EPA: Union 'disappointed' with Obama on labor issues


The Obama administration is dragging its feet when it comes to improving the government's relationship with unions, according to a U.S. EPA chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees.
In a letter sent to President Obama yesterday, AFGE Council 238 President Charles Orzehoskie wrote that the union was "disappointed that we have yet to see a real change we can believe in with regard to labor."
"Our country cannot achieve its goals and meet its obligations if the relationship between management and labor is one that strives to do the minimum required by labor law," Orzehoskie wrote. "We call upon you to commit the Federal government to a model relationship between labor and management, so that we can demonstrate to the nation that when labor and management strive for the best possible relationship, the public and country are better served."
The union sent the letter in advance of Labor Day -- and while EPA is stalled in negotiations with the National Treasury Employees Union. AFGE Council 238 will soon negotiate over its collective bargaining agreement and is concerned about similar "obstacles," Orzehoskie wrote.
AFGE Council 238 Treasurer John O'Grady said the letter was "born out of frustration" with the lack of change under the Obama administration. After demanding to bargain over their contract in early summer, EPA officials have delayed the process for months, he said.
Among the union's broader complaints is that Obama has not rescinded former President George W. Bush's 2002 executive order that excludes some federal employees from organizing. The letter also mentions recent debate over union official time. The "Telework Improvement Act" -- which passed the House in July -- prohibits union officials from performing labor-management relations activities while teleworking.

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