Query: Is Labor one of the delinquent agencies?
Federal unions decry agencies' failure to develop labor partnerships
By Emily Long firstname.lastname@example.org July 20, 2011
The failure of federal agencies to set up partnerships with employee groups aggravated union leaders Wednesday at the monthly meeting of the government's council on labor-management relations.
Just 38 of 51 agencies have submitted reports, which were due March 31, on the measurements they plan to use as a baseline to track the success of labor-management forums and bargaining pilots, according to federal officials at the meeting.
The National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations was created through a 2009 executive order calling for better cooperation between federal labor, unions and management. The order tasked the new group with helping to develop partnerships and metrics for evaluating their progress.
"It's outrageous that you've got this many agencies that are totally disregarding the presidential order," said David Holway, national president of the National Association of Government Employees. "It shows disrespect. Somebody has to pay attention to this process, fire somebody, replace somebody, do something . . . that's the only way you can get these agencies on board, is if you see somebody's head roll."
Union representatives' frustration was similar to that raised at the council's June meeting, when labor leaders alleged agencies were making only a minimal effort to develop forums in a timely manner.
According to Tim Curry, deputy association director for partnership and labor relations at the Office of Personnel Management, some noncompliant agencies have focused their efforts on negotiating new collective bargaining agreements, while others have reached an impasse over which metrics are appropriate. OPM has tried to move the process forward by following up with additional guidance, he said.
Labor leaders requested that delinquent agencies be brought before the council to explain the delay in developing metrics. OPM Director John Berry agreed to send members a list of noncompliant agencies and ask representatives from those organizations to attend the September meeting.
Officials also reported progress on efforts to improve the government's performance management system. Council members have been meeting with chief human capital officers to determine how to train front-line managers, incorporate informal feedback and tie organizational performance with individual employee performance, said OPM Deputy Chief of Staff Justin Johnson. The working group will present recommendations to the council in September.
But John Gage, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, called the discussion "nonsense."
"A lot of money is going down the tube and I don't think they're going to come up with anything better," Gage told reporters after the meeting. "This is not a motivator, it's a morale killer . . . it's going to be subjective no matter what. Let's just admit it."
The council's next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 21.
[submitted by L12 Steward]