Section 1. Introduction

The parties recognize that a new relationship between labor and management as partners is essential for transforming the Social Security Administration into an agency that works more efficiently and effectively and better serves customer needs. This partnership involves the open sharing of information at the earliest pre-decisional stage, thereby engendering mutual trust and respect to better serve the agency's mission.

Section 2. Principles

Administration and Union representatives will bargain in good faith, including bargaining on issues which may fall under 7106(b)(1), using interest-based bargaining (IBB) with the objective of reaching agreement. Every effort shall be made to reach agreements that address the interests of both parties. The procedures for implementing IBB, including providing necessary training and facilitation, and use of alternate dispute resolution procedures, will be developed by the National Partnership Council.

Section 3. Partnership Councils

A. The parties have established a Partnership Council at the Agency level. The existence of an Agency level council will not preclude the establishment of lower level council where mutually agreed to by the parties.

B. Partnership Councils shall include an equal number of Administration and Union appointed members. The membership of the National Partnership Council has previously been determined by the parties.

C. Councils shall abide by the general principles set forth above.

D. The Councils shall meet on a regular basis, normally at least monthly.

E. The Councils shall develop a written agenda with topics being submitted by either party.

F. Council meetings will always be attended by the principals or their designees only.