(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) led 85 Members in opposing the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) proposed rule that would make it more difficult for unionized federal workers to obtain effective representation during the EEOC employment discrimination complaint process. EEOC’s proposed rule prohibits federal employees participating in a union from using “official time” to assist or represent their colleagues in employer discrimination complaints.  

Under current regulation, if a complainant chooses a union representative who also works at his or her agency, then the agency must grant both the complainant and his or her representative “official time” while they participate in the employment discrimination complaint process.

The Members wrote: “Over the past 40 years, complainants have often chosen co-workers who serve in an official capacity with the union to represent them in the employment discrimination complaint process […] The proposed rule, because it would deny the official time requirement for union representatives, would also deny the experience and expertise that union representatives offer to discrimination complainants.  The loss of their experience and expertise will negatively affect the equal employment opportunity process, which will become less efficient and effective as a result.”

“This proposed rule is yet another assault from on high by the Trump Administration on our federal workforce, our civil servants, our unions, and our labor protection laws,” said Rep. Raskin. “It undermines the rights of federal workers to a fair equal employment opportunity process and harms the overall mission of the EEOC. Federal employees should be able to choose the representatives they prefer, and that choice should of course continue to include their own union representative.”

The comment letter is supported by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), America’s largest federal employee union. A signed copy of the letter is available here.

The letter is signed by the following Representatives: Alma S. Adams, Ph.D, Donald S. Beyer Jr., Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., Earl Blumenauer, Anthony G. Brown, Julia Brownley, Cheri Bustos, Tony Cárdenas, Matt Cartwright, Judy Chu, Wm. Lacy Clay, Emanuel Cleaver, II, Steve Cohen, Gerald E. Connolly, Joe Courtney, TJ Cox, Charlie Crist, Peter A. DeFazio, Diana DeGette, Suzan DelBene , Mark DeSaulnier, Debbie Dingell, Eliot L. Engel, Anna G. Eshoo, Bill Foster, Marcia L. Fudge, John Garamendi, Jesús G. “Chuy” García, Raúl Grijalva, Deb Haaland, Alcee L. Hastings, Jahana Hayes, Brian Higgins, Jared Huffman, Sheila Jackson Lee, Pramila Jayapal, William R. Keating, Joseph P. Kennedy, III, Ro Khanna, Daniel T. Kildee, Derek Kilmer, Ann Kirkpatrick, Conor Lamb, Rick Larsen, Brenda L. Lawrence, Barbara Lee, Andy Levin, Alan Lowenthal, Stephen F. Lynch, Betty McCollum, James P. McGovern, Grace Meng, Stephanie Murphy, Grace Napolitano , Donald Norcross, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Ilhan Omar, Frank Pallone, Jr., Jimmy Panetta, Chris Pappas, Chellie Pingree, Mark Pocan, Max Rose, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Bobby L. Rush, Linda T. Sánchez, John P. Sarbanes, Jan Schakowsky, José E. Serrano, Albio Sires, Adam Smith, Jackie Speier, Thomas R. Suozzi, Mark Takano, Mike Thompson, Dina Titus, Rashida Tlaib, Norma J. Torres, David Trone, Juan Vargas, Marc A. Veasey, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Jennifer Wexton, Susan Wild, and John Yarmuth.