Court Strikes Down Trump Attempt to Weaken Federal Employee Unions

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A federal district judge in Washington, DC, just handed the Trump administration, and conservatives in general, another legal defeat, this time over the president’s attempts to limit federal workers’ rights.

U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson struck down most of the provisions of three executive orders President Donald Trump issued last May. The executive orders sought to make it easier to fire federal workers, who total about 2 million across the country, and impede on their right to collective bargaining.

The judge didn’t buy the government’s arguments and reaffirmed Congress’ “clear and unequivocal finding” that “labor organizations and collective bargaining in the civil service are in the public interest,” according to the lengthy ruling.


The plaintiffs in the case celebrated the decision.

“President Trump’s illegal action was a direct assault on the legal rights and protections that Congress specifically guaranteed to the public-sector employees across this country who keep our federal government running every single day,” American Federation of Government Employees national president J. David Cox Sr. said, according to The Washington Post. The AFGE was one of several unions that sued the Trump administration over the executive orders.

Sarah Suszczyk, co-chair of a coalition of government workers unions, added: “We are very pleased that the court agreed that the president far exceeded his authority, and that the apolitical career federal work force shall be protected from these illegal, politically motivated executive orders,” according to The New York Times.

The Times added:

The complaint said that the president lacks the authority to override federal law on these questions, and the judge in the case, Ketanji Brown Jackson, agreed, writing that most of the key provisions of the executive orders “conflict with congressional intent in a manner that cannot be sustained.”

The White House had implicitly sought to pre-empt this critique in the text of the executive orders, styling the provisions as mere goals that the federal agencies should try to bring about through bargaining with the unions rather than unilateral mandates.

But Judge Jackson flatly rejected this maneuver, arguing that the law requires agencies to negotiate in “good faith” and that the executive orders “impair the ability of agency officials to keep an open mind, and to participate fully in give-and-take discussions, during collective bargaining negotiations.”


As the newspaper noted previously, overhauling the rules governing federal employees has been a “longtime ambition” of Republicans.

Instead, it’s a victory for the so-called “Deep State.” I wonder if Trump fans are tired of winning yet.