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FEA Wins Executive Order Lawsuit

posted August 25, 2018

FEA and a coalition of 16 other federal unions have won a lawsuit striking down most provisions in three Executive Orders issued by Donald Trump in May, affecting collective bargaining, grievance procedures and official time.

Among other attacks on employees, the Executive Orders sought to:

  • Alter existing due-process and merit systems laws to make it easier to fire employees deemed by management to be "bad performers" by shortening the amount of time such employees are given to show improvement, among other harmful changes to grievance procedures
  • Compel bargaining unit contracts to be renegotiated and impose severe restrictions over what may be included in such new contracts
  • Severely limit the use of Official Time by employee-elected union officials to represent bargaining unit members in grievances and other matters

The ruling was issued early Saturday by U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and said most of the provisions in the Executive Orders overstep existing federal law as established by Congress. Some provisions of the Executive Orders were left intact, however.

While this is a huge victory for FEA members and federal employees' rights, the ruling will not prevent DoDEA from moving forward with its plan to have the FSIP impose a harmful new contract upon Stateside schools, nor would it prevent the agency from pursuing the same tactic against Overseas employees. DoDEA and FEA Stateside Region have already been renegotiating the Stateside contract for several years and DoDEA has requested renegotiation of the Overseas contract, as is its legal right to do since that contract is past its original expiration date. The agency is allowed to ask the FSIP to take jurisdiction over either negotiation process, though the FSIP is not required to do so if it does not believe an impasse exists.

The judge's ruling, will, however, limit the scope of some provisions DoDEA may have tried to include in any contracts it seeks to impose.

Overall, the ruling a significant win for workers' rights and further proof that, when given a fair hearing, FEA and other federal unions can continue to record important wins for their members.