SUBJECT: Executive Orders 13836, 13837, and 13839
On May 25, 2018, I signed three Executive Orders requiring executive departments and agencies (agencies) to negotiate collective bargaining agreements that will reduce costs and promote government performance and accountability. These Executive Orders, Executive Order 13836 of May 25, 2018 (Developing Efficient, Effective, and Cost-Reducing Approaches to Federal Sector Collective Bargaining), Executive Order 13837 of May 25, 2018 (Ensuring Transparency, Accountability, and Efficiency in Taxpayer-Funded Union Time Use), and Executive Order 13839 of May 25, 2018 (Promoting Accountability and Streamlining Removal Procedures Consistent with Merit System Principles), were partially enjoined by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on August 25, 2018. The District Court’s injunction barred enforcement of sections 5(a), 5(e), and 6 of Executive Order 13836, sections 3(a), 4(a), and 4(b) of Executive Order 13837, and sections 3, 4(a), and 4(c) of Executive Order 13839.
On July 16, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that the District Court lacked jurisdiction and vacated its judgment, and the Court of Appeals has now issued the mandate making its judgment effective.
Provisions of the Executive Orders that had been subject to the District Court’s injunction set presumptively reasonable goals that agencies must pursue during bargaining; directed agencies to refuse to bargain over permissive subjects of negotiation; and established Government-wide rules that displace agencies’ duty to bargain with unions over contrary matters, regardless of whether the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute would otherwise require bargaining absent those rules. Sections 4(c)(ii) and 8(a) of Executive Order 13837 and section 8(b) of Executive Order 13839, however, recognized agencies’ ability to comply with collective bargaining agreements containing prohibited terms so long as such agreements were effective on the date of the Executive Orders.
While the District Court’s injunction remained in effect, agencies retained the ability to bargain over subjects covered by the enjoined provisions. The Executive Orders, however, did not address collective bargaining agreements entered into during this period. As a result, it is necessary to clarify agencies’ obligations with respect to such collective bargaining agreements.
Agencies shall adhere to the terms of collective bargaining agreements executed while the injunction was in effect. Agencies that remain engaged in collective-bargaining negotiations, to the extent consistent with law, shall comply with the terms of the Executive Orders. However, where, between the date of the Executive Orders and the date of the Court of Appeals’s mandate, the parties to collective bargaining negotiations have executed an agreement to incorporate into a new collective bargaining agreement specific terms prohibited by the Executive Orders, an agency may execute the new collective bargaining agreement containing such terms, and terms ancillary to those specific terms, notwithstanding the Executive Orders.
To the extent it is necessary, this memorandum should be construed to amend Executive Orders 13836, 13837, and 13839.
The Director of the Office of Personnel Management is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.