Fedweek

A federal court has scheduled for July 25 the first hearing on legal challenges by federal unions against the administration’s recent executive orders on labor-management, performance and disciplinary policies. That date closely follows the initial deadline for agencies to take certain actions to comply with those orders.

The court will consider a union motion to block the orders pending resolution of allegations that the orders violate the labor rights and due process rights provisions of civil service law. The orders told agencies to take certain actions within 45 days of their issuance date of May 25; some agencies already have taken some such steps, including informing unions that they will no longer have free use of agency space or equipment.

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Some agencies also have informed unions of their intent to renegotiate contracts to comply with other parts of the order instructing positions that agencies are to take in bargaining—including on official time, the coverage of grievance procedures and the general scope of bargaining. Meanwhile, the orders required OPM to begin rule-making within 45 days on a number of areas, including making performance the first retention factor in RIFs.

A court order could stop all of those actions, although potentially only for a short time while the court considers a longer-term ban. The unions would have to meet certain legal standards to prevail in those requests.

Meanwhile, in a joint letter, 45 Senate Democrats asked President Trump to rescind the orders, following similar separate letters from groups of about two dozen House members of each party.