Federal Manager's Daily Report

Eight months into the Trump administration, no action has been taken regarding the Obama administration’s signature program in federal labor relations, the National Council on Federal-Labor Management Relations.

The council was intended 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.

However, after meeting about every other month under the Obama administration, the council has not met since last November, when it issued a report essentially touting itself and recommending that it be continued.

The Bush administration had quickly repealed a similar program established by the Clinton administration.

So far the Trump team has taken no action, with one possible contributing factor the continuing lack of a confirmed OPM director. With the withdrawal of nominee George Nesterczuk, it may be a number of months more before that position is filled.

However, at this point another option is emerging–simply letting the council sunset. Under the last of a series of Obama executive orders on the council, it will expire September 30 unless renewed. Agency-level or local-level cooperative forums could continue under that scenario, but they would not have the force of an executive order and a White House-convened council behind them.