DFAS and AFGE Council 171
July 21, 2003
In attendance: Bob McNamara, Darryl Roberts, Pablo Rodriguez, Marsha Hawkins, Linda Ferguson, Mark Collins, Pete Heins, Teresa Briley, Frank Rock, Maria Durante, Charles Coates, Evelyn Mendoza, Mark McDonald(MM), Mark Gibson (MG), Robin Smith, Jimmie Wattley, Victor Davis, Ron Coe, Jackie Riley(Mgmt recorder).
Recorder: Angela Beltowski
Started at 8:00 a.m.
Mark Gibson requested some clarification on how this process normally proceeds. Gave Mr. McNamara a letter stating the items on the list that currently have a ULP on file, we will not be discussion these issues.
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
Affiliated with AFL-CIO
General Counsel Office
80 F St NW, Washington DC 20001
July 21, 2003
Defense Finance and Accounting Service
1931 Jefferson Davis Highway
Arlington, VA 22240-5291
The following matters are hereby removed from the submitted items for negotiations between Council 171 of the American Federation of Government Employees and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. Negotiation between the parties on these subjects are deemed inappropriate for the negotiation session scheduled for July 21-25, 2003 as these matters have been submitted to the Federal Labor Relations Authority for decision of charges against the agency.
These matters include;
a). unilateral implementation of the agency E-Portal policy;
b). unilateral implementation of notification of employees with respect to debt collection;
c). unilateral implementation of a employee placement program;
d). unilateral implementation of the agency E-Biz program;
e). unilateral implementation of the DoD CAC program;
f). unilateral implementation of the agency Academic Degree Program;
Bargaining on these matters before the Authority place an undue and unfair advantage in the collective bargaining process and therefore, it has been determined that negotiation with the agency should not continue until such time as these matters are resolved with the agency, or a decision has been rendered by the Authority.
The representatives of C-171 attending the negotiation sessions July 21 to 25 are not empowered to resolve these matters. If the agency desires to pursue resolution of these matters, they are invited to contact Council 171 President Kelley Dull.
Labor Relations Specialist
The Union team is not prepared to discuss these ULP’s. Mr. Roberts wanted to clarify some of the issues. E-Biz, since the Union received notice and no proposals were given to Management there is nothing to negotiate. Darryl says management is going to take this as a refusal to bargain by the Union and will continue implement the processes. We are not prepared to discuss the ULP’s. If Management would like to discuss the ULP’s with the Council President and solve them, we will negotiate. In the absence of proposals, Management will implement – Darryl. Darryl-Suggest that we start with the first issue on the list of mutually agreed to items and discuss.
Mark Gibson- What is the Agency’s intent for the future relationship between Labor and Management?
Bob- Move forward together. To improve.
Mark G- so you would see this as Labor and Management moving together as partners. Council 171 would like to see the same thing. I see several current problems that prevent it. True partnership is the best for everyone. Things that lead to a bad relationship have to change. Negotiation is just another task, work that has to get done. We would need to see some give and take from both sides on the ULP’s. We could begin discussing some of the things that are not an issue and then later in the week try to work on some of the unfair’s
Bob. – Continue with the agenda the way it was agreed to. So we can discuss the issues. This is how IBB has worked for us.
Mark G. – We can talk about what has stimulated a ULP. Until the regional director has issued a decision it can still be discussed. A free flow of information. There seems to be a problem with the parties to identify information. When a group comes together it is advantageous that everyone has all information in advance to be prepared to discuss. There are those types of things we can come to grips with to prepare for a better long-term relationship. One of the things that is important is to get rid of some of the old baggage. Let’s put the items w/o a ULP at the top of the agenda to give Management a chance to contact Ms. Dull to find out what needs to be done to solve the ULP’s.
Bob M. – We had an advance team that set the agenda. We are not prepared to move on, I don’t know what the ULP’s are.
Darryl – A little history, we have tried to work with IBB for a long time. Those types of things were established before the Council was formed. Management is not perfect. We make mistakes. We ask for information in advance as well and we have not received that. If you are saying we will be getting information in advance from the Council that is great.
Mark G. – Management is going to implement a change. The Council receives a vague notice of it. If management has looked at something, they have researched and studied it.
Darryl- CAC Card, management gave documentation, and proposed regulation. Many of the questions being asked were in the documentation. The effort will be made to solve the ULP’s but will not be dependent on these negotiations.
Mark G- We will set a side the issues with ULP’s, Management can do what they need to do and the Union will do what they need to do.
Darryl- Nothing is off the table, we have an agreed upon agenda.
Mark- The Union has the right to not to discuss issues that are in front of the authority.
Darryl- do you have any proposals for CAC Card?
Mark G.- In IBB you don’t exchange proposals.
Darryl – do you have any proposals for the CAC Card?
Mark M. – That is an inappropriate question.
Frank Process check
Frank- Bob asked for a summary of where we are and we are not doing that.
Bob – how do we have an agenda from an advance team that agreed to an agenda.
Mark – The advance group had full intention to negotiate and discuss the issues. The Negotiation Team made the decision to not discuss.
Pablo – What is the purpose of the advance team if they cannot agree to the issues?
Ron – The advance team doesn’t have any binding authority.
Mark M. – The team is there to discuss and bring out the issues. They find what is needed for the two teams to get together to negotiate.
Pablo – They approve the agenda?
Mark M – They agree that these are the topics that need to be discussed.
Bob – This doesn’t seem to be a partnership. It’s inappropriate that the Union comes this morning and says, until the ULP’s are solved, they won’t discuss.
Darryl – The union has a statutory right to request to bargain.
Darryl – Do you have proposals on the CAC Card?
Mark G – Before I can give an answer, I need more information. I have asked for specific information on how IBB has been done.
Darryl – The Council was notified in Oct 02, and it was not put on the table for negotiation in Jan 02.Monday, July 21, 2003Monday, July 21, 2003
Darryl - The Union gave no proposals for the CAC Card.
Mark G. - The Union’s chief negotiator has requested various times now to get information on how IBB has been done in the past.
Pete – The advance team meet prior to a negotiation session. They discussed the issues openly and freely. Would also flush out the issues. As clearly as possible articulate the issues. The working group then agreed that as proposals were written they would be legal, fair, workable etc. Then the issues would be put in order by how they will be discussed at the table. Tagged items that could be labeled as positions. Once at the session, the Neg. team tried to adhere to that schedule. Identified issues at the table then wrote language based on issues or just made a conclusion in the official notes.
Mark G – the ground rules did not tell the criteria used to make a decision. Group based decision and process.
Darryl – Those criteria were the same for both the IBT and A-46 team.
We went to having joint negotiations with the IBT and A-46 team.
Teresa- This is the process we have used at the working group.
Mark G. It behooves the parties to document the decisions, because people remember things differently.
Pete – there are not a lot of people here that have not been part of the process.
Ron – IBB has been used as a selective tool for Management.
Darryl – Document the criteria.
Pete – Fair, equitable, legal, workable.
Ron – How many VTC’s took place? None of the VTC took place.
Darryl – The Council president would not agree to it. She stated she would think about it.
Ron – Council 171 has at no time agreed to negotiate by VTC.
Teresa – There were various issues that had discussion and information that needed to take place. The Working Group agreed that some of that could be taken care of by VTC. It was not able to take place.
Bob – Mark asked a question about the past IBB process, I think it has been answered.
Mark G– Did the same process work once this team came together?
Bob – So can we start on the agenda
Mark G– we can do that with the understanding, the one’s that have an outstanding ULP the union will not discuss them.
Angela – This list is correct according to my notes except that Consolidation of Systems Support should be #5 and Resumix #6 Etc.
Darryl – We intend to pull Consolidation of Systems off the table as it is not ready.
Bob- CAC Card
Mark G – For the Record: there is a pending ULP on this issue. The union will not jeopardize their bargaining rights by negotiating issues that are in front of the authority.
Darryl – For the Record: Management intends to implement our last best offer on the CAC Card.
Bob- We can go through the agenda and the Union can make the statement about the letter that was given to the Co-Chair.
MG – The teams will be allowed to the view and remark on the notes?
Bob – both teams will review them.
MG – Read the ground rules for the notes. Suggest that extra effort be taken to make sure that the process is followed on the processing of notes.
Frank – Process check. Admin issues have not been addresses. Lunch, breaks etc.
Bob – Propose 8-5 with lunch as close to 12 as possible.
MG – No problem with that.
Frank – what about those who have not received their orders? (Ron, Mark M, Charles etc.)
Teresa – They were faxed but will get copies.
Bob – E/Les
MG – There is a current MOU that has been signed by the parties. This is not a re-opening negotiation. It is not appropriate at this time. It will be appropriate when the new master agreement is negotiated.
Darryl – The issue is the initiative to mandate the use of the E/LES as a condition of employment.
MG – The Union feels that this issue has already been agreed to.
Darryl – This is a management proposal, it is not bound to any agreement because there is not a national agreement.
MG – Are you saying that the agreements previously signed are not in effect?
Darryl – The contracts as contracts no longer exist. We have mandatory conditions of employment that are in effect. The MOU is not part of a contract. You no longer have exclusive recognition at the sites.
MG – are you saying that there has been a change in the law?
MG – For the Record: There is a current MOU that was agreed to by the parties. Until the new contract has been negotiated it is inappropriate to discuss this issue.
Darryl – It is written that either party can bring up issues for the mid-term negotiations. There is not an article in either contract that addresses the E/LES.
MG – The Union has stated its position.
Darryl – For the Record: Management will be implementing their last best offer.
MG – For the Record: The Union will have their position in writing for the record by the end of the day.
Bob- Mgmt wants to negotiate the mandatory use of the E/LES.
MG – The advance team agreed to the items in the agenda not what would be negotiated. Was it the intent in January to renegotiate the issue to make it mandatory? Why did you even discuss it in January?
Darryl – When we discussed it in January, we wanted to celebrate the success of the pilot of the E/LES. No one seemed to be harmed by it.
Ron – So the Union can come to Mgmt with any previously issued item and give a proposal to reopen?
Bob – We saved money
MG – In the MOU it is told how much the agency saved the customer. I go back to the agreement. It was signed Jan 28, 2003. Acknowledged that turning off the hard copy print would be voluntary.
Darryl – If you have any concerns with the proposal we are willing to discuss it. If it is your position that it will not be mandatory we are on different ends of the spectrum.
Robin – We had the CLC’s open to get their LES’s printed. That is no longer the case. What do we do about that?
MM – We have a signed agreement. There has been no law changed and nothing that makes us make it mandatory.
Darryl – It was an advertising campaign to get employees to use. We are willing to discuss criteria. It is where the rest of government as a whole is going.
Victor – How are the employee’s getting the information that it is successful and more efficient?
Darryl – That is a great point. Let us get our subject matter expert here to address this kind of issue.
Ron – For the Record: The agency has failed to show a compelling need to reopen this item.
MG – I think we need to agree to disagree and move on. We have an agreement. The relationship that the agency has with the council 171 is not a partnership.
Darryl – Jackie do you have that we will implement our last offer?
MG - Union’s Statement for the record "Council 171’s position on the matter concerning the Electronic LES’s, is that this matter has been previously negotiated between the parties, has met the simple test of being collective bargaining, the agreement was reached and memorialized in the joint memorandum dated 28 January 2003 and as such this matter is bound to the collective bargaining agreeement and improper under the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement as being subject for re-negotiations as these are not mid-term reopener negotiations but negotiations bargaining during the term of the agreement.".
Darryl- So for all of those who have a pin, the hardcopy E/W2 will be turned off.
MG- Can we get someone on the white board to keep track of some of the issues and concerns.
Darryl – Can I suggest we call and get our subject matter expert to answer questions? Take a short break until he could get here?
MG – Would prefer that he come as a member of the team, because I don’t know him as an expert in anything. Suggest that Pete do the white board since he has done it previously.
Pete agreed to it.
Jim Pitt joined the table.
MG – My understanding is that DFAS has the ability to have employees access their W2 on the computer. How many employees with MyPay pins?
Jim: roughly 12,000 out of 14,000 employees. The first time an employee goes in the system they are required to set up their customized pin.
MG – There will be a box that employees can hit to change it to hardcopy.
Jim – They can turn it off.
MG – How are W2s currently given to employees?
Jim – Currently everyone gets a hardcopy W2
MM – when will this be effective?
Teresa – Are you asking if after a certain date a person cannot change it?
Jim – From Dec 1 – Feb 1 you would not be able to change your election because of IRS rules. The turnoff process will not be available until August.
Darryl – this is just so employees know that there will be a timeframe where they will not be able to change it.
MG- Will a statement go out to all employees on their LES?
Jim- Yes, to every DFAS employee.
MG – Any statutory Regulation from the IRS has been checked? Are there any other IRS requirements that the employees need to know about?
Jim- Not that I’m aware of
MM – Is there a document from the IRS negotiation? There wasn’t anything on the Frank form about the IRS negotiation or the statement going on the LES.
Darryl- What issue does the employees have about getting an electronic copy and being able to turn it off?
MG: As an individual I can understand a black out period. Our focus is only on DFAS employees. We have a concern about employees being able to access the information. Privacy issue, is it available outside of work?
Jim: they can access it from home
MG: When an employee prints it off the computer at work, there is a privacy issue because of printing to a common printer.
Teresa: The people that receive E/LES are already dealing with this issue by either saving it to a disk or some other means.
Darryl: Mr. Bloom wants to make this as simple for the employees as possible. If we have some general discussion we can possibly solve issues for both E/LES and E/W2.
MM: There are employees who have a pin but do not get a hardcopy LES. So not all employees are dealing with the printing issue. Management won’t do reports and harassment for employees to keep it turned on?
Darryl: Mr. Bloom has agreed that there will not be coercion to get employees to leave it electronic.
MM: What cost savings does the agency expect to have from this?
Linda: Print was around $1.12 per W2.
Ron: Does this have any impact on bargaining unit employees for the printing?
Linda: Printing has been contracted out for about 5 years.
Frank: How long ago did you develop this for MyPay?
Jim: Since around January, about eight months.
Ron: Problem resolution? How long will it take to get corrections made?
Jim: If there were a problem with the data, it would be the same as it is today. Contact the CSR.
MG: W2 will not be available sooner that the mailed ones?
Jim: Just by a few days.
Pablo: The process for issuing corrected W2’s will be the same as it is today.
MG: Awareness and communication issue. Notify employees that it hasn’t changed and how to get corrections done.
Jim: The data is the same as on the printed.
MG: Issues with MyPay system to get W2. What will the employee do in this case?
Jim: Call the project office if the help desk isn’t resolving something.
Charles: What work years will be saved? So there will be no work years being lost because it is currently contracted out?
Frank: Will the E/W2 decrease the use of the contractor?
MG: Is it a single contract for all printing of W2’s? Is there something in place for DFAS to renegotiate the contract? The contract is cost by piece? I would be interested in communicating that to employees that we saved so much contract cost by using E/W2.
Darryl: It will depend on how many people turn the hardcopy back on.
MG: Would like to show the employees how much was saved by using the E/W2.
Linda: It would be advertised to the rest of DOD to encourage them to use the system.
MG: How much taxpayer money was saved by using the program, would need to be known.
Ron: It is requested that the agency would provide the information to the Union.
Ron: What then would prevent Mgmt from coming back in 6 months and make it mandatory? What is the Agencies position?
Darryl: It is in the system to give the employees a choice.
MM: Default will be electronic. Employees will be told that they can change it before 1 Dec. Is this for just this year or will it change next year.
Darryl: Current plus five will be available in the system.
MM: I as an employee elect to change my option back to hard copy. Will the job be run again next year to reset the default to electronic?
MG: Once an employee changes the default, does it stay that way until they change it again? Default should only apply to the first year and would only change at the request of the employee.
MM: We understand that the IRS says it has to be voluntary. Why not go that route in the first place? Advertise the option and let the employee choose.
MG: If I click the box to receive a hardcopy W2 it should stay clicked unless I change it.
Marsha: A higher number of people would have to go in and do the change if it was defaulted at receiving the hardcopy.
MM: If we don’t assume the employees who have a pin, receive only an electronic copy. Then it would be better to just give the employees the option to turn off or on.
Frank: Currently employees can choose to turnoff the hardcopy LES. Those already getting it electronic will probably volunteer to also get the W2 electronic.
Jim: 86% of employees have customized their pin.
Pete: 100% of these employees will receive their E/W2 electronically on the default.
Marsha: 4% of employees that have pins are not using MyPay at all. These would be the ones that would probably want to change their W2 to hardcopy.
MM: how do we assure the employees that once they change their option it won’t be changed back?
Jim: It can be viewed on the MyPay program.
MG: No triggers in the system that would change the setting back to the electronic setting.
Jim: will check into it.
Broke for Lunch at 11:56
Returned at 1:00
Session restarted @ 1:30
Darryl: On CAC Cards what has been implemented that could result in a ULP?
MM: Employees are already being made to go get and use the CAC Card.
Frank: Some individual sites are using the card readers.
Darryl: It is my understanding that we have not implemented the use of the cards for logging in to the systems etc. They are only replacing the existing ID cards.
MM: The ULP is on failure to bargain as requested prior to bargaining.
Darryl: What sites?
MM: Indianapolis is one.
Darryl: Is it using it as an ID card or to sign on to systems etc?
Bob: We were on the Electronic W2.
MM: We would like to request a copy of the negotiations with the IRS.
Linda: I called and have requested a copy of what they have. When I called back I could not get a hold of anyone.
Mgmt Conversation outside 1333- 1337
Bob: Let’s continue.
Robin: Some sites are already being told that the E/W2 is mandatory.
Darryl: It will be mandatory for military.
Robin: We don’t have any military and the management at her site is telling the employees it is mandatory.
Evelyn: Military leadership is telling civilian employees that it’s going to be mandatory for civilians.
MG: I think before lunch Ron brought up the issue of agreement integrity.
Ron: When is an agreement an agreement? If an employee turned it off and gets a hard copy will they still receive an electronic copy?
Ron: Want it to remain voluntary.
Darryl: I don’t know if something can always stay the same. A change in legislation could make us change it.
MG: We understand that changes in law make agreements have to be changed.
Darryl: What I said, the intent was to advertise our successes. We just celebrated the success of the pilot.
MM: How do we know that what we agree to today will be adhered to and not be brought back for re-negotiation? We have a lot of history where the understanding by both parties at the table is different.
Bob: That’s why I wanted to go issue by issue. We don’t have a history of bringing issues back up.
MG: We have a specific example in the E-LES.
Darryl: When we reach an agreement let’s draft language that cannot be interpreted in different ways.
MM: The employees have a trust issue. They don’t want to have mandatory electronic LES’s.
MG: All we want is a reasonable understanding that agreements will be kept.
Darryl: Are you looking for a duration clause?
MG: That would work.
Darryl: We can work on language for that, write a clause to cover the issues.
Ron: Is the Agency willing to put in writing that recognizes that any changes in the agreement are up for bargaining?
MG: When you do master contract agreement negotiations, any MOU’s would have to be specifically added to the contract or be null and void. This is an issue since a contract will soon be negotiated. If anything changes it can be revisited. Need a review point in the process to check and see if it is working correctly. If it isn’t at that point make changes.
Darryl: When the Union and Management disagree how something should be implemented there is a system already in place. (Grievance, ULP, office of special council.)
MM: We had management officials with lists telling employees that the E/LES is mandatory.
MG: We are looking for reassurance that Management will take care of these Managers that are doing this.
Pablo: I will send a message tonight to all accounting business line managers that the E/W2 is not mandatory.
Ron: We need a level of accountability. Most people don’t want to file a grievance. Why should they have to when at this table management has agreed with the Union?
Darryl: What about if a Senior Management member sends out a message to all employees that it is voluntary and that they can turn on the hardcopy?
Ron: Who has access to the information?
Jim: Only the employee. We have numbers that tell the number of employees that are on the system. When you click to end your hard copy a message is sent to payroll, which is how it is being captured.
MG: Only civilian pay people who have access today, will have it after? What if I didn’t change something on myPay how would I know that someone else did?
Jim: We don’t know your pin once it’s been customized.
MG: There’s no way for you to go in and find an employee’s password.
Jim: A log is generated that can verify who was in the account and did the change. We wouldn’t be able to track it back to the individual.
Pete: At the sites where it is being told that it is mandatory did you do anything?
Evelyn: I went to the manager.
Pete: I can’t think of any time where if someone called me or anyone in LRO about an issue that they did not take care of it on the management side.
MG: Is there any avenue that can be used other than grievance or ULP can be avoided?
Pete: Where did we get off the track of trying to fix something prior to filing?
Darryl: Let me tell you a couple of thing we have done in the past. We may not have agreed to the results but we worked collectively to correct items. Bob even takes thing to the leadership council. A conference call is done every two weeks with the President of the Council to try to address some of the issues.
MG: We both have a responsibility.
Ron: I hope that whatever is decided to is put in writing. So that it can be enforced at the local level.
Darryl: We will go through the information process and will include statements about what the employees and managers can and cannot do.
MM: Let the same words go out to employees as well so that there is no misunderstanding. If managers get a different letter than employees then it is open to interpretation.
Union Caucus 1423- 1509
Robin: What are then printing requirements for the IRS.
Jim: The W2 displayed on myPay is ok for the IRS.
Victor: Will the employees have any problem with various printers?
Ron: Many sites have public computers and will myPay have the option of saving on disk?
Jim: The save button isn’t currently there but it will be.
Charles: When will it be available?
Jim: We are working on it now and hopefully it will be available before December.
MM: I would like to see it sooner because it would give the employees a level of trust that they will be able to save to print.
Ron: Encryption is the same level as the rest of the similar access.
Bob: There were two employees who worked on the negotiations with IRS. One lawyer from DFAS, who will not be available until 31 July. Not sure what the lawyer has to put out.
Bullets from board:
No change to current procedure
Is it a single contractor—piecework
Can DFAS renegotiate contract
Communicate cost to employees Shared concern
DFAS and other Agencies
Is it worth my time
·Advertise throughout all of DoD/other agencies
·Will the agency make this mandatory? Needs addressed in agreement
·What happens after tax year 2003?
·Does the change endure/permanent?
Pete: Now we can start writing language. Then cut and paste.
Bob: Suggest that we assign a couple people to write basic language to bring back to the group. Pete would like to work on the language.
Robin: Suggest Ron works on it with Pete.
MG: Suggest that while they are working on it, the note-takers take the opportunity to get caught up and start reviewing the minutes.
Bob: Would the Union be open to management having a person come in from FMCS to help facilitate E-LES?
Union conversation 1609-1648
Teresa: It is not a MOU but just a Joint Memorandum.
MG: The Union’s position is still the same. Were not disputing that there were gains made by the pilot. There are concerns that were memorialized the day before the memorandum was signed. What makes this one so different from the other pile of issues that the union said that we would not be discussing here today?
Darryl: To have negotiate, we have to have a meeting of the minds. There was no issue on the table to mandate the E-LES. There was no proposal by union or management to be bargained.
MG: The Unions position has not changed. In the bargaining agreement there is no language to bring in a facilitator.
Darryl: Management has given a proposal. The Union is not willing to negotiate. The first step if we are at impasse is to call in FMCS. What we came in to do was bargain in good faith.
MG: Tomorrow I will bring in a formal letter stating that the Union feels that this item is non-negotiable because it has already been negotiated.
FMCS is not going to help with this.
Bob: We will be starting at 8 tomorrow?
Agreed by all.