Washington D.C. – The legal battle to block the president’s anti-employee executive orders resumed today when the National Treasury Employees Union asked the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to take up the case.
NTEU, in written arguments filed jointly with other unions, disagreed with a three-judge panel decision from July that said the unions should take their individual complaints about the orders to the Federal Labor Relations Authority, not the federal court.
“Such presidential overreach – especially the kind that flatly conflicts with existing civil service law – has never been insulated from judicial review and we shouldn’t start now,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon.
The U.S. District Court, one year ago, ruled in favor of NTEU and other unions that argued that major portions of the orders violated the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute and that a president alone cannot rewrite civil service laws. The court’s injunction blocking the orders remains in effect while the case is pending.
In the brief filed today, NTEU and the unions said if the offending provisions were allowed to take effect without a full review by the court, the damage done to federal employees and their bargaining rights would be significant.
“Federal employees and their unions would suffer irreparable harm if we had to go through the time-consuming administrative process to get review of the illegal executive order provisions,” Reardon said. “Unfair contracts would be imposed, rights would be trampled and employee bargaining power would be diminished. Federal employees would lose important benefits and their voice in the workplace would be silenced. This is too high of a price to pay.”
From the beginning, the unions have argued that executive orders cannot override the law passed by Congress that says collective bargaining in the federal workplace is in the public interest.
“This isn’t just about federal employees and their unions,” Reardon said. “This case is about preserving our merit-based civil service system and making sure that taxpayers can count on federal agencies being staffed by highly-qualified employees who are treated fairly as they go about the business of delivering important government services to the public.”
NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 33 federal agencies and departments.