Today, Representative Tom Price (R-GA) introduced a bill in the House of Representatives, H.R.4461 that is directly aimed at crippling federal employee unions.
Overall, this legislation, inappropriately titled “the Federal Employee Rights Act,” would prohibit federal agencies, including the U.S. Postal Service, the government of the District of Columbia, and all three branches of government, from directly deducting labor organization fees from employee salaries. H.R. 4461 would also restrict the use of union dues to collective bargaining activities only, meaning that a labor organization in the federal sector would be unable to represent employees in adverse personnel actions or to advocate on Capitol Hill regarding pay, benefits, and other employee and workplace policy issues, unless an annual employee authorization “opt-in” form was filed. The bill would also change the current standard for union recognition from 50% of “those who cast ballots” to 50% of all eligible voters in a bargaining unit. Further, the legislation would also amend the standard for holding a union election from a 30% showing of interest to “more than 50% percent”.
Since federal employees are not required to join a union, this legislation is entirely unnecessary, and is truly aimed at weakening and ultimately destroying federal unions. It would also serve to ensure that any federal employee who voluntarily joined a union would be unable to actually receive effective representation.
NTEU strongly opposes this anti-union bill that in fact takes away employee rights, and is working with our labor and congressional allies to defeat this proposal.