Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.

News Release

U.S. Department of Labor and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 12 Agree to New Collective Bargaining Agreement

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor recently concluded successful negotiations with the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), Local 12 for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). AFGE Local 12 covers approximately 2,700 Department of Labor employees in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The prior CBA was effective from Aug. 29, 2013.

The new CBA, which takes effect on July 20, 2020, codifies the Department’s workplace flexibilities that have served as a positive recruitment and retention tool and that have been instrumental in the Department’s ability to respond quickly and effectively in meeting its mission during the COVID-19 health emergency. The new CBA includes:

  • A 25 percent reduction in the minimum work space required per employee, positioning the Department to reduce its rent in Washington, D.C. and achieve cost savings;
  • A reduction in the minimum performance improvement plan period from 90 days in the prior CBA to 60 days in the current CBA;
  • A shorter, more efficient grievance and arbitration process;
  • The elimination of full-time, 100 percent union officials who were not required to perform any of their normal department work (there were three full-time union officials permitted in the prior CBA); and
  • The elimination of the technical requirement to notify an employee of the intent to charge him or her absence without leave (AWOL) before the employee submitted his or her time sheet for a pay period.

In addition, the new CBA demonstrates both parties’ commitment to ensuring that the Department properly balances the effective and efficient achievement of its mission with the appropriate representation of bargaining unit employees. The new CBA comes after an 18-month process that included negotiations, mediation and impasse proceedings between the Department and AFGE Local 12.

“The increased efficiency and accountability resulting from this collective bargaining agreement puts the Department in an even better position to serve American workers and retirees,” said Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia. “I commend the Department of Labor’s management team for their leadership during the negotiation, and thank Local 12 for their collaboration and diligent performance of their important mission during this process.”

The new CBA achieves the goals of Executive Orders 13836, 13837 and 13839, issued by President Trump on May 25, 2018, to efficiently and cost-effectively negotiate and manage labor management relations between the Department of Labor and AFGE Local 12; to ensure transparency, accountability, and efficiency in the granting of and use of approved official time; and to promote employee accountability and streamline removal procedures consistent with Merit System Principles.


The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

Office of the Secretary
July 20, 2020
Release Number
Contact: Emily Weeks
Phone Number
Share This