Maryland’s U.S. senators say the Social Security Administration is demonstrating “hostility towards its workforce” in the way it is implementing recent executive orders signed by President Donald J. Trump.

Trump signed the orders in May with the stated goals of promoting accountability, rooting out poor performers and negotiating union contracts more advantageous to taxpayers and the federal government.


But labor groups have characterized the orders, which reduce the time available for union business, as an attack on long-held civil service protections.

The Social Security Administration office at the Rotunda in North Baltimore is scheduled to close next month, an addition to a recent string of field office closures decried by activists and lawmakers.

The Baltimore-based SSA has gone beyond the orders’ reach and is trampling workers’ rights, Democratic Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin said in a letter Thursday to acting commissioner Nancy A. Berryhill and other officials.

“We understand that SSA cannot disregard these executive orders, but we do not understand why SSA is implementing these orders with more hostility towards its workforce than the executive orders require (and possibly even more hostility than they permit),” the senators wrote in the letter to Berryhill.

“Please explain to us what legal or regulatory barriers prevent SSA from honoring its existing collective bargaining agreements while negotiating new agreements in good faith with the unions,” they wrote.

As he moves quickly to build his administration, President Donald Trump has offered little indication who he will nominate as the next commissioner of the Social Security Administration – an agency that has gone four years without a permanent leader.

In response to a Baltimore Sun inquiry, the SSA said that — with guidance from the Office of Personnel Management — the agency has implemented the orders “which include modifications to union travel, taxpayer funded union time, union office space, use of agency equipment, and employee performance management."

The agency said it “provided each union with appropriate notice and the opportunity to bargain the impact and implementation of the executive orders.”

It said it is “working closely with the unions to ensure an orderly implementation supporting the vital missions we perform for the American public.”