Celebrating 50 Years of Collective Bargaining in the Federal Government
In recognition of the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s signing of an Executive Order extending collective bargaining rights to federal employees, NFFE National President William R. Dougan issued the following statement:
“Recognizing the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s Executive Order is a powerful moment for us in labor and indeed all federal employees who seek fairness and dignity in the workplace. To think that many federal employees proudly serving our nation today had once lived in a time where they did not have the basic right to bargain collectively is unimaginable.
The basic right to collective bargaining has made inestimable gains in the quality of work life for millions of federal workers over the past half-century. Top-down decisions on safety and health matters, work schedules, reorganizations, and many other workplace issues have been replaced with a collaborative process where workers have a definitive voice in how they accomplish their mission. Where there was once scant opportunity for redress of legitimate grievances, there are now procedures and institutions to protect merit and work life principles that serve as the foundation of our civil service.
Looking forward, these rights will be more necessary than ever as shrinking budgets and unfair political attacks threaten to undermine the mission of federal agencies and their employees. As cutbacks are made, employees will need a strong voice to defend the modest gains they have made over the past 50 years. NFFE and all federal employees will continue to do our best to make America great, and it is our sincere hope that our nation will work in kind for all those who proudly serve her.”