The Serious Threat of Schedule F

The Trump administration planned to strip away the rights of federal employees moved to Schedule F making them easier to fire. 

Schedule F was a 2020 Executive Order that allowed agencies to shift potentially large numbers of employees from the competitive service to the excepted service. 

The Order also directed agencies to “expeditiously” ask the Federal Labor Relations Authority whether any Schedule F employees should be excluded from collective bargaining units.

President Biden immediately revoked the Schedule F Executive Order when he took office.

Multiple presidential candidates have said they would re-issue Schedule F, and legislation to codify Schedule F into law has been introduced in Congress.

NTEU’s Petition to OPM

In December of 2022, NTEU filed a petition with the Office of Personnel Management asking that it issue regulations ensuring that competitive service employees carry their due process rights with them if transferred into Schedule F. These due process rights would apply if agencies tried to fire Schedule F employees.

In addition, NTEU sent a letter to President Biden seeking his support for the union’s petition. A coalition of 13 other unions signaled their support for the NTEU petition in a letter to OPM.

On Sept. 15, OPM issued draft regulations in line with what NTEU requested. This is a welcome and important step toward protecting employees. There is now a period of public comment before the regulations can be finalized.

Legislative Remedies
One way to protect against Schedule F is to change the law. NTEU endorses the Saving Civil Service Act in the House (HR 1002) and the Senate (S 399).

These bills would limit a future Schedule F by capping the number of employees who could be moved, requiring an employee’s consent and putting other guardrails in place.

Take Action!
Ask your congressional representatives to support these bills by sending a quick online letter.

Further Efforts
Employees in a Schedule F are not included in the law protecting federal workers from most “prohibited personnel practices.” These unlawful practices include things like political coercion, nepotism, or a supervisor granting someone else an unlawful preference.

NTEU has asked many of the agencies where we represent employees to put prohibited personnel practice protections in place for any possible Schedule F employees. We are pushing agencies to lock in these protections by enshrining them in regulations.

NTEU is also working with good government groups, academics, and constitutional experts to educate the public about the danger Schedule F would pose to our merit based civil service.

Media Coverage
Federal employees want you to keep your politics out of their work (The Hill)
Recruiting is underway for Trump-like ‘wrecking ball’ to shrink government and fire federal workers (AP News)