In a separate post, I note that the amount of time federal workers spent on union activities while on the job has been increasing under the Obama presidency after declining during the Bush administration. What may account for the increase? Well, President Obama signed Executive Order 13522 in 2009, which created the  the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations. In the order’s words, it created:

A nonadversarial forum for managers, employees, and employees’ union representatives to discuss Government operations will promote satisfactory labor relations and improve the productivity and effectiveness of the Federal Government.

This included: “Utilizing the expertise of individuals both within and outside the Federal Government to foster successful labor-management relations, including through training of department and agency personnel in methods of dispute resolution and cooperative methods of labor management relations.” The inside the government officials include the director of the Office of Personnel Management, the chair of the Federal Labor Relations Authority and various other officials from departments and agencies.

What individuals outside the government? Well according to the order this included: the president of the American Federation of Government Employees, the president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, the president of the National Treasury Employees Union, the president of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, and “the heads of three other labor unions that represent Federal employees and are not otherwise represented on the Council.” It is not clear what three labor union heads got the council seats.

So, Obama is giving the heads of government employee unions a special forum outside of regular collective bargaining with direct access to to the heads of government agencies.

Though the executive order states that the council would terminate two years after its creation, it appears to still be in existence. It’s website refers to an upcoming meeting March 20.

Hat tip: the Washington Post’s Josh Hicks.