Anti-union fervor may be sweeping across the states, but the federal government hasn“™t jumped on the bandwagon yet.
The Department of Veterans Affairs and the American Federation of Government Employees reached an agreement last week on new national collective bargaining rights.
The first since 1997, this new agreement elevates VA“™s involvement in the union, alters telework regulations and places an emphasis on email in labor disputes.
“This new agreement reflects VA“™s commitment to collaborate with an important labor partner,“ said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “The outcome will be a more highly motivated, more effective workforce serving our nation“™s veterans.“
The new partnership is designed to foster a more collaborative environment between union officials and VA. In an effort to enhance communication between the two groups, the agreement calls for extended use of emails and other forms of technology in labor discussions. The agreement also expands and more clearly defines rules for telework.
AFGE, the largest federal employee union, represents 600,000 federal and D.C. government employees, both foreign and domestic. The union provides its members with legal representation, legislative advocacy, technical expertise and informational services.
According to VA, about 204,000 of its 315,000 employees are eligible for membership in AFGE.