Tests of Expanded Collective Bargaining End with Disappointing Results

April 18, 2012

The federal government's experiment with expanded collective bargaining rights ended with few signs of progress and with several top labor officials calling the results disappointing.

For the last 18 months, a dozen agencies have been pilot testing so-called B1 bargaining, or bargaining over subjects that are usually left for managers to decide. These subjects include the numbers, types and grades of employees doing particular jobs, or the types of technologies they use. Supporters of B1 bargaining, such as Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry, say it would help agencies save money by leading to more efficient and effective ways to accomplish their missions.

The tests showed little success, the National Council on Federal Labor Management Relations will tell President Obama in a report due May 1. But it will recommend that Obama continue testing for at least two more years to give agencies another chance to succeed. 

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