DFAS and AFGE Council 171
July 22, 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, Jim Pitt, Jackie Riley (Mgmt Recorder).
Recorder: Angela Beltowski
Session started 8:00
Bob: Is the group ready to present their proposal from yesterday?
Pete: We used what was checked with a blue check and pulled out the data.
MG: Can we let the note takers get ready and finish printing yesterday’s notes?
Pete: We will go out and start writing language.
Proposal from Management on E/LES:
MANDATORY ELECTRONIC LEAVE AND EARNING STATEMENT (ELES) PROPOSAL
Consistent with public policy and the President’s Management Initiatives regarding eGovernment and ePayroll, and similar to the union proposed 1-year pilot, DFAS is proposing to require all employees to receive LES electronically, through MyPay.
To request a waiver, employee need only self-certify that they meet one of the criteria below. The employee’s "Request for ELES Waiver" should state the employee’s name, and an explanation as to how they meet the applicable waiver criteria. If a waiver request is because of a temporary action, the employee will identify the time frame of the waiver.
Union caucus 0830
Returned to room with mediator 1545
Procedural/Relationship issues to Resolve
Issue: Timely provision of minutes at beginning of negotiating day.
Ron: Integrity of ground rules.
MG: Process in the ground rules that provides for this. Mgmt has their note taker and the Union has theirs. When the notes don’t jive that’s where issues arise.
Darryl: Don’t understand why it cannot be rotated between the two note takers. It’s a bastardized process.
MM: It is preferred that the notes be signed off at the beginning of the next day.
Bob: It’s just hard to do.
Teresa: Both parties have a note taker to take notes. The parties have the opportunity to review their own notes. Then the other side can review.
MG: What’s the purpose of the notes? Does the collective group want to summarize the day? I would suggest that each side keep their respective notes separate. It would remove the distrust of what has been put in the notes.
Pablo: Mark did you have an alternative?
MM: We have suggested tape-recording the sessions. Then there would be no doubt of what was said.
Jimmy: The issue of the notes has always been waiting on the notes from management. No manager wants it written that they agreed with something.
Frank: in order to have an accurate account of the session, it would have to be an unbiased account. Right now there is not any open and honest communication.
Mediator: I want a thumbs up of who would agree to record the sessions.
Not everyone agreed so it is not a consensus.
Pete: Agreements need to stand on their own. Notes mean nothing unless it is mandated in the agreement. So lets just exchange notes.
Mark: let the agreement reflect the agreement
Theresa: we had process before where we didn’t get the back and forth but just the main points with an intention of what is being agreed to
Mediator: Suggestion of just exchanging the notes at the beginning of the next workday. No thumbs. Suggestion that there be no exchange of notes. No agreement
Issue: Define what constitutes agreement
David T: Need something in the future that tells that something is an agreement. What type of language could be used?
Mark Collins: you need a title that tells that it is an agreement.
Pablo: Not comfortable with just a title meaning that everything under it is agreed to.
Mark Collins: If your language, opening paragraph, gives some details on what is being agreed to. Purpose etc.
Jimmy: If you and I or any two parties sit down, have words on paper, with no additional documentation and we both sign it, is that not a binding agreement.
Teresa: Was the question anytime two people sign is that not an agreement. I think in all cases where we agree to sign an agreement it is stated as such. We have signed joint communications where both parties have come into the process with that understanding.
David T: Is the words "Memorandum of Agreement" sufficient for both sides?
MG: From this moment forward what are we going to do to keep this from happening in the future?
Pablo: It would have to define the problem under the title.
Issue: Provide information requested
David T: basic data and the big picture info
Frank: Basic data. For several years the Union has requested data at the table and it is documented in the notes. When we do these data requests they are never fulfilled. The data that supports what is being said is important. Not sharing the data puts doubt in the Unions mind. When we are given pieces and parts and not the whole thing. Specific: ELES first came to the table, # of employees using, waivers approved, who was receiving the waiver requests.
Darryl: Waivers – have on disc ready to give to you. For waiver requests, Mr. Bloom sent the information to all employees. Jim can get that information.
MG: Frank’s example was one occurrence. Sometimes we need more so we can find out if there is anything that needs negotiated. It could give the Union the answers to what they have problems with. If we’re going to talk about something it behooves everyone to have all of the information.
David T: Lets try to make the effort to give people the benefit of doubt that they will do what they say.
Darryl: I will take responsibility for not getting you the information. I need agreement from the Union side that you have a duty to give us information back that you do not do.
Jimmy: If mgmt is trying to sell a process, then there has to be data on it.
Darryl: Not always.
Robin: When Mgmt goes to Kelley with data she turns around and sends to the locals to get back data. Kelley sends back information to Darryl. She works hard to get as much back as possible.
MG: I have told the Union some of the things they can do differently before we even started yesterday. But there still needs to be information given to the Union before bargaining can take place.
Issue: State what it would take to earn trust/reduce cynicism
Robin: No changing agreement after one is made.
MG: It is a learned behavior to distrust.
David Thaler: Wrote on Board: Be Reliable. Honest Dialogue. Listen. Talk at level of detail.
David T: History and differences cause some to not get a fair chance.
Robin: Things change. If things change, you need to tell why things are happening.
David T: Give yourself permission to tell how you’re feeling even if it is going to offend other people.
Linda: I heard a lot of comments that management is not being honest. In discussion yesterday, the Union was not completely honest either because the entire notes on the intent of the ELES agreement from Jan were not being read and followed.
Issue: Appropriate authority to negotiate issues
David T: Is everyone in here comfortable that everyone here has appropriate authority to negotiate issues? Everyone comfortable.
Bob: The issue is the advance group’s ability to set the issues.
MG: It would be appropriate for the co-chairs to decide what the agenda would be.
Pablo: Would like to see the role and authority of the Advance team.
MG: We used the advance team for this process. I can agree that the co-chairs will agree to the agenda by a certain timeframe before negotiations.
Issue: Undue delays in process of reaching agreement & pace of negotiations
Frank: Yesterday we were doing well until a delay. In Columbus we didn’t get anything done. Putting personal agenda aside.
MM: Some things just take longer than others. Maybe we have unreal expectations on how long some of this takes. We build to little time to handle the issues.
Darryl: There is a perception based by senior members of the Union that there is no way we will reach agreement and we might as well go to impasse.
David T: Maybe not an undue delay, but being unwilling to negotiate the issues.
Darryl: At least try to reach agreement. Not let a disagreement fester into a relationship problem.
MG: If Managements position is yes and the Unions is no than the statement of saying impasse may be raised. Sometimes it’s just being realistic. Until we have the discussion, no may not be no.
Teresa: Sometimes we are on different ends but we need a commitment from both parties to have dialog.
David Thaler: Look at the issues and see if there are any questions. Each side takes responsibility for your position.
Is everyone in this room, prepared to continue to substantive issues? Trust may never get there. Sometimes you just have to dive in and see where it goes.
What suggestion would you give to the group to get to the next step?
Pete: There have been times that I have heard Mark say he has to speak to Kelley, he doesn’t have binding authority. I relied on some of the union team to be here as experienced negotiators and I have not received any confidence in this.
Darryl: in consensus, we have to ask if we can live with the proposal. I can live with going forward with the process.
David T: There is a consensus that tomorrow you will continue with substantive issues. Request to speak to the co-chairs in the other room.
Mark McDonald and Bob McNamara meet with David Thaler.
Session ended @ 5:14