Washington D.C. – The outgoing administration’s effort to undermine the merit-based civil service and endanger frontline federal employees can be stopped if Congress denies funding for it, according to a broad coalition of unions, manager associations and good government advocates, including the National Treasury Employees Union.
“As you look to pass a bill providing the executive branch with hundreds of billions of dollars in budget authority, we urge you to protect a key check on corruption and abuse of executive power – public servants who hold allegiance to the rule of law and the Constitution, not a political party,” the coalition’s letter to Congress states.
President Trump’s executive order creating a new exception to competitive civil service rules would allow any number of frontline federal workers to be fired at will, with no cause and no due process. NTEU has filed a lawsuit challenging the order creating the so-called Schedule F, and has also joined the call for Congress to deny funding for its implementation.
“Schedule F is a threat to one of our finest American institutions, the civil service,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon. “We are proud to join with those who believe that professional, nonpartisan federal employees, chosen on merit and not political loyalty, are essential to a functioning democracy.”
The letter was sent Friday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and notes that, “If firings occur, even on a small scale, it would cause substantial disruption of government operations because of the nature of responsibility of roles covered by Schedule F.”
Even if President-elect Joe Biden rescinded the Schedule F order upon taking office, the coalition is concerned the damage could be difficult to undo after the inauguration.
“If these unprecedented authorities to remove and replace executive branch career federal employees are abused, the consequences will be grave and costly,” the letter states.
In addition to federal employee unions, the letter was also signed by 67 other organizations including the Federal Managers Association, the Government Accountability Project, the Partnership for Public Service, and the Senior Executives Association.
NTEU represents about 150,000 employees in 33 federal agencies and offices.