What Did Partnerships Do? Evidence from the Federal Sector
In 1993, then-President Clinton issued a landmark executive order mandating labor-management partnerships in the federal service. The authors examine a unique set of data on the operations and effects of 60 partnerships that covered several hundred thousand federal employees. These data, plus evidence on the broader federal sector, show that partnerships provided a forum for collaborative communications and joint decision-making, improved the labor relations climate, reduced labor-management disputes, and modestly improved organizational performance. Analyses of survey results from partnership- council representatives show that perceptions of communications and decision-making were positively correlated with labor relations climate and organizational performance. The authors discuss the implications of their results for labor-management cooperation generally and labor relations in the federal sector specifically.