WASHINGTON – Last week, 154 bipartisan members of Congress led by Rep. Jan Schakowsky wrote to the acting head of the Social Security Administration to express their dismay with anti-union policies and tactics that the agency is pursuing during contract negotiations with the American Federation of Government Employees.
SSA management has proposed evicting union representatives from their offices inside SSA buildings; blocking the union’s access to computers, laptops, and printers used by employees in their representational duties; and denying employees time to meet with their union representatives while at work.
“If implemented by SSA, these proposals will diminish labor protections and the collective bargaining rights that Congress intended, and will have a severe, destabilizing effect on agency operations and employee morale and SSA’s ability to deliver timely and efficient services to the elderly and persons with disabilities,” the lawmakers wrote in a May 1 letter to Acting SSA Commissioner Nancy Berryhill.
On April 29, similar concerns were raised in a letter to Berryhill signed by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, Subcommittee on Social Security Chairman John Larson, and Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support Chairman Danny Davis.
“SSA should immediately return to the bargaining table with AFGE and negotiate in good faith, abandoning its insistence on anti-union policies such as those in the overturned Executive Orders,” the lawmakers wrote.
Last August, a U.S. District Court largely invalidated three executive orders issued by President Trump that undermined workers’ collective bargaining rights, union representation, and whistleblower protections. However, SSA management is now trying to implement similar policies through the collective bargaining process.
“SSA is hellbent on implementing President Trump’s illegal executive orders through whatever means necessary – including holding our contract negotiations hostage,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said. “But we will never be bullied into giving up workers’ legal rights and protections. Thank you to all the members of Congress who are speaking up for all federal workers and holding President Trump and his executive team accountable for following the law.”