PURPOSE: To establish rules for joint labor-management negotiations on issues and concerns that impact the terms and conditions of employment.

SCOPE: These ground rules apply to national negotiations/bargaining that are conducted by the AFGE Council 171/Agency National Negotiations Team. These ground rules do not apply to teams delegated by AFGE Council 171 and the Agency to negotiate on behalf of the national body. These ground rules will not apply when negotiating a collective bargaining agreement between AFGE Council 171 and the Agency. These ground rules shall be in effect until January 31, 2003, unless extended by mutual agreement.

BINDING AUTHORITY: The parties agree that the Co-Chairs or their designees will have binding authority and will memorialize agreements under these ground rules.

SCHEDULING: Dates, duration and daily scheduling of negotiation session will be determined by the Co-Chairs. The parties mutually agree to reconvene as determined by the Co-Chairs. The team will be provided two (2) weeks advance notice prior to convening any urgent meeting necessary. In the event of problems with official time release procedures, such problems will be elevated to the Co-Chairs for resolution.

MEMBERSHIP: The team will be comprised of union and management representatives not to exceed 10 participants for each party. The parties shall be responsible for appointing their respective team members. The parties agree that all representatives are trained in and committed to interest-based bargaining principals.

AGENDA DEVELOPMENT: It is agreed that open and honest communication is essential for prompt and expeditious resolution of issues/problems. It is also understood that the mutual identification of each otherís interests and concerns in development of the meeting agenda will facilitate the bargaining process. The Co-Chairs or their designees will normally establish an "Advance Team" for the development of the agenda, assist in compiling supporting documentation and providing administrative support. Further, the Co-Chairs will define the duties and responsibilities of the Advance Team. The Advance Team will normally meet no later than four weeks prior to the start of the next meeting.

MEETING PREPARATION: The Co-Chairs will determine the amount of on-site preparation time that is necessary for each session. Union representatives shall be authorized official time for travel, research, preparation and negotiations performed during normal duty hours. Disputes will be raised to the Co-Chairs for resolution. The union will have one administrative support person to assist in the on-site preparations.

MEETING PROTOCOL: The team will use interest-based bargaining techniques and consensus decision-making methodologies. We agree that there should be free and open discussion of all issues. Additionally, the Teamís administrative staff will be designated to record interests and concerns in a manner visible to all members during discussions. The team may also decide to use a facilitator. Minutes of the meeting will be taken in the manner described below.

MEETING MINUTES/RECORD KEEPING: It is agreed that meeting minutes will be taken by two administrative assistants. The parties will each designate one individual to serve in this capacity. The minutes will concisely capture the issue, concerns and the teamís disposition/decision. Team members may have specific comments recorded by advising the Co-Chairs that they have comments for the record. Each party shall designate their own representative to review and correct the two sets of minutes at the end of each day. The Co-Chairs or designee of each respective team will print/sign their names to the final minutes prior to the start of the next negotiating session the following day. The minutes will be distributed to the team members at the end of the week. Team decisions/agreements will be signed by the Co-chairs. The parties will be given an original of all signed documents.


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Robert McNamara DATE Kelley Dull DATE

Co-Chair, Management Co-Chair, Union