Biden Repealing 5 Trump Executive Orders Marks New Day of Hope for Feds

Categories: The Insider

President Joe Biden spent the first few days in office fulfilling his promise to Build Back Better for the American people, including his own workforce.  

Among a flurry of executive orders and memos to federal agencies were directives that directly affect work/life of federal workers:  

  • Biden revoked three executive orders issued by the Trump administration that attempted to eliminate collective bargaining, due process, and workplace representation rights for federal employees.  
  • He repealed Trump’s Schedule F executive order which permitted the Trump administration to hire and fire federal employees for political reasons.  
  • He also reversed Trump’s ban on the use of federal funds for diversity and inclusion training programs for federal employees and the employees of federal contractors.  

Since the presidential election, AFGE had called on the incoming Biden administration to undo Trump’s harmful executive orders. We thank the President for taking swift and decisive action to protect the federal workforce. 

“This is a new day of hope for federal workers, our union, and the American people we serve,” AFGE President Everett Kelley said. “President Biden’s action to restore workplace rights and protections for federal employees, along with his commitment to partner with labor unions as a good governance ally, means we can hit the ground running to help his administration deliver on vital priorities for the American people.” 

The three executive orders issued by the Trump administration in May 2018 were a direct assault on the legal rights and protections that Congress has specifically guaranteed to the 2 million public-sector employees across the country who work for the federal government. Several federal agencies, including the Veterans Affairs and Education departments and the Environmental Protection Agency, used the executive orders as cover for illegally revoking existing union contracts and imposing unilateral management edicts on workers. 

Biden’s directive rescinds these three orders and advises agency heads to review any contracts that were issued while the orders were in effect. 

“Federal workers can once again have confidence in their president’s commitment to the apolitical civil service, to standing up for workers’ rights, and to upholding merit system principles that safeguard against political interference in employment decisions,” added Kelley.  

The Schedule F executive order was issued by Trump last October to create a new service classification called Schedule F for any career federal employee whose job is in any way connected to federal policy. This new classification would have put tens of thousands of current and future federal workers in “policy-making” positions and strip them of important workplace protections against mistreatment or discrimination, such as an unfair removal.  

The ban on diversity training was issued by the Trump administration last September following months of protests across the country on issues of racial injustice. The order banned any trainings that referenced systemic racism, white privilege, or unconscious bias, and agencies were instructed to submit all diversity and inclusion trainings to the administration for prior approval. 

“The previous administration wrongly believed that racism and discrimination are not problems that the federal government should address or even discuss,” said AFGE National Vice President for Women and Fair Practices Jeremy Lannan. “Thanks to President Biden’s order, federal agencies can once again work toward identifying and combating discrimination in their workplaces, while also identifying and redressing inequities in their policies and programs that serve as barriers to equal opportunity for individuals and communities.” 

Minimum wage for feds to go up 

President Biden also issued an executive order directing agencies to review which federal workers earn less than $15 per hour and develops recommendations to promote a $15 per hour minimum wage for them. 

“There are thousands of federal employees who work full-time yet earn less than $15 an hour,” Kelley said. “The federal government must serve as an example for other employers to follow by providing its own employees with a living wage, and we look forward to working with the Biden administration to make this a reality.” 

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