July 26, 2014
Washington, DC – American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. has praised the White House for a memorandum intended to expand the use of workplace flexibilities at federal agencies.
The improvements outlined in the memo include protecting the right of employees to request workplace flexibilities without fear of retaliation, encouraging agencies to adopt flexible work arrangements during union negotiations over new collective bargaining agreements, providing managers and supervisors with enhanced education and training on the benefits of establishing flexible workplace policies, and publicly ranking agencies in terms of workplace flexibilities.
"Providing employees with more flexible work arrangements is just common sense. Employees will be more productive and happier in their jobs, while employers will have an easier time recruiting and retaining quality workers," Cox said.
"Unfortunately, some of our councils have faced enormous resistance from managers to proposals that would expand the use of flexible work schedules, particularly telework. With the White House demonstrating leadership in this area, hopefully the walls will begin to crack and federal workplaces will begin to embrace these flexibilities."
For instance, management at the National Science Foundation initially rejected attempts by AFGE Local 3403 to establish a telework policy for bargaining unit employees until the union won an unfair labor practice.
"Some managers think that if they don't see employees every day, then they're not working. But experience and numerous studies show that teleworkers are actually more productive than when they're in the office and enjoy a healthy work-life balance, since they're not wasting time and money commuting to and from work," Local 3403 President Carter Kimsey said.
"I'm hopeful that the White House memo will motivate leadership at my agency and others to make full and equitable use of all workplace flexibilities that have proven to be good for the agencies, the employees, and the environment."