Washington D.C. – New bipartisan legislation would restore a national council on labor-management relations where federal employees and their supervisors would collaborate on a regular basis to make government more efficient and resolve workplace issues.
The Federal Labor-Management Partnership Act, introduced in the House by the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Elijah Cummings (D-MD), and Rep. Don Young (R-AK), and by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) in the Senate, has been endorsed by the National Treasury Employees Union.
“Labor-management councils in the federal sector have a proven track record of making government agencies run more smoothly and efficiently, which is why NTEU strongly objected when the councils were disbanded by the president in 2017,” NTEU National President Tony Reardon said. “We commend Reps. Cummings and Young and Sen. Schatz for their leadership in this effort to once again try to reopen the lines of communication between our federal workforce and their managers in order to better serve this country.”
The reestablished National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations would be co-chaired by the director of the Office of Personnel Management and the deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget. It would include representatives from several federal employee unions, including NTEU, as well as members representing management officials. The legislation requires similar partnerships at the agency level.
NTEU has a long and successful record of participation in labor-management councils because they give employees a voice in agency operations and produce reforms that directly benefit the public. At the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, for example, NTEU and FDIC leadership have a six-year record of collaboration that has improved employee morale and led to positive workplace reforms.
NTEU has endorsed separate legislation from Chairman Cummings and Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) to preserve the Merit Systems Protection Board. The MSPB Temporary Term Extension Act would allow the independent agency to continue to function beyond March 1, when the term of the board’s sole member is due to expire. The president’s three nominees to give the board full membership are awaiting final approval by the Senate.
“The MSPB is too important to federal employees to be allowed to grind to a halt,” Reardon said. “The agency has already lacked a quorum for two years, meaning important cases protecting the rights of employees have stalled for too long. We applaud those in Congress who are trying to prevent further erosion of the MSPB’s work.”
NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 33 federal agencies and departments.