AFGE Council 171 Newsletter
DFAS Council News
Vol. 1, No. 1
AFGE Council 171 (DFAS) has had a busy and tumultuous year. It has been a year of broken promises. With eighty-eight (88) issues on the table you would think that DFAS and the Council would be working hard to come agreements that both DFAS and Employees could work with. Instead, DFAS management has engaged in a concerted effort to prevent the Council, and indeed the Locals, from providing meaningful and effective representation for the Employees.
How has this occurred? DFAS HQ has engaged in a game of distortion, confusion, delay, and finally refusing to negotiate the issues and concerns of DFAS employees. This lack of integrity and honor is taking its toll.
Here are some examples:
Level of Bargaining Authority. When the Council was formed, the Local Presidentís (with the exception of a few) signed over each Localís right to negotiate to AFGE National which in turn gave those rights to the Council.
In January 2002, Local delegates met and elected Council officers. AFGE National President Bobby Harnage sent a letter to Thomas Bloom informing him of the election results and detailed the level of bargaining authority for the Council and Local Presidents. Local Presidentís were given authority to negotiate local issues effecting just the Local. The Council President was given authority to negotiate all issues that effect two or more Locals.
DFAS HQ has refused to recognize that delegation of authority and has told all managers that they no longer have authority to negotiate with the Union. Anything comes up, send a proposal to HQ and theyíll get back to you! Talk about inefficient!
Needless to say, the Union and most supervisorís are not happy with this power grab by DFAS HQ.
EBiz Timekeeping. The Council has demanded to bargain this severe impact on employees. DFAS has refused to enter into negotiations while moving forward requiring employees to participate in self-torture using this horrible example of what not to do in computer programming. The Council has filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) against Thomas Bloom on this matter.
More Broken Promises. Initiatives the agency has refused to bargain which affect employee working conditions:
Telework - work at home program
E-Biz - timekeeping, labor costing system
Most Efficient Process (MEP) - changes in standards, processes, etc.
Career Learning Centers (CLC) - closure
Electronic Document Management (EDM)
Customer Support Group (CSG)
Corporate Resources Restructuring
Workforce Transition Plan - plan the agency would have to go through to ensure employees receive fair treatment in RIF
These are but a few of the many issues for which DFAS does not care to hear employee concerns or viewpoints. It is clear why the OAS survey reflects such low morale.
Vendor Pay and other areas have continuous overtime, denial of leave, threats of disciplinary action when employees are ill and other actions creating a hostile work place. It is obvious DFAS wants to employ only those who will do their bidding blindly, not the everyday worker who takes pride in the job well done whether it be filing, paying the service member, reconciling transactions, budget, paying vouchers, etc. It would appear that DFAS only wants to be the "employer of choice" to the few they choose.
Discrimination. DFAS has openly stated they want new faces, younger workers. It does not matter that our workforce has received numerous awards for the outstanding manner in which they support our mission of paying the service member.
It appears that DFAS wants to get rid of "old-timers". Since this is yet to be defined, does that mean anyone they view as "old-timers"? Anyone over 40? Over 35? Someone who disagrees?
Corporate Resources. DFAS will not allow the Union to observe the Mock RIF procedure to ensure fairness for Corporate Resources or upcoming VERA/VSIPís. We have seen what lengths they will go to get work out the door. What will they do to get rid of the "old-timers" or those they deem poor performers without due process? Why would the Mock RIF process for Corporate resources and upcoming VERA/VSIPs be any different? The Union has always participated to ensure that the process was done fairly. Ask your managers why all of the sudden is this any different? Why won't the agency bargain with the union to address employees' concerns?
NEW CPP. DFAS said they negotiated the Balance Score card with Council 171, AFTER the CPP began! BUT DFAS, at the end of the rating period, instructed supervisors they to use the balance score card to rate the on going CPP! These standards were written before BSC and rating supervisors did not know how to properly use BSC standards with standards they now had in their hands. Thus there was a wind-fall of ratings falling with no warning! DFAS saved $1,000's of dollars this year in bonus money alone! Then DFAS wanted to up grade their degree programs. Well NOW they can! Then they come out with a survey about stress! Like they really cared! We are investigating to see if DFAS can implement this changes AFTER the CPP's were signed. Whether the Local wins or looses this issue, the workforce now knows what DFAS thinks about them and we dare say things will never be the same.
Partnership. The biggest, Broken Promise that DFAS HQ's Management has done is failing in their "Partnership with the Union". Either they are working with their own version of the word "Partnership" itself; or they choose not to remember that we are supposed to have one. Or, when they choose to use the word "Partnership", as an afterthought in talking to the Employees of DFAS, it makes them feel it does exist.
A person can look up the word Partnership in the dictionary, but why? Common sense tells us, that any relationship when you work with another, "Together" on any given subject or project means "Partnership". The word "Together" being the operating word here. One working alone, and then telling your Partner in this "Partnership" after the fact, is not a Partnership. DFAS HQ's Management has yet to see the light on this. They feel it is the opposite. If, they did feel the same way would we have the problems that we are having now?
To keep a Partnership strong and intact or even exist, you need to have "Trust" that the other Partner in the relationship does what is expected of them. Has DFAS HQ's Management done this? The "Past" track record shows that this word has been forgotten also.
We do not believe DFAS can show where we have broken our Trust because DFAS has yet to become a Partner in this "Partnership with the Union".
RATIFICATION. Council negotiated amendments or changes to the Master Agreement must now be ratified (accepted) by the majority of DFAS Locals before the agreement becomes binding. Locals get 45 days to review and vote yea or nay on what has been negotiated. Agreements not ratified have to be renegotiated. Ratification finally gives the membership a way to hold management and Union negotiators accountable for what they agree to. It is important that you attend every membership meeting to find out about this.
E-LES Ė The pilot project for turning off Leave and Earning Statement (LES) mailings to your home has ended. You are NOT required to turn off your LES print. You may resume getting your LES in the mail by going into E/MSS and turning it back on.
MASTER AGREEMENT (MUMA) Review the Multi-Unit Master Agreement. Send suggestions (wording) you feel will improve or clarify the agreement to your Local officers who will forward it to the Council.
AFGE Council 171 Officers
President: Kelley Dull (816) 926-7787
Exec VP: Constance Townes (407) 646-4133
Secretary: William Roach (843) 746-6703
Treasurer: Mark McDonald (303) 676-8214
Regional Vice Presidents
East - Mark Durinski (207) 328-1377
Locals 201, 294, 1402, 53
South - George Burt (850) 473-6002
Locals 508, 1960, 2510, 1022
Central - Victor Davis (216) 522-6820
Locals 1411, 3283, 1148, 606, 2302, 601
Mid Central - Robin Smith (309) 782-9710
Locals 2040, 904, 905, 15, 840, 2904
West - Charles Coates (510) 273-7453
Locals 1229, 1399, 1227, 1222, 1533