Just before Memorial Day weekend, the Trump administration announced that President Trump had signed three executive orders making it easier for federal agencies to fire workers, and weakening the unions that protect those workers.
TPM has a rundown of the changes, which include ordering federal agencies to renegotiate their union contracts, encouraging the firing, rather than suspension, of poorly performing employees, and sharply curtailing the amount of time agency employees can spend on union business at the workplace, among other measures.
The laws were signed under the guise of increasing government efficiency. Andrew Bremberg, the director of Trump’s Domestic Policy Council, said it would save taxpayers $100 million a year, and shrinking the size of government was a centerpiece of this year’s presidential budget.
But regardless of cost savings, the Trump administration has long had an adversarial relationship with much of the federal bureaucracy. An unprecedented number of jobs in government have remained unfilled, and employees at agencies from the State Department to the Environmental Protection Agency have reported being demoted to lesser roles for not showing appropriate fealty to the current president and his policies.
Trump’s onetime chief strategist, Steve Bannon, famously called for the “deconstruction of the administrative state,” and Friday’s moves look to be a step toward fulfilling that goal.
The American Federation of Government Employees, the largest federal union, called the new rules an “assault on democracy.”