This Week's Schedule (Meet and Confer to Run April 18th to May 19th)
Tuesday to Thursday, 9-5
Developments from the April 19th and 20th Meetings—From the Coalition
1.) UDWC and DoD/OPM still debating Meet & Confer procedures to solidify "tentative" agreements.
In continuation of the efforts of the UDWC to memorialize any agreements reached with DoD/OPM during Meet & Confer, intended to provide true meaning to the Meet & Confer process mandated by law, UDWC negotiators exchanged proposed procedures on proper handling of issues agreed upon and not agreed upon.
Because DoD and OPM have repeatedly held that the ultimate authority on NSPS details rests with the Defense Secretary and OPM Director, UDWC members have asked for continuing input from the Secretary and Director, or their designees, during the M&C process to make aware to all parties what individual issues are acceptable to senior management and what issues require additional collaboration between employee representatives and NSPS officials, in spirit of the law defining the M&C process.
2.) DoD/OPM officials "walk through" subparts of proposed regulations to briefly respond to official comments submitted by the UDWC.
The first step in ultimately getting to the details of the NSPS system was taken by an initial walk through of all subparts, section by section, comparing the proposed regs to the comments submitted by the unions during the official comment period earlier this year. Discussion was limited on each subsection in an effort to move toward additional details which have been prepared, but not yet released, by NSPS officials. DoD and OPM stated additional details would be released in a formal briefing sometime in the near future. UDWC members continue to wait for NSPS specifics.
3.) Enabling Regulations and Implementing Issuances
Brad Bunn of the NSPS Program Executive Office stated that Implementing Issuances will follow Enabling Regulations once the Enabling Regulations are finalized. Implementing Issuances will provide the "how" to implement the NSPS under the authority provided by the Enabling Regulations. Much of the detail on how NSPS will be applied, and to whom it shall be applied, will be revealed in the implementing issuances, many of which will be developed over the following months and years.
Bunn also stated that for now, implementing issuances will only apply to General Schedule employees, but in a year or so additional implementing issuances will be issued to include other employees. He stated that the UDWC "will have another shot at (those specific implementing issuances)" through the Continuing Collaboration process.
In reply to the idea of implementing issuances as a continuous process, UDWC chief spokesman Byron Charlton stated, "We want to be very clear on this that we get another shot at it then. We want things as clear and specific as possible (about NSPS), and we have less than 30 days to get as much as possible done…We would like to know if we can get some common ground on these."
UDWC member Mark Roth voiced his concern regarding implementing issuances. Roth declared that the definition of "implementing issuances" is overbroad, and when applied with a limited scope of bargaining as designed under NSPS, will destroy any legitimate continuing collaboration process. Roth stated, "We would like to see something done right so you can get our backing."
OPM official Ron Sanders stated, "We heard you. We heard from Senator Levin about the definition of implementing issuances. We hope you understand the need. Maybe we can check back into the definition (of implementing issuances) - same thing with continuing collaboration. It will take some time."
Roth continued, "In the Labor Relations section, you have that any implementing issuances will override any collective bargaining agreement." Sanders replied, "Implementing issuances are intended to carry out the regulations and must be uniform across the department. The boundaries may be broad or narrow, depending on how it impacts our ability to perform the mission."
4.) Veterans Preference and RIF Procedures: Moving Vets into second place.
Heavy discussion ensued over veterans preference rights in decisions governing Reduction-in-Force (RIF) procedures. UDWC maintains that veterans preference should not be reduced or altered, explaining many possible scenarios to DoD and OPM officials on how NSPS section 9901.605-.607 will violate current vet's rights. DoD and OPM disagreed. The discussion was tabled for later.
5.) Coalition member Ron Ault won applause after speaking very directly at great length to DoD and OPM officials about the removal of workers rights, and how morally corrupt it is to take away those rights. He expressed his indignation on behalf of DoD employees over the treatment they are already receiving, and will continue to receive, from their employer, the DoD. 6.) UDWC Requests Written Answers to Written Questions from DoD/OPM
What is the intention on bargaining obligation for groups that are removed from under NSPS?
Set forth to the extent possible, who is covered by 102(f)(1) and who is not covered by NSPS, and who may be excluded from pay provisions by statute? (Are those who are excluded from coverage for pay purposes also excluded from other NSPS provisions?) Who is covered, but have no immediate implementation plan?
What is the intent of the scope and meaning of the authority of implementing issuances to override CBA's, including the authority of an issuance to preclude bargaining in the future?
What is DoD's intent in combining performance and conduct or behavior in the definition of performance?
Under your management rights' clause, and the exceptions thereto, what subjects can be bargained?
Note: The UDWC will attempt to provide member unions with a daily update throughout the 30-day Meet & Confer process. For more information on the 36-member coalition, you can visit their webpage at www.uniteddodworkerscoalition.org.
Thirty-six labor organizations forming this coalition represent 750,000 civilian employees of the Department of Defense. GO >
Matthew S. Biggs