Hiring Freeze Memorandum Recognizes Union Collective Bargaining Agreements

By now you've probably heard about President Trump's executive memorandum freezing federal hiring. Key features of the memorandum include:

  1. freezes federal hiring indefinitely until the Office of Management and Budget implements "a long-term plan to reduce the size of the Federal Government's workforce through
    attrition[;]"
  2. notes that the above-referenced memorandum shall be developed (although not necessarily implemented) within 90 days;
  3. does not allow contracting out to circumvent the hiring freeze;
  4. applies to all agencies except the military;
  5. allows hiring for "national security or public safety responsibilities[;]" and
  6. does not abrogate any collective bargaining agreement.

The memorandum contains a couple of encouraging items. First, it specifically recognizes union collective bargaining agreements, something that the President did not have to do. Second, it notes that reductions in the size of government will occur through "attrition," not other more draconian measures such as involuntary reductions in force (RIF).

Chapter 280 President Diane Lynne noted that "the hiring freeze adds to the already low morale at the Environmental Protection Agency. Since it's unclear how long the hiring freeze will last," she noted, "I have concerns whether EPA will be able to meet its obligation to protect the public in the longer term."

While reported in the press as an Executive Order, the document is styled as a presidential memorandum, not an Executive Order despite the wording that the President "order[s] a freeze on the hiring of Federal civilian employees..."