In accordance with provisions of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 this agreement is made between the Defense Finance and Accounting Service hereinafter referred to as the Employer, and American Federation of Government Employees Local 201, hereinafter referred to as the Union. It is the intent and purpose of the parties to promote and improve efficiency of mission operations and the well-being of all DFAS employees. Through this agreement, the parties establish understanding relative to personnel policies and practices, employee working conditions, methods and means of performing the work, and any other negotiable matters. This agreement is also established as a means to assure amicable discussion and adjustment to matters of mutual interest. The Employer and the Union agree to cooperate in efforts to insure timely completion of work, improve the quality of workmanship, encourage ideas for improvement and cost reduction, prevent accidents, conserve materials and supplies, and promote the development of partnership among the Employer, the Union, employees and the community.
Article 1: Recognition and Unit Description
The Employer recognizes the Union as the exclusive bargaining representative for all professional and nonprofessional employees including temporary employees hired for appointments in excess of 120 days employed by the Rome OPLOC, excluding management officials, supervisors, and employees described in 5 USC 7112 (b) (2), (3) (4), (6) and (7).
Article 2: Union Rights
Section 1: The Employer, the Union and the employees shall be governed by existing and future laws of the United States, Government-wide regulations, policies of appropriate authorities and published Agency policy which may be applicable and in existence at the time of approval of this agreement.
Section 2: The Union recognizes its responsibilities to fairly and impartially represent the interests of all employees in the bargaining unit in all situations where the Union is the exclusive representative. Statutory obligations will not extend to situations where the Unions is not acting as the exclusive representative. If the employee has the right to choose a representative other than the Union, there is no basis for requiring the Union to furnish its services.
Article 3: Employer Rights
Section 1: Nothing in this Article shall affect the authority of any management official of the agency -
a. To determine the mission, budget, organization, number of employees, and internal security practices of the agency; and
b. In accordance with applicable laws -
(1) to hire, assign, direct, layoff, and retain employees in the agency, or to suspend, remove, reduce in grade or pay, or take other disciplinary action against such employees;
(2) to assign work, to make determinations with respect to contracting out, and to determine the personnel by which agency operations shall be conducted;
(3) with respect to filling positions, to make selections for appointments from
(A) among properly ranked and certified candidates for promotions, or
(B) any other appropriate source, and
(4) to take whatever actions may be necessary to carry out the agency mission during emergencies.
Article 4: Employer-Union Relations
Section 1: The purpose and intent of the DFAS and Union agreement is to promote and improve the efficient administration of the Government and the well being of its employees and to establish a basic understanding of relative personnel policy, practices, working conditions and matters affecting conditions of employment.
Section 2: It is understood that participation of the Union in the formulation and implementation of personnel policies and practices as specified in this Agreement, contributes to the efficient administration of the Government.
Section 3: Management agrees that no new policies will be formulated contrary to the provisions of this Agreement.
Article 5: Partnership
Section 1: DFAS Operating Location at Rome and the Union resolve that they are obligated to bargain in good faith. As partners, they will pursue solutions that promote increased quality and
productivity, customer service, mission accomplishment, efficiency, quality of work life, employee empowerment, and organizational performance, while considering the legitimate concerns of both parties.
Section 2: The parties shall have a Partnership Council (hereinafter called the Council) composed of three (3) representatives appointed by the Union and three (3) representatives appointed by the Employer. Except as described below, the Council will decide its protocols and operating procedures, including whether to utilize subgroups or task forces. Any issue which affects employees’ conditions of employment, including numbers, types and grades of employees or positions assigned to any organizational subdivision, work project or tour of duty, or on the technology, methods, and means of performing work will be open for discussion. Grievances, appeals and other third party matters will not be open for discussion. Members participating on the Council will be on duty time.
Section 3: Meetings will be held as necessary, but at a minimum twice a month.
Section 4: The parties realize there are many situations where compromise and cooperation are needed; bargaining would not be needed if perfect solutions were available. Therefore, the parties agree to seek consensus using the definition: Each participant is 70% satisfied with the solution and 100% committed to it.
Article 6: Annual Leave
Section 1: Employees shall accrue annual leave in accordance with existing applicable laws and regulations. The Employer and the Union agree that the employee should schedule annual leave so as to avoid leave forfeiture. An approved absence that would otherwise be chargeable to sick leave may be charged to annual leave, if requested by the employee and approved by the employer. However, annual leave may not be substituted for sick leave on a retroactive basis solely for the purpose of avoiding a forfeiture of annual leave at the end of the year, unless specifically authorized by law or regulation.
Section 2: Employees will submit a tentative request for annual leave on/or before the first (1st) of February each year. In scheduling leave, due consideration will be given to the employee’s wishes, consistent with requirements for mission accomplishment. Supervisors shall not refuse to schedule leave when this would result in leave being forfeited unless the granting of such leave will impair the accomplishment of the mission. Supervisors will explain the necessity for cancellation of any leave that has been previously approved. Denial of use of annual leave will be based upon factors which are reasonable, equitable, and which do not unfairly discriminate against any employee or group of employees.
a. When there is a conflict in annual leave requests, which cannot be resolved through discussion , such a conflict will be resolved on the basis of the following considerations, which are listed in priority order:
(1) Timely submission of requests for annual leave.
(A) Employees who have submitted annual leave requests for the year prior to 1 February will be given consideration ahead of those who have submitted their annual leave requests for the year after 1 February.
(B) After 1 February, those who request changes or additions to their annual leave will be given priority based on date of submission of such request.
(2) Seniority within the unit of assignment.
(3) Prior leave granted for a particular day or timeframe (e.g. day after Thanksgiving, Christmas week).
b. It is understood that seniority may not be used again in future years for use of annual leave on the same day or timeframe until all other unit employees have had an opportunity to utilize leave for the particular timeframe.
Section 3: Recognizing that there are times when an employee cannot foresee the need, requests for unscheduled leave will be submitted in writing with as much advance notice as possible. The supervisor will promptly act upon such request.
Section 4: Advanced annual leave may be granted in accordance with appropriate rules and regulations.
Article 7: Sick Leave
Section 1: Sick leave will be granted to the extent due and accrued to employees when they:
a. Receive medical, dental, or optical examinations or treatment.
b. Are incapacitated for the performance of duties by sickness, injury, or pregnancy, and confinement.
c. Are required to give care and attendance to a member of his/her immediate family (as specified in OPM and agency regulations).
d. Would jeopardize the health of others by his/her presence at his post of duty because of exposure to a contagious disease.
Section 2: Approval of sick leave may be granted to employees when they are incapacitated from the performance of their duties by sickness, injury or pregnancy and confinement and when they have notified their immediate supervisor, or someone designated to receive such a report, normally within two (2) hours after the beginning of their shifts. It is the responsibility of the employee to see that his/her supervisor, or someone designated to receive such notice, is notified by telephone or other means within the designated time if he/she is prevented from reporting to work because of an incapacitating illness or injury. Sick leave requests for medical, dental, or optical examination or treatment shall be submitted to the supervisor for approval in advance with as much notice as possible. The Employer and Union agree to encourage employees to conserve their sick leave by scheduling such appointments, if possible, for non-duty hours.
Section 3: Employees whose absence exceeds four (4) days will normally be required to furnish a medical certification to justify absence. The requirements for employees to produce a medical certificate to support a request for approval of sick leave absence that exceeds four (4) days is based on the belief that generally illnesses that exceed four (4) days should be diagnosed and evaluated by a professional medical practitioner for the purpose of controlling and curing the illness and certifying that the employee is physically fit to resume his/her employment. In lieu of a medical certificate, when such a certificate would normally be required, an employee’s signed statement explaining the nature of the illness may be accepted if his/her sick leave record shows no pattern of excessive, regular use, and when in the judgment of the supervisor it is believed to be unreasonable to require a medical certificate because the nature of the illness does not require the services of a physician. When medical certification is required, such certification will be provided by the employee to the Employer within 48 hours of return to duty.
Section 4: In individual cases where there is a reason to believe that an employee is abusing sick leave privileges, a medical certificate may be required to support application for sick leave. In such cases, the employee concerned shall be notified in writing, in advance, that all future sick leave absences will have to be supported by a medical certificate. The written notice will also explain the reason why the employee is suspected of abusing sick leave. The notification will be reviewed quarterly. If in the judgment of the supervisor, sick leave is no longer being abused, the supervisor may cancel the notification and notify the employee in writing that it has been canceled.
Section 5: An employee who has received a letter of notification must submit satisfactory medical certificates for all absences due to sickness. Failure to submit such certifications will result in denial of sick leave for the uncertified absences and such other disciplinary action as the facts and circumstances may warrant.
Section 6: Sick leave abuse is defined as a pattern of excessive, regular use, such as every Monday or Friday, or after or before holidays on a regular basis, etc. These are just examples and do not represent all patterns that would be considered abuse. Scheduled appointments are not reflective of patterns.
Section 7: Advanced sick leave may be granted in accordance with appropriate rules and regulations.
Article 8: Employee Morale
Section 1: Employees shall have a clean, dry, heated, lighted and well-ventilated area in which to eat their lunch. Employees who utilize these areas are responsible for maintaining the areas for cleanliness and orderliness.
Section 2: Each employee shall receive an in-process orientation within 3 days of entering on duty. This will include information on the supervisory chain of command and conditions of employment. The Union will be provided 10 minutes during the orientation. The Union may speak to those employees 30 days thereafter.
Section 3: It is agreed: if a medical determination from appropriate Agency medical authority is made that an employee can return to work with certain restrictions/limitations on activities, and if there is work within the activity that can be performed within those restrictions/limitations, the employee will be directed to return to work, will return to work, and will be assigned to work consistent with those limitations until the limitations have been removed or changed, or the employee is separated or reassigned or the employee is retired or retires for disability.
Section 4: The Employer will assign duties to employees consistent with mission requirements and the employees’ job description. Normally, work assignments will be made in a manner reflective of the grade level and performance requirements of the employee.
Section 5: Any delegation of authority to another appropriate supervisor for absences or other mission requirements will be done in writing. Delegations of supervisory duties to positions with known promotion potential will be done on a rotating basis of 120 days. These details will be documented appropriately.
Section 6: Selection of an employee for a detail which enhances qualifications or offers future promotion possibilities will be rotated among qualified employees in the work unit. Employees detailed to higher grade duties for longer than 45 days shall if minimally qualified be temporarily promoted. Details to higher graded positions of 120 days or less need not be filled through competitive procedures.
Section 7: There shall be no formal dress code at the Rome OPLOC. However, employees will be expected to maintain a neat and clean personal appearance while at the work site. The following are examples of unacceptable attire on any day including casual day: exercise wear, torn or worn out jeans, shorts, "halter" tops, and shower clogs.
Section 8: Smoking cessation classes will be made available to employees who are trying to stop smoking. Attempts will be made to provide programs at locations convenient to the employees’ worksite. Initial attendance by an employee in a particular program will be charged to duty time. Individual travel to and from classes will be at no cost to the Government. Individuals will not be authorized use of a government vehicle for this purpose. Costs of the initial program will be borne by the Employer.
Article 9: Health and Safety
Section 1: General - The OPLOC will provide and maintain a safe and healthy workplace for its employees and comply with applicable laws, regulations, and standards. We recognize our respective obligations to assist in the prevention, correction, and elimination of hazardous and unhealthy working conditions and practices. The OPLOC will have a safety program which includes proactive accident prevention, fire prevention, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first-aid training, safety and health awareness publications, training aids, recognition, awards, and general publicity for the program. Employees are expected to follow health and safety guidelines and practices, including the wearing and use of protective equipment and clothing provided by the OPLOC. The OPLOC will provide access to and/or arrange for medical services. When such medical services are provided, their quality will be reviewed on a periodic or as-needed basis.
Section 2: Definitions:
a. Imminent Danger Right - The right of an employee to decline to perform his or her assigned task because of a reasonable belief that, under the circumstances, the task poses an imminent risk of death or serious bodily harm coupled with a reasonable belief that there is insufficient time to seek effective redress through normal hazard reporting and abatement procedures.
b. Inspection - a comprehensive survey of all or part of a workplace in order to detect health and safety hazards. Inspections are normally performed during the regular work hours of the OPLOC, except as special circumstances may require.
c. Hazardous Material - any chemical or substance which by its nature presents a fire, explosive, reactive, or biological hazard.
d. Hazardous Duty - a duty performed under circumstances in which an accident could result in serious injury or death, such as a duty performed on a high structure where protective facilities are not used, or on an open structure where adverse conditions such as darkness, lightning, steady rain, or high wind velocity exist.
Section 3: Correcting Conditions and Reporting:
a. The Parties agree to encourage employees to report any unsafe acts or conditions immediately to the supervisor. The supervisor will submit such reports to the facility manager. The Employer will advise the Union as to the final disposition of reports. The Employer shall take timely action, within its control, to alleviate unsafe or unhealthful working conditions.
b. The detection of unsafe and unhealthful working conditions at the earliest possible time and the prompt correction of related hazards at the lowest possible working level are essential. Employees who are assigned duties or work in conditions that they reasonably believe could endanger their health or well-being shall notify the supervisor of the situation and file a report of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions.
c. An employee has the right to decline to perform an assigned task because of a reasonable belief that, under the circumstances, the task poses an imminent risk of death or serious bodily harm coupled with a reasonable belief that there is insufficient time to correct the problem through established procedures. Employees will immediately contact the supervisor. Supervisors will make reasonable efforts to assign work outside the affected work area and contact safety or occupational health activities to promptly investigate the conditions to determine whether work may proceed.
d. The Employer shall ensure that no employee is subject to restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal for filing a report of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions, or other participation in occupational health and safety activities. An employee who believes he or she has been subject to acts of reprisal has the right to seek redress through the grievance procedure.
e. The Employer and employees will make every reasonable effort to maintain a safe, healthful, and sanitary work environment. This includes training in the proper evacuation of buildings, use of safety equipment, and use of protective equipment and clothing in the work area.
f. The Employer will also notify the Union when it becomes aware of health and safety
meetings scheduled or changes in working conditions initiated by other activities.
Article 10: Disciplinary and Adverse Actions
Section 1: A disciplinary action for the purposes of the article is defined as a formal written reprimand or a suspension from employment for fourteen (14) calendar days or less. The OPLOC agrees to initiate disciplinary actions within a reasonable period of time from the occurrence or when they should have been aware of the occurrence.
Section 2: The Union, if requested by an employee, will be given an opportunity to be present at any examination of an employee by a supervisor in connection with an investigation, if the employee reasonably believes that such examination may result in disciplinary action against the employee. Although the Employer will accommodate an employee’s request to have a union official present by giving the employee an opportunity to contact a union official, such examination will normally not be delayed beyond twenty-four (24) hours, exclusive of weekends and holidays, from the date/time the examination was initially scheduled to be held. This section does not apply to emergency situations or to situations where an employees’ behavior represents a danger to self or others.
Section 3: When the Employer proposes to suspend an employee for fourteen (14) calendar days or less, the following procedures will apply:
a. The Employer will provide the employee with at least fifteen (15) calendar days advance written notice. The notice will state the reasons for the proposed disciplinary action, with sufficient detail to enable the employee to understand the reasons for the action.
b. The employee may respond orally and/or in writing within fifteen (15) calendar days from receipt of the notice, and may furnish affidavits and other documentary evidence in support of his/her response. The employee may be granted a fifteen (15) calendar days extension of the reply period, if the employee:
(1) Requests such an extension in writing prior to the expiration of the initial fifteen (15) calendar days response period; and
(2) Provides demonstrated and valid reasons, acceptable to the Employer, for requiring such an extension.
c. When making a response, an employee is entitled to be represented by a lawyer or other representative.
d. After receipt of the written and/or oral response, or the termination of the notice period, whichever comes first, the Employer will issue a written decision to the employee which shall include a statement of the employee’s right to grieve as provided for in this agreement. Suspensions will be based on reasons specified in the advance notice.
Section 4: If an employee is to be served with a warrant or subpoena, as much as practicable, it will be done in private without the knowledge of other employees.
Section 5: The reasons and material on which the notice is based, including statements of witnesses, documents, and investigative reports or extracts therefrom, shall be assembled and made available to the appellant and his/her representative for their review as allowed by law. The Employer to support their reasons in the notice will not use any material not disclosed.
Section 6: Adverse Actions - An adverse Action for the purpose of the article is defined as a reduction in grade, or pay removal, suspension for more than fourteen (14) days, furlough without pay for thirty (30) days or less, or emergency suspension (the crime provision); which is imposed by the Employer to promote the efficiency of the service when an employee’s action is alleged not to conform to an acceptable standard of conduct when such conduct is directly related to their employment. The OPLOC agrees to initiate all adverse actions within a reasonable period of time from the occurrence or when they should have been aware of the occurrence.
Section 7: The employee against whom an adverse action is proposed is entitled to thirty (30) days written notice stating any and all reasons, specifically and in detail, for the proposed action. The employee will be in a duty status during the notice period unless the crime provision is invoked. When circumstances are such that the retention of the appellant in a duty status may result in damage to the Employer’s property or maybe detrimental to the interest of the Employer or employees of the Employer, they may be assigned to other duties or placed on leave.
Section 8: The reasons and material on which the notice is based, including statements or witnesses, documents, and investigative reports or extracts therefrom, shall be assembled and made available to the appellant and their representative for review. The Employer to support their reasons in the notice will not use any material not disclosed.
Section 9: The employee will be given up to twenty (20) calendar days to reply orally or in writing. Upon request, with the approval of the Employer, an extension may be granted when justified. When approved by the supervisor, the employee may be granted official time to prepare his/her reply.
Section 10: An employee against whom an adverse action is taken under this article is entitled to appeal through statutory procedures or through the negotiated grievance procedure of this agreement, but not both.
Article 11: GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES
SECTION 1. The Employer and the Union recognize and endorse the importance of bringing to light and resolving grievances in a prompt manner. The parties agree that the expeditious settlement of grievances at the lowest possible level is in the best interest of the government service. This procedure is designed to provide an ethical, orderly, and equitable means for resolving grievances.
SECTION 2. Unit employees covered by this agreement may present a grievance which may be processed with or without Union representation at the grievant's discretion. However, the Union shall have the right to have its representative present at the grievance meetings. This right to individual representation does not include the right to take the matter to arbitration, unless the Union agrees to do so.
SECTION 3. This article provides procedures for the processing of grievances relating to the interpretation and/or application of this Agreement, and to matters relating to personnel policies, practices, and working conditions. This shall be the sole procedure available for processing covered grievances. A grievance is defined as any complaint:
a. By any unit employee concerning any matter relating to the employment of the employee;
b. By the Union concerning any matter relating to employment of unit employees;
c. By any unit employee, the Union, or the Employer concerning;
(1) The effect or interpretation, or a claim of breach of this Agreement; or
(2) Any claimed violation, misinterpretation, or misapplication of any law, rule, or regulation affecting conditions of employment.
SECTION 4. The following are excluded from coverage of this grievance procedure:
a. A claimed violation of prohibited political activities.
b. Retirement, life insurance, health benefits, and matters under the auspices of the Office of Worker's Compensation Program, U.S. Department of Labor.
c. A suspension or removal under 5 USC 7532 (national security).
d. Any examination, certification, or appointment of candidates for federal employment.
e. The classification of any position which does not result in the reduction in grade or pay of an employee.
f. Nonselection for promotion from a group of properly ranked and certified candidates.
g. Termination of probationary employees.
SECTION 5. Grievances may be initiated by: (a) employees (either individually or jointly), (b) the Union, or (c) the Employer. Regardless of Union membership, employees shall not be precluded from bringing matters of personal concern to the attention of appropriate officials in accordance with applicable law, rule, regulation, or established agency policy. An employee or group of employees in the unit may be represented by themselves or only by the Union, in filing a grievance under the negotiated procedure.
SECTION 6 Reasonable official time will be granted to aggrieved unit employees, and to the appropriate Union representatives, to investigate and prepare grievances. Official time will be granted to present a grievance through this Negotiated Grievance Procedure.
SECTION 7. Failure of the aggrieved employee or the Union to comply with any applicable time limit will terminate further consideration of the grievance, except as otherwise provided herein. Failure of the Employer to comply with any applicable processing time limit will constitute a valid basis for the grievance being advanced to the next higher step of this Grievance Procedure. However, any time limits stated in this Article may be extended by mutual written agreement between the employer and the Union.
SECTION 8. A grievance by the employee, Union, or the Employer shall be filed within twenty (20) calendar days from the date the grievant became aware of or should have become aware of the occurrence being grieved.
SECTION 9. Employee grievances shall be processed as follows:
Step 1. An employee shall first take up his grievance with his immediate supervisor. The employee may choose to have a Union representative. The following shall be specified in writing:
a. The basis for the grievance including approximate date of occurrence of the incident being grieved;
b. The alleged violation; and
c. The corrective relief sought.
If a grievant mistakenly omits any of the above, it will not constitute grounds for dismissing the grievance.
The immediate supervisor shall make a reasonable effort to resolve the grievance and will render a written decision or findings/conclusions to the employee within fifteen (15) calendar days of the date the employee submitted the grievance.
Step 2. Should resolution not occur at Step 1, the employee may submit the grievance for further consideration by filing his/her written grievance within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of the Step 1 decision to the appropriate Deputy Director. This grievance shall identify:
a. The basis for the grievance including approximate date of occurrence of the incident being grieved;
b. The alleged violation;
c. The corrective relief sought; and
d. A copy of the Step 1 decision, if rendered.
If a grievant mistakenly omits any of the above, it will not constitute grounds for dismissing the grievance.
The appropriate Deputy Director will meet with the employee and union representative within fifteen (15) calendar days from the date he/she receives the grievance and render a decision within fifteen (15) calendar days after the meeting.
Step 3. Should resolution not occur at Step 2, the employee may submit the grievance for further consideration by filing his/her written grievance within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of the Step 2 decision to the Principal Deputy Director. The Principal Deputy Director will render a written decision within twenty (20) calendar days from the date he/she receives the grievance after consulting with the Step 2 deciding official and union representative if he/she deems it necessary.
SECTION 10. Grievances over formal disciplinary actions shall be filed at Step 3.
SECTION 11. Employer grievances shall be filed in writing with the President of the Union. The grievance shall specify the basis for the grievance and the corrective relief sought. A meeting shall be held to discuss the grievance. The President shall issue a written decision within fifteen (15) workdays of receipt of the grievance.
SECTION 12. Union grievances shall be filed in writing with the Principal Deputy Director by an elected officer of the Union. The grievance shall specify the basis for the grievance and the corrective relief sought. A meeting shall be held to discuss the grievance. The Principal Deputy Director shall issue a written decision within fifteen (15) workdays of his receipt of the grievance.
SECTION 13. The parties agree to consider the use of Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) grievance mediation services. Grievance mediation must be requested in writing within ten (10) calendar days following the last step in the Grievance Procedure. Grievance mediation, if used, must be by mutual consent. Neither party is obligated to use this service; nor shall the voluntary, mutual consent to use the service limit a party's right to invoke arbitration at a later date. If the parties agree to use grievance mediation, a request will be made, asking FMCS for assistance. Such request will be made with the understanding that grievance mediation is an informal process intended as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the arbitration process. The parties also agree that if grievance mediation is used, it shall be conducted at the discretion of the FMCS and that the parties agree to follow its guidelines, which entitle a grievant to be present at the mediation conference. The Mediator has no authority to compel resolution of the grievance. If the grievance is not settled during the mediation process, the matter may proceed to arbitration. Nothing said or done by the parties or the Mediator during mediation can be entered as evidence or used against them during any subsequent arbitration proceedings.
SECTION 14. Grievances not resolved through the provisions of this Article may be referred to arbitration by either the Union or Employer. Either party may invoke arbritration within thirty (30) calendar days of the final step decision.
SECTION 15. When a matter pursued through the negotiated grievance procedure is not satisfactorily resolved at the final step of the grievance procedure, the matter may be submitted to arbitration by the Employer or the Union. Only the parties to this agreement may invoke arbitration.
SECTION 16. Either party may request that the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service submit a list of seven (7) impartial persons qualified to act as arbitrators. Representatives of the Union and the Employer will meet within seven (7) workdays after receipt of such a list. A representative of the Union and a representative of the Employer will each strike one arbitrator's name from the list of seven (7); they will then repeat this procedure. The remaining name will be the duly selected arbitrator. A flip of a coin will decide which party strikes first.
SECTION 17. The parties will in good faith attempt to define the issue. If complete agreement cannot be reached on the issue prior to arbitration, the parties will present their respective issues to the Arbitrator at the hearing, the Arbitrator will then determine the issue to be heard.
SECTION 18. Grievability and arbitrability issues, if unresolved, will be handled as a threshold issue at the same time the merits are heard.
SECTION 19. The Arbitrator's fees and expenses shall be shared equally. Where the Union and the Employer mutually request a transcript or the arbitrator requests a transcript, the expense will be shared; otherwise the party requesting the transcript shall bear the expense. The party invoking arbitration will pay any fees charged by the FMCS for furnishing the list of arbitrators.
SECTION 20. The arbitration hearing will be on the Employer's premises during the Employer's regular work days. Each person authorized to attend the arbitration hearing who is employed by the Employer and who is in an active duty status at the time the hearing is held will be excused from duty to participate in the arbitration proceeding without loss of pay or charge to annual leave.
SECTION 21. Either the Union or the Employer may file exceptions to an Arbitrator's award in accordance with law and regulations.
Article 12: Hours of Duty
Section 1: Basic work requirements:
a. The basic workweek shall be Monday through Friday.
b. Lunch: A lunch will be taken approximately mid-point of the duty day. The length of the lunch period will not exceed one (1) hour.
Section 2: Rest Periods - Employees shall receive a fifteen (15) minute rest period at approximately the middle of each four (4) hour continuous work period, and after each two (2) hours of overtime.
Section 3: Where changes in established regular or irregular tours of duty are contemplated, the Union will be informed and provided the opportunity to express the views of the affected employees they represent, on which tour of duty will have the least adverse effect on the employee(s) involved while providing maximum overall support to the mission. The Union retains its option to invoke impact and implementation bargaining authorized by law.
Section 4: Changes in Tour of Duty - Recognizing that changes in tours of duty can be disruptive to employees, the Employer agrees to the extent practicable to be fair and equitable when changing tours of duty. The Employer also agrees to consider, but not be limited to, the following factors:
a. Special skill requirements.
b. Continuity of jobs.
c. Employees individual capabilities.
Article 13: Alternate Work Schedule
a. Both parties recognize that the use of alternate work schedule (AWS) and flextime can improve productivity and morale and provide greater service to the public. Any choice of an alternative work schedule will be mutually acceptable to the supervisor and the employee.
b. Both parties recognize that certain portions or organizational segments, because of the nature of the work performed, may not be suitable for AWS. The Employer agrees to negotiate with the Union prior to denying or terminating an employee’s request to participate in AWS.
c. Employees shall be permitted to vary their work schedules subject to the limitations set forth in paragraph B above:
1. Flextime - An employee may vary arrival and departure time provided that the employee is on duty within the core hours of 0830 to 1500 and accounts for a total of eight (8) hours of duty time. However, the parties recognize that there are instances where employees desire to have different core hours. In recognition of this fact, employees may request of the supervisor that a variation to the standard core hours be established for their work schedule.
2. Compressed Work Schedule (CWS) - 5/4-9 Schedule - A schedule which, within a pay period of ten (10) workdays, includes eight (8) nine (9) hour days, one (1) eight hour day, and one (1) non-work day. The Employer shall have the right to limit the numbers of employees working or not working on the days specified. Employees who choose a CWS may begin work no earlier than 0630 nor later than 0800 and may end work no later than 1800.
d. Having once selected one of the AWS schedules described above, the employee must adhere to the schedule until a periodic opportunity to change arises.
e. In the event the Employer deems it necessary to terminate an employees’ participation, the affected employee and Union shall be notified in writing. The Employer agrees that all matters concerning an employees’ participation in AWS will be subject to the grievance procedure. The notification for the proposed termination will include the specific reasons and instances of negative impact on the Employer that clearly establish why AWS should no longer be appropriate for that employee.
Section 2: The implementation of this article will be done through the Partnership Council and in accordance with Article 5 Partnership. The Council will convene no later than two weeks from the effective date of this agreement and will have completed the written procedural guidelines for the compressed work schedule program within 60 days from the effective date of this agreement. The Partnership Council will use Field Advisory Service (FAS) Reference Guide 407-LR7, August 17, 1995 as a reference tool in implementing the AWS program.
Section 3: Employees may not request changes in AWS more often than each quarter.
Section 4: Premium Pay - Premium pay will be paid in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
Section 5: This AWS system may be reviewed by the Partnership Council after one year for any modifications deemed necessary by the parties.
Article 14: Overtime
Section 1: Any employee in the unit will be compensated at overtime rates for all overtime work officially ordered by the supervisor to whom the authority has been delegated to order overtime and which has been performed by the employee, unless the employee is eligible for and has elected to take compensatory time IAW applicable regulations.
Section 2: When assigning overtime, the Employer agrees to consider, but not be limited to the following factors:
a. Special skill requirements of the work.
b. Special project requirements.
c. Continuity on jobs.
d. Qualifications of employees.
e. Call back requirements.
f. Familiarity of employee with work to be accomplished.
When overtime is assigned on a rotating basis, it will be done in a fair and equitable manner. The Employer also agrees not to assign overtime as a reward or punishment.
Section 3: Employees assigned to overtime work will be given as much advance notice of such assignments as possible.
Section 4: Irregular or occasional overtime work which has been officially ordered and performed by the employee on a day when work was not scheduled for the employee, or which the employee is required to return to his/her place of employment, is deemed at least two (2) hours in duration for the purpose of premium pay, either in money, or agreeable compensatory time off, regardless of whether the employee is required to work the full two (2) hours.
Section 5: Eligible employees whose rate of pay is below the maximum step of GS-10 will not be required to take compensatory time in lieu of payment when overtime is available or an overtime roster is established or is being established. Compensatory time shall be utilized within 26 pay periods or it will revert to overtime after 26 pay periods. When possible, compensatory time will be scheduled and approved in advance. However, if approval or scheduling was not done in advance, for special or unforeseen requirements, this will not be a basis for denial or refusal of compensatory time.
Article 15: Equal Employment Opportunity
The parties agree to actively support programs developed to provide equal opportunity in employment for all persons; to prohibit discrimination because of age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or mental or physical handicap; and to promote the realization of equal employment opportunity through continuing affirmative action, upward mobility and handicap accommodation programs.
Article 16: Official Time
Section 1: All elected or appointed officials of the Union who are currently employees of this bargaining unit shall be authorized a reasonable amount of official time for all functions other than internal Union business. Such time shall be granted without charge to leave or loss of pay, and is considered hours of work.
Section 2: The Employer agrees to allow each Union representative a reasonable amount of official time to attend training sessions of a mutual benefit to the Employer and the Union during the period of time that the individual is in a duty status, provided that the subject matter of the training is of mutual concern to the Employer and the employee is in a capacity of a Union official or representative. Requests for such excusal will be submitted to the Employer as far in advance as possible. Requests will include a copy of the agenda or program and a description of the training for which the excusal is requested. It is understood that such official time will only be granted if it does not interfere with the accomplishment of the mission, not to include routine tasks and daily duties.
Section 3: The Union recognizes its obligation to ensure official time for representational purposes is not abused and will cooperate with the Employer and make every effort to prevent abuse. If the Employer alleges that the use of official time had been abused, the alleged offender and the Union will be notified in writing. The Union agrees to investigate the representatives use of official time and to notify the Employer in writing within ten (10) workdays as to its determination of the propriety of such use of time or any corrective action which will be taken.
Article 17: Use of Official Facilities
a. Upon reasonable advance request by the Union, the Employer will provide meeting space in areas occupied by the Employer, if available, for meetings. The Union will comply with all security, safety and housekeeping rules in effect at that time and place.
b. The advance request referred to in subsection (a) should contain the date, time, duration and purpose of the meeting and the estimated number of employees expected to attend.
c. Employees attending meetings under subsection a. will do so only during non-duty hours.
Section 2: The Employer will arrange a private Union office during official hours of business at the locations of local officers appropriate for carrying out representational and partnership duties. This office will be in located easily accessible to employees and private citizens and of a size, furnishings, and decor commensurate with other administrative offices within those facilities.
a. Sufficient and specific space will be identified by the Employer and provided on bulletin boards, designated by the Employer in appropriate work areas for the display of official Union literature, correspondence, notices and bulletins. The Union agrees that the material posted will be posted during non-duty hours (if pertinent to internal Union business) and will not be in violation of the law, regulation or security. The Union, upon written justification and notification by the Employer, will promptly remove any posted material which violates these provisions.
b. The Union may distribute material on the Employer’s premises during all non-duty hours (e.g. lunch or break time) and in non-work areas during normal duty hours of operation of the facility, provided that the employees distributing and receiving the material are on their own time and provided that there is compliance with security regulations.
c. Material, which does not violate any law, Executive Order, regulation of appropriate authorities, or this agreement, or does not reflect on the integrity or motives of any individuals, government agencies or activities of the Federal Government may be posted on official bulletin boards or distributed.
d. All costs incidental to the preparation, posting, and/or distribution of internal Union material shall be borne by the Union.
Section 4: Mail Distribution: The Union may use the Employer’s internal mail distribution system for official correspondence with the Employer and members of the bargaining unit in matters relating to grievances, appeals and other individuals actions.
a. The Local President or their designee will have use of a Federal Telecommunications System (or equivalent) telephone for the purposes of appropriate communications dealing with employee’s grievances and appeals.
b. Union representatives (officers and stewards) may use and will have use of available telephones for calls with bargaining unit members, and other appropriate agencies while performing representation functions.
c. The agency will provide or make available to the Union for conducting official business a fax machine, personal computer with software comparable to what OPLOC employee’s have, an operable dot matrix printer, e-mail, access to a copy machine and metered mail. As upgraded equipment/software becomes generally available, the Union will be similarly upgraded.
Article 18: Dues Deduction
Section 1: General
a. For the purpose of this agreement
(1) The term employee shall have the same meaning as in 5 USC 7103 (a) (2).
(2) The term servicing payroll office refers to the organization which provides payroll service to Rome OPLOC.
(3) The term payroll allotment refers to a voluntary authorization by the employee for a deduction a specified amount to be made from the employee’s pay each pay period for the payment of dues, associated with his/her membership, to the local.
(4) The term dues shall have the same meaning as in 5 USC 7103 (s) (5), which states dues means dues, fees, and assessments.
Section 2: Authorization of Payroll Allotment
a. One Union payroll allotment shall be authorized for each employee
b. Standard Form (SF) 1187, Request for Payroll Deduction for Labor Organization Dues, shall be used. The Local shall distribute this form to the employees.
c. The payroll allotment shall be in an amount determined by the AFGE Local and signed by the employee on the SF1187.
(1) No more than two changes in the amount of the basic payroll allotment shall be made during a calendar year.
(2) The AFGE Local shall furnish written notification of a change in the amount of the basic payroll allotment to the servicing payroll office at least 30 days prior to the change.
a. When the Local changes the amount of the basic payroll allotment, they will provide the servicing payroll office the following information
1. Current Rate
2. Amount of change
3. New Rate
4. Telephone number and name of contact person if there are questions
5. Address for remittance and account number, if necessary
6. Address for dues listings to be submitted
Section 3: Processing Payroll Allotments:
a. Dues withholding will become effective the first full pay period after a properly executed allotment form is received in the servicing payroll office.
b. No dues shall be withheld or deducted for any pay period in which the employee’s net salary, after legal or required deductions, is insufficient to cover the full amount of the payroll allotment.
c. After each pay period, the Employer shall remit to the AFGE Local the payroll allotment deduction with a listing that contains the following:
(1) The pay period designator
(2) The names of the employees from whom deductions were made and the amount of each deduction, their social security number, and their organizational assignment.
(3) The total number of employees from whom dues were withheld.
(4) The total amount withheld
(5) The names of employees from whom no dues were deducted in accordance with Section 3.b. above and the reasons why dues were not deducted.
Section 4: The Employer will terminate an allotment:
a. At the end of the pay period following notification of loss of exclusive recognition by the Union.
b. At the end of the pay period during which an employee separates from the unit or moves to a position not included within the unit of recognition.
c. The first complete pay period after written notification is received from the Union that an employee is no longer a member in good standing in the Union.
d. Upon receipt of a properly completed SF-1188, at the beginning of the first pay period one calendar year after the employee’s dues have been withheld, and on every subsequent anniversary date. The union will be provided a copy of the final SF-1188.
Article 19: Employee Training and Development
Section 1: Any training for employees adversely affected by the impact of realignment of work forces or technological change will be provided by the Employer IAW 5 USC Chapter 41 of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978.
Section 2: Matters relating to training involving available programs and opportunities that may be pursued by members of the unit, will be addressed by the Partnership Council. The Employer will initiate, in conjunction with the Union, a training and career development plan for those positions requiring a career development plan.
Section 3: The Employer and the Union recognize that training and development of employees is essential to efficient operation. The choices of subject matter, areas for training, selection of employees and assignment of training priorities are areas appropriate to be addressed by the Partnership Council or traditional means.
Section 4: The Employer and the Union recognize that each employee is responsible for applying diligent effort, time and initiative in increasing their potential value through self-development and training. Therefore, the Union agrees to encourage all employees to take advantage of available and recognized training and educational opportunities identified and offered to improve their current job performance.
Section 5: Payment of job related training courses and related fees shall be in accordance with law and regulation.
Section 6. Training on new equipment will be provided as necessary. Training costs will be consistent with law, regulation, and availability of funds. Factors such as cost, quality and location will be considered when selecting the trainer.
Section 7: The Employer will make available to the Union and employees any announcements or publications relating to technical or administrative training as the employer receives such announcements or publications.
Article 20: Travel/Temporary Duty (TDY)
Section 1: Employees will be informed of the opportunity or the requirement to perform temporary duty as much in advance as practical. Normally this will mean at least five (5) days notice for a trip of less than one week, and fourteen (14) calendar days notice for trips of one week or more, whenever possible. The employee’s work schedule will be changed accordingly to accommodate TDY. When the Employer requires TDY and is unable to provide normal notice, reasonable efforts will be made and mutually agreed upon by the employee and supervisor to accommodate special needs of the employee due to the short notice. Employees will not be expected to travel without valid travel orders and authorized travel pay. The Employer agrees to consider financial hardship and other factors when assigning TDY when more than one (1) employee is available for such assignment.
Section 2: Travel will be scheduled during the employee’s work schedule whenever that is reasonably feasible. When travel is scheduled outside the regular work schedule, overtime or compensatory time will be provided in accordance with FLSA.
Section 3: Employees will be entitled to benefits provided by the JTR or any successor regulation. Employees will not be required to use their privately owned vehicles. Local travel at the TDY point will be limited to provisions in the JTR such as access to eating establishments, laundry, places of worship, and for reasonable distances to these points.
Section 4: When there is a choice to the mode of transportation or accommodations, the employee’s desires will be given due consideration by their supervisor. Rental cars will be authorized to employees when warranted.
Article 21: Position Classification
Section 1: The parties agree to the principle of equal pay for substantially equal work within the bargaining unit. The Employer agrees to maintain job descriptions which accurately reflect the major duties and responsibilities assigned to bargaining unit members on a regular and recurring basis.
Section 2: Job descriptions of employees who are performing identical duties, at the same level of responsibility, with the same degree of supervision under the same supervisor, and with all other evaluation factors identical will, to the extent practical, be uniform. Each employee will receive a copy of his or her job description upon appointment, position change, or a change in the job description. Each employee is responsible for retaining a copy of his or her current job description.
Section 3: When an employee believes a significant assigned major duty is not included in their position description record, the employee should discuss the duty with their supervisor for the purpose of determining whether the duty will continue to be performed and officially recorded on their job description or, if improperly assigned, will not be required to be performed by that employee. When having such discussion, the employee will provide the supervisor with sufficient information to enable the supervisor to make such a determination. This is not to be construed as permitting an employee to refuse to perform tasks which are assigned by the supervisor.
Section 4: It is understood that the phrase; performs other duties as assigned, which appears in employee job descriptions is not intended to mean major duties which are performed on a regular or recurring basis. If an employee continues to be required to perform significant duties which are not recorded in their job description, and their supervisor does not initiate action to have the duties either assigned elsewhere or recorded on the employee job description, the employee may seek resolution through the negotiated grievance procedure.
Section 5: The Employer agrees to notify the President of the Union when there is going to be any classification surveys or job audits affecting employees in the unit. When requested by the President of the Union, the Employer agrees to discuss with the Union, survey procedure, sampling techniques, and survey schedules. The President of the Union or their designated representative may attend formal survey openings and closings.
Article 22: Performance Appraisal System
Section 1: Policy
a. The purpose of this article is to provide a system for evaluating employees’ performance based on objective criteria related to the employees position while enhancing the efficiency of agency operations by motivating employees to perform their jobs effectively.
b. The performance appraisal system and the parts that make up the system as applied to the bargaining unit employees will permit the accurate evaluation of job performance on the basis of objective criteria.
c. The results of performance appraisals will be used as a basis for other personnel management actions including training, promotion, rewards, reassignments, reductions-in-grade, retaining and removing employees.
Section 2: Appraising Employees
a. When rating employees or otherwise applying performance standards, allowances shall be made for factors beyond the control of the employee.
b. An employee will be held accountable only for those job elements and performance standards for which the employee is officially responsible.
Article 23: Reduction In Force
Section 1: Notification to the Union in the event of a reduction in force and/or transfer of function. The Employer will notify the Union and fulfill its obligation to bargain procedures and appropriate arrangements consistent with 5 USC 71.
a. Written notification will be made at the earliest possible date prior to the notice to employees. The notification will include:
1. The reason for the action to be taken.
2. The approximate number of employees who may be affected initially;
3. The types of positions anticipated to be affected initially; and
4. The anticipated effective date that action will be taken.
b. The agency shall provide the union, upon request with information in accordance with 5 USC 7114(b) 4.
Section 2: The Employer will provide affected employees a notice of 120 days if 50 or more employees are to be separated. If fewer than 50 employees are to be separated, a 60 day advance notice is required.
Article 24: Contracting
Section 1: The Employer agrees to notify the Union regarding any proposed action taken under OMB Circular A-76 to study or contract out existing functions which have bargaining unit positions.
Section 2: The Employer will provide to the Union, upon request, relevant and pertinent information concerning its A-76 contracting out activities which is not prohibited from release by law or Federal acquisition regulation.
Section 3: The Union has the right to negotiate on appropriate arrangements, not already covered by this agreement, for employees adversely affected by contracting out. This is not to be construed as affecting the Employer’s rights to make determinations with respect to contracting out and to determine the personnel by which the Employer’s operations will be conducted.
Section 4: The Union will be represented on any Rome OPLOC advisory committee/group/task force etc. concerning the study. The Union representative named will have the authority to speak for the Union. The Employer will afford the Union the opportunity to participate in any "walk through" at the Rome OPLOC of bidders of a function undergoing cost study.
Section 5: Periodic briefings will be held between the Employer and the Union to provide the Union with information pursuant to OMB Circular A-76 and this Agreement, on matters which may adversely affect bargaining unit Employees. Briefings will be held with affected employees for the purpose of providing information concerning contracting out. The Union will be afforded the opportunity to be present at all such briefings.
Section 6: The Union representative on any contracting committee will be afforded the same training as any Rome OPLOC management participant.
Article 25: Midterm Bargaining
Section 1: It is agreed that the Employer shall negotiate with the Union on all proposed changes in conditions of employment. It is understood that the Employer in this context means a representative with delegated authority to speak for the Director of the Rome OPLOC.
Section 2: Procedures for Bargaining. The following procedures for bargaining will be followed unless otherwise agreed to by the parties.
a. The Employer agrees to notify the Union President, in writing, prior to the planned implementation of a proposed change in conditions of employment. The notification will indicate the general nature of the proposed change, the planned implementation date and the information relied upon in formulation of the proposal so that the parties can bargain intelligently.
b. The Union shall have ten (10) calendar days from the date of notification to request bargaining and to forward written proposals to the Employer.
c. If the Union does not request bargaining within the time limit, the Employer may implement the proposed change (s).
d. Upon timely request by the Union, bargaining will commence within ten (10) days, unless otherwise agreed upon by the Parties.
e. Should issues be unresolved through the process shown above, the parties shall expand the negotiating group to include neutrals who may be able to help the parties reach a solution. Neutrals may include Union or Agency officials who have no stake in the process, or a facilitator or mediator from another source. Each party may invite equal numbers, or both parties may agree on a designated individuals to jointly invite. Nothing in this section abridges either parties right to utilize traditional third party means.
Section 3: If the Agency inadvertently implements a change without notifying the Union or without providing the opportunity to bargain, the Agency will cease the practice unless ceasing the practice would require the Agency to return to an illegal practice or would disrupt or impair the efficiency and effectiveness of the Agency’s operations. The Union will then be provided information and the opportunity to negotiate over the changes before implementation continues.
Article 26: Printing and Distribution of the Agreement
Section 1: The Employer agrees to print and furnish the Union, at no cost, one copy of this agreement for every bargaining unit employee plus fifty (50) additional copies for the Union. The distribution of the agreement to bargaining unit members is the responsibility of the Union.
Section 2: The Union shall have the right to approve the galley proof copy prior to going to press and shall initial the proof for record purposes.
Section 3: For historical purposes, the Employer and the Union shall sign one (1) record copy of the agreement.
Section 4: Any amendments and supplements hereto shall be published and distributed in the manner described for the basic agreement.
Section 5: The agreement will be printed as mutually agreed upon.
Article 27: Duration of Agreement
Section 1: This agreement shall remain in full force and effect for three (3) years from the date the agreement is approved or thirty-one (31) days after its execution by the parties, whichever date occurs first.
Section 2: Either party may give written notice to the other not more than 105 days nor less than 60 days prior to the three (3) year expiration date for the purpose of renegotiations of this agreement. The terms of this agreement will remain in force and effect during the renegotiations of said agreement until such time as a new agreement is approved and in effect, except for those terms which are nullified by law.
Section 3: If neither party serves notice to renegotiate this agreement, the agreement shall be automatically renewed for one (1) year periods.
Section 4: This agreement may not be reopened unless required by law or unless mutually agreed upon by the parties.