Federal Workers Sue Trump Over Order Capping Union Time

(Bloomberg) -- Government workers are taking President Donald Trump to court over an executive order limiting the amount of time public employees can spend on union activities.

In a complaint filed Wednesday in federal court in Washington, the American Federation of Government Employees is seeking a court order blocking the new measure from taking effect. The union claims the rule, which Trump signed May 25, violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the principle of separation of powers.

"Without any valid justification, it singles out labor organizations and their representatives for disparate, negative treatment as compared to individuals," the union said in its complaint.

The edict was one of three signed by the president. The others require the government to charge union members for office space, to stop paying workers for time spent lobbying the federal government and to be tougher in negotiating federal contracts. They also make it easier to fire employees.

Trump’s action builds on a wave of laws enacted by Republican governors over the past decade to curb the power of public employee unions, moves conservatives see as helpful in shrinking government and undermining political foes.

AFGE, the nation’s largest federal employees union, endorsed Trump’s opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, for president in the 2016 election.

The U.S. Justice Department declined to comment on the union’s complaint.

The case is American Federation of Government Employees v. Trump, 18-cv-1261, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia.

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