Fedweek

The Trump administration is continuing its push to carry out executive orders on labor-management and disciplinary matters, with the latest step being to launch a publicly searchable database of contracts and arbitration awards between agencies and unions.

The database initially contains some 800 collective bargaining agreements, or CBAs, and arbitrator awards, following earlier instructions from OPM to agencies to submit them under terms of the executive orders.

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“Public users to the CBA database will be able to sort and filter CBA entries by agency, union, or expiration date and run reports. In addition, public users will be able to search the contents of CBAs in the database using key terms and phrases,” OPM said.

Agencies are to submit new contracts within 30 days of their issuance and new arbitration awards are to be submitted within 10 days.

The initiative follows a series of memos issued last fall after a court injunction against key parts of the executive orders was lifted. Those memos pushed agencies to move quickly when considering and carrying out disciplinary actions and to use the maximum amount of discretion available to them when choosing a penalty — for example by ending the use of rigid penalty formulas (tables) or a commitment to using progressive discipline.

Separately, OPM has proposed to put into formal regulations many of the provisions of those orders, including that: in discipline based on alleged misconduct, an agency could impose any penalty “within the bounds of tolerable reasonableness”; conduct that justifies discipline of one employee at one time by a particular deciding official does not necessarily justify the same or similar disciplinary decision for a different employee at a different time; and an agency should consider an employee’s disciplinary record and past work record, including all prior misconduct.

The rules — which could be finalized at any time now that the comment period has expired — also would generally limit the period for the employee to respond to a disciplinary notice to the 30 days required by law and then take any action within another 15 days, and would limit opportunities for employees to improve before being subject to discipline for alleged poor performance.

Also, recently the EEOC proposed rules to bar union representatives from using official time to work on EEO complaints government-wide, which would reverse a practice in effect since the early 1970s.

Further, the FLRA proposed rules to speed up its processing of disputes between agencies and unions over what is negotiable, including deadlines for unions to request the FLRA’s intervention and for agencies to respond.

See also, Bargain Now and We’ll Decide Later, FLRA Tells Agencies