Bill would re-establish federal labor-management council

A new bipartisan bill will reinstate advisory panels that promote dialogue and foster partnerships between labor and federal agency management that were disbanded under the Trump administration.

The Federal Labor-Management Partnerships Act was introduced by Reps. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), the chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Don Young (R-Alaska) on Feb. 25.

Advisory panels were first established about 25 years ago and former President Barack Obama established the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations, comprised of related panels, as part of a 2009 Executive Order to create a platform for federal managers, employees and employees’ union representatives to discuss and address workforce challenges together. The goal was to improve the productivity and effectiveness of the federal workforce.

President Donald Trump disbanded the panels in September 2017, contending that he wanted to spend tax dollars more responsibly and efficiently.

“President Trump’s order disbanding labor-management panels was short-sighted and ill-advised,” Chairman Cummings said in a statement, adding, “Our bill ensures that front-line workers and managers engage in constructive dialogue to provide a well-managed federal workplace.”

The bill would again establish the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations that would 1) advise the president on labor-management relations in the Executive Branch; 2) be co-chaired by the Office of Personnel Management director and the deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget; 3) include two members from the largest federal-employee unions, four members from other major unions, one member from the Senior Executive Service, and one member representing management officials; and 4) require each agency leader to create labor-management partnerships to allow employees and their representatives to have pre-decisional input in workplace matters.

Several federal employee unions and organizations have already endorsed the bill.

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