May 25, 2018 / 10:17 PM / in a month

Trump eases firing of federal workers, cracks down on unions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Friday signed three executive orders designed to make it easier to fire federal government workers and to crack down on the unions that represent them, drawing immediate criticism from a group representing federal employees.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the commissioning and graduation ceremony for U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2018 at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Administration officials said the orders would give government agencies greater ability to remove employees with “poor” performance, get “better deals” in union contracts and require federal employees with union responsibilities to spend less time on union work.

“Today the president is fulfilling his promise to promote more efficient government by reforming our civil service rules,” said Andrew Bremberg, director of the White House’s Domestic Policy Council, in a conference call with reporters.

“These executive orders will make it easier for agencies to remove poor-performing employees and ensure that taxpayer dollars are more efficiently used.”

The American Federation of Government Employees said in a statement that the moves intended to “strip federal employees of their decades-old right to representation at the worksite” and would hurt veterans, law enforcement officers and others.

“This administration seems hellbent on replacing a civil service that works for all taxpayers with a political service that serves at its whim,” the group’s president, J. David Cox Sr. said in a statement.

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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