- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bush” >President Bush on Monday issued an executive order designating 8,600 federal employees as critical to national security and taking away their collective-bargaining rights.

The order applies to employees in the Energy, Homeland Security, Treasury, Transportation and Justice departments.

“This executive order came at the request of the agencies and reflects how the federal government has operated in a post-9/11 world, and we feel it’s important to continue our ability to respond to national security threats and cement the lessons learned during this administration,” said White House spokesman Scott Stanzel.

He said of the 8,600 employees, only 920 are currently participating in collective bargaining.

Mr. Bush is no stranger to such fights, having battled Congress in 2002 for the right to designate Homeland Security employees as key national security personnel. Democrats vehemently opposed Mr. Bush’s plan, and the ensuing political battle cost them two Senate seats, and thus their Senate majority, in the 2002 elections.

Monday’s executive order amends a 1979 executive order from President Carter. It has been amended 12 times, including three times by Mr. Bush.