, the Civil Service Commission, explain clearly that the purpose of the one-year irrevocability of dues was to make such dues assignment revocable at yearly intervals. In other words, union members have the right to freely revoke their membership at one-year intervals.
This is not the first time the Trump administration has used the FLRA to advance its union-busting goal. Under this anti-worker administration, the FLRA’s mission has been skewed to reflect the administration’s political agenda of decimating the federal workforce and purging your union.
“This is just another in a series of activist steps the FLRA has taken to advance this administration’s goal of busting unions and making it even harder for rank-and-file federal employees to speak up, defend their rights, and serve the American people,” Kelley added.