Democratic Social Security and Labor Leaders in Congress Urge New Commissioner to Support Workers

Jul 15, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Democratic congressional leaders who oversee Social Security and federal employee rights in the House and Senate today urged newly-confirmed Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul to work in good faith with federal employee unions at the Social Security Administration (SSA) to reverse anti-union actions from the Trump administration.
 
In a letter addressed to Commissioner Andrew Saul, the committee leaders, including House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA), House Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (D-CT), House Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Chairman Danny K. Davis (D-IL), House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senate Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy Subcommittee Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Gary Peters (D-MI) wrote:
 
“Your confirmation as Commissioner of Social Security provides an opportunity for the agency to wipe the slate and start fresh with the federal employee unions, including by reversing SSA’s actions to implement the controversial and unprecedented provisions of the Executive Orders. Given your past working relationship with the federal employee groups, we urge you to keep the promises you made during your confirmation hearing, work in good faith with the unions, and return to the negotiating table with the federal labor unions.”  
 
In May 2018, Trump issued three executive orders aimed at limiting the rights of federal employees, specifically targeting collective bargaining and whistleblower protections. A federal judge struck down those provisions in August 2018, labeling them “an improper use of … authority,” and warning that they would, “effectively reduce the scope of the right to bargain collectively.”

Despite the court ruling, SSA proceeded to use some of these positions while negotiating a new SSA union contract. In May 2019, the Federal Service Impasses Panel, the members of which were all appointed by President Trump, imposed the contract terms over the objections of federal employees. 
 
Commissioner Saul cleared the Senate Finance Committee in March 2019. In June 2019, Saul’s confirmation was approved by the full Senate chamber by a vote of 77 to 16, making him the first Social Security commissioner confirmed since February 2013.
 
A copy of the letter is available HERE.

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