Federal employees sue Trump over executive order restricting union activity

Federal employees sue Trump over executive order restricting union activity

The largest federal employee union is suing President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE over his new executive order restricting the amount of time federal employees on the job can spend on union activity.

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) alleges in the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Wednesday, that Trump’s order violates the First Amendment and is an overreach of Trump’s authority laid out in the Constitution.

“This president seems to think he is above the law, and we are not going to stand by while he tries to shred workers’ rights,” AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. said in a statement. “This is a democracy, not a dictatorship. No president should be able to undo a law he doesn’t like through administrative fiat.”

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The White House did not immediately return The Hill’s request for comment.

The order was among three signed by Trump last week aimed at cutting down the time it takes to fire federal employees.

The AFGE is challenging one of the orders, which restricts so-called “official time,” or the time that federal staffers who are also union officials can spend at work representing employees who filed claims of unfair labor practices or appealing discipline taken against them.

AFGE argues in the lawsuit that the order is retaliatory against union representatives.

The group also claims that limiting employees’ official time to 25 percent of their working hours is an illegal change to the Civil Service Report Act.

“Without any valid justification, it singles out labor organizations and their representatives for disparate, negative treatment as compared to individuals,” the lawsuit states. “In so doing, the Official Time Order restrains and retaliates against AFGE and its union-member employee representatives in and for the exercise of their respective rights to expressive association.”