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ORD Managers’ Workshop and Division Directors’ Meeting “Working with Your Unions” Washington, DC November 6 th, 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "ORD Managers’ Workshop and Division Directors’ Meeting “Working with Your Unions” Washington, DC November 6 th, 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 ORD Managers’ Workshop and Division Directors’ Meeting “Working with Your Unions” Washington, DC November 6 th, 2008

2 Who are we? Bill Evans, NTEU, DC-HQ Steve Shapiro, AFGE, DC-HQ David Walters, AFGE, Ada, OK Larry Penley, NTEU, Cincinnati, OH Geraldine Cripe, NAIL, Gulf Breeze, FL Andrew Grange, NAGE, Las Vegas, NV Lesley Mills, NAGE, Narragansett, RI Silvia Saracco, AFGE, RTP, NC

3 Statutory Basis for Union Rights Why are there 5 Unions instead of a single Union at EPA? –Ex. AFGE has a Council, which negotiates and implements their Contract. –Ex. NTEU HQ is significantly involved in contract negotiation and implementation –How does the Coalition of EPA Unions operate?

4 Labor’s rights and Management’s responsibilities under the federal labor statute Section Employee’s Rights –“Except as otherwise provided under this chapter, such right includes the right-- (1) to act for a labor organization in the capacity of a representative and the right, in that capacity, to present the views of the labor organization to heads of agencies and other officials of the Executive branch of the Government, the Congress, or other appropriate authorities, and (2) to engage in collective bargaining with respect to conditions of employment through representatives chosen by employees under this chapter.” –When and why do Unions engage Congress?

5 Unfair Labor Practices (ULPs) When an employer violates the Act, the Union may file an ULP charge. The Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) enforces the Act. Ex. Refusing to bargain “in good faith” Recent examples...

6 What does the Act say about Union representatives? The Equality Rule Union officers and stewards have a “special status” when handling contract violations. Union representatives are equal in status to management when acting in an official capacity. Respect = recognition of this special status. Ex. Unions are not consistently invited to participate on Agency workgroups. –Administrative Efficiencies Projects for various lines- of-business (budget, travel, facilities, clerical, HR)

7 What is a grievance? A violation of the Contract or negotiated agreement Each Union has a slightly different process for filing a grievance Recent examples...

8 Unions’ Right to Information Sec (b) This is different from a FOIA request Union may request information... –... to monitor compliance with the Contract –... to investigate whether a grievance exists –... to prepare for a grievance –... to decide whether to drop a grievance or “move up the ladder” –... to prepare for an arbitration hearing

9 What is “Mid-Term Bargaining?” Sec (d)(1) of the Act requires the employer to bargain – not only during contract negotiations, but continually if changes substantially affect “conditions of employment.”

10 What does the law require the employer to do? Notify the Unions well in advance of a change in workplace condition or “condition of employment.” Provide adequate opportunity to the Union to bargain Recent experience – “management rights” claim or “de minimus impact” clause of the contract to avoid the obligation of mid-term bargaining. This leads to wasted time and effort for management and labor reps who wait for negotiability appeals to get resolved.

11 Official Time Under Sec (d) of the Act, union reps and bargaining unit members... “Shall be granted official time in any amount the agency and the exclusive representative involved agree to be reasonable, necessary and in the public interest.”

12 The issues underlying the problems with current labor- management relations at EPA, or “Things we need to work on”

13 Official Notice Often, the Unions find out first about workplace condition changes through the “grapevine,” instead of through official channels (i.e. LER) Sometimes, the Unions are not officially notified before implementation. That’s an ULP. The quality of the information in official notices is poor. Identification of impacted employees and a description of the potential impact on workplace conditions is needed. Without this info, the Unions infer that management is hiding something.

14 Official Notice (cont.) “Courtesy Notices” imply de minimus impact on working conditions. After Official Notice is given, Unions are likely to ask for a briefing. The quality of briefings need improvement –Ex. Advance copy of briefing document

15 Demand to Bargain During the last two years, Unions have experienced an increase in the denial of bargaining demands. –Ex. Library closures –Ex. HQ ITS-UP (aka CTS) –Ex. GovTrip

16 Information Requests Responsiveness to union info requests is typically poor. Unions feels management avoids their obligation to respond by challenging the union’s “particularized need.” Time and resources (and goodwill) are wasted in grievances and ULPs. Ex. Clarification of bargaining unit


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