Fedweek

Federal employee organizations have said they expect relations to improve with a Biden White House compared with those they have had with the Trump White House, especially in the area of labor-management relations.

The AFGE union said it is looking forward to restoring “the public’s faith in the apolitical civil service” while the NTEU union cited the Biden-Harris ticket’s “proven record of respecting the nation’s public servants and their support for fair pay and benefits and robust workplace rights.” The NARFE organization, which is not a union, said it “looks forward to partnering with the White House, representatives and senators to defend and advance the earned pay and benefits of America’s current and retired civil servants.”

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The unions are eager for a quick repeal of the two 2018 Trump administration executive orders telling agencies to restrict the scope of negotiations and grievances and to limit official time for employees with union duties, along with other executive orders on disciplinary policies and procedures, training, and appeal rights for employees involved in policy-related matters.

Unions also are looking toward potential restoration of Obama administration initiatives in labor relations, including local cooperative forums and a policy of requiring agencies to bargain over matters that are negotiable at management’s discretion under labor law. Similar initiatives were launched by the Clinton administration then canceled by the Bush administration, then relaunched by the Obama administration only to be canceled again by the Trump administration.

There already has been a resolution in one area of the highest conflict during the Trump administration, the plan to break up OPM, sending its operating functions to the GSA and its policy functions to the OMB. OPM recently told its employees that it was dropping that idea.

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