White House Promotes Union Rights

Monday’s report from the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment is a realistic, step-by-step guide to ensuring that frontline federal employees know their workplace rights, and that federal sector unions have the information and access they need to represent employees and bargain collectively on their behalf, as envisioned by law.

Led by the Vice President and Secretary of Labor, NTEU commends the work of the Task Force for promoting and protecting worker rights in the executive branch as an example for the private sector, and unequivocally declaring the value of strong unions. We were honored to make key recommendations and participate in the Task Force’s research for this report, including a roundtable discussion in October where NTEU Chapter 230 President Cheryl Monroe, an FDA scientist, spoke about the positive role the union plays in the workplace at the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Among the Task Force’s recommendations of particular importance to NTEU and federal employees are ensuring agencies provide new employees with information about their bargaining unit status, union and contact information for the union’s designated representative; eliminating barriers that prevent union organizers from talking to employees in the workplace; and ensuring unions have opportunities to communicate with employees. The Task Force also recommended streamlining the process to become a dues-paying member and removing unnecessary barriers to organizing those federal employees who are eligible to organize but are not currently part of a bargaining unit.  

Finally, the Task Force issued a strong call for a new Executive Order establishing Labor-Management Forums across the federal government. NTEU has long supported such forums as a way to improve communication between labor and management, resolve workplace problems before they worsen and collaborate on ways to improve agency operations.