slide1 l.
Skip this Video
Loading SlideShow in 5 Seconds..
Labor-Management Relations… …Back to the Future? Reno, Nevada October 27, 2010 John R. Obst Vice President Nation PowerPoint Presentation
Download Presentation
Labor-Management Relations… …Back to the Future? Reno, Nevada October 27, 2010 John R. Obst Vice President Nation

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 114

Labor-Management Relations… …Back to the Future? Reno, Nevada October 27, 2010 John R. Obst Vice President Nation - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

Labor-Management Relations… …Back to the Future? Reno, Nevada October 27, 2010 John R. Obst Vice President National Federation of Federal Employees. Where we’re headed this morning:. Some Neuroscience A Little History Employee Surveys, Surveys, Surveys, Surveys

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

Labor-Management Relations… …Back to the Future? Reno, Nevada October 27, 2010 John R. Obst Vice President Nation

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript

Labor-Management Relations…

…Back to the Future?

Reno, Nevada October 27, 2010

John R. Obst

Vice President

National Federation of Federal Employees

where we re headed this morning
Where we’re headed this morning:
  • Some Neuroscience
  • A Little History
  • Employee Surveys, Surveys, Surveys, Surveys

…. All Leading to “The Challenge”


“I love to learn,

but I hate to be taught.”

-Winston Churchill

synonyms of teach
Synonyms of Teach

Coach, inform, enlighten, discipline, drill, school, indoctrinate.

Many see being taught as

someone trying to change them.


“I love to learn,

but I hate to be taught.”

Being changed by others is usually perceived as a threat.

- David Rock

(Your Brain at Work)

neuroplasticity means old er dogs can learn new tricks
Neuroplasticity means old(er) dogs can learn new tricks.

Neuroplasticity: The brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life.

Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations.

count every f in the following text
Count every ' F ' in the following text:



How many did you find?


(the most frequent answer)


(the second most frequent answer)


(the correct answer)

count every f in the following text10
Count every ' F ' in the following text:




Our brains not only do things for us….

….they do things to us.

For most of us, our brains – even though instructed to count ALL the f’s – missed those in “of” because our brains decided the word “of” simply wasn’t important.

an oh so meaningful bumper sticker
An oh-so-meaningful Bumper Sticker:

“Don’t believe what you think.”

a little labor history
A Little Labor History….

What were things like in the past?

  • As “recently” as the late 19th Century, federal working conditions were extremely unhealthy, dangerous, and dismal.
  • Buildings were dank, dark, crowded, and unventilated.
  • Typhoid and other diseases from unsanitary environments took their toll.
  • Numerous deaths and injuries occurred in the workplace.
history of federal employment
History of federal employment…
  • Pay was poor.
  • Federal employees were required to work up to 18 hrs/day without overtime pay.
  • Employees had to work Saturdays and every other Sunday without additional compensation.
finally federal employees banded together to address their concerns
Finally, federal employees banded together to address their concerns.

But, the federal government fought to stop unionization:

Employees were told that Unions weren’t for them, that federal employees were:

- ”professional civil servants” and “white collar government officials;”

– that they were above the mere laborers who belonged to Unions;

Mgmt said it would be demeaning for federal employees to join a Union.

anti union action by government
Anti-Union action by government:
  • In 1895, the Postmaster General forbid postal employees from talking to Senators and Legislators about pay, benefits, and working conditions.
  • If they did, the penalty was REMOVAL.
but the labor movement continued
But the labor movement continued:
  • In 1900, the first federal local (8703) affiliated with the American Federation of Labor (Chicago postal clerks).
  • The fight was on for 8 hour days, better pay, and safe working conditions.
and the government fought back
And the government fought back:
  • In 1902, President Teddy Roosevelt signed an Executive Order denying basic constitutional rights to federal employees.
  • This E.O. forbid federal employees from talking to Congress about higher wages and forbid employees to try to influence any legislation. (Penalty was REMOVAL).
  • In 1909, President Taft forbid workers from answering any questions posed by Congress regarding their working conditions (the “gag rule”).
legislative advances backed by unions
Legislative Advances Backed by Unions:
  • 1912: Lloyd-LaFollette Act rescinded previous gag rules; establishes the rights of federal workers to form Unions.
  • 1916: First Federal Employees Compensation Act.
  • 1920: Civil Service Retirement Act (retire at 65).
  • 1935: Wagner Act established collective bargaining for most workers…

…BUT, federal employees were EXCLUDED.


1962: Kennedy signs E.O. 10988.

- gave Unions the right to negotiate with management concerning working conditions, promotion standards, grievance procedures, safety and other matters, BUT not over pay and benefits.

- However, no binding arbitration or impasse procedures; mgmt had the final word.


Through the power of organizing, Federal Unions were responsible for improved working conditions and benefits and the legal right to collective bargaining – often by working directly with Presidential Administrations and Congress.

  • Congress specifically declared labor organizations and collective bargaining in the federal government to be "in the public interest”.
civil service reform act of 1978
Civil Service Reform Act of 1978
  • Also known as the Federal Labor Relations Statute (codified as Title 5 of the United States Code Chapter 71).
  • The Labor Statute legally defined employee, union, and management rights.
  • The Labor Statute authorized Collective Bargaining Agreements and required grievance and arbitration processes.*
  • The Labor Statute established an impasse procedure.*

*With the final decision made by a third party.


The Labor Statute provided the legal basis for employees to have a voice in their workplace.

  • However, in some federal agencies labor relations were often strained, while in many others labor relations were, at best, acrimonious.
  • Labor relations could, perhaps, be described as a power struggle – aka the Top Dog (or Alpha Dog) syndrome.
clinton partnership executive order
Clinton Partnership Executive Order

The involvement of Federal Government employees and their union representatives is essential to achieving the National Performance Review’s Government reform objectives. Only by changing the nature of Federal labor management relations so that managers, employees, and employees’ elected union representatives serve as partners will it be possible to design and implement comprehensive changes necessary to reform Government.

E.O. 12871 (1993)

many saw this e o as the future of labor relations
Many saw this E.O. as the future of labor relations.

In promoting Partnership and improved labor relations, the Clinton Administration was a champion for:

1.) Pre-Decisional Involvement,

2.) Interest-Based Problem Solving, and

3.) Consensus Decision-Making.

These were major steps in increasing employee involvement in workplace decisions.

1 pre decisional involvement
1.) Pre-Decisional Involvement

Joseph Swerdzewski, past FLRA General Counsel:

  • Predecisonal-Involvement - “those activities where employees through their elected exclusive representative are afforded by agency management the opportunity to shape decisions in the workplace which impact on the work the employees perform.”
  • “The cornerstone of Executive Order 12871.”
2 interest based problem solving
2.) Interest-Based Problem Solving

Interest-based problem solving focuses on the interests that underlie issues, promotes creativity in proposing solutions, and encourages the use of objective standards in evaluating those solutions.

The participants become problem solvers, working together to develop options and solutions that satisfy the interests of all parties.

2 interest based problem solving28
2.) Interest-Based Problem Solving

In English:

The focus is on what’s right, not who’s right.

While the Interest-Based process is not difficult or complex, the Parties must be trained in its use and application – and share the commitment to use it.

3 consensus decision making
3.) Consensus Decision-Making

A group process that not only seeks the agreement of the participants, but also the resolution or mitigation of minority objections. - Wiki

The philosophy is: “I can live with this decision,” and “I will support its implementation.”

successful partnerships had two major obstacles among others to overcome
Successful Partnerships had two major obstacles, among others, to overcome.

1. Many managers/supervisors never understood the real value in doing it…and therefore, made no commitment to do it right.

2. Management rights were a sticking point.

Particularly 7106 (b)(1) permissive rights. While the E.O. told mgmt “do it”, they didn’t. So that gave the Unions something else to fight over.

permissive management rights 5 u s c 7106 b 1
“Permissive” Management Rights5 U.S.C. 7106(b)(1)
  • Numbers, types, and grades of employees or positions assigned to any organizational subdivision, work project or tour of duty
  • Technology, methods and means of performing work.

By law, these subjects may be bargained

with the Union

if the agency so decides.

g w bush
G.W. Bush
  • January 20, 2001: Inauguration.
  • February 16, 2001, Friday: Pledges to President Vincente Fox that the U.S. wants to “partner” with Mexico.
  • February 17, 2001, Saturday: Cancels National Partnership Council, revokes Clinton’s Partnership Executive Order.
  • February 19, 2001, Monday: Commemorates the deaths of federal employees at the opening of the Oklahoma City Memorial.
Top ten list of things that G.W. Bush did to improve labor relations and employee involvement/engagement:

1. 6.

2. 7.

3. 8.

4. 9.

5. 10.


Of course, Bush’s Competitive Sourcing initiative did have a GREAT effect on employee morale.

But, in the wrong direction.

if bush did away with partnership how did it survive in the f s
If Bush did away with Partnership, how did it survive in the F.S.?
  • Foreseeing the Bush anti-employee agenda, and facing an expiring Master Agreement, Chief Mike Dombeck and I, as NFFE-FSC President, signed a contract extending Partnership for three years in the FS (December, 2000).

Labor management contracts cannot be overturned by Executive Order (only by law).

  • When the Master Agreement was renegotiated, the Parties included Partnership!!
which brings us to
Which brings us to…

Obama’s Executive Order:

“Creating Labor-Management Forums To Improve Delivery of Government Services”

- December 9, 2009

what parents and schools hopefully try to teach
What Parents and Schools (hopefully) try to teach:
  • Don’t be unduly influenced by peers.
  • Ask questions.
  • Analyze the facts.
  • Think! Be aware of consequences.
  • Do the right thing for the right reasons.
  • If things change, re-evaluate decisions.
what many organizations tell their new and experienced employees
What many organizations tell their new (and experienced) employees:
  • Leave your brain at the doorstep.
  • We’re paying you to work, not think.
an aside scientific management frederick winslow taylor 1856 1915
An aside: Scientific ManagementFrederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915)
  • Peter Drucker stated that F.W. Taylor’s effect on the modern world ranked with that of Sigmund Freud and Charles Darwin.
  • Taylor pioneered time and motion studies.
  • Taylor applied “scientific management” to human work and acquired an international following and reputation.
  • Many organizations today are still greatly influenced by “Taylorism”.

- Charles S. Jacobs (Management Rewired)

  • Taylor believed that he was the working man’s savior, creating a new age of cooperation between managers and employees.
  • But Taylor’s approach was to lay out the work for employees and they were required to precisely follow that process.
  • Samuel Gompers (AFL) said Taylor reduced workers to no more than a cog in a machine.

- Charles S. Jacobs


At one point Taylor said,

“I care not a whit for the

thinking of the working man.”

- Charles S. Jacobs

what many organizations tell their employees
What many organizations tell their employees:
  • Leave your brain at the doorstep.
  • We’re paying you to work, not think.
  • No questions.
  • Don’t challenge authority.
so what is it that employees want
So what is it that employees want?

The basics, of course, such as:

- meaningful work;

- good pay;

- safe and healthy workplace;

- health insurance;

- sick and annual leave;

- pleasant working conditions.

but beyond the basics what else do employees want
But, beyond the basics, what else do employees want?

Employees want more influence, or say, in workplace decisions. Employees have brains, they want to use them, and be heard.

This unsatisfied desire for influence pervades labor-management relations.

- Freeman & Rogers

(What Workers Want)

percentage of workers and their desire for influence in workplace decisions
Percentage of Workers and Their Desire for Influence in Workplace Decisions












- Freeman & Rogers

the bottleneck to increase influence management resistance
The Bottleneck to Increase Influence: Management Resistance

Why don’t workers have the influence they want?

Most employees believe that management will not voluntarily give them more voice and representation than they currently have.

Most employees believe that management will resist employee attempts to establish the one form of independent workplace organization nominally encouraged by labor law – Unions.

- Freeman & Rogers

mgmt s willingness to share power and authority as seen by employees
Mgmt’s Willingness to Share Powerand Authority (As Seen By Employees)









- Freeman & Rogers

managers verify employee s beliefs
Managers verify employee’s beliefs:
  • Majority of managers said they oppose unionization efforts.
  • One-third said that it would hurt their advancement if workers unionized.
  • Three-fourths said they would rather deal with individual employees and only 14% said they prefer dealing with workers as a group.
  • Fifty-five percent want to maintain the final decision making power in cases of dispute.

It is clear from survey results that employees want a say in decisions that affect them in the workplace.

What do results from “brain science” tell us?

some experts
Some Experts
  • Management Rewired – Why Feedback Doesn’t Work and Other Surprising Lessons from the Latest Brain Science (Charles S. Jacobs)
  • The Brain Advantage – Become a More Effective Business Leader Using the Latest Brain Research (M.L. Van Hecke, L.P. Callahan, B. Kolar and K.A. Paller)
  • Your Brain at Work – Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long (David Rock)
some experts continued
Some Experts continued
  • The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain. The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Brain. (Barbara Strauch) (Middle-age = 40 to 70)


Not neuroscience, but a probe of workers’ thoughts:

  • What Workers Want. (R.B. Freeman & J. Rogers)
brain science and employee involvement
Brain Science and Employee Involvement

Five domains of social experience (SCARF) that your brain treats the same as survival issues:



 Away (Threat) AutonomyToward (Reward)



- David Rock


“An increase in status is one of the world’s greatest feelings.”

  • Dopamine and serotonin levels increase (makes you feel happier).
  • Cortisol level goes down (less stress).
  • Testosterone level goes up (feel stronger, more confident, become more focused).

- David Rock


- significant driver of behavior at work;

- much attention is paid to protecting and building status;

- “status scale” is not fixed; there are virtually infinite ways of feeling better than others;

- playing against yourself increases your status with less threat to others. - David Rock

how did scarf fare under partnerships
How did SCARF fare under Partnerships?
  • Immediately upon being called a “partner”, many employees and Union officials felt their status significantly increased.
  • Immediately upon being called a “partner”, many supervisors and managers felt their status significantly decreased.
status certainty autonomy relatedness fairness
Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, Fairness

In general, Partnership rewarded employee SCARF, but threatened management SCARF.

Because managers held the power, and many felt threatened by Partnership, the Partnership ideal was infrequently met.

Based on “brain science” this is understandable.

how to get something done
How to get something done.
  • Using management’s right to assign work, the direct approach of simply ordering an employee to do something is best.


Not according to brain science (or common sense!).

don t tell ask
Don’t Tell, Ask!
  • Good managers don’t tell, they ask.
good managers don t tell they ask
Good managers don’t tell, they ask.
  • Don’t tell employees what to do.
  • It will backfire.
  • Neuroscience shows us that trying to control human beings doesn’t work well; people like to make their own choices and resent intrusion.

- Charles S. Jacobs

aside why health care reform was not popular
Aside: Why Health Care Reform Was Not Popular

“People do not like someone else telling them what is best for them (even if it may be true).”

- Thomas Frank

(What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America)

good managers ask
Good managers ask.
  • In the Clinton era, Unions could choose to enter into Partnerships.
  • The Clinton E.O. required agencies to form Partnership Councils if their Union wanted to.
  • Clinton elected, on behalf of the agencies, to negotiate permissive subjects ((b)(1) rights).

Was Clinton a good manager by this definition? Any surprise that many agency managers resisted Partnership?


Okay, we’ve glanced at labor history, we’ve seen the rise and fall of Partnership, we’ve seen that employees want to be involved in workplace decisions and we’ve seen brain science can explain some of what happened.

But, if employee involvement (with or without Partnership/L-M Forums) is such a big deal,

how come no one is talking about it?

but they are
But, “they” are!
  • A Google search on “employee involvement” resulted in 267,000 hits.
  • “Employee involvement in decision making” brings 73,900 hits.

The “they” who are doing the talking often are successful organizations – and those looking to become the best.

employee involvement what i wish i knew 20 years ago peter grazier team builders plus
Employee Involvement... What I Wish I Knew 20 Years AgoPeter Grazier (Team Builders Plus)
  • Everyone has something to contribute…and will if the environment is right.
  • The human element of performance is more important than the technical element.
  • Most decisions can be significantly improved through collaboration.
employee involvement what i wish i knew 20 years ago peter grazier continued
Employee Involvement... What I Wish I Knew 20 Years AgoPeter Grazier Continued
  • People Need Good Leaders - Good Leaders Build Trust, a Higher Sense of Mission, and a Sense of Worth.
  • Employee Involvement is NOT a Program, but Rather a Leadership Philosophy.

Many are convinced that employee involvement in decision-making is good for the success of organizations.

  • If that’s the case, why doesn’t the Federal Government say that too?
  • Ah… but it does!

“Managing for Engagement –

Communication, Connection, and Courage”

Merit Systems Protection Board study, July, 2009.


managing for engagement communication connection and courage
“Managing for Engagement – Communication, Connection, and Courage”

“If Federal employees are to invest their best efforts in serving the public, then they must be fully engaged in their work. This report focuses on how leaders can drive employee engagement and increase high performance through hands-on performance management; i.e., the concrete actions leaders from first-line supervisors to executives can take to facilitate the motivation and commitment of their employees.”


With surprising consistency, research shows that 20 to 30 percent of North American workers are engaged in their work.

About 50 percent of workers admit they perform only the minimum needed to retain their jobs.


- Studies have consistently found that almost all workers are engaged when they begin a job but the proportion of engaged employees decreases dramatically thereafter.

- Six months after joining an organization, fewer than 40 percent say they are engaged.

- The longer employees work in an organization, the more engagement decreases until only 20 percent are engaged after 10 years of service.

managing for engagement communication connection and courage72
“Managing for Engagement – Communication, Connection, and Courage”

“Our research indicates that employee engagement is higher in agencies in which senior leaders build trust with employees by aligning their words and actions, communicating openly and frequently with employees, and treating employees as valued business partners.”


employees want to be more involved in their organizations mspb
Employees want to be more involved in their organizations - MSPB

Half of the survey participants are unsatisfied with their involvement in decisions that affect their work.

  • When employees are not involved in work decisions that directly affect them, they often feel powerless and their commitment to work may decrease.
  • They may also feel that their ideas are not respected or valued.
  • By not involving employees in these decisions, leaders are not taking advantage of employees’ knowledge.
  • In 2005, only 54 percent of employees reported that their opinions count at work, the same percentage as in 1996.
  • If employee input is not used, employees conclude their ideas are not valued and leadership is not concerned with their perspectives.
  • If survey data are not properly used, taxpayers are not recouping their investment in employee surveys through improved productivity.

Nonsupervisory Employees − Information from surveys and other forms of employee input is used to make improvements in my organization. - MSPB

mspb recommendation for better employee involvement
MSPB Recommendation for better Employee Involvement
  • Employee engagement can be facilitated by empowering employees to participate in the organization as partners with management.
an important aside
An Important Aside
  • Because the law gives certain rights to the exclusive representative (the Union), if management takes employee involvement actions, it will often have to do so through the Union.
  • This is not a bad thing. The Union will speak with one voice on behalf of employees.

(Unionists note: this places a huge responsibility on you to properly represent the Bargaining Unit.)


OPM Employee Viewpoint Survey 2010

opm employee survey 2010
OPM Employee Survey 2010

(41) I believe the results of this survey will be used to make my agency a better place to work.

Strongly agree/agree

Govt-wide 44.5%

USDA 40.1%

opm employee survey 201081
OPM Employee Survey 2010

(51) I have trust and confidence in my supervisor.

Strongly agree/agree

2010 2006

Govt-wide 66.5% 63.8%

USDA 65.7% 64.7%

opm employee survey 201082
OPM Employee Survey 2010

(53) In my organization, leaders generate high levels of motivation and commitment in the workforce.

Strongly agree/agree

2010 2006

Govt-wide 44.4% 38.2%

USDA 36.2% 34.4%

opm employee survey 201083
OPM Employee Survey 2010

(30) Employees have a feeling of personal empowerment with respect to work processes.

Strongly agree/agree

2010 2006

Govt-wide 47.6% 43.2%

USDA 41.0% 42.6%


While a rather bleak picture has been painted for employee involvement in many organizations and the federal government, surely the Forest Service does much better?

Let’s take a closer at yet another survey….

best places to work in the federal government 2009
“Best Places to Work in the Federal Government 2009”

The most comprehensive and authoritative rating of employee satisfaction and commitment in the federal government.

Produced by the Partnership for Public Service and American University’s Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation (PPS & ISPPI).

the big picture 2009
The Big Picture - 2009

Research consistently shows that increases in employee engagement lead directly to improvements in organizational performance. An engaged employee is satisfied with her job and organization; derives a sense of personal accomplishment from her work; believes that her talents are used well and that she is given the chance to develop professionally; and feels encouraged to innovate.


the big picture 2010
The Big Picture - 2010

It may be tempting to shrug off efforts to ensure that employees are satisfied with their jobs and their federal agencies, but such satisfaction drives employee engagement and ultimately leads to improvements in organizational performance.

That’s why it is important to invest in the federal workforce and pay attention to employee viewpoints.



PPS & ISPPI surveys employees in hundreds of federal activities: departments, agencies, and agency subcomponents.

And the results….

2010 rankings of agency subcomponents
2010 Rankings of Agency “subcomponents”

Rank Agency Index Score Change from 2009

1 Environment &N.R. DOJ 86.7 3.8%


3 OIG-Treasury 85.0 23.3%


7 Goddard (NASA) 79.5 6.8%


203TForest Service56.35.6%


224 Office of Postsecondary Ed. 32.9 -16.4%


Area FS Rank 2010

Employee Skills/Mission Match 186  of  223

Strategic Management 218  

Teamwork 162   DOJ

Effective Leadership 200   FS E&NR

Effective Leadership – Empowerment 205   (41.5)(75.8)

Effective Leadership - Fairness 150  

Effective Leadership - Leaders 217   (37.7)(78.8)

Effective Leadership - Supervisors 151   (63.1)(79.2)

Performance Rewards/Advancement 190  

Training and Development 138  

Support for Diversity 107  

Pay 170  

Family Friendly Culture and Benefits 88  

Work/Life Balance 210  

leadership remains key driver
“Leadership Remains Key Driver”

“For the fourth time in a row, the primary driver of job satisfaction in the federal space is effective leadership.

While this finding is no surprise, the reasons behind it are. In a first, the Best Places rankings break down which factors shape employees’ views of their leadership.

Conventional wisdom holds that the greatest influence on an employee’s satisfaction is his or her immediate supervisor.

- PPS & ISPPI, 2009

leadership remains key driver92
“Leadership Remains Key Driver”

“For the fourth time in a row, the primary driver of job satisfaction in the federal space is effective leadership.

While this finding is no surprise, the reasons behind it are. In a first, the Best Places rankings break down which factors shape employees’ views of their leadership.

Conventional wisdom holds that the greatest influence on an employee’s satisfaction is his or her immediate supervisor.

However, the Best Places rankings reveal that it is actually the quality of an agency’s senior leadership that has the greatest bearing on employee views.”

- PPS & ISPPI, 2009

chief tidwell 9 11 09 address to retirees missoula
Chief Tidwell, 9/11/09address to retirees, Missoula
  • “My initial response [to the Best Places to Work survey] was no—this must be some other Forest Service.”
  • “To me, that is disappointing and concerning, especially because our employees are so passionate about their work.”
no one should have been surprised at the survey results
No one should have been surprised at the survey results.
  • The FS has not done well since the beginning of these surveys.

Year Score

2003 60.6

2005 57.9

2007 59.9

2009 53.5

2010 56.3

so where does the buck stop
So, where does the buck stop?


“Employee Involvement is NOT a Program, but Rather a Leadership Philosophy.”

- Peter Grazier

can obama s e o help
Can Obama’s E.O. help?

Certainly. If given a chance.

- Labor-Management Forums (Partnerships) can significantly improve employee involvement, employee engagement, and agency performance.

- But the agency LEADERSHIP and the Union need to work together to improve involvement and engagement at the rank-and-file level.

some differences between the partnership clinton e o and the lm forum e o obama
Some differences between the Partnership (Clinton) E.O. and the LM Forum E.O. (Obama)


  • create labor-management partnerships by forming labor- management committees or councils at appropriate levels;
  • negotiate over the permissive bargaining subjects set forth in 5 U.S.C. 7106(b)(1), and instruct subordinate officials to do the same.


  • create labor-management councils agreed to by labor and management;
  • pilots shall be established in which some agencies elect to bargain over some or all of the subjects in 5 U.S.C. 7106(b)(1) and waive any objection to participating in impasse procedures regarding them.
some unionists see the obama e o as weak
Some Unionists see the Obama E.O. as weak.

But perhaps there is wisdom in dropping the Council and bargaining mandates.

Remember SCARF? (Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, Fairness)

Agency managers should feel less threatened by the Obama order, and may better see the value of involving and engaging employees.

obama asked agencies to volunteer to pilot negotiating permissive b 1 subjects
Obama asked agencies to volunteer to pilot negotiating permissive (b)(1) subjects.
  • But two years later…we’re still waiting for volunteers.
some barriers to successful implementation
Some Barriers to Successful Implementation
  • Union and management may not understand what drives themselves and their counterparts – and, most importantly, employees.
  • Management may not recognize that it does not lose any power under the E.O.
  • Unions may be reluctant to give up the notion of being a co-manager instead of grasping that they are “business partners”.
some barriers to successful implementation101
Some Barriers to Successful Implementation
  • Effective evaluations of labor-management relations, employee involvement/engagement/morale may not be made.
  • The Union must recognize that it is the exclusive representative of the bargaining unit. Employee involvement/engagement must not stop among a handful of Union officials.
  • Traditionalists in HR/LMR may not be on-board and may actually work against collaboration.
  • Productive tools may not be used.
are we outatime no
Are we “outatime”? NO!
  • While the Obama E.O. is important and can help, an E.O. is not essential to achieve collaborative labor-relations.
  • Again, while very important, the E.O. is not the only way to improve employee involvement and engagement.
wrap up what workers want basic finding 1
WRAP UPWhat Workers Want Basic Finding #1

Workers want more of a say/influence/

representation/voice at the workplace than what they have.

This gap varies among groups and across workplace issues, but it is ubiquitous.

what workers want basic finding 2
What Workers Want Basic Finding #2

Employees want greater workplace say both because they think it will directly improve the quality of their working lives and because they think it will make their organization more successful.

what workers want basic finding 3
What Workers Want Basic Finding #3

Employees want greater workplace say both as individuals and as part of a group.

what workers want basic finding 4
What Workers Want Basic Finding #4

Workers want cooperative relations with management, not a war.

what workers want basic finding 5
What Workers Want Basic Finding #5

Workers want some measure of independence when dealing with management.

Cooperative relations does not mean saying, “Yes, boss,” to any employer wish. Instead, it entails some measure of joint decision-making.

what workers want basic finding 6
What Workers Want Basic Finding #6

Workers believe that management resistance is the primary reason that they do not have the desired level of influence at the workplace.

the future of labor relations
The Future of Labor Relations?

Can anyone effectively argue that collaborative/cooperative federal labor relations --which embrace employee involvement and engagement -- should not be our Future?

the challenge
The Challenge

“A huge opportunity exists for America to increase the representation and participation of workers at their jobs and thereby to improve worklife quality.”

“Political leaders will find potential votes for such reforms; unions will find scores of potential members; employers will find a better and more loyal workforce.”


“Of course, whether any of these groups takes full advantage of this opportunity is their choice.”

“But the right choice for private action and public policy would be to help workers gain the voice and representation in workplace decisions that they so clearly want.”

- What Workers Want Freeman & Rogers