February 15, 2001
Magda Lynn Seymour
Diane S. Witiak
(202) 639-6419

Bush Halts Federal Partnerships: Tough Luck Taxpayers!

“Labor-management partnerships are not a Democratic or Republican issue. The concept was embraced by those on both sides of the aisle who realize the importance of incorporating into the federal sector those cooperative programs that have been so successful in the private sector. In fact, the labor-management relations program we have today in government is based on the program created when former President Richard Nixon issued Executive Order 11491 in 1969.

“The federal government is this nation’s largest unionized work force with approximately 80 percent of eligible federal employees covered by collective bargaining relationships. It is not only appropriate, but essential, that federal workers and their unions be active partners with the Administration if it wants to continue efforts to make government more cost-effective and responsive to the American people.

“Bush’s hasty and foolhardy actions give no time for new Cabinet officials to review the benefits of partnership and the billions of dollars that have been saved through partnership. This is not sound management based upon any effort to serve the public efficiently and effectively. It is a giant step backward, to years of adversarial relations between federal workers, their unions and the government which we hoped we had moved past. This is a divisive act and one that says he’s more bully than peacemaker.

“AFGE had looked forward to working with the President and his advisors to improve partnerships and collaborative relations between labor and management. The National Partnership Council was created to develop an environment where workers and their ideas were regarded as the valuable assets they are.

“Federal employees want to work for a government that promotes rather than stifles productivity—a customer-service oriented government that directly serves the American people. It would appear that the President is not interested in all that federal employees and their representatives have to offer.”

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