Donald Trump started Memorial Day Weekend by signing 3 executive orders restricting the activities of unions that represent many of the U.S. government’s 2.1 million employees, and attacking Federal employees.
In a conference call with reporters on Friday, senior White House officials said the executive orders call back to a promise Trump made at his State of the Union address, in which he sought to empower every cabinet secretary with the authority to remove poor performers more quickly.
The second executive order would drastically cut the amount of time that federal employees can be paid for doing union work while on-the-clock.
Under the executive order, federal employees would not be able to spend any more than 25 percent of their work hours on through official time thus harming employee’s an employee’s right to fight back against management attacks and mistakes.
The executive order calls on agencies to renegotiate contracts with labor unions and reduce official time by about two-thirds.
A third executive order would curtail the labor contract bargaining window between government and unions.
The terms of negotiated contracts would be overseen by a new Labor Relations Working Group, which the EO orders OPM to establish.
In addition, the executive order would require federal union contracts be posted to an online database, with the goal of promoting transparency.
Senior White House officials said a drawn-out bargaining benefits union negotiations. Federal agencies, they said, paid $16 million in salaries for union negotiators in 2016.
Will Kohler a union steward with the IRS and the Nation Treasury Union (NTEU) in Covington, Kentucky said: “This is a blatant attack on Federal workers and nothing more than Union busting in it’s most blatant form.” and added “If the Federal Government was serious about employee poor performance and the time unions spend representing bargaining unit employees then its time would be better spent overhauling its current ineffectual employee training sessions and train its revolving door management better so that many issues that happen between managers and employees could be avoided.”
National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon agreed calling the executives orders “an assault on federal employees.”
“Rather than promote efficiency in the federal sector, the administration is demanding federal workers lose their ability to challenge unfair, arbitrary and discriminatory firings and other actions. This would begin the process of dismantling the merit system that governs our civil service,” Reardon said in a statement.