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Trump scraps Defense Department bargaining rights

New York Teacher

The Trump administration has issued a memo that sets in motion the denial of collective bargaining rights to some 750,000 unionized civilian employees of the U.S. Department of Defense. The missive authorizes the secretary of defense to decide if laws protecting workers’ right to bargain collectively are incompatible with the “flexibility” needed by the Department of Defense or its subdivisions.

While the president has the legal authority to exclude executive branch agencies involved in national security work from bargaining collectively, this is the first time a president has delegated that authority to an agency head.

The Trump administration has made numerous moves to curtail the rights of federal workers, including making it easier to fire them and limiting the time they have available to conduct union activities.

“This is only the president’s latest effort to erode our nation’s civilian, non-political federal workforce,” said Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, who is leading an effort to oppose Trump’s clampdown on the rights of federal employees. “The hostility and contempt he holds for our dedicated public servants and the institutions they serve is clear at this point.”
Federal Times, Feb. 21

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