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Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)

Executive Order 13496: Notification of Employee Rights Under Federal Labor Laws

On August 3, 2009, the Department of Labor published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comments on proposed 29 CFR Part 471.  See: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-17577.pdf.  Proposed Part 471 implements Executive Order (E.O.) 13496, signed by President Barack Obama on January 30, 2009 (74 FR 6107, February 4, 2009).  See: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-2485.pdf.  E.O.13496 requires Federal contractors and subcontractors to post a required notice in their workplaces informing employees of their rights under Federal labor laws, and provides that the requirement to post the employee notice be included in Federal contracts and subcontracts.

The proposed regulation implements E.O. 13496 by prescribing the form and content of the notice, which incorporates employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).  The proposed regulation also includes enforcement procedures and provisions regarding sanctions, penalties, and remedies that may be imposed for violations.  Federal Government contracting departments and agencies are obliged to include the notice requirements in every Government contract, except collective bargaining agreements entered into by a Federal agency, contracts for purchases under the Simplified Acquisition Threshold, and in those cases where the Secretary exempts a contracting department or agency pursuant to the Executive Order.  The proposed regulation requires government contractors to include the contract clause in all subcontracts.

The provisions of the proposed contract clause include the text of the required notice, enforcement procedures, and an explanation of the sanctions, penalties, and remedies that may be imposed if the contractor or subcontractor fails to comply with its obligations.

The notice required by E.O. 13496 and the proposed regulation outlines the fundamental rights regarding union activity and collective bargaining that employees have under the NLRA; provides examples of conduct that is illegal under the NLRA; and provides contact information in the event that an employee suspects that the law has been violated.

Enforcement responsibilities for proposed Part 471 are shared by two agencies.  The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is responsible for investigation and conciliation, and that agency will refer violations to the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) for enforcement.  The sanctions, penalties, and remedies under proposed Part 471 include the debarring of Federal contractors and subcontractors from future Federal contracts and subcontracts.

E.O. 13496 also revoked E.O. 13201, which required Federal contractors and subcontractors to post a notice (the “Beck poster”) informing their employees of rights concerning payment of union dues or fees.  See E.O. 13496, Section 13.  The Department published a final rule on March 30, 2009, rescinding the regulations at 29 CFR Part 470, which had implemented the Beck poster provisions (74 FR 14045).  See: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-6926.pdf.  OLMS has removed all material from its Web site relating to E.O. 13201.

E.O. 13496 advances the Administration's goal of promoting economy and efficiency of Federal government procurement by ensuring that workers employed in the private sector as a result of Federal government contracts are informed of their rights to engage in union activity and collective bargaining.  Knowledge of such basic statutory rights promotes stable labor-management relations, thus reducing costs to the Federal government.

The comment period for proposed 29 CFR Part 471 closed on September 2, 2009, and the Department is reviewing comments received.

Last Updated: 1/14/10