Our union worked closely with Rep. Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, to introduce bipartisan legislation that would permanently reinstate a national council overseeing labor-management relations in federal agencies.
The Federal Labor-Management Partnerships Act (H.R. 1316 and S. 530) was introduced in the House by Reps. Cummings, D-Md., and Don Young, R-Alaska, and in the Senate by Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii. Besides reinstating the national council, the bill would also reinstate individual labor-management partnerships at each executive branch agency.
The council and panels were disbanded by President Trump in September 2017 as part of his efforts to gut federal employees’ workplace rights and voice at work. Trump, for example, issued three executive orders that seek to purge America’s unions and undermine America’s workforce’s workplace rights under the law. His administration attacked Title 38 VA employees – nurses, doctors, and other medical staff – by removing their ‘official time’ – the hours they use to make sure employees have the resources and training to do their work and to combat workplace discrimination and retaliation. This action took away the statutory right of 100,000 VA health care workers to representation in the workplace. Our union quickly filed a lawsuit along with National Federation of Federal Employees and the National Association of Government Employees.
“President Trump’s order disbanding labor-management panels was short-sighted and ill-advised,” said Rep. Cummings. “Our bill ensures that front-line workers and managers engage in constructive dialogue to provide a well-managed federal workplace.”
“Alaska is home to thousands of hardworking federal employees that I proudly represent,” said Congressman Young. “These dedicated public servants deserve a seat at the table as workplace rules and policy changes are discussed and implemented. This legislation helps create open dialogue with the men and women in our federal workforce, and I am proud to support it.”
Our union thanks Congressmen Cummings and Young and Senator Schatz for their leadership on the issue. A positive labor-management relationship saves money that might otherwise be spent in litigation and appeals. It improves employee morale and promotes collaboration and better working relationships so we can work toward common goals.
“Labor-management partnerships work. They benefit agencies, they benefit taxpayers, they benefit both workers and managers,” said AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. “That anybody could construe the idea of facilitating constructive dialogue between labor and management as anything but positive is incomprehensible.”