AFGE Seeks Repeal of Trump’s EOs, Return to Status Quo for Collective Bargaining Agreements

Categories: The Insider

AFGE is asking President-Elect Joe Biden to rescind Trump’s anti-worker executive orders and to direct agencies to return to the status quo before the EOs for their collective bargaining agreements. AFGE is also asking the incoming Biden administration for more robust engagement with the union on these and other federal employee issues.

Over the past four years, federal workers have suffered endless attacks from the Trump administration, including:

  • The Schedule F executive order seeking to make federal workers at-will employees, allowing them to be hired or fired for political reasons;
  • The May 2018 executive orders targeting our rights and making it harder for unions to represent federal workers;
  • A push to throw out existing contracts and replace them with illegal management directives;
  • Forced relocations of scientists and researchers; and
  • Proposals to cut our pay and benefits, and our legal rights.

These outrageous attacks can be reversed by the Biden administration. Biden will have the power to rescind Trump’s controversial executive orders, which Biden has prioritized on Day 1 of his presidency to restore the rights of government workers to unionize.

Indeed, in his answers to AFGE’s questionnaire prior to the election, Biden indicated that he would reverse Trump’s executive orders on his first day in office. He also pledged to provide federal workers with competitive pay increases and protect their benefits.

In interviews with reporters, the Biden transition team acknowledged the need to fix morale and rebuild federal agencies that have been hollowed out by the Trump administration.

With Trump’s hostile executive orders still in place across the government, and with several dangerous regulations still pending, AFGE is asking Biden’s transition team to take steps to rescind the EOs and direct agencies to return to the status quo before the EOs for their collective bargaining agreements.

This is especially important for employees working at agencies like the Department of Education, which has imposed a management edict on the workforce.

“We are hopeful for a restoration of official time, continuation of COVID-era remote working, and a return to bargaining with our local,” said Sheria Smith, president of AFGE Local 252, which represents employees at the Department of Education nationwide.

The workers at the Department of Veterans Affairs are in a similar situation after the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP), which has been used by the Trump administration to attack unions, on Nov. 5 ruled to impose anti-worker contract proposals on 265,000 VA employees.

AFGE’s National Veterans Affairs Council has filed a motion with the Federal Labor Relations Authority for stay of the panel’s decision, pending the results of the lawsuits previously filed by the union over the constitutionality of the FSIP members’ appointments and over controversial articles from the existing contract.

Some agencies such as Social Security Administration have already signed a collective bargaining agreement with some provisions that reflected the anti-worker EOs. Others like the Environmental Protection Agency have been operating on what the agency proposed because they can’t implement a signed contract without the General Counsel at the Federal Labor Relations Authority. But AFGE is hopeful that the General Counsel position will be filled shortly after the Biden administration takes over in January.

“Council 238 hopes for the repeal of all anti-union and anti-federal employee executive orders currently in effect,” said AFGE EPA Council President Gary Morton.

Morton said he looks forward to working with the incoming administration to reverse the Trump administration’s relentless attacks on EPA workers and the climate and to return to a work environment where all EPA employees can do their jobs without political interference.

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