Revised Labor Relations Executive Order Surfaces with Substantial Changes Dropping (B)(1) Bargaining Requirement

View this article online at and visit to sign up for free news updates
By on October 14, 2009 in Current Events with 0 Comments

A new version of the proposed executive order titled "Creating Labor-Management Forums to Improve Delivery of Government Services" is out for review and comment.  The new version has a couple of substantial changes from the old including elimination of the obligation to bargain permissive subjects contained in Clinton Order and previous versions of the Obama plan. You can see a comparison of the Clinton Order, the previous and new drafts of the proposed Obama order here.

Changes include:
  • Two year terms for the National Council on Federal Labor Relations’ members in line with the Clinton Order
  • Dropping the requirement to bargain in the permissive area (5 U.S.C. §7106(B)(1)) and replacing it with "several pilot programs within the Executive branch, described in Section 3 of this order, for bargaining over subjects set forth in 5 U.S.C. § 7106(b)(1)."
  • Encouraged "training of agency personnel in methods of dispute resolution and cooperative methods of labor-management relations".
  • Designation of OMB’s Director to co-chair with the Director of OPM. 
  • Added:

o "make a good faith attempt to resolve issues concerning proposed changes in conditions of employment, including those involving the subjects set forth in 5 U.S.C. § 7106(b)(1), through discussions in their labor-management forums".

o "Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect the authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals."

o "This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations." 

    • "This order is intended only to improve the internal management of the executive branch and is not intended to, and does not, create any right to administrative or judicial review, or any other right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person."    
  • Extended time limits for submitting, approving and implementing the Agency plans to make the terms of the Order effective.
What’s It All Mean?
There are some inferences that may be made from the new version:
  1. The White House has been tipped off that bargaining in the permissive area might not be the great idea the union’s claim. It failed under Clinton so why should it succeed under Obama?
  2. The White House is getting more sophisticated in how the government works, i.e., how long things take, what language needs to be used, etc.
  3. The White House may have figured out that the version offered by the unions wasn’t necessarily in its overall or broader interests.
  4. The White House has come to understand the complexity of messing with the civil service and wants to step lightly until all the implications are clear.
It’s a better Order. It’s more balanced and recognizes that many interests exist within and among Agencies. If one assumes that a debt was owed Federal unions (a matter of some doubt), this is a bow in that direction as opposed to groveling.
As always, my views are mine and do not reflect those I work with or for. By the way, the comparison chart is dedicated to Mark Roth who was kind enough to compliment the earlier one.



© 2018 Bob Gilson. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Bob Gilson.


About the Author

Bob Gilson is a consultant with a specialty in working with and training Federal agencies to resolve employee problems at all levels. A retired agency labor and employee relations director, Bob has authored or co-authored a number of books dealing with Federal issues and also conducts training seminars.