As part of his promised plan to overhaul a bloated government bureaucracy, President Donald Trump signed three executive orders on Friday that re-write the rules regarding federal workers. The orders, including one that makes it easier to terminate certain employees, are aimed at making the government operate “more efficiently and more securely.”
Per a Fox News report, the first executive order makes federal employees more accountable for their jobs while, at the same time, poor performing workers can be swiftly fired. The order aims to quicken the termination process as firing an employee under the previous rules can take at least six months or sometimes even longer. Federal agencies looking to hire someone that worked for another agency can now review employee records before making a decision.
Creating a group to examine union contracts with the government and negotiate better terms is the purpose of Trump’s second executive order. Negotiations must be completed within 12 months to limit the cost of extended bargaining.
Under the third executive order, federal employees must spend 75 percent of their time doing the job they were hired for. A maximum of 25 percent of their time can be used for doing federal union work. This order also allows the government to charge rent for office space occupied by unions.
Representing nearly 700,000 federal workers, the American Federation of Government Employees criticized Trump’s “union busting” executive orders.
“These executive orders are a direct assault on the legal rights and protections that Congress has specifically guaranteed to the 2 million public-sector employees across the country who work for the federal government,” said union president David Cox Sr., as cited by the Denver Post.
The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees disparaged the rules as well. Lee Saunders, the union’s head, called the Trump administration “shameful” as it “continues to undermine important services and vital contributions our federal workers provide to the American people every day.”
During the 2016 presidential campaign, then-candidate Trump said cutting costs and running a more efficient government is part of his promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington. The three executive orders were signed quietly on Friday without much fanfare and details weren’t released to the press until late in the day just before the holiday weekend.