Judge deals blow to Trump over attempt to make firing federal workers easier

Judge overturns Trump attempt to make firing federal workers easier

  • Move ‘eviscerates right to bargain collectively’, says judge

A federal judge has rejected key elements of three executive orders signed by Donald Trump in May that would make it easier to fire federal employees and reduce their ability to bargain collectively.

Administration officials said the orders would give government agencies greater ability to remove employees with “poor” performance, obtain “better deals” in union contracts and require federal employees with union responsibilities to spend less time on union work. 

A dozen unions representing federal employees sued to stop the orders going into effect.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, of US district court for the District of Columbia, issued the court order on Saturday.

She ruled that while the president has the authority to issue executive orders relating to federal labor relations, the orders cannot “eviscerate the right to bargain collectively” as envisioned in a longstanding federal statute.

“The president must be deemed to have exceeded his authority,” Jackson ruled.

In May, the directives drew immediate criticism from the American Federation of Government Employees, which said the moves would hurt veterans, law enforcement officers and others. 

In a statement quoted by the New York Times, Sarah Suszczyk, co-chair of the Federal Workers Alliance, said: “We are very pleased that the court agreed that the president far exceeded his authority, and that the apolitical career federal work force shall be protected from these illegal, politically motivated executive orders.”

The White House did not immediately comment. Trump was at his golf course in Sterling, Virginia.

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