WASHINGTON – The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is echoing calls from members of the U.S. House urging the Social Security Administration (SSA) to abandon their anti-union policies.
AFGE stands with members of Congress to address issues within SSA that prohibit dedicated civil servants from providing essential services to elderly Americans and Americans with disabilities. We encourage this new Congress to work to address employee issues within SSA to help ensure a stronger country that supports its people who have worked hard to earn SSA benefits they are owed. We applaud the 71 members of Congress who have led the way.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky spearheaded the letter written to Acting Social Security Administration Commissioner Nancy Berryhill regarding the agency’s bad faith negotiations with AFGE.
“We are deeply disturbed that the Social Security Administration is pursuing anti-labor policies in contract negotiations with those workers, failing to comply with a federal district court order, Office of Personnel Management (OPM) guidance, and federal law,” 71 Democratic members of Congress wrote in the letter to Berryhill.
In June, President Trump issued three Executive Orders undermining the collective bargaining rights, union representation, and whistleblower protections for federal workers. In August, a federal judge struck down the executive orders. Despite that, lawmakers say SSA is continuing to pursue the now defunct executive orders by using union contract negotiations to weaken workplace rights. Schakowsky and the other lawmakers who co-signed the letter say this is a direct violation of the court order and federal law.
“It is extremely disturbing to hear that the Social Security Administration is engaging in anti-labor, anti-worker practices during contract negotiations with employees being represented by AFGE,” said Rep. Mark Takano. “We are urging Commissioner Berryhill to stop undermining SSA employees and respect their right to demand workplace fairness and seek the benefit of union representation. Under this administration, unions have faced continued attacks and workers’ rights are being trampled. This lack of respect for workers shows contempt for the work that SSA employees do every day. Enough with the union-busting, anti-worker practices — federal employees are working tirelessly for the American people, they deserve better treatment.”
AFGE, which represents 45,000 federal employees who work at SSA, thanks the lawmakers for standing up for federal workers and urges the agency to bargain fairly and in good faith.
“It’s clear that the Social Security Administration is attempting to circumvent the court decision by imposing many of the same edicts on the workforce— this time through contract negotiations,” said AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. “Unfortunately, SSA is just another agency in a growing list of agencies that are hell bent on denying federal workers the workplace rights they deserve.”
“Social Security employees work daily to make sure Americans receive the benefits they’ve earned. They deserve fairness at the workplace and managers who value the work they do,” said Cox.