Court of Appeals Allows Trump’s Anti-Worker Executive Orders to Take Effect

AFGE National President J. David Cox vowed that the union will continue to fight Trump’s anti-worker executive orders after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied a request by AFGE and other unions to have all 11 judges of the court rehear the case against the union-busting executive orders.

The Sept. 25 decision upheld the July ruling of the court’s three-judge panel that the court did not have jurisdiction to rule on the lawsuit filed by AFGE and other federal unions.

It is important to note that the Court of Appeals did not rule on the merits of any of the unions’ arguments that specific provisions of the executive orders are unlawful. The Court of Appeals decision only concerned the manner in which unions may challenge the executive orders.

This ruling means the anti-worker executive orders will take effect as soon as Oct. 2, 2019. It also means that AFGE will have to go to the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) to challenge anti-worker provisions of the executive orders. The court left the door open to judicial review of FLRA decisions.

As we review our legal options, AFGE is asking local unions to continue to coordinate challenges to the executive orders with the General Counsel's office. If you have specific questions or ideas, you may direct them to [email protected]"


President Trump in May 2018 issued three anti-worker executive orders aimed at weakening workers’ rights and voice on the job.

Specifically, the orders were aimed at severely restricting the types of issues members can bargain about with the agency, hampering the ability of members to get representation at the worksite by sharply reducing hours union representatives can engage in representational work during the course of the normal workday, and gutting due process and merit systems protections central to our apolitical civil service.

AFGE subsequently took the administration to court, and a District Court judge in August 2018 struck down the bulk of the executive orders and placed an injunction on them.

The Trump administration appealed the decision. In July 2019, the three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals determined that the court did not have jurisdiction to rule on the lawsuit filed by AFGE and other federal unions. The court said the unions must challenge the EOs through the FLRA first.

AFGE and other unions requested a rehearing by all 11 judges, citing irreparable harm if forced to go through the FLRA. The request was denied.

Visit for more details on what you can do.

Click here to read how the administration is using the FLRA to purge unions.

If you have specific questions about the executive orders, please direct them to [email protected].

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