Agencies get green light to try expanding collective bargaining topics

The National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations on Monday gave federal agencies the go-ahead to develop plans for implementing pilot programs expanding union bargaining.

During its monthly meeting, the council approved a working group report that asks participating agencies to submit within 45 days proposals for programs to test bargaining over issues not normally subject to negotiation in the federal sector. These so-called (b)(1) bargaining issues include the number and qualifications of employees assigned to work on projects, the technology involved and the work methods. Once the strategies have been approved, agencies will have 120 days to plan, organize and train pilot personnel. They are to start the test runs no later than November.

The working group, which had 21 representatives from labor and management, developed criteria for the pilot programs. Each will cover at least 500 bargaining unit employees or involve a "significant agency process." The working group divided (b)(1) issues into two groups. The first includes numbers, types and grades of employees or positions assigned to any organizational subdivision, work project or tour of duty; the second includes technology, and methods or means of performing work. The pilot programs must cover at least one issue from each category and one from both categories.

Several council members expressed concern these narrow programs would fail to offer a full picture of how expanding bargaining to include all (b)(1) issues would affect agencies and unions.

"I believe that pilots which bargain over one category here, one category there, are not additive to simulate the totality of the experience of bargaining over the full range of issues," said Carol A. Bonosaro, president of the Senior Executives Association. "I'm concerned it could result in actually having no pilot which bargains over the full range of issues."

Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry assured the council OPM's pilot will cover all the issues.

Scott Gould, who served on the working group and presented its report to the council, said the group was very focused on ensuring that everyone who will be negotiating (b)(1) subjects under the pilot programs -- managers, supervisors, union representatives and members of the labor-management forums -- receives joint training.

"This is a key element," Gould said. "We believe the pilots are more likely to be successful if it is the case that we train and train well and train together."

The working group suggested the Federal Labor Relations Authority help with training.

Discussion about the pilot programs was extensive, but Jeffrey Zients, deputy director for management and chief performance officer at the Office of Management and Budget, urged members not to get bogged down in the details.

"We could fall into a little bit of a trap of the perfect being the enemy of the good here if we don't get going," Zients said.

The council will have agencies' pilot plans by September, and will meet at that time to discuss and approve them.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.