Legislation Introduced to Reestablish the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations


In October 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) to dismantle the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations. The “Presidential Executive Order on the Revocation of Executive Order Creating Labor-Management Forums” overrides both the Obama Administration’s EO 13522, issued in December 2009 to re-establish the Clinton era created agency labor-management forums, and its subsequent EO 13708 issued in September 2015 that extended the authority for the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations, co-chaired and operated by the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management. The National Council played an important role in helping to provide visibility and a model for labor-management collaboration, and guidance for agencies in establishing successful forums, while agency labor-management forums provided an opportunity for meaningful labor and management relationships and consultation. Although President Trump’s EO did not have the authority to terminate agency-level labor-management forums that are established under a collective bargaining agreement, or to impact any statutorily-required negotiations, the Office of Personnel Management issued guidance on the EO in December urging agencies to abolish agency level forums.  

Last week, the NTEU-supported Federal Labor-Management Partnership Act was introduced in the Senate (S. 2340) and the House (H.R. 4878) which would create in statute the Federal Labor Management Relations Council and agency level councils where pre-decisional involvement (PDI) is required to the fullest extent practicable. Under the proposal, NTEU would be one of the two federal employee unions with a seat on the national council. Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced the Senate bill and the House companion measure was introduced by Representatives Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Don Young (R-AK).

"Labor-management councils are a simple, common sense way to open the lines of communication between federal employees and their bosses," said NTEU national president Tony Reardon. "The discussion forums are an ideal place to cordially resolve workplace issues and brainstorm ways to better serve their customers, the American taxpayers." 

Eliminating venues to reduce common-sense workplace communication between frontline employees and management is indefensible for any employer, and will make the implementation of new workplace changes more expensive and time consuming and translate into costlier and less effective and lasting program changes. Only by sitting down across from the table, and establishing personal working relationships, can jointly-crafted, productive labor-management workplace solutions emerge and this legislation helps make that happen.

"These councils at the SEC spearheaded a drive to raise our Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey scores," noted Chapter 293 President Greg Gilman. "In just five years we have gone from close to last place in the federal government to fifth place on the Parntership for Public Service's Best Places to Work rankings. It simply makes no sense to jettison something that is working so well."

NTEU is proud to support this legislation, and appreciates these lawmakers’ recognition of the value of federal labor organizations.