Senators propose labor-management task forces on COVID policiies
- By Adam Mazmanian
- Jul 31, 2020
A group of Senate Democrats is proposing legislation to create labor-management task forces inside government to review pandemic-related workforce policies.
The Federal Labor-Management COVID Partnership Act introduced by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) would bring together managers and workforce representatives to review policies on telework, the supply of personal protective equipment, employee leave and cleaning of facilities.
The proposed legislation comes as more than 39,000 federal employees have contracted COVID-19, with more than 6,000 workers expected to submit claims to the Department of Labor for on-the-job contraction of the virus.
"This bill is about protecting our federal workers during the COVID pandemic," Schatz said in a statement. "By promoting a constructive dialogue between federal agencies and public servants, these task forces will help make sure the federal government creates good policy for its workers."
The task forces sought under the bill include representation from the Office of Personnel Management, the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Labor as well as the heads of the Federal Labor Relations Authority and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. Union and management association representation is also required.
"Some agencies under this current administration have refused to negotiate with the union over the coronavirus or other workplace matters, making the need for this legislation all the more critical," American Federation of Government Employees National President Everett Kelley said in a statement.
Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) are also sponsoring the bill.