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Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Representing the District of Columbia

Places in Washington DC

Norton Says Federal Court Decision Striking Down Executive Orders Targeting Federal Workers Shows Importance of Courts in Keeping Trump from Overreaching

Aug 27, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), a senior Member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, whose constituents include many federal employees, today issued the following statement after a federal judge blocked three Trump executive orders that sought to diminish the labor rights of federal workers.  The orders violated sections of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Act, which established collective bargaining rights for federal employees, by, among other things, severely limiting the use of “official time” by union volunteers to represent fellow employees who may be subject to retaliation or other workplace violations.

“Federal workers have long been a favorite punching bag for Republicans and they made a special effort in our Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the House of Representatives to do what the Trump executive orders attempted.  Seeing the difficulty of gutting federal employees’ collective bargaining rights in the House and the Senate, Republicans apparently turned to the Administration to use executive orders instead.  Had the Administration succeeded, it would have been able to place arbitrary time limits on federal employees’ use of official time to advocate on behalf of their colleagues.  The orders would have severely weakened due process and made it easier for political appointees and supervisors to engage in unlawful practices, including retaliation against employees for blowing the whistle on abuse and fraud.  My federal employee constituents and millions of others like them continue to dedicate their lives to providing critical services to their fellow Americans.  We have been able to stop many Republican attacks on federal workers, and now a federal judge has ruled that Trump’s executive orders cannot circumvent the right to bargain guaranteed by the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Act.  If the administration wants to reduce the amount of time an employee can use to represent another employee, it will have to bargain, as the law requires.  The ruling only strengthens our resolve to continue the fight to ensure that essential labor and civil service rights of federal workers are protected.”