National labor-management council spars over telework

Despite a lively -- and at times tense -- discussion on Wednesday, the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations failed to reach a consensus on the charter for its recently established telework working group.

In her report on the group's first conference call, council member Patricia Niehaus, national president of the Federal Managers Association, said some participants thought the group was created to explore ways to implement a mobile workday for federal employees in the event of a terrorist attack or natural disaster. Others thought the group ought to work toward a broad, governmentwide telework policy.

"We kept coming back to the same thing," Niehaus said.

Differences of opinion within the working group spilled over into a discussion among members of the entire council.

Co-chairman Jeffrey Zients, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget and federal chief performance officer, said the Obama administration is developing a governmentwide telework policy. When asked about OMB's progress doing so, Zients said, "There have been discussions. It's engaged." But he added, "I don't think it's imminent."

Zients, who voiced concerns about the working group in September, questioned whether the group is necessary before a broader telework policy is unveiled.

John Gage, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, fired back, reminding the council that a number of union contracts involving telework date back to the 1990s. He said examining a mobile workday only in the event of a snowstorm would be insulting. "If you can work from home on a snow day, you can work from home on a beautiful day in July," he said. "We're half-stepping the issue.

"Telework has to come through this group," he added. "Period."

Meanwhile, the council did reach a consensus on guidance to advise agency labor-management forums on evaluating success of the partnerships. The document will be posted soon on the council's website and sent to agency forums.

The council also voted unanimously to approve an implementation plan for the labor-management forum at the Social Security Administration. Both sides are ready to move forward, reported council co-chairman John Berry, director of the Office of Personnel Management.

Berry still is working on a letter to be sent to agency labor-management forums with guidance on engaging employees or their union representatives ahead of time in decisions that affect their daily work, known as "predecisional involvement."

The National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations was created through a 2009 executive order. Its next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 1.

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
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

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