In the several weeks since a federal court ruled invalid a number of key provisions of President Trump’s set of three executive orders on union – and disciplinary-related matters, agency compliance remains mixed and slow, federal unions say.
Although OPM has ordered agencies to comply with the ruling, unions say that agencies have been only partly responsive on matters such as restoring prior policies on matters of top importance to them—but that some agencies revoked under terms of the executive orders. Those include free use of agency space and equipment they traditionally were provided as well as availability of official time to conduct certain union-related business.
The ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, has pressed both OPM and OMB for details on what is being done “to bring agencies into compliance with the judge’s decision and remedy past violations.” Also, two Democrats active in oversight of HHS, Reps. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, have urged that department to reverse policies it imposed on its FDA component after cutting off negotiations with the NTEU union under terms of the orders.
The AFGE union meanwhile has won an arbitration case in which it contended that the VA violated an agreement between the two in the way it carried out a 2017 law giving the agency greater leeway in imposing discipline against employees. That agreement included a guarantee that employees would be given a formal period to improve before being disciplined on performance grounds. The union argued that by shortening the notice and response time to proposed discipline as the law allows, the VA effectively eliminated that period. The ruling, unless overturned, could require the reinstatement with back pay of numerous employees disciplined in the year since that law passed.