President Biden has issued the latest in a series of pro-union executive orders which will have implications for labor-management relations inside the government as well as outside.
The order cites laws including the Federal Service Labor Management Relations Statute—part of the 1978 Civil Service Reform Act—supporting rights to organize and bargain collectively as contributing to “the effective conduct of public business” and encouraging “the amicable settlements of disputes between employees and their employers involving conditions of employment.”
“In the past few decades, the federal government has not used its full authority to promote and implement this policy of support for workers organizing unions and bargaining collectively with their employers,” says the order.
It creates an inter-agency task force to report within six months on executive branch policies, practices and programs that could be used to support “worker power, worker organizing, and collective bargaining” in the private sector and in federal, state and local governments. That is to include input from unions and agencies such as the FLRA “with responsibility for implementing laws concerning worker organizing and collective bargaining.”
“President Biden has promised to make the federal government a “model” unionized employer, one that shows by example that employers should encourage union organizing, and neither interfere with nor undermine their workers’ organizing and bargaining efforts,” the AFGE union said.
Biden earlier had canceled several Trump administration executive orders designed to restrict the scope of bargaining, set limits on amounts of official time to which agencies could agree, and end free use by unions of agency office space and equipment, among other changes.
Biden however has not acted on another priority for federal unions, reinstating labor-management cooperative forums of the sort created by the Clinton and Obama administrations but canceled each time by their successors.