Fight For Rights of Federal Workers Will Continue Despite Unfair Court Ruling
Public at Risk When Workers Treated as Second-Class Citizens, says Union Representing Federal Sector Employees
WASHINGTON, DC – “Federal workers will continue to defend each other and our rights in the workplace,” said Paul Shearon, president of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE). “We lost a court decision today – but one unfair ruling won’t prevent us from keeping up a fight that has gone on for decades, for fair treatment and dignity in federal workplaces.”
Shearon is referring to a decision issued today – July 16 – by a 2-1 split panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, DC Circuit, overturning an August 2018 U.S. District Court ruling. Today’s decision will allow the Trump Administration to implement unfair and arbitrary executive orders affecting hundreds of thousands of federal workers.
IFPTE represents thousands of workers at federal agencies, including NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of the Navy, the Tennessee Valley Authority and many others.
At issue are three executive orders signed by President Trump in March 2018, which circumvent federal law by taking away longstanding statutory and collective bargaining rights of federal workers. IFPTE members, joining 14 other labor organizations, sued to invalidate these executive orders shortly after they were issued.
Today’s decision by a split panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, DC Circuit -- overturning an August 2018 U.S. District Court ruling -- will allow the Trump Administration to implement these unfair and arbitrary executive orders.
“This fight isn’t over,” said Shearon. “The intent of Congress, to enable free collective bargaining for federal workers, is clear and unambiguous. We’ll consider every option available to uphold the law and exercise our rights.”
One of the executive orders signed by President Trump in March 2018 takes away the right of federal workers to file grievances against unfair dismissals, limiting the ability of workers to fight back against illegal discrimination, harassment and intimidation. Another re-opens current collective bargaining agreements and gives agency heads the ability to unilaterally imposes changes in terms and conditions of employment for federal workers if new agreements are not reached by an arbitrary deadline. A third executive order denies elected union stewards the resources needed – including relief time, office space and meeting rooms – to effectively represent their constituents.
““When public workers have a voice, as Congress intended, we can challenge unfair actions, stand up for one another and do a better job carrying out our mission of public service,” said Shearon. “Among other vital tasks, IFPTE members protect our air and water, provide civilian support to members of our Armed Services, and safeguard our Social Security system. When you treat essential public servants as second-class citizens – and allow bosses to fire, demote or transfer them based on cronyism or political favors – the result will be second-class service to the American people. That’s unacceptable. We’ll keep fighting for a better deal for federal workers and for the public we serve.”
Across the United States and Canada, IFPTE advocates on behalf of over 80,000 highly skilled white-collar workers in the public, federal and private sectors. IFPTE is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO and CLC.
More information can be found at: www.ifpte.org