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Labor Management Relations Council - Charter

Indian Health Service
Rockville, Maryland 20852

Refer to: IHS/OMS


Effective Date:  February 29, 2012


  1. PURPOSE.  The purpose of this Labor Management Relations Council (LMRC) charter is to provide a forum for managers, employees, and employees' Union representatives to discuss operations; promote satisfactory labor relations; and improve the productivity and effectiveness of the Indian Health Service (IHS).
  2. BACKGROUND.  Indian Health Service employees and their Union representatives are an essential source of front-line ideas and information for delivering Government services to the American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) people.  The IHS recognizes that the work of the LMRC is not a substitute for collective bargaining obligations.

    The LMRC is designed to be a complement to the existing collective bargaining process; the LMRC allows managers and employees to collaborate in continuing to deliver the highest quality services to AI/AN people.  The LMRC provides a forum where workplace challenges and problems may be discussed and solutions developed jointly.  The IHS and the Unions representing its employees agree to:

    1. build and maintain a cooperative working relationship, based upon open communication and collaboration;
    2. commit to joint problem-solving, including pre-decisional involvement to identify unique problems and craft solutions;
    3. enhance the IHS mission;
    4. improve employee satisfaction, manager satisfaction, and organizational performance; and
    5. implement the intent of the collective bargaining agreement(s), in the spirit of a collaborative relationship with all IHS employee unions.
  3. PLEDGE.  The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the Laborer's International Union of North America (LIUNA), the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE), and the IHS pledge to jointly develop a better understanding of each other's interests and strengthen a more cooperative relationship.
  4. OBJECTIVES.  The LMRC objectives are to:
    1. Continually improve performance in support of patient-centered care.
    2. Promote a quality workplace through improved working conditions and enhanced working relationships.
    3. Advance a quality workforce by promoting training and strategies for workforce development.
    4. Provide inclusive communication and information-sharing for all employees.
    5. Enhance policy and program improvement initiatives through pre-decisional involvement.
    6. Act as partners to address issues from a problem-solving interest-based perspective.
    7. Provide assistance to Headquarters, Area, and local-level LMRC through leadership and guidance.
    8. Provide leadership and advocacy on national issues.
    9. Strengthen the working relationships between the IHS, Unions, and Tribal governments.
    10. Provide a forum from which to build mutual trust, respect, and understanding.
    11. Improve morale throughout the IHS.
    12. Support the IHS priorities.
    13. Develop specific outcomes and measurable accomplishments for each LMRC issue identified.

    Executive Order 13522, "Creating Labor-Management Forums to Improve Delivery of Government Services," signed December 9, 2009.

  6. SCOPE.  The scope of the LMRC is to address issues that are IHS-wide.
    1. Collaborative Process.  Remembering that the collaborative process is where the LMRC as a council works together to realize shared goals through the sharing of knowledge, learning, and the building of consensus.
      1. The LMRC is committed to joint problem-solving and problem identification.
      2. The LMRC will draft recommendations to solve problems and submit the recommendations to the Director, IHS.  The recommendations will be consistent with the background and objectives set forth in this charter.
    2. Local LMRC.  Local LMRC's will address local issues.  A copy of the local issues addressed will be forwarded to the LMRC Co-Chairs.  The LMRC will consider those local issues which have national implications, and where necessary, those recommendations of the LMRC in regard to local LMRC issues will be provided to the Director, IHS, for decision.
    3. Collective Bargaining Issues.  The LMRC may use the collaborative process, with the approval of appropriate authorities, to address collective bargaining issues such as 7106(b) questions or other issues that arise from discussions with the LMRC.
    4. Pre-Decisional Involvement.  The IHS, to the extent permitted by law, will allow employees and their Union representatives to have pre-decisional involvement in workplace matters, to the fullest extent practicable, without regard to whether those matters are negotiable subjects of bargaining under 5 United States Code 7106.
  7. CO-CHAIRS.  One Union representative and one management representative will jointly chair each LMRC meeting.  The co-chairs will:
    1. Open, facilitate, and close meetings.
    2. Set, produce, and distribute the agenda, including any action items.
    3. Call for and receive agenda items.
    4. Respond to operational questions between meetings.
    1. Indian Health Service.
      1. 1 - Area Director
      2. 1 - Headquarters Office Director
      3. 1- Area Executive Officer
      4. 1- Service Unit Chief Executive Officer
      5. 1 - Headquarters, Area Office, or Service Unit Program Director
      6. IHS Designated Management Official for LIUNA National Consolidated Unit Collective Bargaining Agreement
    2. Laborer's International Union of North America.
      1. 5 - Business managers
      2. 3 - full-time bargaining unit employee representatives
      3. 1 - national LIUNA representative
    3. National Federation of Federal Employees.
      1. 1 - NFFE representative
    4. American Federation of Government Employees.
      1. 1 - AFGE representative
  9. MEETINGS.  The LMRC will meet on a quarterly basis; schedule meetings for the following year at the last meeting of each calendar year; decide the specific date, time, and location for the next meeting; and schedule any additional meetings or conference calls prior to the conclusion of each LMRC meeting.
  10. METHOD OF AGREEMENT.  The LMRC agrees to use consensus as the preferred decision-making method.
    1. Third-party Facilitator.  If the LMRC is unable to reach a consensus, a third-party facilitator will be employed where ever possible.  The Designated Management Official (DMO) will arrange for a neutral facilitator, who is skilled in using Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service interest-based negotiations principles to reach a consensus.
    2. Internal Appointee.  The parties may determine by consensus that they do not need outside assistance and will develop or adopt an internal appointee to facilitate meetings.
  12. ACTIVITY BETWEEN MEETINGS.  A teleconference must be scheduled 30 days prior to each LMRC meeting.  The teleconference allows the LMRC to review and confirm logistics, i.e., materials needed, agenda items; and assign duties and obligations to responsible parties.
  13. MINUTES.
    1. Draft Minutes.  The DMO will be responsible for arranging for taking of minutes of each meeting, to contain a summary of consensus decisions, action items, and a description of follow-up responsibilities.  The draft minutes will be distributed by the DMO to all members within 30 days following each meeting.
    2. Final Minutes.  The draft minutes of each meeting will be final when approved at the beginning of the next LMRC meeting.  The final minutes will be posted on the LMRC Website.
  14. PUBLICATIONS.  Communications for the purpose of the LMRC will be primarily through the LMRC Website:
    1. Charter.  The LMRC Charter will be issued as an IHS Circular and linked to the IHS and LMRC Website.
    2. Minutes.  The minutes will also be posted on the LMRC Website.
  15. COMMUNICATION.  Publications for the purpose of the LMRC consist of LMRC communications messages which may be developed from time to time.  These draft messages will be presented to the Director, IHS, for review and approval before distribution.
  16. FUNDING.  Management shall fund Administrative Expenses.  The DMO must review for approval in advance, all reasonable and routine administrative expenses that will be paid by the IHS.  The administrative expenses may include but not be limited to:
    1. Recorder
    2. Travel expenses for LMRC members to attend scheduled meetings
    3. Conference Calls to discuss LMRC business
    4. Facilitators
  17. CHARTER AMENDMENTS.  Any changes to the charter must be made by consensus.
  18. METRICS.  Measurable outcomes to the extent possible shall be attached to all action items.
  19. SUPERSEDURE.  None.
  20. EFFECTIVE DATE.  This charter shall take effect when signed by the Director, IHS.
  21. DURATION.  The term shall be the duration of the individual collective bargaining agreements and shall be incorporated therein.  The charter shall thereafter automatically renew itself with the Agreements unless terminated in the collective bargaining process.

/Yvette Roubideaux, M.D./
Yvette Roubideaux, M.D., M.P.H.
Director, IHS

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