On May 25, 2018, President Trump signed 3 Executive Orders attacking federal workers, federal unions and collective bargaining. It was an untimely slap at hard-working federal employees and their representatives in advance of the Memorial Day holiday. The main impetus seems to attack the strong federal sector employees and unions in an effort to defeat the minimal strength they still have in our increasingly oligarchical society. It is not enough that the top 10% have 90%, they want it all.
Not surprisingly, the major federal union, AFGE, filed suit on May 29, 2018, challenging the legality of the order on official time on 3 grounds. First, it violated the first amendment of the Constitution by singling out labor organizations for disparate treatment; the President usurped the powers vested in the Congress when he attempted to exercise legislative power on a matter where Congress has already legislated at 5 U.S.C. 7131, by seeking to limit official time beyond what is authorized in the statute; and again, by usurping the powers vested in the Congress when he attempted to exercise legislative power on a matter where Congress has already legislated at 5 U.S.C. 7131, by seeking to prohibit use of official time for matters expressly allowed by existing statute.
On June 1, 2018, the other major federal union, NTEU, also filed suit, challenging aspects of two of the orders. NTEU also challenged the order on official time, claiming it violated the statute. In addition, NTEU challenged the order on employee rights, identifying that the President exceeded his authority to limit the timeframes allowed to improve employee performance to 30 days, when the statute allows whatever is reasonable and necessary.