An Administration Rule Change Could Allow a Federal Union-Busting Spree

Labor News

J. David Cox Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees, holds up his fist as he speaks to federal workers before their 35 minute silent protest in the Hart Senate Office Building to call on law makers and President Trump to keep the government open on Wednesday, February 13, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Reprinted from In These Times by Heather Gies on July 18, 2019.

The Trump administration has proposed a change in rules governing union membership for federal government workers that could embolden federal agencies to discourage staff from joining or remaining in their union.

The proposed rule, published in the Federal Register on Friday, would enable federal workers to drop union membership—and opt out of paying membership dues—at any point after their first year of membership. A rolling opt-out rule would mark a break from current practice, in which workers can revoke their membership at yearly intervals upon their anniversary of joining.

Kate Bronfenbrenner, senior lecturer and director of labor education research at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, tells In These Timesthat beyond a mere administrative tweak allowing workers to opt out of membership whenever they please, the policy opens the door for employers to bully workers out of staying in their union, or joining in the first place. She said the issue of dues deduction could be a pressure point for employers to “intimidate and coerce workers” out of union activity. …

In These Times 7/18

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About Jeffrey Burman 4622 Articles
Jeff Burman represents assistant editors on the Guild’s Board of Directors. He can be reached at jeffrey.s.burman.57@gmail.com.

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