A federal judge on Aug. 25 struck down most of three executive orders Trump signed May 25 that aimed to strip federal workers of their union rights. Four federal employee unions sued to stop the orders from taking effect, and both sides asked the court for a quick decision.
“The orders plainly further the president’s intention to restrict the scope and effectiveness of federal employees’ right to collective bargaining,” wrote U.S. District Court judge Ketanji Jackson, “or clearly constrain agency negotiators’ ability to conduct collective bargaining negotiations in good faith. Therefore, this Court finds that these provisions conflict with congressional intent in a manner that cannot be sustained.”
Among other things, the orders decreed a sped-up timeline for firing workers, severe limits on the use of “official time” by union stewards, and an end to progressive discipline, seniority rights and other key union contract provisions.
“The judge rightly found the president is not above the law and cannot, through these blatantly anti-union and anti-worker executive orders, eviscerate employee rights and undermine the collective bargaining process established by Congress,” said Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union in response.
The judge did leave intact some portions of the executive orders, including a direction to agency chiefs to reject any union proposal limiting their discretion in firing a worker, and recommending that agencies impose contract proposals unilaterally if unions delay negotiations.