Reprinted from Government Executive by Erich Wagner on February 25, 2021.
President Biden on Wednesday evening rescinded one of former President Trump’s more controversial, albeit unimplemented, workforce initiatives, stripping Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin of the authority to strip Pentagon employees of the right to unionize.
Last year, in a memo first reported by Government Executive, Trump delegated his authority to exempt certain national security jobs from federal labor law to the secretary of defense, citing the need for “flexibility.”
“When new missions emerge or existing ones evolve, the Department of Defense requires maximum flexibility to respond to threats to carry out its mission of protecting the American people,” the document stated. “This flexibility requires that military and civilian leadership manage their organizations to cultivate a lethal, agile force adaptive to new technologies and posture changes. Where collective bargaining is incompatible with these organizations’ missions, the Department of Defense should not be forced to sacrifice its national security mission and, instead, seek relief through third parties and administrative fora.” …