As you know, on Friday, May 25, President Trump issued three Executive Orders (EOs) aimed at gutting the collective bargaining and due process rights of federal workers. A main theme throughout the EOs is the attempt to limit the right of employees to have a voice in their workplaces and to bring issues of concern forward to discuss with management in a cooperative and collegial manner. This is consistent with the President’s earlier EO issued in October 2017 which dismantled the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations and pushed agencies to abolish their local forums.
While NTEU’s main challenge to the EOs will be in the courts, NTEU is championing legislation introduced earlier this year to bring employees and management together, ensuring that workers have a seat at the table and are involved in predecisional rules. The Federal Labor-Management Partnership Act which was introduced in the Senate (S. 2340) and the House (H.R. 4878) would create in statute the Federal Labor-Management Relations Council and agency-level forums where predecisional involvement would be 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 bipartisan, companion measure was introduced by Representatives Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Don Young (R-AK).
The three recent EOs along with the one from last fall are designed to eliminate venues to reduce common-sense workplace communication between frontline employees and management—reducing bargaining to a take-it-or-leave-it meeting and limiting the ability of employees to have any say. Such changes are 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 the table, and establishing personal working relationships and engaging in true bargaining, can jointly-crafted, productive labor-management workplace solutions emerge, and this legislation helps make that happen. NTEU is proud to support this legislation and appreciates these lawmakers’ recognition of the value of federal labor organizations and respect for frontline federal employees.