Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, joined Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan, and 42 of his colleagues in a Nov. 21 letter requesting that Senate leadership and appropriations conferees include provisions to protect federal employees’ collective bargaining rights in any appropriations legislation Congress passes.

“Robust labor unions are a hallmark of competitive workplaces — they lead the fight for better benefits, protections, and working conditions,” wrote the senators. “The Trump administration’s anti-union agenda undermines the government’s ability to attract talented workers and demoralizes workers currently in public service. At a time when the right to unionize in both the public and private sectors is increasingly under attack, we must affirm our support for workers and labor rights.”

Earlier this year, the House passed the fiscal 2020 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill with a provision to prevent agencies from implementing any labor agreement that has not been agreed to by all parties or was not the result of binding arbitration. This provision restores the collective bargaining process and requires agencies to return to the bargaining table to engage in good-faith negotiations. Without this protection, unions will be locked into unreasonable and unfair contracts for the foreseeable future.

Hardworking families in Delaware and across the country rely on labor unions to fight for better opportunities and help prevent unfair contracts, Carper’s office said in a release. Over the past two years, the Trump administration has taken actions that undermine federal labor-management relations, including issuing executive orders that drastically reduce official time, restrict collective bargaining and obstruct the union grievance process. Some agencies have refused to negotiate altogether, including the Environmental Protection Agency, which forced a seven-year contract on employees over union objections in July.

The text of the letter is available at