Federal Manager's Daily Report

The National Council on Federal-Labor Management Relations, the main Obama administration initiative regarding federal unions, has been in limbo in the early period of the Trump administration.

The council, which met roughly every other month under Obama, has not met since November and has no future meetings scheduled. However, neither has it been abolished–a step that many in the labor-management field had expected the Trump White House to take quickly, since the George W. Bush administration early on abolished a similar Clinton administration-created council.

The current council was designed, as was its predecessor, 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. It also sought to give 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.

It also recommended that agencies be required to “invest in appropriate training” to carry out Obama’s order, and that local cooperative forums “receive the resources needed to facilitate the collaborative process.”