Unions want say in telework policymaking

Coalition of unions for federal workers detail what they think makes a successful telework policy

The Obama administration may have embraced telework, but that willingness is not translating into more federal employees teleworking, according to labor unions that represent those workers.

So, this week about a half-dozen unions offered Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry some help in developing policies that would help ratchet up the numbers of teleworking feds.

A coalition of seven unions — including the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, the National Association of Government Employees, and the National Federation of Federal Employees — sent Berry a letter requesting a seat at the table as agencies work to develop federal telework policies and expand telework options.

As part of his telework program, Berry earlier this year announced the creation of an advisory group of key telework program managers who would help formulate standards for agency policies and programs.

“Creating and implementing a successful telework program would obviously require the involvement of the unions representing federal workers,” the letter stated. “We can provide unique insights into identifying employees that are best suited for telework.”

The Nov. 10 letter also offered a short list of initial suggestions to get the ball rolling. The unions said a successful telework policy should:

  • Inform feds and their unions of available teleworking options.
  • Provide resources to train managers on telework policies and enlist employee input.
  • Train eligible employees to ensure teleworking productivity and success.
  • Ensure that IT procurement policies dovetail with the goal of increasing telework.
  • Review successful teleworking programs annually so those programs can be replicated.

“We are hopeful that given your support for telework we can finally put in place a working telework program,” the unions told Berry. “Our labor organizations would like to work with you to ensure that your efforts of providing meaningful telework opportunities to federal workers are a success.”

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