Washington, D.C. – United States Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D – HI), Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, expressed his support for an Executive Order signed by President Barack Obama today creating labor-management forums to improve the delivery of Federal government services to the American people.  This new order is similar to one issued by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and repealed by President George W. Bush in 2001.  Senator Akaka introduced legislation to reestablish labor-management partnerships in 2007. 

“Formal relationships between unions and management make Federal agencies more efficient,” said Senator Akaka.  “By establishing these forums at both the agency and national levels, President Obama gives Federal employees a stronger voice in the workplace and sets the stage for a new era of cooperation between unions and management in the Federal Government.  The establishment of labor-management forums will improve morale, leading to better government service for the American people.”

The order establishes a National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations to advise the President on matters involving labor-management relations in the executive branch and, to the extent permitted by law, promote partnership efforts between labor and management.  The order also establishes several pilot projects to examine issues related to collective bargaining over “permissive subjects of bargaining.” 

The order also requires the heads of Federal agencies to establish agency level labor-management forums to identify problems and craft solutions to better serve the public and the agency mission. Further, under the order, employees and their unions will be allowed pre-decisional involvement on all workplace matters, without regard to whether those matters are considered negotiable subjects of bargaining.  Finally, the order requires the heads of executive departments and agencies to consult with unions and evaluate changes in employee and manager satisfaction and organizational performance resulting from the establishment of labor-management forums.

During the 110th Congress, Senator Akaka introduced the Federal Labor-Management Partnership Act of 2007 (S. 2197) to establish partnerships between labor and management in the Federal Government.  Similar to today’s Executive Order, Senator Akaka’s bill would have established a Federal Labor Management Partnership Council to advise the President on labor-management relations issues in the executive branch and created labor-management partnerships at the agency level. It would have also required agencies to negotiate with federal employee unions, at the unions’ request, over “permissive subjects of bargaining.”

Under the President’s order, The National Council on Federal Labor Relations will be co-chaired by the Director of the Office of Personnel Management and the Deputy Director for Management of the Office of Management and Budget and will be composed of the following: Chair, Federal Labor Relations Authority; President, American Federation of Government Employees; President, National Federation of Federal Employees; President, National Treasury Employees Union; President, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers; The heads of three other labor unions that represent federal employees and are not otherwise represented on the Council; President, Senior Executives Association; President, Federal Managers Association; and a deputy Secretary or other officer with department- or agency-wide authority from each of five executive departments or agencies not otherwise represented on the Council.