WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
Having lived through a few White House changes, we thought we would share what we know about what will happen next in the federal sector labor relations arena. In the next week or so the President-elect’s team will designate someone to take charge of all the labor relations-related appointments. While DOL and NLRB slots will garner more attention than the fed sector ones, expect that the entire FSIP will be asked to resign—or fired. George W’s folks handed it over to the Heritage Foundation to run during his tenure and there is no reason to expect anything different now, especially since Trump has already committed to letting those folks pick the next Supreme Court nominee. Unions lost about 90% of the times a bargaining dispute went before that FSIP.
The Chair of the FLRA will be turned over to the current Republican appointee, Peter Pizzella. That assumes that he does not get an even plumper plum, such as atop DOL or on the NLRB. Given his umbilical closeness to the Koch brothers who did not support Trump, FLRA may be all he can expect. We are working on a piece to explain in more detail what case law changes he is likely to pursue. The new chair will also be joined by another Republican appointee who will replace either Pope or Dubester. Given the trouble and embarrassment the highly principled and knowledgeable Pope caused the last Republican-led FLRA, we expect her to be purged.
FLRA will also get a new General Counsel and that will likely reduce even further the number of cases prosecuted as well as the pursuit of aggressive remedies. We will not be surprised to see a spike in ULP filed against unions for poorly representing their own members.
MSPB will also get new leaders. However, that likely will not change the state of the case law very much. MSPB already upholds employee terminations more than 70% of the time.
OSC will also undergo a change. Hopefully, this time it will not be handed over to a homophobic lawyer with an unusually narrow definition of what it means to destroy evidence. This will be an important post for the Trump folks because the Office of the Special Counsel administers Hatch Act violations by the President’s appointees.
Ditto for OPM’s leadership. While we do not expect the new Director to be an LR knowledgeable person, you can bet there will be someone on the Director’s staff put in charge of clamping down on union official time usage.
OMB meanwhile will be assembling a back room team to make it easier to contract out federal employee work to the private sector.
Speaking of official time, the folks on the Hill are likely giddy, to the point of losing bladder control, over the clear shot they now have at abolishing it, along with a few other union perks like attorney fees, free office space, and perhaps even dues withholding.
Finally, at least for this piece, a lot of attention will soon turn toward how the new Administration can pay for the massive deportation and border security increases. Given that the two AFGE Councils that represent the feds who currently did that work both endorsed Trump, we are predicting some internal shifting of dollars inside DHS very soon. For example, it would not be hard to reduce the number of Customs and Border Protection Officers currently checking travelers and imports at our borders and shift those slots over to Border Patrol and ICE via details or cash incentives.