WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. federal judge on Saturday rejected key elements of President Donald Trump’s May executive orders that would make it easier to fire federal employees and reduce their ability to bargain collectively.
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, said in a court order that Trump’s orders, which also would reduce the amount of time low-performing employees had to improve their performance before being fired, “undermine federal employees’ right to bargain collectively.”
Trump signed three executive orders in May that administration officials said would give government agencies greater ability to remove employees with “poor” performance, obtain “better deals” in union contracts and require federal employees with union responsibilities to spend less time on union work.
The directives drew immediate criticism from the American Federation of Government Employees, which said the moves would hurt veterans, law enforcement officers and others.
Jackson ruled that while the president has the authority to issue executive orders relating to federal labor relations, the orders cannot “eviscerate the right to bargain collectively” as envisioned in a long-standing federal statute.
“The President must be deemed to have exceeded his authority in issuing (the orders),” Jackson ruled.
Reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler and Matthew Lewis