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January 3, 1972
TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE
Executive Order 11636 entitled “Employee-Management Relations in the Foreign Service of the United States” was signed by President Nixon on December 17, 1971. The Order became effective on December 24, 1971, the date of its publication in the Federal Register.
The product of more than a year of study and discussion between representatives of the three foreign affairs agencies, spokesmen for AFSA, AFGE, and JFSOC, and the staff of the Federal Labor Relations Council, this Executive Order is an historic document for all members of the Foreign Service. It lays the ground rules for a new era of employee participation in the formulation of personnel policies and procedures which affect the conditions of Foreign Service employment.
The principal feature of the employee-management relations system is that in the future the management of each foreign affairs agency must consult with the exclusive representative elected by the Foreign Service employees in that agency with respect to all changes in personnel policies, proposed by either employee representatives or management, which affect working conditions of employees. Where the exclusive representative of the employees and management are unable to agree during these consultations, the employee representative has the right to appeal management's position to the Board of the Foreign Service for a decision.
In carrying out this responsibility, the Board of the Foreign Service will be assisted by a Disputes Panel made up of a representative of the Department of Labor, a member of the Federal Services Impasse Panel and a public member, as well as two members of the Foreign Service, neither of whom shall be a management or an organization official. The Board is required to refer appeals to this panel, which will investigate the matters at issue and make findings of fact and policy recommendations to the Board. The Order also authorizes the Disputes Panel to engage in efforts at mediation.
Another important feature of the Order is the establishment of an impartial Employee-Management Relations Commission which is made up of the OMB, Civil Service and Department of Labor representatives on the Board of the Foreign Service. This three man commission will establish election procedures and will supervise the conduct of elections. This group will also handle all complaints of alleged unfair practices and will decide whether a right to consultation exists in cases in which management and employee representatives do not agree. The Commission has wide authority and the power to compel action by an agency or organization in order to carry out the policies of the Executive Order.
While the employee-management relations system established by this Executive Order provides for employee participation in the formulation of personnel policies affecting the conditions of Foreign Service employment, the Order also provides for the development of definitive grievance procedures for the protection of the individual employee. The Executive Order requires that these grievance procedures be developed under the new employee-management system, and this will be done as a matter of first priority. Of equal importance will be an early review, under the new employee-management relations procedures, of the entire selection-out system.
The first step in implementing the President’s Executive Order will be holding the elections it provides for, in which employees of the three foreign affairs agencies will be given the opportunity to decide if they wish to have an organization represent them; and if so, which organization. The Executive Order provides that only an organization which receives a majority of the valid ballots cast can be accorded recognition as the exclusive representative of the employees in that agency. The elections will be held as soon as the rules and procedures have been formulated.
I encourage all members of the Foreign Service to study the documents transmitted in this special supplement of the Newsletter.
DEPUTY UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE
November 8, 1971 Dear Mr. Chairman:
Reference is made to the President’s memorandum of March 11, 1971, relating to the development of an alternative program for the Foreign Service to the labor-management relations system prescribed by Executive Order 11491.
In June, the Department of State, the United States Information Agency and the Agency for International Development submitted to the Federal Labor Relations Council a recommendation for a new Executive Order that would embody the alternative system called for in the President's memorandum. This recommendation was made by the foreign affairs agencies after a series of discussions had been held with interested organizations of Foreign Service employees, who contributed many helpful ideas and suggestions concerning the substantive content of an appropriate alternative system. Subsequently, the proposed system has been the subject of intensive discussions between representatives of the foreign affairs agencies and representatives of the Council in accordance with the President’s directive.
We have carefully examined the draft Executive Order and the analysis thereof which have emerged from the conscientious efforts of all concerned to develop an acceptable alternative system. In addition, interested organizations of Foreign Service employees have been provided with copies of the draft Order and invited to submit their comments thereon to the Board of the Foreign Service for its consideration. Copies of the comments that have been received have been furnished to the Council.
The draft Order was formally considered and concurred in by the Board of the Foreign Service on November 5. Upon the unanimous recommendation of the Board, the Secretary of State has approved the Order, as have the Director of the United States Information Agency and the Administrator of the Agency for International Development.
We are confident that this proposal provides the basis for a system that will serve well in accomplishing meaningful employee participation in the formulation of policies and procedures affecting cenéitions of employment within the Foreign Service. It is recommended, therefore, that the draft Order be approved by the Council and submitted to the President.
The draft Order provides in section 11 for the Secretary of State to make reports and recommendations to the President on the program from time to time. These reports and recommendations will be submitted to the President through the Office of Management and Budget.
In closing, I would like to express my deep appreciation to you, to the other members of the Council, and to the Council's Executive Director and his capable staff, for your valuable contribution in the development of this proposed Executive Order. The resulting employee-management relations system will, I am sure, prove in its implementation to serve the best interests of the members of the Foreign Service, their organizations and the management of the foreign affairs agencies.