The Foreign Service Journal, November 2011

O nDec. 9, 2009, PresidentGeorgeW. Bush signedExecutiveOrder 13522, cre- ating labor-management forums aimed at improving cooperation between labor and management and increasing the productivity and effectiveness of the federal government. The forums, meant to be non-adversarial, provide unions with opportunities to become essential sources of ideas and information, resulting in better services to the American people. On Jan. 19, 2011, USAID received spe- cific guidance from the Office of Personnel Management on how to implement this order. By April 15, AFSA, on behalf of Foreign Service personnel, and AFGE, rep- resentingGeneral Service employees, agreedwithUSAIDmanagement to launch this forum at our agency. This long process is now at the implementation stage, and we at AFSA look for- ward to positive results. While our respective labor-management agreements estab- lishmechanisms for resolving disputes, the new executive order mandates that even non-negotiablematters bediscussedwith theunions througha “predecisional involve- ment to the fullest extent practicable.” This means that “Management should dis- cuss workplace challenges and problems with labor and endeavor to develop solu- tions jointly, rather than advise representatives of predetermined solutions to prob- lems and then engage in bargaining over the impact and implementation of the pre- determined solutions.” In other words, tell us what you are thinking of doing before it is a done deal. Nothing couldbe clearer than that. Wewill endeavor tohold the agency to this require- ment. TheNational Council onLabor-Management Relations, also establishedunder the executive order, will be monitoring the progress of all federal agencies, includ- ing USAID. Our first forumatUSAIDtookplace inSeptember and, asmandatedby the exec- utive order, included topmanagement officials. During the meeting we established the parameters under which we will work — such as defining teammembers, fre- quency of meetings and types of topics to be discussed. It was also made clear that the forum is not for discussion of individual employee grievances or matters cov- ered under the normal union agreements. Sincemetrics are an important component of the initiative, we are relying on sev- eral existingemployeequestionnaires toprovide feedbackonemployee concerns, includ- ing the yearlyAFSAmember survey, whichwe negotiated into the process. We plan to communicate your concerns on topics ranging from staff morale and compen- sation and benefits among Foreign Service agencies, to work practices, safety issues, hiring practices, assignments and USAID’s relationship to the State Department, to name just a few. Given the importance of this forumand the commitment of the agency to engage more closelywithAFSA, we ask for your participation in completing this year’s annu- al survey. Also, please feel free to e-mail me your ideas on topics you wishmanage- ment to address. We are very hopeful that this newmechanismwill receive high-level attention and result in better services for you and the American people. V.P. VOICE: USAID BY FRANCISCO ZAMORA The New Labor- Management Forum Executive Order 68 F OR E I GN S E R V I C E J OU R N A L / NOV EMB E R 2 0 1 1 A F S A N E W S November Book Notes: Kalb & Kalb W e invite our members and the public-at-large to join us at AFSA headquarters for what promises to be an exciting AFSA Book Notes programscheduled forNovember. On Thursday, Nov. 3, at 10 a.m., vet- eran journalist Marvin Kalb and his daughter Deborah Kalb will discuss their newbook, Haunting Legacy: Vietnamand the American Presidency from Ford to Obama. The authors will present an important history of presidential decision-making on one crucial issue: In light of the Vietnam debacle, underwhat circumstances should the United States go to war? The sober- ing lesson of Vietnam is that the United States is not invincible— it can lose awar — and, therefore, must be more dis- criminating about the use of American power. The authors spent five years inter- viewing hundreds of U.S. officials from every post-VietnamWar administration. They also conducted extensive research in presidential libraries and archives, result- ing in new information and insights. MarvinKalb is the EdwardR.Murrow Professor of Practice (Emeritus) at Harvard’sKennedySchool ofGovernment and founding director of the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. His distinguished journalismcareer covers 30 years of award-winning report- ing and commentary for CBS and NBC News, including stints as bureau chief in Moscow and host of “Meet the Press.” Deborah Kalb, a freelance writer and editor, worked as a journalist inWashing- ton for two decades, includingwriting for the Gannett News Service, Congressional Quarterly, U.S. News &WorldReport and The Hill . The eventwill take place atAFSAhead- quarters, 2101EStreet, NW,Washington, D.C. Books will be available for purchase and signing. We request that RSVPs be sent to