I’m an American patriot, daughter of a World War II veteran, sister to two soldiers and a sailor. Proud U.S. Army employee for 32 years. For part of that time and since retirement, I’ve worked to ensure that federal employees — themselves patriots, military family members, veterans — received due process and fair treatment under the laws established by Congress.

It’s not true that you can’t fire a fed. If you follow the rules, you surely can. But employees often win grievances because their employer did not follow the law, a rule or a regulation. The Trump administration prefers to abolish rules than adhere to them.

For several years, this administration has systematically attacked federal workers’ rights. By executive order, the president declares, among other outrageous things, that feds should not be able to grieve wrongful termination. Unions challenged the EOs in court and were told to go through the Federal Labor Relations Authority first — the FLRA that cannot take required actions because the president never appointed a general counsel. (Given his anti-worker appointees to the National Labor Relations Board and Department of Labor, that may be a blessing: These attacks aren’t limited to rights of federal workers.)

The administration says employees shouldn’t be able to use union representation in discrimination cases. Agencies wrote and imposed one-sided contracts. Others rushed to impasse without even discussing proposals on the table, hoping the Federal Service Impasses Panel under President Donald Trump would take their side and maybe give them even more as with the Social Security Administration contract. Even when in direct contradiction of the law, the administration’s approach is, “Fine; see you in court in a few years, if we can’t stomp you out of existence by then.” Despite laws allowing for award of attorneys’ fees in successful back pay cases where it can be shown to be in the interest of justice, this administration says nah, not if they’re union attorneys.

And throughout all this, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik has remained silent. Even when the president needlessly authorized the Department of Defense to take the legal right to union representation away from any and all employees with the stroke of a pen, Elise didn’t care how this could affect employees of the largest single-site employer in New York state (Fort Drum). Didn’t even answer my letter about it.

I couldn’t vote for Elise even if her campaign commercials weren’t full of childish nicknames and untruths because if workers don’t have rights in America, who does? America’s workforce deserves better and so does NY-21. We need Tedra Cobb.

Robin Johnson

Philadelphia

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(3) comments

JohnMcElroy

Congresswoman Stefanik understands politics and being loyal to party. She knows if she were to lose to Cobb she would be high on Trump's list of appointees even in case of a Trump loss to Joe Biden which is more than a probability. Stefanik beat Cobb by 38 thousand votes in 2018 too many for Cobb to overcome in 2020. Stefanik is in line for rewards win or lose and loyalty is how she done it. Go Elise 2020.

KRobbins

Great letter! That’s an issue totally overlooked because of the world of chaos and disfunction surrounding Trump. Elise Stefanik is complicit.

Farmer Liz

Great letter, Robin. It's hard to imagine anyone from the Fort Drum community voting for either of these GOP candidates. The military folks and federal workers I know are true patriots and deserve better from our leaders. Biden/Harris and Cobb on Nov. 3.

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