Flickr user DonkeyHotey

Trump Disbands Labor-Management Forums at Federal Agencies

President says collaborative efforts “have produced few benefits to the public.”

President Trump issued an order Friday disbanding labor-management forums at federal agencies that were created during the Obama administration.

Trump rescinded Executive Order 13522, issued in December 2009, which established a National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations and set up a mechanism for implementing department- and agency-level labor-management forums across government.

The council and the forums, Trump’s order stated, “have consumed considerable managerial time and taxpayer resources, but they have not fulfilled their goal of promoting collaboration in the federal workforce. Public expenditures on the council and related forums have produced few benefits to the public, and they should, therefore, be discontinued.”

The order does not change existing collective bargaining agreements in place at federal agencies.

Obama’s order stated that “a nonadversarial forum for managers, employees, and employees’ union representatives to discuss government operations will promote satisfactory labor relations and improve the productivity and effectiveness of the federal government.”

In the order, Obama encouraged federal managers to “discuss workplace challenges and problems with labor and endeavor to develop solutions jointly, rather than advise union representatives of predetermined solutions to problems and then engage in bargaining over the impact and implementation of the predetermined solutions.”

In October 2014, the Office of Personnel Management reported that labor-management forums had been created  at multiple levels of the federal government, from Cabinet departments to local field offices. “In many agencies,” the report concluded, “forums’ efforts are focusing on time- and cost-saving initiatives.”

For a full report on the status of federal labor unions in the Trump era, see Erich Wagner's State of the Unions feature.

Image: Flickr user DonkeyHotey