Nine agencies honored for labor-management partnerships

The Clinton administration's National Partnership Council honored nine federal agencies and employee unions last week for creating innovative labor-management partnerships.

The agencies and unions received the John N. Sturdivant National Partnership Award, which was created in 1995 to recognize labor-management partnerships in the executive branch that have increased union involvement in agency decision-making. Agencies were required to establish partnership councils under Executive Order 12871, issued by President Clinton in 1993. Partnerships at the agency, regional and local levels were eligible for the awards.

At the awards ceremony, the National Partnership Council credited labor-management partnerships with improving productivity and enhancing operations at a number of agencies. For example, the council said, progress in the tax systems modernization effort at the IRS can be "attributed in large part to the expertise and input of front-line employees serving on cross-functional teams." The IRS has worked with the National Treasury Employees Union on the modernization effort since 1998.

The following partnerships received awards:

  • Crane Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Department of the Navy and American Federation of Government Employees Local 1415.
  • IRS/National Treasury Employees Union Modernization Partnership. San Francisco Mint and AFGE Local 51.
  • The Birmingham District Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and AFGE EEOC Local 3599.
Five additional partnerships received honorable mention citations:
  • Charleston Air Force Base, 437th and 315th Airlift Wings, U.S. Air Force and AFGE Local 1869.
  • Defense Contract Management Agency/Lockheed Martin Federal Systems-Owego and National Association of Government Employees Local R2-56.
  • Federal Railroad Administration and AFGE Local 2814.
  • Palo Alto Health Care System, Department of Veterans Affairs and AFGE Locals 2110 and 1620.
  • South Texas Veterans Health Care System, Department of Veterans Affairs, and AFGE Locals 2281, 3511 and 4032.
The creation of successful labor-management partnerships has proved challenging for unions and management at some agencies. In October 1999, President Clinton issued a memorandum requesting each agency to report on its efforts to improve labor-management relations. Some agencies, such as the Immigration and Naturalization Service, had to submit two reports because labor and management could not agree on the status of their partnership.

The National Partnership Awards Committee evaluated labor-management partnerships according to four criteria: contribution to their agencies' mission; effectiveness in achieving their goals; success in incorporating all employees into the agency's decision-making process; and capacity to serve as a model for future partnerships. Partnership councils nominated themselves for the awards.

The National Partnership Council has honored 45 partnerships since 1995. In 1998, the award was renamed in honor of the late John Sturdivant, longtime president of the American Federation of Government Employees.

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