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FLRA should not overstep its authority in restricting worker freedom

Last week, Americans for Fair Treatment (AFFT) filed a comment in opposition to an attempt made by the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) to compel federal employees into paying membership dues. The proposed rule change could trap more than one million federal employees into union membership.

Currently, federal employees who join a union must maintain membership for one year, after which the employees can resign from and stop paying dues to the union. However, the FLRA’s proposed rules will make it harder for employees to leave and stop paying unions by implementing a brief, annual window period to resign union membership and potentially violate these employees’ First and Fifth Amendment rights.

Elisabeth Messenger, Interim Chief Executive Officer of Americans for Fair Treatment, said, “With this proposed rule change, the FLRA is jeopardizing the rights of more than a million federal employees to benefit union officials. If approved, federal employees could be trapped in union membership for years at a time, forcibly paying dues all the while to organizations they don’t support. No American should be forced to financially support a political organization against his or her will, but that’s what likely to happen under the FLRA’s new rules.”

Additionally, the FLRA has shown a lack of transparency during the public comment process of this rule change proposal, which is evident through several actions, including:

  • First, the FLRA refused to publish a union’s demands about potential violations of federal administrative procedures, but asked the public to comment on the unseen and unpublished demands.
  • Second, the FLRA narrowed the window of public comment without proper explanation.
  • And finally, the FLRA appeared to pre-determine the rule’s implementation before the rule-making process runs its course, which we detail in our comment submission.

AFFT’s comment urges the board to refuse the rule change and comply with existing constitutional and statutory rights. You can view AFFT’s full comment at the link below.

Americans for Fair Treatment is a national nonprofit organization that educates public employees about their rights in a unionized workplace and connects these employees with all available resources to defend those rights. We offer a free membership program, networking opportunities, and professional development scholarships to support qualifying public employees. 

Americans for Fair Treatment

Americans for Fair Treatment is a free, membership, non-profit organization designed to help public sector workers exercise their First Amendment rights without fear of coercion from unions.