Two Little-Known Bills That Take Away Your Rights

Some members of Congress have introduced pieces of legislation that are not only hostile to employees but are also against our democratic values. What’s worse is that not many people know about them.  

As our union is headed into our national convention later this month, we will launch a campaign against these two bills that, if passed, would cause serious damage to our rights fighting injustice in the workplace.

H.R. 559, the Modern Employment Reform and Transformation Act of 2017 (the NO MERIT Act)

Introduced by Rep. Paul Mitchell of Minnesota, this bill would politicize the civil service by making it easier for politicians to fire federal employees by removing checks and balances and certain workplace due process rights. Specifically, this bill would allow broad Congressional edict to micromanage agency personnel procedures and limit the ability of the federal workforce to seek justice when treated unfairly by management. The bill prohibits the use of the grievance procedures negotiated between our union and agencies to appeal adverse actions and unfair reductions in force actions.  

H.R. 5300, the Federal Information Systems Safeguards Act of 2018

Introduced by Rep. Gary Palmer of Alabama, this bill would prohibit our union from negotiating over IT issues. This may sound harmless, but it’s not. There are a number of issues we’ve seen over the years with IT. If we can’t negotiate on IT training, for example, our members may not get enough training to do their job, and that could affect their performance evaluation. If the agency introduces a new IT system that doesn’t actually work in the field, employees could get written up for doing their job. In addition, if they take away our right to bargain on this issue, it sets a dangerous precedent that eliminates the bargaining rights of federal employees on a specific issue. 

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