February 13, 2019 - Here is a letter from Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) to SSA Acting Commissioner Nancy Berryhill regarding management actions and our contract bargaining. We are asking other members of Congress to join in on the inquiry.
Dear Acting Commissioner Berryhill:
As Chair of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations
Subcommittee that funds the Social Security Administration (SSA), I am deeply alarmed by reports of
SSA's refusal to comply with the Federal District Court Order issued last August blocking implementation
of major parts of Executive Orders 13836, 13837, and 13839, pertaining to employee rights and protections
in the workplace. As you are aware, these provisions of the Executive Orders were found to be in clear
violation of the Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA) of 1978.
If upheld, these Executive Orders would have prevented federal labor unions from adequately representing
employees in disputes arising out of everything from sexual harassment claims to poor performance ratings
and arbitrary dismissals. It would have denied them access to essential employee communication tools and
dramatically curtailed the use of union administrative time necessary to conduct representational activities.
Despite the court injunction, it is my understanding that SSA continues to pursue restrictions on the union
and SSA employees through the collective bargaining process- including forcing the union to accept
provisions of the Executive Orders and unilaterally rejecting all alternatives. This is in direct violation of
the CSRA Act requirement for parties to bargain in good faith. It is also a blatant attempt to do at the
bargaining table what could not be done legally by President Trump.
I firmly believe that Agency efforts to undermine the bargaining process and deny unions the ability to
represent employees in workplace disputes will have a severe, destabilizing effect on agency operations
and employee morale.
I am requesting an immediate Agency response outlining SSA's actions to comply with the Federal District
Court Order issued last August, as well as a response to the charge that SSA is improperly attempting to
impose restrictions-previously rejected by federal courts- through the collective bargaining process. I am
also requesting a clear statement of your intent to make a good faith effort to reach agreement with the
union. I expect a written response no later than March 1, 2019.