Public Unions Get Smacked by Major Reforms

The president signed three executive orders that administer various forms of accountability.

Jordan Candler · May 29, 2018

If the Department of Veterans Affairs debacle taught us anything, it’s that government accountability has been virtually nonexistent. Things are finally beginning to change, however, thanks to the Trump administration’s no-nonsense approach to draining the swamp. On Friday, the president signed three executive orders that administer various forms of accountability across public unions. Here is a brief breakdown of each executive order:

  1. The firing process for unruly workers is now considerably quicker. Instead of receiving upwards of 120 days to demonstrate better behavior, workers are now limited to 30 days.

  2. Union leaders face time constraints as representatives. Their union work must now be confined to a maximum of one-quarter of work hours. There is also a proscription against using “official time” on congressional lobbying and acting as a proxy for “employees who have filed a grievance or are appealing an adverse personnel action,” according to Government Executive. Free rent and paid expenses are also henceforth forbidden.

  3. Collective bargaining arrangements face a one-year renegotiation deadline.

A quick aside: The Washington Post was quick to point out that the executive orders “can be undone by the next president.” But it apparently doesn’t share that view when it comes to Trump’s undoing many of Barack Obama’s blatantly illegal executive orders.

Predictably, Trump’s EOs prompted severe backlash. The American Federation of Government Employees fumed: “President Trump is attempting to silence the voice of veterans, law enforcement officers, and other frontline federal workers through a series of executive orders intended to strip federal employees of their decades-old right to representation at the worksite.” Moreover, AFGE General Counsel David Borer warned, “My lawyers are already looking at what possible violations of the law are contained within the executive orders, and we will take action accordingly.”

Furious as unions may be, though, the fair interpretation of the public union reforms comes via Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), who observed, “These executive orders strive to make the federal government more efficient, not only for the taxpayer, but for our great federal workers. We have thousands of federal employees who work very hard for the nation; it’s important that their work is not frustrated by the poor performance of a small few.” What Trump is doing is finally getting rid of the laissez-faire approach of past administrations regarding unaccountable public unions. As the VA proved, it could literally save lives.

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