Minutes of March 2, 2010 Meeting
Between the Department of Commerce and Labor
On March 2, 2010, representatives from the Department of Commerce met with representatives of the bargaining units in the Department of Commerce. The meeting started at 3:30 p.m. and concluded at 5:30 p.m. See attached for a list of attendees.
Each of the attendees introduced themselves.
Secretary Locke addressed the meeting noting that the Forum was a Department of Commerce priority, recognizing the unique contributions that employees and their representatives make in the everyday work of the Department, that employees should take pride in the Department and should receive the respect they deserve as critical to the Department’s success, and that the expertise and experience of employees and their representatives are critical to improving the services that the Department provides.
Scott Quehl/Management Co-Chair welcomed all the Forum members and stated that we are here for practicable engagement to improve delivery of services. The Forum provides an excellent opportunity for labor and management together to identify methods for such improvement.
Dan Sobien/Labor Co-Chair commented that Labor’s view of the Executive Order is that it is an opportunity for Labor and Management to show the American People how Government can work.
A report was provided on the February 26, 2010 meeting of the National Council of Federal-Labor Management Relations.
Dan Sobien/Labor Co-Chair handed out a draft charter based on Management’s draft that had previously been circulated. He generally reviewed the provisions of Labor’s version of the charter
A discussion ensued on how the Forum should address the differences in the charters and whether a working group to understand and narrow the issues should be formed..
There was discussion whether audio or video transmissions of the Forum would facilitate participation and transparency and relieve budgetary and scheduling pressures.
A discussion ensued regarding the requirements of the implementation plan due to OPM by March 9 as required by the EEO.
Labor representatives emphasized the importance to Labor of pursuing a pilot program with regard to B1 issues to indicate trust and respect between the groups and to demonstrate that together we could tackle issues important to the Department’s mission.
Scott Quehl/Management Co-Chair commented that the issue of a pilot project deserves more attention than we can provide today and cannot be resolved prior to the March 9 submission of the implementation plan.
There was discussion of creating a Charter working group to reconcile the two versions of the charter , to identify issues of agreement and disagreement and to make recommendations to the Forum including how we might proceed to discuss a pilot program. It was suggested we put an explicit placeholder in the implementation plan reserving the right to submit a pilot program for consideration when we had more time to consider how best to proceed in this regard.
The Co-Chairs agreed that each side submit names for a working group on the charter, that each side submit names for a working group to develop a baseline and develop metrics for longer term measurement, and that Management mark up the draft implementation plan that had been previously circulated and submit it to Management for ultimate approval by the Co-Chairs and submission by March 9, 2010.
There was a discussion of having only Federal employees as members of the Forum. The question was whether the Federal Advisory Committee Act applied to meetings of the Forum and the need to ensure that only Federal employees are members of the Forum. The issue will be reviewed before the next meeting of the Forum.
The Co-Chairs agreed that they would develop agendas for future meetings and post them on the OHRM we site.