“Immediately Stop”: OPM tells Agencies to Undo Trump’s Damage Now
Today, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) directed heads of all federal executive departments and agencies to “immediately stop” implementing the provisions of the Trump Executive Orders that negatively impacted federal workers’ rights and undermined the ability of federal unions, like NFFE, from representing its members.
President Biden revoked several such Trump Executive Orders on his second full day in office. Since then, many agencies have hesitated to take the necessary steps to undo the damage to our contracts and our relationships, citing the fact they were told to wait for more guidance. The wait is now over. The OPM guidance makes clear agencies must earnestly and immediately undo the damage of the previous administration.
“With this guidance, agencies have clear and explicit direction to move forward with unwinding the damage caused during the Trump era and restoring respect for federal workers”, said NFFE National President Randy Erwin.
What this means:
OPM specifically instructed agencies and departments to promptly engage unions to suspend, revise or rescind the contract provisions that implemented Trump’s Executive Orders. This guidance means agencies must actively and immediately lift the restrictions in many places on employee communications with each other about important workplace issues, like increasing safety during the time of COVID or determining who is entitled to hazard pay. Employees will soon have access to their union representatives on-site again and can use their work email and computers to talk about work issues. In addition, Union leaders will no longer need to burn personal leave to handle job-related concerns. Employees will once again have a reasonable, fair opportunity to demonstrate they can perform their job before they are removed. Other due process protections will be restored for when a federal employee’s job or pay is on the line.
Many of NFFE’s contracts will need to be reopened to fix problem provisions that were imposed on employees over loud objection. The OPM guidance allows agencies the flexibility to make these crucial fixes. Where bargaining is ongoing, agencies are instructed to scrap proposals that put forward language designed by the last administration and propose language that comports with the new Biden policy. Contracts will once again be what they’re supposed to be – deals that both sides want and worked hard to agree upon. And while NFFE renegotiates contracts, agencies must revert to practices in place prior to the implementation of the Trump directives.
“We can now get to work on resetting labor-management relationships throughout the federal government,” said President Erwin. “Today was a good day for federal employees and the American people.”