Toward late February, we wrote about President Donald Trump’s intent to exempt nearly one million federal workers at the Pentagon from laws protecting their right to unionize. In a Jan. 29 memo – published Feb. 21 in the Federal Register – President Trump gave Defense Secretary Mark Esper the OK to ban unions formed by 750,000 civilian workers at the Pentagon.
Government Executive now reports that Esper told lawmakers on Feb. 25 that he didn’t ask the President for the authority to ban collective bargaining for civilian defense workers. He stopped short of explaining if or how he’d use his new power to limit the rights of federal workers.
In an exchange between Esper and Rep. Donald Norcross of New Jersey detailed by Government Executive, the representative questioned Esper of the memo’s origin and if he intended to use his new authority to limit government workers’ right to collective bargaining. Esper told Norcross he didn’t know why the White House prepared the memo, but indicated that he’s hesitating to take action while a report from his staff is pending.
When pressed by Norcross to cite a time when eliminating the right of civilian defense workers to unionize was necessary, Esper pushed back saying that he was unable to recall such a time and his lack of an example didn’t preclude the possibility.
Supporting Federal Unions with Legal Counsel
Despite the dismaying hesitance of Esper to disavow his newfound power to limit federal workers’ rights, Pines Federal proudly stands by federal unions. Our union clients represent the collective interests of thousands of hard-working Americans who’ve banded together to create better, fairer, and more equal working conditions.
While it’s not clear how or if the defense chief will use President Trump’s permission to ban federal unions for civilian defense workers, what can be clear is that Pines Federal and others are ready to support federal union workers in need.