OPM has told agencies to expand the opportunities unions have to communicate with employees, building on earlier instructions to inform job candidates and newly hired employees information about union rights that come with a position, including having union representatives present at new employee orientation.
The memo, issued along with two issued at the same time regarding union organizing and dues withholding (see related story), says that agencies are “strongly encouraged to implement the following actions at the earliest opportunity”:
· “Engage the union(s) to provide union access to bulletin boards in agency space and/or agency website/intranet site to post information about the union including representatives’ contact information.
· “Review and revise policies that restrict the ability of unions and/or bargaining unit employees from soliciting membership and disseminating educational materials, such as desk drops, during non-duty time.
· “Provide union officials periodic listing of the names of bargaining unit employees along with their work email address and assigned organization.
· “Allow local union officials to communicate with bargaining unit employees via agency email during non-duty time.
· “Provide the union(s) an opportunity to be part of new bargaining unit employee orientation process (if not already doing so).
· “Provide the union(s) periodic opportunities to be part of any employee town hall event where the union(s) can remind bargaining unit employees regarding their rights as bargaining unit employees and provide information on contacting the union.”
An accompanying question-and-answer document adds that the bulletin board policy should not be limited to physical boards but also should apply to agency intranets and other internal means of sharing information. An agency however “can establish publication standards that outline the requirements for what is allowed to be posted on bulletin boards.”
Unions further may distribute physical literature in the workplace—so-called “desk drops”—so long as it is done during non-work time, it adds.