White House to Create National Council on Federal Labor Relations

The White House plans to create a National Council on Federal Labor Relations, with the intention of fostering cooperation between federal employees and management and the goal of improving government service.

The Council would be patterned on the labor-management partnerships created under former President Bill Clinton, then largely abandoned under George W. Bush. Federal unions have pushed the Obama administration to issue an order creating the council, and it is preparing to do so.

A draft executive order being readied for President Obama says “Labor-Management Forums will allow managers and employees to collaboratively champion change in the Federal Government so that agencies can deliver the highest quality services to the American people.”

In addition to the National Council, there also would be agency-level labor management forums that would be charged with identifying and correcting problems in the federal workplace, allowing employees and union representatives to discuss workplace matters before decisions are final and evaluating “progress and improvements in employee satisfaction and organizational performance.”

The Council would be chaired by Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry. Members would include the Office of Management and Budget deputy director for management, the chair of the Federal Labor Relations Authority, officials from four executive agencies and representatives of seven employee organizations.

“Federal employees and their union representatives are an essential source of front-line ideas and information about the realities of delivering government services to the American people,” the draft order says. “A non-adversarial forum for managers, employees, and employees’ union representatives to proactively discuss government operations will compliment the existing collective bargaining process and facilitate the design and implementation of the comprehensive changes necessary to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of Government.”

By Eric Rich  |  August 11, 2009; 3:11 PM ET  | Category:  Labor , Office of Personnel Management , Unions
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