NTEU-Supported Amendment to Energy Bill Focuses Attention on Federal Telework (8/15/07)


An amendment to House-passed energy legislation would focus much-needed attention by federal managers on telework programs, and NTEU will work for its inclusion when energy legislation goes to a House-Senate conference committee, NTEU President Colleen Kelley said today.

The energy bill amendment, authored by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), who worked with Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.)—a leading congressional supporter of telework—was made part of that legislation because of the significant positive impact telework can have on energy conservation.

“NTEU strongly supports this amendment and I am extremely pleased to see it,” said President Kelley, “NTEU has been a leading proponent of opening up telework opportunities for federal employees for some time and we will take every opportunity to strengthen telework programs.”

The Sarbanes amendment would require each federal agency to implement a telework policy, develop telework training programs for managers and employees in new telework programs, and create a rating system for each agency’s compliance with telework goals. While there is considerable lip service paid to expanding telework opportunities at federal agencies, management reluctance continues to be the strongest impediment. “As we know from collective bargaining experience,” President Kelley said, “even agencies whose leaders have voiced support for telework find that employees are denied telework due to mid-level management resistance.”

She said NTEU will not only continue its work to expand and otherwise improve telework programs where they exist in NTEU-represented workplaces—including the Patent and Trademark Office, Treasury Department’s Tax and Trade Bureau, Securities and Exchange Commission and elsewhere—but will supplement that effort through the filing of grievances, when necessary, to enforce the letter and spirit of the law on this important issue.