OPM has told agencies to comply with three 2018 executive orders on union-and disciplinary-related matters “at the soonest feasible opportunity,” following the lifting of an injunction that had blocked much of those orders.
“All provisions of these three executive orders, including previously enjoined provisions, are in full force and effect and should be implemented consistent with the requirements and guidance contained in the EOs,” OPM said in a memo.
That memo tells agencies to follow the guidance OPM sent initially sent after the orders were issued but before a district court issued the injunction—which an appeals court later overturned on procedural grounds, saying that any challenges to the orders should have gone first to the FLRA.
In that earlier guidance, OPM had stressed that executive orders “possess the force of government-wide rules” and that if an existing labor-management contract contains contrary provisions, the order becomes effective on the date the contract “expires or rolls over, whether or not the [contract] is reopened for negotiations.” It also allowed agencies to change certain policies unilaterally once a contract expires even though negotiations for a new contract are ongoing.
The House version of the general government appropriations bill would bar agencies from changing policies that previously were negotiated must remain in place unless they are renegotiated or an outside body such as the FLRA imposes a change. The Senate version of that bill does not include similar language.