A coalition of two dozen federal unions has asked Congress to prevent DoD from carrying out a recent memo from President Trump allowing the department to bar unions in a subcomponent on grounds that their presence would be “incompatible” with mission needs.
That memo allows the defense secretary, or any Senate-confirmed political appointee delegated by the secretary, to make such exclusions for the purpose of “expedient and efficient decision making.”
“Eliminating unions from the DoD will result in great disruptions to the mission, create inefficiencies across the board, and be a disservice to the taxpayers,” said similar letters from the Federal Workers Alliance to congressional leaders of defense and appropriations committees.
“While it is not surprising, it remains disappointing that this administration would use the excuse ‘national security’ as a guise to justify their union busting . . . Inferring that unions and national security are incompatible as a means toward fulfilling an ideological goal of eliminating collective bargaining rights is an insult,” they wrote.
They asked for language to be added to a budget measure for the upcoming fiscal year to block implementation of the memo.
The most likely candidates for such a move would be the annual DoD authorization bill or an appropriations bill funding the department.
While the DoD is the largest federal agency with some 750,000 employees and is heavily unionized, there has been no indication of how extensively the department might use such authority. Union representation already is barred or limited on national security grounds in many of its intelligence components and other sensitive areas.