AFGE Sues President Trump Over Executive Order

Valued Union Member,
I am writing to share extremely important information with you that is going to affect you directly.
On May 25, President Trump signed three executive orders that chip away at due process and collective bargaining rights for federal employees.
The Executive Orders (EOs) Cover Three Main Areas:
  • Collective Bargaining - how your union negotiates workplace protocols such as reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities, employee training, overtime, telework, and flexible work schedules.
  • Removal Procedure and Merit Principles - your rights to protection against unfair termination, suspension, and performance evaluation.
  • Official Time - the time your union reps use for legally mandated representation of employees in the workplace.
Each of these Executive Orders strikes at the core of your representation and rights in the workplace and open you and your colleagues up for unjust termination and retaliation.
If these Executive Orders are implemented, here’s what it means for our local union:
  • Our union staff hours will be cut by more by more than 80%, leaving us unable to staff the office full-time with even 1 staff member.
  • The remaining union staff time will have to be pre-approved, hour by hour, at the beginning of the pay period.
  • We will start having to pay for our office space, or we will be booted from the hospital.
  • Union officials won't be allowed to file grievances on your behalf or take your grievances to arbitration (which is one of our most central functions as a union)
  • We won't be able to grieve performance issues or removal.
  • Agency will no longer have the authority to bargain MOUs with us locally.
  • We won't be able to recruit new employees from New Employee Orientation (which is currently our top recruitment strategy).
  • We will no longer be able to host our quarterly Lunch and Learns.
  • We won't be available to sell you our discounted ticket because no one is in the office (limited to 20 percent official time)
Our national union is telling us to expect additional Executive Orders (EOs) that will eliminate our right to utilize automatic dues deduction, forcing each of our members to sign up with an external vendor via their bank account.
Agency is going to block AFGE’s ability to contact our members via Outlook/your government e-mail address.  Therefore, it is essential for you to provide us with your personal e-mail address ASAP!
And this is just the start… this is an evolving situation, with new bad news being released daily.
At this point, hopefully you are asking yourself, “What can I do to fight back these EOs?”
1) Educate yourself!
Our national union has done an excellent job pulling together summaries of what you need to know.  Please visit this site to get up to speed on how these EOs will affect you and our union.
2) Contact your lawmakers!
D.C. Office: (844) 669-5146 or their District Office: (888) 775-3148
Call frequently to let your lawmakers know that you care about federal workers and that you want them to oppose the executive orders.
3) Sign up for e-mail and text alerts!
“What has already been done?”
When the EOs were announced, our national union immediately filed suit challenging the executive order as violating the right to freedom of association guaranteed by the First Amendment, and as exceeding the president’s authority under the Constitution of the United States. We currently are awaiting the outcome.
Since 132 lawmakers have joined our opposition to these union-busting EOs.
Bottom line –
We can no longer continue with “business as usual.”  As federal employees, we have become complacent, believing that we are entitled to the benefits that our union forefathers & mothers fought for (and some even died for).  We are now seeing that that our rights and benefits can be stripped from us with just a stroke of a pen.  In order to survive this, we have to take action and get organized.  There are 121,000 AFGE dues-paying members at the VA, and AFGE has over 315,000 members; yet, only 2% of us contacted our lawmakers in reaction to the last round of anti-VA legislation.  If we continue the status quo, our union and your employee rights are unlikely to endure.
A closing thought - When asked what we should tell our members, our national AFGE attorney said, “Tell them: You didn't make the calls, you didn't vote – our only way out of this is to vote and make political change.”  We need to help ourselves, no one is going to do it for us.  “United We Bargain, Divided We Beg.”
Janet Constance, Ph.D.
AFGE Local 910, Executive Vice President
IMPORTANT: This information should not be downloaded using government equipment, read during duty time or sent to others using government equipment, because it suggests action to be taken in support or against legislation. Do not use your government e-mail address or government phone in contacting your lawmakers. Do not forward this e-mail to government or home e-mail addresses as it contains AFGE member information specific to you.