Trump Sure Is A ‘Big Supporter’ Of Working People & Union Members: Trump Administration Continues To Attack American Workers, Says Cancer “Is No Excuse” For Federal Workers Not Relocating
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Inspector General concluded last week (August 5th) that the Trump Administration violated Federal Budget Laws when it decided to relocate 550 Workers from Washington to Kansas City - but the USDA, denying the validity of those rules, has begun preparing to fire Workers who haven’t agreed to move.
The USDA has also refused to negotiate with the affected Workers’ Union or grant any exemptions for medical or family reasons, American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 3403 President David Verardo told LaborPress.
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced in in June that most Employees of two Departmental Agencies - the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), would be relocated to the Kansas City area, but The Inspector General’s report said that while the agency had the legal authority to order the relocations, it had not obtained Congressional approval for spending money to prepare for them, as required by the 2018 Budget Law.
The Budget Law specifies Federal Agencies cannot spend money for anything that “relocates an office or Employees” without getting approval from both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees at least 30 days in advance.
The USDA’s hiring a private contractor for $170,000 in October 2018 to help find a new location, the report added, “may have also violated the Anti-Deficiency Act, which prohibits Government Employees from involving the Federal Government in a contract or obligation for the payment of money before an appropriation is made.”
The Department argued that rule was unconstitutional, citing an opinion issued in July by the Federal Office of the General Counsel that it gave “one committee of one house” the power to veto expenditures.
The Inspector General’s report responded that Appropriations Bills have included those provisions since 2015 and the USDA had cited them in court cases to argue why it could not spend money without Congressional approval.
“They’re ‘playing a bit of a game - we’ll comply when it suits us,’” Verardo says. “I ‘don’t know in what universe a solitary Federal Attorney gets to decide what’s constitutional.’”
Workers at the two agencies voted to join Local 3403 in June, while the relocation plans were in the works, says Verardo. That means they have the legal right to bargain over the “impact and implementation” of those plans, he adds, but the USDA has “dragged their feet” on negotiating with the Union.
The real reason for the move, Verardo added, “has nothing to do with economic or organizational efficiency.”
“It’s about ‘shrinking ‘the Federal Workforce,” he added.
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