DFAS and AFGE Council 171

Negotiation Session

July 23, 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), Robin Smith, Jimmie Wattley, Victor Davis, Ron Coe, Jim Pitt, Jackie Riley (Mgmt Recorder).

Recorder: Angela Beltowski

Session began @ 8:00

Bob: Description of conversation with mediator and Mark M. yesterday. Start with EW2.

Pete: The following is the proposed language:

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service and AFGE Council 171 enter into this agreement for the purpose of establishing a procedure for employees to obtain their use of electronic IRS form W2 (eW2). for employees.

The parties recognize the need to move forward in the area of electronic government (e-government) and its associated benefits. With this intent in mind, the parties mutually agree to publish and promote the numerous benefits and cost savings resulting from this initiative.

Participation in this cost-saving initiative is strictly voluntary. In light of the voluntary nature of this initiative, the parties agree to support an environment that promotes the voluntary participation in this program and is free from harassment and coercion of any kind.

The agency will make every effort to ensure that only the employee will have access to their own tax information in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. To the maximum extent possible, data will be secured utilizing data encryption methods consistent with other DFAS personnel data security measures.

At the employeeís option, they may download and save their own tax information to a disk. After reviewing their tax information, employees who identify erroneous data will follow established DFAS procedures for correcting pay records.

The parties agree that a key factor in the success of this initiative is the communication of its existence and benefits. In an effort to achieve this objective, the Agency will publish this agreement on the ePortal. The Agency will also make available on MyPay a list of frequently asked questions (FAQís) regarding the eW2ís. The parties further agree that whenever the opportunity presents itself in any employee-management meeting both parties will inform employees of this initiative and explain its purpose and benefits.

The parties mutually agree to support and enforce this agreement. The parties will make every effort to inform one another when any element of this agreement and/or initiative fails to meet its stated objective.

Add language of Ronís that was agreed to.

This agreement will be effective upon its signing by the parties authorized representative and will remain in effect until superceded by a subsequent agreement.

 

Ron: The Union would like language specifically telling an ending date of the agreement and in the title somewhere that it is an agreement. Also want a statement about the ability to turn on the hardcopy via a button added.

Jim: The on/off button and the save button will both be on the same release.

Frank: So for the record say that to your knowledge there are no changes due to come out in the near future on this program.

Linda: Weíre not ruling out if employees would come up with changes that improve the system, we would not be able to do those changes.

Ron: The Agency has indicated that they will put in place an on/off switch and the ability to save to disk.

Bob: What would be the worst case scenario if you could not put in the on/off switch?

Jim: The default would not be run to change them to electronic and everyone would get a hardcopy.

MM: If the update would not be ready until 31 October we would want more time than 30 days to educate the employees that they have a choice.

Jim: Aug 31 is the date they plan on doing the update. Which would give the employees 60 days before the cutoff date.

MM: So make the effective date of the agreement 1 Oct?

Jim: But what if the program is ready earlier?

Pete: Does this body want to come back together if an agreement would become null and void.

MM: I would say yes.

Pete: Instead of making it null and void, how about putting in language that gives timeframes to orient themselves before the cutoff date for changing their election.

MM: No later than 60 days prior to the cut-off date of 1 Dec.

Darryl: Why not just roll the agreement over to the next tax year instead of having to address it again. The concern was that the employees have time to change the default. If we canít do it this tax year, then roll it over.

Frank: The concern is that the on/off switch would not be made to work and that the Agency will automatically make it electronic only.

Jim: If the on/off switch were not there, we would not default the employees to electronic because of the agreement with IRS. In that case, everyone would get a mailed copy.

Teresa: We feel pretty confident that this will be available at the end of August. If that does not occur for this tax year, we can write something into the agreement. But we would also want it in that case to carry over to next year.

Ron: If the agency cannot meet the terms of the agreement, the agency agrees that the system will not be deployed?

Jim: Just say it will be moved to the next tax year.

Pete: Letís say we deploy on time and an employee starts in Dec 2, is the switch going to be there?

Jim: New hireís would be defaulted to hardcopy because they would not have had a customized pin on 1 Dec.

Frank: So once a new hire gets a pin, they can access the system but the button will not be there during the blackout period.

Ron: We would like employeeís to receive a yearly update on the positives of turning off the hard copy.

Bob: If system is not modified by 1 October 2003 it will be deferred until 2004.

MM: A closing clause?

Bob: I donít think we need a briefing to all employees but can do it through e-portal. Communicate through LES remarks, Straight talk, Newsletter, mass e-mail with explanation of MyPay.

Linda: You have to be careful what you combine it with.

Frank: Want the bargaining unit employees to be able to view this agreement. Have a hyperlink attached to the broadcast email communication that would take the employee to the actual agreement.

Pete: So everyone is ok with that?

Everyone okíd.

Agreement that the above methods would meet the requirement of notifying the employees.

Ron: Employees will have the capability to access the W2 from any site?

Marsha: If you donít go through MyPay you canít get it.

Jim: MyPay uses the same encryption for W2 as ELES.

Bob: Employees should have the option to access the system from a remote siteÖ

Pete: Agreed language: Employees will have the option to access their eW2 from any site that supports the required security encryption.

Ron: Employees will be provided with the appropriate problem resolution proceduresÖ.

Pete: That is already addressed in the language.

Marsha: MyPay needs to be in there. A new employee may not know the process.

Teresa: The subject of MyPay could be addressed on the communication that has the MyPay statement that sends the hyperlink.

MM: We need to know when the switch will be set so we can tell the employees.

Marsha: Open period would be 1 Oct Ė midnight 30 Nov.

Jim: Switch to electronic, I believe is a one time job.

Teresa: Make sure that the default is set and then the employees can go in and do the change. Initially we want to make sure that for this year once an employee makes their selection, nothing in the system will change it.

MM: We want to clearly communicate to the employee that after a specific date they can go in and make their election and that it will not be changed.

Management Caucus

Jim: On Sept 1 a file will be sent that shows who has a customized pin. The capability to change the election will be available on Sept 2.

Ron: Weíd like to get the data on a regular basis. The numbers, how many people, problems.

Marsha: Bi-weekly data would not give you any true information until you hit the black out time. The employees can change their election every pay period until the black out starts.

Darryl: Why is this information needed? It is additional work for a few people. What is the purpose?

Victor: It helps the Union to validate it. It is a marketing tool to continue selling this product.

Darryl: If youíre talking about a certain % of employees have turned off the eW2 that would be easy to get. But an unspecific amount of data that isnít normally gathered would be another issue.

Pete: Ron do you have a specific metrics that you are wanting?

Ron: I donít have a specific list of what could be asked by other local presidents.

Pete: Management is taking the position that until the black out period it is the data is not valid.

Union Caucus

MM: We understand that Management has to know what data we want. What we are interested in is that when reports are being given to Management, then give it to the Union as well.

Teresa: We agree to these things and no feed back is received on it. When you talk about the periodic need of information we understand. At the end of the process we will have a correct number of how many people receive a hard copy etc. Once we agree to the default what is the result? How many people received each type of W2.

Frank: What type of information is available that can be looked at now?

Jim: We normally donít know agency by agency who has a customized pin. We only know the number of transactions.

Frank: Will this system have the same capability to give the percentage of people using the system like ELES?

Jim: I believe it will.

Frank: Is there any other information that is going to be pulled related to W2?

Jim: Thereís always other things that may be added but as of right now we donít have anything.

MM: Is there a report that will come out that has names on it going to management?

Marsha: Not that weíre aware of. There are currently no reports being done.

MM: If the management at the sites donít get a list of who has which option, they wonít be able to influence the decision. We assume that management is going to get some reports on this, that Mr. Bloom will be receiving reports. The Union would also like to get those reports. We donít know the names of any reports to do a specific request.

Marsha: There is a report that goes out from the contractor of how much was printed and mailed for the purpose of the contract.

Jimmie: So no data will be pulled out to show the progress of this program.

Marsha: I would never say we wouldnít generate a report. If a report is requested and given to Management then it would then be sent to the Union.

There is currently no requirement to generate a report.

Victor: Is there the ability to create a report showing by site how many people have hardcopy vs. electronic?

Jim: The report of hardcopy vs. electronic would not be hard but breaking it down by site would be harder.

Marsha: When they generate the W2 file it is put into one file. We bump this against the payroll system to create a print file for the ones who elect a hard copy W2.

Darryl: Concern, at least initially, is there a real need to break it down by site to show savings? It will be a one time a year savings. There is data that can be provided after 31 Jan that would not require any additional work on anyone. Would that satisfy the request?

Teresa: The report would show the number of employees who received the hardcopy but not be by site. We need to know how successful or not that the program was.

Pete: Summarized above discussion. Does the generated report showing the number of hardcopies satisfy the Unionís need?

Frank: If you tell us what type of data you will be capable of getting and when you will be able to get it, then we will be better able to tell you what information we need.

Bob: There are no reports currently being done. So if and when we have any reports that are going to management we

Ron: Suggested language: The Agency will provide the Union with the available reports and metrics generated as a result of this initiative.

Pete: We are adopting this language?

Yes from team.

Pete: We are at the end of the check marks. Are there any additional concerns?

Going to the Proposed language, changes in red.

Made changes to proposal on separate document. It was printed and given to both teams to review.

MM: For the Record: The parties agree that should the September 2, 2003 date not be viable the co-chairs will mutually agree to a new date.

Darryl: As long as it is before the 1 Oct date, why put this in?

Pete: Management doesnít want a new date to have to be agreed to if Sept 2 is not possible. Just want a notification process as long as it is before 1 Oct.

MM: If the co-chairs agree to the date thatís ok.

Pete: What if Kelley doesnít agree to the date?

Teresa: We know we have a communication issue we have to deal with at that time.

MM: Let us think about how we want it. Letís go to lunch and pick it back up after.

Lunch 12:10-1:10

MC: Would like to change language in paragraph 4 to read " except in accordance with"

Linda: if change "tax info" to "eW-2" it would eliminate the issue. The people in payroll can access the data that creates the W-2.

MC: I agree that we are bound by the laws.

MG: It is more for a comfort thing for the employees.

MC: The IRS can request this data and other people could see the W-2 other than the employee.

Pete: As it is written, can it be enforced?

MG: Sometimes you can add too much clarity and it makes it more confusing for the employee.

MC: I can live with it with the understanding that the employees may not be the only oneís who need to see this information.

For the Record: In paragraph 4, the first sentence, the language is acceptable as written, with the understanding that the employeesí W-2 may be accessible by others in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

Agreement to change tax information to eW-2

MM: There is a lot of information on the MyPay site that tells how to set up your printer. Is there a way to run a script to help the employee who is trying to print?

Jim: There are so many different printers that it would not be possible. If there is anyway to improve it we try to do that.

Charles: Concern about the agreement using MyPay since it may be renamed in the future.

MG: Would like to add "or master labor agreement" to last paragraph.

Would also like to have a separate agreement that addresses the IRS agreement that is not yet been made available to the Union. Would like a provision that if the IRS document would have some information that was not known here, we would be able to reopen this agreement. We hope there is nothing else to talk about but have to be prepared if there is. We donít want it in the MOA because we want this to be a positive document.

Marsha: We need the understanding that there may not be any information from the attorney that worked with the IRS. There may only be the attorney working papers.

MG: In that case the attorney should be able to write something up to give us off of those working papers. If we find something in this information we want to be able to come back and discuss it.

Bob: We agree to change the last line and doing a separate agreement on the information request.

General Discussion on information requests from the last session (January 2003) on ELES.

Received yesterday the data on waiver requests that were requested and how many of those were approved.

As of pay period ending Jun 28, 2003, 1,885 employees are still receiving hard copy LESís. 12,564 employees are getting only an electronic copy.

Darryl will do a summary of this information for Ms. Dull, Council President. He will attempt to get it done next week.

Jimmie: What dates were the waiver numbers from?

Darryl: I asked them to pull the information from the beginning of the pilot until the end of the pilot. During the pilot is the only time they would have been required to get a waiver.

At this time the EW2 Agreement was signed by both parties.

Bob: I suggest that we send team out to write the separate agreement language concerning the requirements from the IRS. Agreed. Ron and Mark C. selected.

Bob: I make a proposal that we start discussion on E-LES.

MM: The Union team agrees to discuss concerns on opening negotiations on this issue and that the Union team agrees to meet after hours to discuss whether or not the team will retract its position on renegotiating the January agreement on ELES.

This issue is extremely contentious for the Union. We came in here in January with a mandate from our members that they did not want turning off the hard copy to be mandatory. We agreed to the language because we could live with it but we were not happy with it. We worked through the IBB process and felt that we could live with the language as it was agreed that turning off the LES hard copy was voluntary.

Pete: The numbers donít show that the employees do not want it. Iíll accept that what your saying is your belief but the numbers donít support your statement.

MM: Your numbers are from the whole agency. Not just bargaining unit employees.

Pete: Letís assume that 100% of the ones getting a hardcopy are bargaining unit employees. If there is such a problem with it the numbers should be higher than that.

MM: It doesnít matter if the numbers support it. The members have stated they do not want it mandatory. There was a problem with harassment and employees just not wanting it mandatory. We have an obligation to represent all of the employees.

Pablo: What are the real issues? Letís discuss them. I believe the harassment has stopped since the January session.

Frank: Some of those issues were given to you over a year ago. Why should we have to restate those? They have not changed.

Marsha: Since I was not here last time, can I hear the issues?

MM: Management has to understand the pressure came off of us, the Union, when we signed the agreement in January. The program with ELES has been successful. I think that the employees will continue to sign on to the program and we will eventually be 100%. Why the push to get it to 100%.

Darryl: It was in the notes from Jan that we may have to revisit it. We are seeing a significant increase in the number of employees who are receiving a hard copy LES. This is one of our chances to become the payroll service for the government.

Pablo: What better marketing tool than to say that DFAS has 100% participation in the program.

Jimmie: Forced participation. Is that the image that the Agency wants?

The waiver requests, look at the number you agreed to.

Darryl: The proposal gives the employees the ability to self-certify.

MM: Under this you are taking away the choice to get hard copy or not. The harassment didnít stop after we signed it. It stopped after about a week after it was posted which was a month or so after being signed. The excuse from management was that upper management wanted it. As it is written, we have a problem with it because it is mandatory.

Pete: I appreciate the concerns of the rank and file. I need to understand in our current environment is this more of a reluctance of change? I may not know where all the buttons are to begin with but Iíll get used to it when a change takes place. Are we also resistant to change? If we really want to protect our employeeís careers, we should be going after everything that will help us get the business. As a team itís hard to say that even in the 21st century that we are still stuck in another century. We have to be as competitive as possible. If employees canít keep up they are parasitic on the Agency.

Frank: If the Agency had wanted to pursue the 100% and came to us to say what can we do to achieve it, things could be different. The fix should be what can we do to correct the damage that was done during the pilot.

Pete: Our objective is to have 100% electronic LESís. How do we get there?

Charles: The Agency has stated that 86% are getting the electronic. Over what timeframe does the Agency want to get to 100%? The percentage of hard copy is coming down. What is the projected date?

Jimmie: With waivers we will never get to 100%. What you have right now should be enough to market to your customers.

Victor: So what is the tolerable amount of waivers?

Pete: I avoided percentages.

Victor: History shows that waivers were not being granted. What percentage is acceptable? How far from the 86% do we need to climb? What was done to be proactive per the document to encourage the use of the program?

Pete: our goal is 100%. Our realization is that we probably wonít have 100%. We want a reasonable number close to 100%. Even we in our proposal are recognizing that we may not get to 100%. How do we get there? How do we take care of the employees who donít want to use the system?

Frank: Is it possible for you to tell us what sites are having a decline?

Jim: I think we could do it but there is nothing in place right now to do that.

MM: What do you think the reasons are that the decline has begun?

Jim: Some of it is they want the hard copy. They need the hard copy to remember when payday is. The new employees that are coming on have a default of hard copy.

Bob: What about mortgages?

Jim: That could be part of it.

MM: What does the system need to get the employees to go to electronic?

Darryl: We had a collective goal during the pilot to collect the problems to be addressed.

MM: What is it about this program that 14% have not gotten involved in it? The Agency needs to do an assessment of that.

Jimmie: If the January document had not been done we wouldnít be having this conversation. Part of what happened was walk and talk to employees. I donít know that this has been marketed at all like the other programs. Tell me how they have done any proactive marketing.

Frank: We are marketing a lot out there but this is not one of them. What are we telling the employees about what they can do to help meet the goals?

Darryl: It was to be a combined effort to market the ELES program. We collectively said we would achieve it.

Jimmie: If the question was asked, the majority of the Union officials would be on the ELES.

Darryl: Bring forward some solutions to the issues so we can see if they work.

Robin: After the pilot, all of our waivers were denied. They turned them back on as soon as the pilot was over.

Darryl: I heard those problems and had some discussions with senior management about it.

Pablo: We have passed the issue of the harassment and the printers.

MM: We have not addressed the issue of the printers. The CLCís (Career Learning Centers) were part of the printer solution and are gone.

Jim: We put the save button on because of this. If you save it on a disk why do you need to print it?

MM: That is a valid point but there are people who print them because of errors in payroll in retirement etc. There is still a problem with this because of public printers.

Pablo: If we make two lists one of the major issues and one of the minor issues what would be the problem with going forward.

MM: We would like to see some of the analysis the agency has used to determine why employees are turning the hard copy back on.

Darryl: We realize we will not be getting 100%. We would like to get 100% of the employees who do not meet the waiver criteria.

Jimmie: So give the 1,885 a waiver and be done with it.

Darryl: How long would the 1,885 have to turn it off after getting the waiver?

MM: I would suggest that we stop discussion and go through the language written by Ron and Mark. The Union will discuss whether or not to begin discussion of ELES tomorrow.

Ron & Marks proposed language: (on next page)

 

MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT

The Agency agrees that it will provide to the Union the requirements and/or limitations placed on DFAS by the IRS regarding the DFAS eW-2 initiative.

If as a result of reviewing this information, the Union has concerns it wishes to address, the parties agree that they will engage in expedited post-implementation bargaining on these concerns on a date determined by the co-chairs.

These negotiations will have no affect on the implementation of the DFAS eW-2 initiative or the July 23, 2003 Memorandum of Agreement on the DFAS eW-2 initiative unless mutually agreed upon by the co-chairs.

Should these negotiations occur the ground rules in effect in July 2003,will apply unless otherwise agreed to by the co-chairs.

The negotiating teams for these negotiations will be limited to no more than four participants per team as determined by the co-chairs.

Nothing in this agreement shall constitute a waiver of either partiesí rights.

MM: If we find something that needs addressed, why would we negotiate if it isnít going to effect the implementation or MOA?

Darryl: We have an agreement to implement. If something comes up, the implementation will continue but we will address the issues and try to correct without stopping the implementation.

Jimmie: What if one party doesnít agree?

MM: Itís a valid point because it comes down to the trust issue. Can we trust that the management representative will be fair if the Union brings up an issue? That goes the other way as well.

Bob: I certainly donít want to hurt the relationship between Kelley and myself.

Charles: Why have the statement about the ground rules?

Ron: Concern that there will be no ground rules in place.

Teresa: Since this issue was from this session, it would make sense because it was stated we would expeditiously address the concerns.

MM: Make sure we have the understanding that the advance team in the ground rules would not necessarily be needed for this type of meeting.

Frank: There is an issue of keeping these same ground rules carried with the issue. They expire this month. Why not let the two chairs decide the process to use instead of locking them to this process.

Pablo: Look at it this way, if anything is going to come up on this it should be in the next 30 days. We wonít be waiting 6 months to address the issues.

Ron: Language to try and address the above issue.

Language for the MOU is agreed to as corrected in the above notes.