Unions to Trump: Your Federal Hiring Freeze Plan Is Impractical, Harmful

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event in Florida. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event in Florida. Evan Vucci/AP

When the Republican nominee for president introduced just weeks before the election his plan to freeze hiring across the federal government, it was bound to turn some heads.

Federal employees groups are not, of course, pleased with the proposal.

Trump announced his “contract with the American voter” at his “Gettysburg address” on Saturday, saying he would institute a federal hiring freeze on his first day in office to “reduce [the] federal workforce through attrition.” The businessman said the freeze would “clean up the corruption and special interest collusion in Washington, D.C.”

J. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, had a difference perspective, calling the proposal “broad” and “ill defined.”

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“He has no clue how critical public servants are to caring for our veterans, protecting our communities, ensuring hard-earned benefits are delivered, supporting our armed forces and much more,” Cox said. “Trump’s ‘contract with America’ will be as worthless as his words. He has a record of disrespecting, demeaning and failing his employees; there’s no doubt he would continue those habits as the leader of the executive branch.”

Trump said on Saturday his proposal would exempt jobs in the military, public safety and public health. On Monday, he vowed to freeze hiring for all “non-essential” personnel.

Cox pointed to the Social Security Administration as evidence of the possible fallout of a hiring freeze. SSA has said slower service and delayed hearings have resulted from ongoing budget cuts, and the agency has implemented an across-the-board hiring freeze for 2017. Many positions were already frozen this year.

“Donald Trump’s proposal to freeze federal employee hiring is like most of his other ideas: impractical, unnecessary and detrimental to working Americans,” Cox said.

The National Association of Letter Carriers warned the Postal Service would lose 15,000 employees annually under Trump’s plan. Additionally, it would not be able to convert non-career city carrier assistants into regular, full-time jobs.

The National Treasury Employees Union also issued warnings about Trump’s proposal, saying the Internal Revenue Service would no longer be able to effectively collect taxes with a “drastically diminished” workforce.

“This clearly demonstrates Trump’s lack of knowledge and experience with federal employees at a time when many agencies are woefully understaffed, compromising their ability to serve the American people,” the group said in a statement. “If this is part of Trump’s 'contract with the American voter,' NTEU thinks federal employees should opt out.”

The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

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