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National Labor News

Strong Safeguards Needed that Protect Civil Service Workers

May 14, 2017 
By AFGE President J. David Cox Sr.

Washington, DC -  J. David Cox Sr. Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. released the following statement in response to President Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey:"Now more than ever, we must uphold the principle that there be strong safeguards protecting the civil service from politically motivated firing.

"Now more than ever, we must recognize that a strong, enforceable union contract is what stands between workers and politically motivated managers and political appointees.

"In March, the House passed a bill introduced by Rep. Phil Roe of Tennessee that strips away civil service protections and union rights under the phony claim of 'accountability' for misconduct by employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Senate is about to consider similar legislation from Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

"Now more than ever, the Senate should understand that making it 'easy' to fire federal employees opens up the entire civil service to what we witnessed yesterday with the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

"Under the legislation being considered, nurses, housekeepers, and cemetery workers at the VA could be fired with the same ease that President Trump fired Mr. Comey. The case against them can be as weak and 'trumped up' as the reasons cited in the president's termination notice to Mr. Comey.

"Now more than ever, we ask senators to pause and consider the importance of maintaining strong protections against wanton firing of civil servants. Now more than ever, we must cherish and protect the legal standards that have succeeded for generations in preventing politicization of the civil service and kept the merit system intact.

"Now more than ever, we must stand up to those who would undermine due process, objectivity, and fairness in the administration of our government."

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 700,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.

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