The VA has reverted to labor-management policies in effect before a series of restrictive executive orders by President Trump in 2018, in one of the first major actions by a federal agency to carry out President Biden’s executive order revoking those policies.
In a notice released by the AFGE union, the VA said it recognizes a contract between the two dating to 2011 as binding, meaning among other things that:
* “official time allocations shall be restored to levels established” in that contract and by local agreements on that topic;
* “the VA will no longer charge rent for union office space. Local facilities shall coordinate with the unions to either restore the same space they had or provide comparable space if they have repurposed the union’s offices for patient care and other mission-related needs”; and
* the VA will return to providing the union with access to equipment and IT as before, as well as parking spaces for union officials.
Biden issued his order in his early days in office and OPM in early March told agencies to “take a hard look” at whether any policies they imposed reflected policies set by the Trump orders, suspend them, and renegotiate contracts if necessary. Federal unions have been expressing frustration since then about agency compliance with that guidance.