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Federal Unions Seek Reset with Biden

After 4 years of Trump, unions are hoping Biden will repeal destructive Executive Orders

Brian Young's picture
Nov 16, 2020

For the last four years, federal unions have faced an onslaught of attacks from the Trump administration. Some have been huge, like his attempt to end federal pensions or his executive orders that kicked unions out of their offices and took away union time. However, with Joe Biden being elected, federal unions are hoping for a restart that will allow them to have a seat at the table and will roll back some of the worst Trump policies.

The first thing that federal unions are asking Biden to do is roll back Trump’s 2018 executive orders that restrict the scope of negotiation and grievances, as well as limit union time. These orders severely hampered the union’s ability to represent their members and gave federal agencies new abilities to discipline members that were outside of the collective bargaining agreement.

They are also going to be lobbying Biden on repealing a recent Executive Order by Trump that allows career civil servants who work in policy areas to be fired or hired outside of the civil service system and executive orders banning diversity training and one that stripped administrative law judges of their union representation rights.

Unions are also hoping that Biden will restore some of the Obama administration’s initiatives around labor relations. These include local cooperative forums and a policy requiring bargaining over matters that labor law say are negotiable only at the discretion of management.

They will also be pushing Biden to quickly fill positions on boards such as the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) to lessen the anti-worker slant. The FLRA recently forced AFGE workers at the VA to accept an anti-worker contract that was extremely one-sided in favor of management and the unions will want to ensure that no other agencies have a contract forced on them by the FLRA.

“All across America, federal employees are looking forward to a Biden-Harris administration because it will fight for fair pay and adequate agency funding, value the expertise of career civil servants and safeguard their pensions and health insurance,” said National Treasury Employees Union National President Tony Reardon. “Federal employees are also eager for the imminent demise of a series of harmful executive orders from President Trump attacking the civil service. President-elect Biden assured us that collective bargaining rights and full union representational duties would be restored, just as the law requires.”

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