DFAS/AFGE Council 171
National Negotiation Session Notes
Jan 30, 2003
Attendees: Bob McNamara, Kelley Dull, Connie Townes, Darryl Roberts, Ed Wiatr, Frank Rock, Debra Williams, Art Gold, Pablo Rodriguez, Maria Durante, Theresa Briley, Bill Roach, Pete Heins, Mark McDonald, Mark Durinski, Robin Smith, Ron Coe, Carolyn Howell
Note-takers: Debbie Maslanka, Angela Beltowski
For the record we have Mondayís notes.
What is definition of adverse action?
Suggest we take a look at the question on the Workforce Transition Plan
Implement means? 61st day pp/go out door
Retention allowance Ė not wide spread Ė only BLEís Ė must justify
Waving qualifications Ė only into vacant position, must look at background skills to see if they can do job, on the job training, formal schooling etc. Some are formal structured training some not.
1st question: What is the relationship between retention allowance and work force transition. Itís a situation that may come up during a transition period. It was put in as a tool that you or management can use at any time.
Pete: What is the process flow?
Rich: What is the current training
If they put them in a position Ė they will
Rich- If we put someone in a job what we would do.
Kelley: What is out there?
Rich: Put them in some kind of training
Mark: When we do training like this, 6 weeks is to long.
Deb: You are talking about
Mark: Itís an older work force, we are still working on it.
Rich: 3. Donít know if they got contracter training or DFAS training.
Kelley: What will you do if you realize or find out the training is not right?
Pete: We will take it back to Brenda Fry. Donít know how it will effect their needs.
We are going to take the experience we got from other
Pete will take this on.
Mark: Before we go on to Replacement services. We are looking at outplacement services. We may be impacted as well. Most of the resources can be used. We might use a contractor to teach resumix writing or such
Rich: VSIP II: These are people that already registered in PPP. Losing agency pays the cost. Person has to be qualified. It is use sometimes, but you are already registered. That came out about 4 years after the first VSIP. Itís in DOD regulations.
Rich: 5.) The DFAS RIF regulation is still in place. We havenít re-written the regulations yet.
Robin: The regulation dated 1992 is the current year.
Teresa: They are working on them now.
Kelley: We talk about in caucus how they worked on this.
Darryl: 5 years ago we had a joint session to work on changes i.e. pass fail system. Agency wide RIF, we had to modify
MOU was signed, what the changes to the 92 regulations.
Pete: What is the authority to the VERA/VSIP?
Connie: Have we done this? Is there a certain limit to the amount?
Rich: To VERA, there is no limit. Management has to make a case why they need it. They have loosen it up.
Darryl: Relates to this?
Rich: Agency has to pay for this (15%) of their salary. But it has increased over the year.
Darryl: Is it VERA or VSIP
Rich: You have to do two things. 1. Can not fill behind him. 2.
It has cost the government a lot of money (77 million)
Connie: Is there a cost to VERA and a cost to VSIP?
Rich: There is always a cost to the Agency
Connie: Is there an additional law that passed?
Kelley: Thatís the other thing. Legislation says itís attach to the Reserve Pay Tech
Rich: Doesnít think it will ever happen. We do not want the retirement fund to get to low.
Frank: Commuting areaís
Rich: It used to be 50 miles. It all depends. They look at how far an employee currently drives and registers an employee for no less.
Frank: Is the DORS program still active
Rich: It is still open, only about 8 people have been placed. If you were register in PPP
Kelley: How many miles? Fall back
Rick: Register in the PPP.
There is no limit, it is what you go now.
Ed: It was set up by region. The PPP has lessened. Has there been any change to that?
Rich: We both know the regulations
Ed: There are waivers
Pete: Their priority is to take care of their regions
Mark: My commuting area is 4 miles,
Rich: We will not limit you. We have to loosen up.
Ron: Pete can we talk, can we step out just for a minute.
Ron and Pete came back at 8:50
Pete and Ronís proposal:
The local union President (or his or her designee) and management are encouraged to make every effort at the local level to jointly discuss issues and concerns that are unique to their local mission and geographical interests.
We seek through this agreement, to foster a continuing attitude of partnership and cooperation in our relationships. The parties mutually agree to strive to minimize the adverse impact on our employees, to enhance the harmony between family and worklife. Through this agreement, we intend to establish an environment where our employees are treated fairly and equitably.
The parties will collectively develop additional recommendations and concepts that will expand and enhance additional opportunities that will benefit the impacted employees.
Nothing in the local process of bargaining local supplements to this program shall alter or impede the established timeframe for implementation of managementís decision.
Back to order 9:12 a.m. Ė Pete read the proposal.
Kelleyís concerns were just a clarification Ė we can not go less then the regulations.
Pete: Management has the authority to establish the timeframe. We donít have to be limited. We can set this time, if it is today or next week. We have to have the flexibility to say.
Pete: Not the parties.
Ron: There is nothing to prevent
Pete: We do not want to set a timeframe.
Kelley: Timeframes are established.
Mark: Letís not create more confusion. If the statute says, we can or not do that. The management and the Unionís know.
Ed: We were looking at the timeframe.
Darryl: We discussed that management had a concern without the timeframe in there would be confusion.
Darryl: I can live with this.
Pete: Controlling regulations
Kelley: Right. To established timeframe, we need to clarity
Pete: This is beyond us. Then it restricts managementís right. It is understood that we can act under the contract regulations.
Teresa: Some of the confusions. Understand we need to established timeframe. We can go beyond that. We may be giving you more then that. It seems to be pretty clear.
Ron: Put in some type of timeframe Ė it sets a bar Ė timeframes are already established. The agency will make every effort
Pete: Itís already in the contract.
Ron: It just answered the concern.
Mark: When it starts. The timeframe when it refers to RIF.
Darryl: Any problems
We are inserting RIF after establishment and the first timeframe is changed to timeframes.
Ed: We need to change encourage
Ron: It doesnít change the document
Darryl: When you dictate to managers. I donít know if we canít live without it.
Deb: We are word smiting. She takes exception to using will then to say encourage. We donít have to say will up there. There is something out, but I forgot what it was.
Darryl, can I be concern with RIF being in there. (NO). I do have a problem with will. We are going to take care of the employees.
Teresa: Looking at the first page. I have some concerns that Ė and it goes back to the trust issues Ė we want to sit down with the local folks and not have this problem.
Pete: Bob what is your perception. How will this go over the Leadership. I think we can use the word encourage, this recognizes the
We are encouraging the management to work with the local levels. It means more then the wordsmithing thing. Good local enhancements, we want people to think about it, and enhance it.
Pete: In certain cases, there will be some problems, what insuranceís can we give to the union that this will happen.
Bob: We will have Mr. Bloom to encourage his managerís to encourage them.
Bob: We can say highly encourage
Frank: The problems are going to incur, at the working process, you can not see all the problems that will incur in this. To help stop this issue.
Bob: What needs to be done. We will have Mr. Bloom stand up and encourage all the top managerís to relay it down.
Pablo: What did you mean working process?
Pablo: The way I see this is, I donít see the sight director going against the grain.
Darryl: We have lost our focus.
Art: Every effort should be made at the local level.
Darryl: Can we live with it.
We are going to insert should instead of encourage.
Break called at 9:41 a.m. Started again at 9:58
Bob: We got two margins done here.
Teresa: I have a question on Ė enhance the family and work life
Ron: We are talking about the jobs Ė RIF- their families Ė because it effects more then the employee.
Pete: It is not confined to the work life. What can the Agency do for you? It kind of confirms our commitment.
Kelley: Are there any more concerns?
Bill: I have a concern with we - intend to establish Ė can we use something
Carolyn: I donít have a problem with the way it is written.
Pete: We donít know how the employee will feel at the end of this.
Ron: I will echo that there is statuteís out there. We can agree to work together. I understand what youíre saying about the intent. Etc. etc. It comes down to the event if the parties will work together.
Pete: Is this something that we can live with.
Kelley: I just want to make sure that we address all concerns. Bill, we are really going to strive for the employee. Isnít this covered in the first portion of this.
Ron: State for the record. Letís look at the paragraph. If you already have an environment that you have problems, do not wait until RIF time to bring this concern. You already have a problem.
Art: It is not addressing the issue.
Darryl: Process check. Can we live with the first sentence? No objections? We have closure on the first sentence.
Carolyn: Additional things flushed out, like job fairs, other local entities. We really canít say that Ė
We want people to be open to opportunities. We donít know what will happen.
Darryl: My concerns are about the same has Carolynís Ė
We want to be careful on this paragraph. We do not want to further restrict.
Darryl: The parties go over and above.
Ron: Control their assets.
Darryl: How much admin leave is approved. Is up to Tom Bloom.
Ron: My trouble is, about the employees
Darryl: We just want to clarify. It is a valid concern. Nobody is trying to screw employees.
Connie: I have to totally agree with Ron. Etc. etc. We are at this table Ė things donít go down the same way. When we start taking things -
Frank: I donít see anything the way it is written. Each party at this table is responsible for their own grievances. What actually occurs at the site is at the local union and management.
Art: When we come up with something here Ė enforced in the field. Possible that there is jobs at the school district level, at this table we can not do that, but we have a structure to do that. Not establishing a base line
Kelley: 16 hours Ė can we go to Mr. Bloom and change the time.
Darryl: You can always ask.
Kelley: The employee, the market, they want to do something else, and they need additional time.
Darryl: Can I have some dialog to answer the question. If our collective agreement Ė
Somebody can always ask. It looks like the local parties can negotiate something, does this create a question.
Ron: The management has some binding authority, at what point Ė what is Ė
Pete: What if we say:
Bob: This binds what is in the agreement Ė I canít think of a damn thing to develop anything else
10:24 Ė we came back at 10:30 Ė management needed more time. We came back into the room at 10:46 a.m.
Changed the last paragraph too: The parties should collectively develop recommendations and concepts tailored to the local community for the benefit of impacted employees.
Kelley: Any concerns
Deb: Where are we at?
Pete: The scope
Bob: Letís get the ball rolling. The 16 hours are not in there.
Kelley: Another Agency used 24 hours.
Bob: If we changed to 24 instead of 16, would that be okay.
Kelley: Alright, we change it up to 24 hours
Bob: In spirit and cooperation. We agree.
Bob: a. was okay
Bob: b. we need some clarification. Employees with a RIF separation Ė
Darryl: Going to people with a separation notice Ė
Employees with a RIF Separation notice, to include Mock RIF, (administrative time B.)
b. Employees scheduled for RIF will be granted admin time for job interviews. This included interviews for jobs outside DOD, jobs with other fed agencies and for positions in the private sector.
For the Record: The intent behind this that employees can go on the Internet to search for jobs.
Darryl will raise the concern to Management. If you canít access the sites then this doesnít do any good.
What does Ďe.í mean? A lot of the training opportunities are only offered during duty hours. The Union wants to make sure that employees have the ability to go to training without using all of their leave. This probably needs to be move to the DFAS Training Programs. Is this referring to short term or long term training?
Closed out Administrative Time and agreed to language.
DFAS Training Programs: Employees placed in positions as a result of OPM qualifications being waived or modified will be provided
documented training, including on the job training, which will equip them to perform their new position.
Dialog on language. We already have programs set up to address this such as certification programs and IDPís. How would you document every aspect of on the job training? Do you want to capture every time an employee is trained on a job? What is going to happen should the employee fail at a job that has been documented as trained. Take out the word documented. RIF is by competitive area not by business line.
Department of Labor Programs: Employees who receive a Certificate of Expected Separation will have access to all services DOL offers, to include Workforce Investment Act and Dislocated Workers Training.
Dialog on language added by Union. The Agency is not required to give an employee additional hours to attend DOL training because of RIF. BRAC would be a different scenario. Some employees are given admin time to attend college courses. There is a cost to the agency to let an employee go on admin time. There is a DFAS memorandum allowing employees to take college courses on admin time. The 24 hours does not include training. The 24 hours is defined as job searches and such. In Oakland the training was included in the 24 hours. What is included in the Workforce Investment Act and Dislocated Workers Training? It depends on what is available in the area. Depends on what State you are in.
Union agrees to withdraw language proposed in Admin time paragraph e. They also withdraw the proposal of putting it in the Retraining Programs section.
Internal Placement Programs
There is a problem with employees being placed in positions because they are favorites of management. By moving the employee they avoid the RIF.
It is managementís right to reassign work. People are moved prior to the RIF and it puts them above others due to series. Rich: Only qualified employees are placed on the list to be given a different job. Anybody whose position is scheduled to be abolished and were qualified for the position would come down on a list for a job. This could be done prior to a mock RIF. Would vacancies freeze prior to hiring a position? It would not necessarily happen prior to RIF or mock RIF. When it is identified that a position will be abolished then the employees will be placed on Internal Placement Programs. The site would then look to see if any positions are open and the employees being abolished meet the requirements for the job. Site directors only have the right to reassign a person within their control. There can be a non-competitive reassignment without a job vacancy announcement. Each site is already defined within DFAS as a competitive area. Management can place people to attempt to avoid a RIF. The goal is to place people so that the impact can lessened to the employees. We arenít moving people from the competitive area. Management is just trying to move people to lessen the amount of positions being abolished. You canít put a person in a position that is currently listed as being abolished.
Internal Placement List: Employees may be placed in vacant positions at the site, for which they are qualified, prior to the issuance of RIF notices (or mock RIF).
DFAS Vacancies in the Commuting Area: All unfilled positions in the commuting area will be reviewed for possible assignment of DFAS employees facing RIF action.
There is no requirement for management to freeze positions. The employees see one side of the house hiring when they are in the process of preparing for a RIF. The employees donít understand how they continue to hire. Canít guarantee 90 days prior to the mock RIF and canít guarantee that the positions will freeze prior or after the mock RIF. An individual site director would have to request a freeze from all of the business lines in their site.
Waiver of Qualification Requirements: Unfilled positions remaining after all RIF placements have been made will,
on a case-by-case basis, be made available for consideration of employees involved in the RIF.
The position will be followed based on practices and procedures established.
Retention Allowance: If a temporary, but critical staffing situation exists, a Business Line Executive may approve payment of a retention allowance. Once the critical staffing shortage is alleviated, payment of a retention allowance will terminate.
Voluntary RIF: Once RIF notices are issued, employees in the competitive area not impacted by RIF may be notified of the Voluntary RIF option. Volunteers for RIF separation may be considered.
For the Record: The employees with special needs, will be offered assistance in utilizing the provisions of this agreement, as needed.
For the Record: It is the Unions understanding that DFAS 1404.1 is applicable.
VERA/VSIP: A VERA/VSIP window will be opened in the competitive area in order to create positions and lessen the impact of the RIF. When the agency offers separation incentives, such notice will be provided to the Council and affected Local Presidents in advance of surveying or announcing to employees.
VSIPII: Language the same
Agreed to: All counseling services will be coordinated with local Bargaining Unit representatives. Counseling services include but are not limited to the following:
The event is being coordinated.
Delete the heading of Severance Package Information.
Agreement on language of Workforce Transition Program
Most Efficient Process
Deborah- what is a most efficient process?
The issue with the most efficient process came up when they start the teams through out the Army.
PabloóDo you mind if I give an overview? An ABC study was done It what determined that 12 process apply. Sustaining Forcesí
Mr. Shine believed that the four process needed to be looked at meaning that all his processes was done the same way.
Bob assuming that they did not do it the same way.
Oct he chartered people at each site to look at the processes and come out with the MEP
How many hours one particular office was doing a particular process started March and completed in June
Orlando set the standard to process the General Ledger processing.
Rome and Rock Island have been asked to look at the SOPís and see if they can work with them. This is strictly for Operating Forces. Resolved Armyís problem with different sites doing different processes. The Union was provided with copies of the SOPís on the 10th of April. We were asked to provide a member to the team that had knowledge of all of the processes. The members were part of the bargaining unit.
There was no impact on the employees for the way we do business-Pablo.
The method used may have been a little different here and there. Were any performance standards changed due to this process? No, there was no change to the employee. Connie-We requested information from HQ about these processes.
Notification did not go to the right place. No notification was given to the Council. Employees were put on teams to work on this process, that is a management right to assign work. Change in performance standards is addressed in the contract. Change in PD is also addressed in the negotiated agreement. Training that is needed for the changes could be bargained. The process by which Pat Shine reviewed the changes was to improve processes. Donna Cox was tasked to set up the team. Issues of working hours, change of tour of duty etc is currently happening in San Antonio with an MEO team.
Air Force accounting has seen what has been done by Army, and is trying to do the same.
Deborah- There are a lot of Ďwillsí in the document. Some of these Ďwillsí are attached to things that are not required of us today. It looks to affect managementís right.
Concerns of the MEP process:
For the record: Meetings with employees to discuss work is not formal.
Pablo-As far as I know no member of this team that developed the MEP worked on the weekends.
Bob-Since most of these proposals address the assignment of work which is Management right. The first proposal needs amended to read at management discretion. Second paragraph add Ďat management discretioní. Reject 3rd and 4th paragraph. Fourth paragraph change first sentence to ĎIf any impact is identified..í. Reject last sentence in paragraph. Change last paragraph to read ĎThe parties agree that if the Union is involved in any..í. Management does not want to bind themselves to notify the Union for every change or study being done by them.
Connie-We have concerns here and management comes in and rejects all of it.
Bob- It comes across as a demand instead of concerns.
Darryl- If you want to deal with concerns, you use a facilitator to discuss. What we have is an adversarial atmosphere. This is a demand that management do certain things.
Kelley- We feel that management had a blatant disregard for the Union and employee rights when we were not involved in or notified of this process.
Deborah-There are times when it is beneficial to inform the Union of processes that are being done but donít tell management that every time something is looked at I have to tell the Union. Sometimes the Union is brought in and it bogs down the process and keeps management from meeting timelines. I have heartburn with being told to involve the Union in processes that should be management right.
Ed- ĎWillí is not necessarily a demand. It can also be understood as keeping the doors open. There are some Union officials out there that do more bad than good.
Mark M-The union brought a proposal to the table. The word may not be polished but it was expected that we could work together to work with the concern. We should work together to take an unpolished work and polish it to something that works.
Teresa- Original concerns were brought up in May.
Angela- I spoke to Pat Shine about issues that were separate from the actual MEPís. It was a site specific complaint from a bargaining unit employee on the MEP team about a process they were asked to do. The employee was not comfortable with a process that was requested of them because they were not trained to do the required task.
Ron-We want the agency and our employees to be successful. The MEP is already completed and cannot be negotiated.
Bob-What are we looking for in an end product in this process.
Kelley-Something like we have for the other processes.
A MOA to reinforce the partnership.
Bob-I cannot imagine any manager doing more than Pat Shine did in keeping Ron informed.
Bob-There is no requirement to notify the Council
Kelley- If it effects more than one site there is.
Connie-I feel like we are partners only when management wants to be. When we say we are partners donít just use the word if we really arenít. When the managers came back and said that the language presented is rejected it is not a partnership.
Teresa Language: In consideration of the Labor-Management Partnership, Management should strive to communicate to the Union information regarding significant Management initiated process reviews.
Kelley- I sent a message to Mr. Shine asking for all of the information and he never responded. Made recommendation that we set up a team to write language for this.