President Trump Disbands National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations
On Friday, the White House announced a new executive order that revokes the creation of the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations (the “Council”), a body created in 2009 by President Barack Obama and touted as a forum in which federal agency management and federal employee unions could discuss ideas for cooperation and improved functioning within their respective agencies.
Following his creation of the body via Executive Order 13522, President Obama subsequently extended the Council thrice, most recently extending it through September 30th of this year. On the eve of the Council’s expiration, President Trump announced that the body would be disbanded.
The order argues that the U.S. government “should spend tax dollars responsibly, efficiently, and in the public interest. The National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations (Council) and related agency-level labor-management forums have consumed considerable managerial time and taxpayer resources, but they have not fulfilled their goal of promoting collaboration in the Federal workforce.”
It further states that, “Public expenditures on the Council and related forums have produced few benefits to the public, and they should, therefore, be discontinued.”
Many groups that sat on the Council were disappointed by the news. According to Renee Johnson, National President for the Federal Managers Association, “The council provided the chance to learn from others who have found success through labor-management discussions. Additionally, simply having the time together helped each of the organizations on the council to better understand our colleagues and the challenges their departments and agencies face.”
However, the White House sided with critics of the original executive order, many of whom believed the Council represented an effort to expand union influence within agencies, noting the order’s suggestion that unions be brought in on “all workplace matters to the fullest extent practicable without regard to whether those matters are negotiable subjects under federal labor law.”
President Trump’s order instructs that the Director of the Office of Personnel Management “and heads of executive departments and agencies shall, consistent with law, promptly move to rescind any orders, rules, regulations, guidelines, programs, or policies implementing or enforcing Executive Order 13522.”
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