On Monday, Anthony M. Reardon, the leader of the National Treasury Employees Union said that President-elect Biden should move quickly to enact a healthy relationship with federal employee unions as he seeks to “repair the damage” caused by the Trump administration across the government.
A detailed document of recommendations for Biden’s transition team entitled “United for America,” was released by NTEU and it puts forth that the one of the most critical things that the new administration can do to achieve its goals is to re-empower the federal workforce and reverse the Trump administration’s efforts to hinder collective bargaining and other employee rights.
“When it comes to federal employee rights, we don’t think this administration was able to do anything that can’t be undone,” Reardon said on a call with reporters. “It’s going to take some work beyond just rescinding executive orders, but the damage is not permanent. Our message to the Biden administration is that NTEU is committed to helping the new administration by doing what is best for employees, for agencies and for taxpayers.”
One thing that the union has called for is that Biden immediately retract the 2018 executive orders aimed at weakening federal employee unions and making it easier to fire federal workers. As more recent orders that would convert wide segments of the federal workforce into a new job classification lacking any civil service protections and barring agencies and federal contractors from conducting a wide array of diversity and inclusion training program.
On the appointment front, NTEU said Biden should replace all members of the Federal Service Impasses Panel with “qualified neutrals,” as well as re-nominate FLRA member Ernest DuBester to chair the agency. Under the union’s proposal, Republican member James Abbott, whose term expired in July, should also be replaced. Reardon and NTEU National Vice President Jim Bailey said the president-elect should also quickly make nominations to long-vacant seats at the Merit Systems Protection Board and for the FLRA general counsel position.
It also urged the President-elect Biden to rescind a number of regulations and presidential delegations of authority, particularly ones granting the Federal Labor Relations Authority the ability to remove members of the Federal Service Impasses Panel and granting the secretary of Defense the authority to block collective bargaining at the Pentagon on national security grounds. Lastly, the document asks the next president to reinstate labor-management partnerships across the federal government.
“We believe this is extremely important,” Reardon said. “It’s amazing how many labor-management problems you can get solved just by meeting regularly and working collaboratively and in good faith.”