Today, the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment, which is chaired by Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, released its first report to the President that includes over 70 recommendations to the President to promote worker organizing and collective bargaining for federal employees, as well as other public and private sector employees. Among other things, these recommendations include ensuring agencies provide new employees with information about their union, including how to contact them; eliminating barriers that prevent union organizers from talking to employees in the workplace; and ensuring unions have opportunities to communicate with employees and access to their contact information.
One critical recommendation is for federal agencies to recognize that, collectively, the federal government is the largest employer in the U.S., with more than 3.3 million employees. For that reason, the Task Force concludes that federal agencies should act as a "model employer" by facilitating worker power through executive action and "modeling practices that can be followed by state and local governments, private sector employers and others." The Task Force emphasizes that agency management should work closely with their employees' labor unions, because "when federal employees organize a union, they should have an effective voice in workplace issues in a manner that advances agencies' missions and produces high-performance workplaces."
The Task Force also recommended streamlining the process to become a dues-paying member by improving dues processing and forms, increasing the availability of data on union membership rates across the government and removing unnecessary barriers to organizing those federal employees who are eligible to organize but are not currently part of a bargaining unit. In addition, the Task Force recommended the President issue a new Executive Order establishing Labor-Management Forums and otherwise encourage labor-management cooperation in the federal sector.
NTEU is pleased that many of these recommendations address the issues we have raised and the suggestions we submitted to the White House Task Force over the last year as they have discussed ways the administration can help increase union membership and union density in the federal sector. We will continue to update you on the work of the Task Force and further actions the administration takes to implement these recommendations. For more information on the Task Force and to read the full report, click here.