Fulfilling a campaign promise, President Biden signed an executive order Friday afternoon rescinding a series of orders issued by former President Trump aimed at gutting federal employee unions and stripping federal workers of their civil service protections.
The Trump administration was aggressive in its approach to the federal workforce, and labor groups in particular. In 2018, Trump signed a series of executive orders seeking to make it easier to fire federal workers, streamline labor-management negotiations and restrict the scope of collective bargaining, and severely restricting the use of official time.
And last fall, Trump signed an executive order establishing a new job classification within the government’s career civil service called Schedule F for “employees in confidential, policy-determining, policy-making or policy-advocating positions,” and calling on agencies to identify and convert eligible employees to the new classification.
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Employees converted to Schedule F would lose virtually all of their civil service protections and could be fired without cause. Although it appears agencies did not act quickly enough to convert any career civil servants to the new job classification before the end of Trump’s term, it is unclear whether any agencies were able to use the executive order to burrow political appointees into career positions, as many experts fear.
According to a summary of Biden’s executive order released Friday morning, the directive will rescind the three anti-union orders, as well as the order establishing Schedule F. The text of the executive order was not immediately available.