May 26 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump signed executive orders addressing the role of unions in the federal workforce.
Trump signed the executive orders on Friday. They make it easier to fire workers by cutting back on what the White House called "taxpayer-funded union time" to prepare and pursue grievances. They also limit the time federal employees can spend on work on behalf of labor unions during work hours to 25 percent.
"This is more than union busting. It's democracy busting," Jeffrey David Cox Sr., the national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said in a statement obtained by The New York Times. "These executive orders are a direct assault on the legal rights and protections that Congress has specifically guaranteed to the 2 million public-sector employees across the country who work for the federal government."
The Trump administration defended the move as a way to save taxpayer money. The federal government spent about $175 million to pay workers for time spent on union business in 2016, an Office of Personnel Management report said.
Andrew Bremberg, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, told USA Today the orders fulfill a promise in Trump's State of the Union address to "reward good workers -- and to remove Federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people."