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Executive Orders Hurt Employees

TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: FEA Washington DC office
RE: Anti-Employee Executive Orders
DATE: May 26, 2018

A trio of Executive Orders issued Friday by President Trump seek to significantly reduce workers' rights and severely limit the ability of employee Associations, such as FEA, to represent our employees and see that they are treated fairly by management.

FEA and NEA will be working to educate lawmakers about the negative implications of these Executive Orders, as well as working with our fellow Associations representing feds to limit the harmful effects of these Executive Orders.

Also, because Executive Orders issued by any President cannot violate or supersede applicable federal laws and statutes -- as these Executive Orders clearly do -- FEA will be litigating wherever necessary to see that existing laws are enforced to ensure our members' rights remain protected to the maximum extent of the law.

Among other negative impacts, the Executive Orders seek to violate decades-old federal law and existing contracts between the government and employees' unions by limiting the amount of official time employee-elected union reps can use to represent their members in grievances and other actions; to require federal agencies to renegotiate all existing contracts with employees' unions; and to change civil service systems in order to make it easier for management to fire an employee it deems to be a "poor performer" without giving that employee adequate time to show improvement.

Combined, the three Executive Orders are an attempt to silence employees' voices and bring them closer to being "at will" employees, afraid to speak out for fear of being labeled "bad performers" and face discipline or attempted dismissal while simultaneously attempting to limit the ability of unions to assist such employees.

It is the view of FEA and many other legal scholars that most of the topics covered in the Executive Orders are already covered by existing federal laws, meaning only an act of Congress -- not any Executive Order issued by a President -- can change them. Thus far, there has been no attempt by the current Congress to change these laws, but that could change at any time during the current Congress or under a future Congress. The Executive Orders themselves could be repealed immediately by this or any other sitting President.

Sadly, this is just the latest example of this administration vindictively attacking the working people who conduct the daily business of the federal government. Other examples include OPM's recent proposals to slash federal retirement benefits for feds, the new tax law taxing federal workers for their relocation and other allowances, and, of course, DoDEA management attempting to gut its workers' bargaining and due process rights under the guise of merging its Stateside and Overseas school systems.

Meanwhile, the administration has made it more difficult for FEA and other employee unions to seek resolution to grievances and complaints against management by refusing to appoint a General Counsel to the Federal Labor Relations Authority, causing a huge backlog of cases awaiting resolution.

The challenges we face are many and continue to grow, but FEA will continue to fight to protect the rights of our members and the integrity of public service!