Agencies Cleared to Apply Trump’s Orders on Federal Labor Relations

President Donald Trump’s executive orders that could possibly make it easier to fire employees and weaken their union representation is now being rolled out by federal agencies. Many unions are currently challenging the orders.

In May 2018, Trump issued three executive orders that instructed agencies:

–      Not to negotiate with unions over permissive subjects—meaning that they should negotiate only items that are mandatory bargaining topics.  

–      To limit in collective bargaining agreements how much work time employees can spend on union business.

–      To exclude from grievance proceedings any dispute over a decision to remove an employee for misconduct or unacceptable performance.

If these goals were not met agencies were instructed to notify the Office of Personal Management. They were also ordered to continue meeting their obligation to bargain in good faith with labor unions.  The unions that are challenging this have stated that Trump did not have the authority to issue executive orders regarding federal labor relations.  

American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox said he was “outraged” by the D.C. Circuit’s decision.  He stated that hundreds of thousands of federal government workers will suffer while their options are reviewed.  However, there have been mixed reviews from other agencies.  For example, the Department of Veterans Affairs has moved quickly to enforce these orders, but the U.S. Forest Service has been working with their unions to sign new collective bargaining agreements.  

If you have any questions regarding President Donald Trump’s new executive orders around labor relations, we can help. It is important that you are aware of the ways this could affect your company’s labor negotations in the coming years.  Please feel free to contact us at (610)-296-8550 or  

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