Trump Administration Appeals Ruling on Federal Worker Rights (CORRECTED)

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By Patrick Dorrian

The Trump administration has asked a federal appeals court in the District of Columbia to review a judge’s ruling that blocked significant portions of three executive orders limiting federal workers’ rights.

President Donald Trump signed the executive orders May 25. The administration’s action would make it easier for federal agencies to fire employees, require the government to review all collective bargaining agreements for cost savings, and limit the amount of time federal workers can spend on union activities to no more than 25 percent of their work hours.

The American Federation of Government Employees, which represents federal workers, responded by suing the administration and later seeking a preliminary injunction immediately barring the enforcement of the executive orders. The union, in conjunction with its motion seeking to block the orders, also filed an amended complaint expanding its earlier arguments.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in an Aug. 25 ruling mostly sided with the union. She said while case and statutory law indicate that a president has the authority to issue enforceable executive orders related to federal labor relations, the three executive orders the union is challenging reflect Trump’s improper view that government workers’ union rights should be “rendered subordinate” to his administration’s interest in reducing the costs of union bargaining.

The case is AFGE v. Trump, D.D.C., No. 1:18-cv-01261, notice of appeal 9/25/18.

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