By Lane V. Erickson / Shutterstock.com

House Democrats Urge Leadership to Stand Firm on Union Protections in Spending Bills

More than 200 lawmakers insisted that appropriators protect a House-passed provision blocking agencies from implementing union contracts mandated by the Federal Service Impasses Panel.

More than 200 House Democrats on Thursday urged House leaders not to use a provision protecting federal employee unions as a bargaining chip in spending negotiations with the Senate and the Trump administration.

When the House passed its fiscal 2020 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill in June, it included language that would block agencies from implementing any collective bargaining agreement that has not been “mutually and voluntarily agreed to by all parties” or was not the result of binding arbitration. The provision is retroactive to April 30, 2019.

Effectively, the provision would block agencies from unilaterally implementing a new contract over union objections, as has happened at the Environmental Protection Agency this summer. It also would block agencies from implementing contracts mandated by the Federal Service Impasses Panel, which has issued a number of pro-management decisions in recent months.

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Appropriations Chairwoman Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., and Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., the lawmakers said the provision is “essential to the protection of fair collective bargaining rights” for federal workers. 

“This is the first time in four decades that federal unions have had to come to Congress to ask for the protection of the institution of fair collective bargaining, including their ability to collect union dues and obtain adequate amounts of official time to carry out legally-required representational duties,” the Democrats wrote, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md. “Without this provision, the Trump administration will likely succeed in crushing the federal employee unions, making a mockery of the collective bargaining guarantee and rendering the task of effectively representing union members all but impossible.”

The lawmakers argued that Congress needs to step in to protect federal employee unions, since administrative review bodies and the court system thus far have declined to do so. In July, a federal appellate court ruled that it lacked jurisdiction to weigh in on the legality of three workforce executive orders until federal employee unions first took concrete disputes before the Federal Labor Relations Authority.

“As you know, the Trump administration has been waging war against official time, union access to workers and respect for collective bargaining,” the lawmakers wrote. “This boundless hostility to federal employee rights has also come to define the FLRA and FSIP, which have rubberstamped the most punitive, destructive and extreme interpretations of the [statute] and all but ignored its actual terms. It is sad to report but perfectly clear that, under this administration, neither the FLRA nor the FSIP cares what the law says or what legal precedents say.”

In a statement, American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox thanked lawmakers for their support and described the upcoming fight over the appropriations bill provision as “do or die.”

“If Congress fails to act now, there could be nothing preventing the administration from decimating our contracts and stripping federal employees of basic rights and protections at the worksite,” Cox said. “I urge House leaders to protect our democracy by fighting to retain this language in any appropriations bill that becomes law.”

Tony Reardon, national president of the National Treasury Employees Union, also stressed the importance of the bill language.

“It is a sad commentary that such legislation is even necessary, but as long as the administration continues to flout civil service laws with bad faith bargaining and blatantly unfair contract provisions, NTEU will keep up our efforts to restore a productive and healthy relationship between federal employees and agency leaders,” Reardon said.

Congress will return from its August recess Monday. The House and Senate have until Sept. 30 to come to an agreement on appropriations legislation, or risk another government shutdown.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.