By Michael Rhoads, January 11, 2021

Happy New Year! The Counting Crows said it best in A Long December: “And there’s reason to believe, maybe this year will be better than the last.” I don’t know about you, but I do have a sense that this year will be better than the last.

A common question in the transition from one administration to the next is which Executive Orders will survive and which will be rescinded. During his campaign, former Vice President Joe Biden signaled that he will rescinding some Executive Orders on his first day in office.

Among the first EOs to be rescinded will likely be those affecting Labor-Management Relations. The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) published its recommendation in November to rescind EOs 13836, 13837 & 13839, along with other actions they would like to see the Biden Administration take. Rescinding these EOs will help improve the climate of Labor-Management Relations in the Federal workforce by relieving pressure on the management side to expedite negotiations on new collective bargaining agreements. It will also ease official time restrictions for union work. Yet, there is still more work to do on both sides when it comes to improving Labor-Management Relations.

Diversity Training

Some Executive Orders have already been suspended by court order. In response to a preliminary injunction issued by the US District Court for the Northern District of California, the Department of Labor released a Notice Regarding Executive Order 13950, related to restrictions on diversity training. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) will stop using the hotline set up to collect information, cease investigations of noncompliance with the EO, and not take any enforcement action outlined in the EO.  OFCCP will also stop publishing any Requests for Information which sought information related to compliance or noncompliance with the EO.  Additionally, contract clauses restricting the use of the diversity terms outlined in the EO, such as “white privilege,” will not be enforced.

Update on Schedule F

Despite calls from good governance and federal employee groups to block Schedule F, Congress did not block it in this year’s spending bill, and Schedule F may not be easy to eliminate with the stroke of a pen. It will still have the support of elected officials eager to reshape the federal workforce. According to University of Texas Professor Dr. Donald F. Kettl, conservatives may use Schedule F to wage a court battle calling into question the constitutionality of the Federal government’s merit-based system itself.  This could hinder the Biden Administration’s ability to run the federal government in the short term and change the Federal workforce in the long run.  The status of this EO is “to be continued…,” even if only in part.

Find out more, along with what else to expect – and what things might not change – by attending our webinar series: Toolkit for a New Administration: Essential Skills and Knowledge for Federal Supervisors, Managers, and Leaders.  The first webinar will be held on January 21, so you can get an immediate jump on what you need to know, and how to apply the knowledge to your day-to-day operations.

Stay safe, and remember, we’re all in this together. Rhoads@FELTG.com

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