While organized labor had a friend in former President Barack Obama, who stacked the National Labor Relations Board with career union labor lawyers, unions are now having a harder go at it under the Trump administration.
In fact, unions accustomed to be provided free government office space to conduct their business are finding themselves with an option of either paying rent or being kicked to the curb.
At least two government agencies have begun efforts to implement President Trump’s recent workforce executive orders governing union use of agency property, according to officials with the National Treasury Employees Union.
NTEU President Tony Reardon said last week the Social Security Administration’s Office of Hearing Operations informed the union that it plans to strip it of rent-free office space unilaterally, according to Government Executive.
Health and Human Services has also proposed via bargaining on a new contract that NTEU begin paying rent for office space on agency property.
The moves come as the Office of Personnel Management released guidance last week for agencies to implement Trump’s executive orders “aimed at making it easier to fire federal workers, streamline the collective bargaining negotiation process, and curb union employees’ use of official time,” the government business publication reported.
The executive orders face legal challenges and do not “abrogate” existing bargaining agreements, but government agencies are being told to make changes at the “earliest date permitted by law,” and to change policies unilaterally as agreements expire.
Unions effectively serve as little more than the campaign arm of the Democratic Party, donating millions of dollars almost exclusively to the part’s candidates. This being in addition to more than $1.1 billion in member dues given to anti-Republican advocacy groups in a five year period from 2010 to 2016, according to the Center for Union Facts.
So why should taxpayers be a party to these partisan groups. Not that unions are going to give up their entitlements without a fight, the NTEU president stressed.
“We do not believe that the agency can unilaterally implement these anti-employee provisions without bargaining, as required by the current statute governing labor relations in the federal government,” Reardon said. “We look forward to arguing our case in federal court at the end of this month to preserve the workforce rights for the men and women of OHO.”
The fight will include bargaining with Health and Human Services.
“The office space we are entitled to under our agreements is the result of collective bargaining, agreed to in the give and take of contract negotiations,” he added. “It isn’t ‘provided.’ NTEU bargains for office space to ensure that employees have a private area to discuss their workforce matters with an NTEU representative, and that personnel documents and other materials are safely stored and secure.”
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