The entire Senate Democratic Caucus cautioned Defense Secretary Mark Esper that stripping union rights from DoD workers would set a “dangerous precedent” that could jeopardize our national security.
The 47 senators’ call was in response to a Jan. 29 memo issued by President Trump authorizing the Defense Secretary to exempt some or all DoD workers from collective bargaining on the basis of national security.
“In short, we believe that the Department’s unionized workforce has enhanced our security, not detracted from it,” the 47 senators wrote in a March 4 letter. “President Trump’s Memorandum arbitrarily and needlessly threatens this positive relationship.”
DoD workers have had the right to join a union and bargain collectively since 1962. Nearly half a million employees are currently covered by union contracts in DoD, including 300,000 represented by AFGE.
“DoD’s civilian workers have helped keep our country and our warfighters safe throughout all the wars and military conflicts the U.S. has undertaken, and their right to form and join a union has never been called into question until now,” AFGE National President Everett Kelley said. “More than a third of these workers are veterans, and it’s an insult to these employees’ military service and their continued service to their country for the administration to claim that their union affiliation somehow threatens our national security.
“We thank all of the lawmakers who have spoken out against this appalling action, especially Senators Jack Reed and Gary Peters for leading the effort. We look forward to working with Congress to preserve the collective bargaining rights of workers at DoD and all federal agencies,” Kelley added.
Wondering how the presence of unions in DoD has actually benefited national security? Click here.