June 21, 2018

Challenges to Trump's Union Orders Face Tough Hurdles

Steven D. Gordon

Litigation Partner Steven Gordon wrote an article for Law360 covering challenges made by two federal employee unions over the legality of the Trump Administration's latest orders on unions.

On May 25, 2018, President Donald Trump issued executive orders that restrict the paid time federal employees can spend participating on union representational activity and make underperforming employees easier to fire. These orders prompted the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) to file separate suits. AFGE challenged several limitations that the first executive order places on "official time;" NTEU made similar challenges to the order and attacked the 30-day limit on "performance improvement periods" (PIPs) that were announced in the second executive order. Both AFGE and NTEU claim that the provisions made by Trump conflict with the Civil Service Reform Act.

Mr. Gordon outlines the inherent difficulties in challenging executive orders and the uphill battle these unions will face due to limits on judicial review, presidential authority over federal labor relations and legal stipulations of the protection of union members, among other issues.

According to Mr. Gordon, "the avenue of recourse for changing the policies embodied in these executive orders is political, not judicial," and although Congress can override the orders by statute or a new administration can discard them, the courts are highly unlikely to completely invalidate them.

READ: Challenges to Trump's Union Orders Face Tough Hurdles

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