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Coalition of 28 Labor Groups Urges Congress to Block Trump Order Creating Schedule F

Federal Worker Alliance sends a letter to Democratic appropriators urging them to include language in the next round of spending legislation to rescind President Trump’s executive order.

A group of 28 federal employee and private sector labor unions on Thursday urged Democratic lawmakers to ensure that when Congress passes its next spending package after the presidential election, it includes language to block President Trump’s controversial order that could strip tens of thousands of federal workers of their civil service protections.

Last week, President Trump signed an executive order establishing a new Schedule F within the excepted service for employees “in confidential, policy-determining, policy-making or policy-advocating positions” and instructing agencies to identify and transfer competitive service employees who meet that description into the new job classification. Employees moved into Schedule F would effectively become at-will employees, stripped of civil service protections.

In a letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., and Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the Federal Worker Alliance urged lawmakers to ensure that the text of a bill aimed at blocking the executive order be included in the next continuing resolution or full-year appropriations package.

“Despite the fact that we are just days away from the presidential election, President Trump signed [the executive order] last Wednesday intending to eviscerate the federal government’s merit system principles, open the door to the politicization of the federal workforce, strip hundreds of thousands of federal workers of their due process rights, and give agencies carte blanche to dismantle collective bargaining units,” the unions wrote. “Like all the other harmful policies undertaken by this administration undermining the federal workforce, this has been done so unilaterally and without the consent of Congress.”

House Democratic leaders last week introduced a bill, the Saving the Civil Service Act, which would rescind Trump’s order and block agencies from using federal funds to implement it. It would restore all employees converted to Schedule F back to their positions within the competitive service and provides for the termination of any employees hired directly into Schedule F positions after those jobs have been moved into the excepted service. Additionally, it would reinstate any employees fired after being converted to Schedule F and would provide them backpay for the time they spent out of federal service.

The unions specifically condemned the order’s initial 90-day deadline for agencies to complete a “preliminary” assessment of which positions should be pulled out of the competitive service. That deadline lands on Jan. 19, the day before the next presidential inauguration. The Office of Personnel Management told congressional staffers last week that if agencies turn in their assessments before that deadline, they could potentially move forward with converting employees before that date.

“This is a transparent attempt to burrow political operatives into the ranks of the career civil service well after President Trump leaves office,” the labor coalition wrote. “If allowed to stand, this new policy would set a dangerous precedent and send the clear message to all federal workers that in order to retain their jobs, they must show loyalty to whoever may be sitting in the Oval Office.”