June 13 (UPI) — A coalition of 13 unions sued President Donald Trump over a series of executive orders making it easier to fire federal employees.
The Federal Workers Alliance filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Tuesday and argued Trump’s orders violated the rights of government workers to be represented by unions in their workplaces.
“The coalition is concerned that as systematic protections — such as representation, due process and the right to communicate with Congress — are eroded for federal employees, whistleblowers and other workers will fall prey to political corruption and extortion,” the unions said.
The unions’ complaint stated Trump has no authority under Congress or the Constitution to issue the executive orders, as they conflict with or seek to impermissibly rewrite portions of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations and requested the Office of Personnel Management issue a preliminary injunction to block Trump’s orders.
“Congress’ intent in passing the FSLMR Statute was to strengthen and promote collective bargaining in the federal sector. It was also created as a bulwark against unchecked executive power,” the complaint stated.
Trump signed three orders on May 25, including provisions to make it easier to fire workers by cutting back on what the White House called “taxpayer-funded union time” to prepare and pursue grievances. The orders also limited the time federal employees can spend on work on behalf of labor unions during work hours to 25 percent.
The unions argued the orders usurp Congress’ legislative authority and allows employees working on their own behalf to use official time in order to prepare or pursue grievances.
“Treating a union and its representatives differently from individual employees encroaches on a union’s right to take collective action,” the unions said.
Another of the orders encourages agencies to fire employees with poor performance regardless of their length of service and to limit the amount of time employees with poor performance are given to improve.
“Trump exceeded his authority by interfering with rights granted by Congress to unions and federal agencies to decide which matters are and are not subject to the negotiated grievance procedure, not the president,” the unions said.