President Trump has dissolved the National Council on Federal-Labor Management Relations and its spin-off local “forums,” a main Obama administration initiative regarding federal unions.
The council, which met roughly every other month under Obama, had not met since last November and many in the labor-management field had expected the Trump White House to abolish it even sooner than this–the George W. Bush administration very early on did the same to a similar Clinton administration-created council.
Both were designed to encourage cooperation between management and labor with the goal of heading off formal conflicts that often are lengthy, bitter and costly for both sides. The Obama effort also focused on giving unions a greater role in agency policies in their developmental stages–“pre-decisional involvement,” or PDI–for the same reason.
At its last meeting under Obama, the council issued a report essentially arguing for its own continuation. It called PDI a “useful way to obtain employee input through their labor representatives on many agency matters” and touted its own role in “establishing measurable goals and assessing progress as well as its record in “promotion of collaborative success stories and effective tools” in labor-management cooperation.
However, Trump’s order said the national council “and related agency-level labor-management forums 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 added that abolishing the council and forums does not affect negotiated contracts.