WASHINGTON - American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. today issued the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s government reorganization plan:
“This administration has displayed nothing but contempt for the 2 million federal workers who serve the public each and every day. Instead of improving health care access to veterans who deserve our very best, administration officials have used the new authorities Congress provided them at the Department of Veterans Affairs to fire thousands of rank-and-file workers like nursing assistants and housekeepers.
“Instead of working with employee representatives to make the workplace safer and more inclusive, this administration has violated labor contracts at the Department of Education, Social Security, HUD, and elsewhere to deny employees the representation they are entitled to under the law.
“Instead of fostering modern workplaces where employees can balance their work and family and minimize the environmental impact of commuting, this administration is cancelling telework agreements and trying to cut employees’ retirement benefits.
“There’s little reason to believe this reorganization plan is anything more than a scheme to eliminate essential programs and public-service jobs, reward or punish political appointees depending on their allegiance to the White House, and privatize government programs to reward political donors. We are particularly alarmed over proposals to privatize both the U.S. Postal Service and our federal air traffic control system.
“Most of this so-called reorganization plan, as reported in the media, targets domestic programs that have long been unpopular with anti-government ideologues: merging the Education and Labor departments, removing the food stamp and school meal programs from USDA, and breaking up the personnel agency that administers federal employee background investigations, retirement claims and benefits, and employment policies.
“The proposal to dismantle the Office of Personnel Management, particularly the plan to allow the Executive Office of the President to take over federal personnel policy, is a straightforward attempt to politicize the civil service.
“These proposals are out of touch and demonstrative of a president who not only does not respect the hard work of federal employees, but does not understand their expertise, service, or value. For-profit corporations are not just unequipped to provide government services – their boardroom-driven decisions make them unable to provide the support and funds that the American public deserves and their taxes pay for.
“President Trump issued three executive orders last month that strip all agencies of their ability to bargain terms and conditions of employment and enforce a political scheme to fire employees without due process. Left unchallenged, these directives will deprive 2 million workers of their rights to work with agency management to address and resolve workplace issues such as sexual harassment, racial discrimination, retaliation against whistleblowers, improving workplace health and safety, enforcing reasonable accommodations for workers with disabilities, and so much more.
“Taken together with his directives targeting federal workers, the reorganization plans being pushed through by President Trump are an unprecedented power grab and have nothing to do with improving the efficiency or effectiveness of government.”