28 APRIL 2005
All AFGE members are reminded to log into the Member's only section of AFGE! Sorry to those of you who aren't paying members, but enjoy our site!
The UDWC began today's session by asking DOD if there were possibilities to meet and confer beyond the 30 day timeframe. UDWC stated it was very important to be more productive but that it was at the discretion of DOD to extend the Meet and Confer period. UDWC also stated we wanted our recommendations considered by DOD. DOD committed if the participants were making progress then discussions would continue and the Meet and Confer period would be extended.
National Level Bargaining was again mentioned, the UDWC agreed to talk about this later
It was agreed on Monday DOD and OPM would review a labor agreement with UDWC in order to provide us a real life example on what we can expect to remain of a contract in a post-NSPS work environment.
"Compelling need" is a standard in which management must be able to demonstrate when they desire to implement a workplace change that impacts bargaining unit employees. In other words, under the current system management must be able prove why it's necessary they are changing something in your workplace.
UDWC asked about the "compelling need" standard under NSPS to which DOD replied "It's gone" (in the enabling regulations). UDWC countered by asking "Is there no standard you would agree to or can you (DOD) suggest some other standard you would be willing to agree to in order to safeguard arbitrary workplace changes made by managers that negatively impact bargaining unit employees?" (If you're holding your breath for the answer from DOD go ahead and let it out because we never got one either).
We want you to understand that when management is going to make a workplace change under NSPS they will do so with an "implementing issuance", (whatever that is). This "issuance" (workplace change) can be DOD wide or occur at the "component" level. What's a "component" you ask and how far down the food chain can an "issuance" be issued? Welcome to the wonderful world of Meet and Confer Brothers and Sisters!
In order to provide the UDWC with an example of an "issuance" and from where and from whom one would come, DOD reviewed their current procedures on how they coordinate DOD Directives under the existing policies. Several DOD Directives were provided for UDWC review and thoroughly gone over by the DOD henchmen, er, officials. Some of the DOD Directives will have to be changed under NSPS, and will either be done during a scheduled review or by issuing an issuance.
It's DOD's policy that a single, streamline, uniform system governing the preparation, coordination, approval, publication, dissemination, implementation, and internal review of DOD issuances shall be maintained within DOD. As we would hope, there are built in mandatory coordination and directives to follow. The UDWC felt strongly there were going to be serious problems over who can and who can't issue an issuance, (which is basically a Directive), and this is where the definition of "component" plays a big part. If you read the proposed NSPS regulation, or the enabling regulations (sounds so fancy doesn't it, trust us, none of us will be speaking plain English again once this process is over), it gives authority to the components to issue issuances. Our concern is that some wing-nut supervisor on the shop floor will interpret this to mean him, and we just can't let that happen, people! To our great relief, DOD explained that a component was basically an agency, for example Army, Navy, AAFES, etc…
DOD indicated they want to identify, jointly develop, and issue uniform civilian personnel policies, procedures, and guidance for DOD-wide application that reflect, to the maximum extent practicable, a total force perspective. The day ended by management requesting to caucus for the rest of the day to figure out the meanings and definitions of their own regulation.
Now for some good news: DEFCON Chair Don Hale and Labor Relation Specialist Mark Gibson met this afternoon with National AFGE President John Gage and some senior staff members. Mr. Gage listened to the concerns of the DEFCON NSPS team and the meeting produced favorable results. Later, in a dinner with the DEFCON NSPS team, Mr. Gage thanked us for our hard work and dedication in trying to get you the best product we can from DOD and OPM. He also firmly committed himself to assisting us in this cause, and for that, we thank him.
During the meeting with NP Gage and the senior staff at AFGE Headquarters, details were discussed about AFGE's next efforts at mobilizing the workforce to develop political pressure to ensure workplace fairness. WATCH FOR MORE DETAILS.
Friday April 29, 2005
The coalitions of unions met at the AFL-CIO for the purpose of work groups and strategizing. If the DOD Agency's could only work together and as well as these 39 unions did today we wouldn't have this problem.