Federal Manager's Daily Report

On unions, the document states that “Agencies should make it as easy as possible for their employees to communicate with union representatives and, if the employees choose, to join or organize a union.

The section of the preliminary President’s Management Agenda from the Biden administration focusing on the federal workforce revisits several long-running issues while also re-emphasizing the administration’s initiatives on union involvement and diversity in the government workplace.

The document commits to “having a workforce—at every level—that looks like America. Being a model employer also includes evolving our workplaces and work practices to reflect the needs of our workforce today and tomorrow, including by ensuring that federal employees have a voice in their workplaces through their unions.”

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Like many studies before it, the PMA “vision” document cites issues including employee engagement levels that lag those of the private sector; the “extensive and complex hiring process, which can hamper efforts to recruit and onboard needed talent”; the “growing need for new skills sets across agencies”; and a workforce top-heavy in age, with 28 percent eligible to retire within five years.

Without going into detail—which officials said will come later—it says that “Agencies across the government must strive to reflect the commitment of their workforces by closely examining employee compensation packages, including rates of pay and pay equity, and identifying circumstances and policies to foster high-performance workplaces that represent all of America and create a culture of respect and belonging.”

It also references “evolving our workplaces and work practices to reflect the needs of our workforce today and tomorrow, including by ensuring that federal employees have a voice in their workplaces through their unions.”

The former reflects the ongoing reappraisal of work arrangements in light of the changes spurred by the pandemic. It mentions “utilizing expanded flexibilities in work arrangements, such as expanded telework and alternative work schedules and increased adoption of technology, such as cloud computing, collaboration tools, and automation” and “developing a new vision for how we use the Federal real estate footprint nationwide across agencies in response to shifts in both where Federal employees work and how they work in person together.”

Regarding unions, it states that “Agencies should make it as easy as possible for their employees to communicate with union representatives and, if the employees choose, to join or organize a union. The administration’s philosophy is that federal employee organizing is a good and productive workplace practice that it should facilitate. Managers and supervisors should remain neutral in all organizing campaigns, but also engage actively with their employees’ unions on matters of consequence in the workplace. Agencies should work with their employees’ unions to establish labor-management partnerships.”

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