President Donald Trump has recently signed executive orders limiting unions that represent 2.1 million employees who work for the government. In the blatant attack on workers’ rights, Trump signed three executive orders: one limiting the amount of official time federal employees can spend on union duties to no more than 25%, one requiring the federal government to start charging union members rent for utilizing federal buildings, and one stopping payments for employees lobbying the federal government.
Republicans have always positioned themselves as pro-business, sometimes at the cost of worker safety and employee rights. But this is one of the more flagrant attempts by the president to undermine federal employees, with the move designed to restrict public sector collective bargaining. For Republicans and conservatives, this move is helpful in shrinking government, when in reality it’s designed to leave workers in the hanging.
Not only that, but one of the biggest adversaries Republicans have ever faced in the political arena is labor unions, and restricting them in effect restricts their political power.
Move to Eliminate Unions May Be Personal Vendetta
The American Federation of Government Employees is a labor union that represents more than 670,000 employees, including 5000 employees who work in Washington DC. The organization is the largest federal employee union – and they endorsed Democratic Hillary Clinton back in late 2015. Knowing Trump’s history of always hitting back whenever he thinks he’s being slighted, his push to undermine labor unions may be some sort of revenge.
The president of the American Federation of Government Employees recently released a statement lamenting Trump’s executive orders:
“This is more than union busting — it’s democracy busting. These executive orders are a direct assault on the legal rights and protections that Congress has specifically guaranteed to the 2 million public-sector employees across the country who work for the federal government.”
His attack on federal unions do not stop with these executive orders – his supreme court justice Neil Gorsuch is expected to vote with the court’s conservative majority next month to completely remove public-sector union fees, making America a “right to work” nation, rather than simply dismantling employee protections state by state, as Republican governors have attempted to do.
Featured image via New Century Times Gallery