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Members of the American Federation of Government Employees, the nation's largest union of federal government workers. In a landmark decision late Friday, a federal judge has ruled that President Trump violated the U.S. Constitution and laws providing checks and balances in the federal government by attempting to deny more than 2 million federal workers their legal right to representation. (Photo: AFGE National)

'Tremendous Victory for the People': Federal Judge Rules Trump's Anti-Worker Order Unconstitutional

"President Trump's illegal action was a direct assault on the legal rights and protections that Congress specifically guaranteed to the public-sector employees across this country who keep our federal government running every single day."

Jon Queally

A federal judge's ruling late Friday has given public sector unions a major victory—and offered a firm rebuke to President Donald Trump's anti-worker agenda—by declaring unconstitutional administration rules that sought to make it easier to fire government employees and undermine their right to bargain collectively.

Deciding on a challenge first brought by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), and later joined by other unions, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, said that Trump's orders "exceeded his authority" and violated the workers First Amendment rights.

"President Trump's illegal action was a direct assault on the legal rights and protections that Congress specifically guaranteed to the public-sector employees across this country who keep our federal government running every single day," declared J. David Cox Sr., AFGE's national president, in the wake of the ruling.

 In a statement, the AFGE said the impacts of Trump's efforts to undermine union organizing have already had negative consequences for public sector workers:

The impact of these executive orders began being felt months before they were even issued, as the Department of Education in March threw out the contract covering 3,900 federal employees represented by AFGE and implemented its own illegal management edict that strips workers of their union rights, a precursor to what was to come weeks later when President Trump issued the three union-busting, anti-federal worker executive orders. Since the executive orders were signed May 25, other agencies including the Social Security Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs have issued similar edicts in an attempt to eradicate unions from the federal workplace and deny workers their legal right to representation.    

"We are heartened by the judge's ruling and by the huge outpouring of support shown to federal workers by lawmakers from both parties, fellow union workers, and compassionate citizens across the country," Cox said. "Our members go to work every single day to serve the American people, and they deserve all the rights and protections afforded to them by our founding fathers."

With the judge's ruling handed down, Cox concluded, "I urge all agencies that have attempted to enforce this illegal executive order to restore all previously negotiated contracts and to bargain in good faith with employee representatives on any future changes as required under the law."


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