he Trump Administration on Sept. 25 announced it will appeal a federal judge’s ruling that struck down Trump executive orders aimed at weakening federal employee union representation and making it easier to fire federal employees.
The three executive orders, which President Donald Trump signed May 25:
- bar federal employee union officers from spending more than a quarter of their paid time on union responsibilities; cut by two thirds the total union paid-time hours to one hour per employee per year; and charge commercial market rates when union officers use meeting rooms, phones, and computers.
- replace longstanding federal worker job security protections with something more like an “at will” work environment, in which federal agency managers can terminate employees for performance issues after 30 days, don’t have to use “progressive discipline” or be consistent in how they discipline employees, and don’t have to consider seniority in the event of a layoff.
- order agency directors to renegotiate union contracts to increase management authority to “reward high performers” and “hold low-performers accountable,” and to bargain for no more than a year before unilaterally implementing management proposals.
The three orders violate the spirit and letter of the 1978 Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute, which governs labor relations in the federal civilian workplace. Presidents are responsible for implementing laws, not making them up.
So the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and three other federal employees unions filed a lawsuit May 30 asking that the order slashing paid union time be struck down by a federal court.
On Aug. 25, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled mostly in favor with the union, striking down key provisions of the orders.
Now, AFGE v. Trump will go before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.