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Legislative Issues NFFE - Forest Service Council.

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1 Legislative Issues NFFE - Forest Service Council

2 The Legislative Process Congress influences our jobs, our mission, and our budget (among many other things). Congress influences our jobs, our mission, and our budget (among many other things). Out of the goodness of their hearts, neither Congress or management will look out for us or our jobs! Out of the goodness of their hearts, neither Congress or management will look out for us or our jobs! The Union (that means you!) must be active to effectively represent your members. The Union (that means you!) must be active to effectively represent your members. Legislative advocacy leads to recruitment of members. Legislative advocacy leads to recruitment of members.

3 Communicating with Congress Employees, as citizens, have a Constitutional right to communicate with Congress - but not on govt time or using govt equipment. Employees, as citizens, have a Constitutional right to communicate with Congress - but not on govt time or using govt equipment. The FSC has negotiated limited rights for Union Officials to communicate with Congress on official time and with govt equipment – know what these rights are! The FSC has negotiated limited rights for Union Officials to communicate with Congress on official time and with govt equipment – know what these rights are! This is not an open invitation to use govt equipment to encourage members to contact Congress – know what the limits are! This is not an open invitation to use govt equipment to encourage members to contact Congress – know what the limits are!

4 Official Time & Govt Equipment Article 5.5(a)(9) – Authorizes official time for contacting Congress on legislation which may affect employees’ working conditions. Article 5.5(a)(9) – Authorizes official time for contacting Congress on legislation which may affect employees’ working conditions. Article 5.5(d)(1) – Official time is limited to members of the FSC Executive Board or their designees Article 5.5(d)(1) – Official time is limited to members of the FSC Executive Board or their designees Article 7.2(b) – Union officials are authorized to use communications systems for representational duties as defined by Article 5.5(a) Article 7.2(b) – Union officials are authorized to use communications systems for representational duties as defined by Article 5.5(a) Summary: Only Executive Board members or their designees may communicate with Congress on official time using government equipment.

5 Official Time & Govt Equipment One more thing… The use of official time is not negotiable at subordinate levels, but use of government equipment to communicate with Congress can be negotiated at the Local or intermediate (region, Research, CCC, WO & Detached) level, per Article 7.2.(c)(2).

6 Prohibition on Lobbying The “lobbying” prohibited in appropriations legislation is defined as attempting to influence others to contact Congress: The “lobbying” prohibited in appropriations legislation is defined as attempting to influence others to contact Congress: “No part of any appropriation contained in this Act shall be available for any activity or the publication or distribution of literature that in any way tends to promote public support or opposition to any legislative proposal…” “No part of any appropriation contained in this Act shall be available for any activity or the publication or distribution of literature that in any way tends to promote public support or opposition to any legislative proposal…” This does not apply to direct communications between union officials and Congress, per negotiated agreements. This does not apply to direct communications between union officials and Congress, per negotiated agreements.

7 Prohibition on Lobbying, cont. The legislative intent is to prevent administration officials (not union officials) from influencing Congress – but: The legislative intent is to prevent administration officials (not union officials) from influencing Congress – but: Who wants to be a test case? Who wants to be a test case? So… never use govt. to encourage others to write letters, make phone calls, fax letters, send e- mails, etc. to Congressional representatives So… never use govt. to encourage others to write letters, make phone calls, fax letters, send e- mails, etc. to Congressional representatives Each Local should maintain a home list and/or phone tree. Each Local should maintain a home list and/or phone tree.

8 Another Anti-Lobbying Statute 18 USC 1913: “no part of the money appropriated by any enactment of Congress shall...be used directly or indirectly to pay for any[thing]… intended or designed to influence in any manner a Member of Congress to favor or oppose... any legislation…” 18 USC 1913: “no part of the money appropriated by any enactment of Congress shall...be used directly or indirectly to pay for any[thing]… intended or designed to influence in any manner a Member of Congress to favor or oppose... any legislation…” This is what we do. We can do it because 5 USC 7102 gives unions the right to communicate with Congress on representational matters, and 5 USC 7131(d) gives us the right to negotiate on use of official time to do so. Wonks among you may consult 47 FLRA 1118 (www.flra.gov). This is what we do. We can do it because 5 USC 7102 gives unions the right to communicate with Congress on representational matters, and 5 USC 7131(d) gives us the right to negotiate on use of official time to do so. Wonks among you may consult 47 FLRA 1118 (www.flra.gov).

9 The Hatch Act The Hatch Act has nothing to do with communicating with Congress. It covers involvement in partisan political activities. For example, a federal employee cannot: The Hatch Act has nothing to do with communicating with Congress. It covers involvement in partisan political activities. For example, a federal employee cannot: Run for partisan political office Run for partisan political office Engage in political activity in the workplace (including forwarding s or displaying material of a partisan political nature) Engage in political activity in the workplace (including forwarding s or displaying material of a partisan political nature) See for what is permitted and what is not. See for what is permitted and what is not.http://www.osc.gov/hatchact.htm See 5 CFR 733 for very limited exceptions. See 5 CFR 733 for very limited exceptions.

10 The Hatch Act, cont. Legislative advocacy is not covered. The Act covers electoral politics. But the lines can be grey. If an issue is closely associated with a particular party, public displays on that issue during campaign season may cross the line. Legislative advocacy is not covered. The Act covers electoral politics. But the lines can be grey. If an issue is closely associated with a particular party, public displays on that issue during campaign season may cross the line. Violations are serious. The default penalty is termination; the minimum is a 30-day suspension. Violations are serious. The default penalty is termination; the minimum is a 30-day suspension. If unsure, contact OSC for guidance. Even if you act in good faith on advice from management, you are responsible and will pay the cost for any violation. If unsure, contact OSC for guidance. Even if you act in good faith on advice from management, you are responsible and will pay the cost for any violation.

11 What can Local officials do? On official time, and travel, and using government equipment: On official time, and travel, and using government equipment: Act as the designee of an FSC Executive Board member to contact Congress on specific issues. Act as the designee of an FSC Executive Board member to contact Congress on specific issues. On your own time and equipment: On your own time and equipment: Write letters, make phone calls, fax letters, send e- mails to Congressional representatives. Write letters, make phone calls, fax letters, send e- mails to Congressional representatives. Encourage others to write letters, make phone calls, fax letters, send s, etc. to Congressional representatives. Encourage others to write letters, make phone calls, fax letters, send s, etc. to Congressional representatives.

12 Legislative Week Article 5.5(d)(2) – Up to 320 hours of official time (and associated travel costs) may be used for the annual Union-sponsored congressional contact meeting. Article 5.5(d)(2) – Up to 320 hours of official time (and associated travel costs) may be used for the annual Union-sponsored congressional contact meeting. Legislative Week is held in May each year. Locals may nominate any member to attend. Legislative Week is held in May each year. Locals may nominate any member to attend. This is a good opportunity for rank & file members to get involved. This is a good opportunity for rank & file members to get involved.

13 FSC Legislative Program FSC Legislative Committee researches issues and develops position papers. FSC Legislative Committee researches issues and develops position papers. Legislative Conference in D.C. each May provides for a week of direct advocacy on legislation important to the Union. We meet with elected Congressional representatives and staff and with Agency, Department, and Administration leadership. Legislative Conference in D.C. each May provides for a week of direct advocacy on legislation important to the Union. We meet with elected Congressional representatives and staff and with Agency, Department, and Administration leadership. Congressional contacts by FSC Executive Board (or their designees) continues throughout the year on issues that affect BUEs in the Forest Service. Congressional contacts by FSC Executive Board (or their designees) continues throughout the year on issues that affect BUEs in the Forest Service.

14 What issues do we take to Congress? The Council focuses on FS issues for which we have the expertise and contacts to be effective: The Council focuses on FS issues for which we have the expertise and contacts to be effective: Civilian Conservation Corps issues Civilian Conservation Corps issues Competitive Sourcing in the Forest Service Competitive Sourcing in the Forest Service Firefighter liability insurance Firefighter liability insurance Forest Service budget Forest Service budget Firefighter classification (401 vs. 462 vs. other) Firefighter classification (401 vs. 462 vs. other) FLAME Act FLAME Act Temporary hiring abuse Temporary hiring abuse

15 What issues do we take to Congress? For issues of government-wide scope, we need more clout and different connections. NFFE National takes the lead on these:  National Security Personnel System (NSPS)  Social Security reform  Retirement and healthcare benefits  Pay The Council works closely with the National to support these government-wide initiatives.

16 Budget Issues Why monitor the budget if the Statute prohibits negotiating on the budget with management? Why monitor the budget if the Statute prohibits negotiating on the budget with management? Because it directly affects us. Because it directly affects us. Management may get it wrong. Management may get it wrong. We can add our voice to Management’s when they get it right. We can add our voice to Management’s when they get it right. We can advocate for changes in the budget. We can advocate for changes in the budget. For Forest Service CCC, budget problems with DOL are affecting our BUEs. For Forest Service CCC, budget problems with DOL are affecting our BUEs.

17 Where will “attacks” focus? Forest Service budget? Forest Service budget? Downsizing and loss of jobs? Downsizing and loss of jobs? The Govt.’s share of health care costs for federal employees? The Govt.’s share of health care costs for federal employees? Federal employee retirement benefits? Federal employee retirement benefits? Take your pick… Take your pick… Only the Union will present your side of the story, fighting for the FS and employees.

18 CCC issues Involves a totally different set of Congressional players than “regular” Forest Service legislative work. Involves a totally different set of Congressional players than “regular” Forest Service legislative work. DOL appropriations, not Interior. DOL appropriations, not Interior. Issues are often shared by management. Issues are often shared by management.

19 This was the President’s Competitive Sourcing Management Agenda

20 The Union’s Response To The Competitive Sourcing Threat In 2005, over 20,000 FS jobs were slated for outsourcing studies We distributed briefing papers to Congress and press releases to the media: We focused on true costs vs. “projected” savings We focused on true costs vs. “projected” savings We emphasized lost capacity, especially in fire We emphasized lost capacity, especially in fire We got the GAO to perform an audit of the FS We got the GAO to perform an audit of the FS We backed everything up with solid documentation We backed everything up with solid documentation

21 What did we get? With the political pressure from the Whitehouse offset by the critical eyes of Congress, the GAO, and the media, competitive sourcing was slowed to a crawl With the political pressure from the Whitehouse offset by the critical eyes of Congress, the GAO, and the media, competitive sourcing was slowed to a crawl Competitive sourcing was shut down in the FS by a bill signed on December 26, 2007 Competitive sourcing was shut down in the FS by a bill signed on December 26, 2007 This was not a late Christmas present. It came from years of hard work. This was not a late Christmas present. It came from years of hard work.

22 Success! “None of the funds made available by this or any other Act may be used in fiscal year 2008 for competitive sourcing studies and any related activities involving Forest Service personnel “None of the funds made available by this or any other Act may be used in fiscal year 2008 for competitive sourcing studies and any related activities involving Forest Service personnel.” – Public Law With our continued advocacy, this provision was re-enacted for FY 2009 and was recently passed by the House and Senate for FY 2010

23 Fire and Liability Liability Insurance Liability Insurance Supervisors and Law Enforcement officers had long had half of their personal liability insurance paid for by the Agency. Supervisors and Law Enforcement officers had long had half of their personal liability insurance paid for by the Agency. Many employees who are not supervisors in their “day jobs” serve as “fire managers” in their fire capacity were ineligible for this benefit. Many employees who are not supervisors in their “day jobs” serve as “fire managers” in their fire capacity were ineligible for this benefit. We worked to provide this benefit to a broad range of employees who serve as fire managers and as a result have liability concerns We worked to provide this benefit to a broad range of employees who serve as fire managers and as a result have liability concerns

24 Success! Liability Insurance Liability Insurance - Covered personnel now include employees performing these duties: “(A) temporary supervision or management of personnel engaged in wildland or managed fire activities; (B) providing analysis or information that affects a decision by a supervisor or manager about a wildland or managed fire; or (C) directing the deployment of equipment for a wildland or managed fire.” - Public Law

25 Temporary Hiring Abuse 1994 temporary hiring reform stated as a goal that “temporary employees should serve no more than 2 years without benefits.” 1994 temporary hiring reform stated as a goal that “temporary employees should serve no more than 2 years without benefits.” Records show that of the 9,513 temporary employees on the FS roles on 6/10/09: Records show that of the 9,513 temporary employees on the FS roles on 6/10/09: 2,734 had 2 or more years of service 2,734 had 2 or more years of service 1,022 had 5 or more years of service 1,022 had 5 or more years of service 361 had 10 or more years of service 361 had 10 or more years of service

26 Temporary Hiring Survey Results Number ofNo. with No YearResponsesHealth Care% No H.C % % % % % % % % % %

27 Temp Hiring Abuse, cont Legislative priority: 2010 Legislative priority: Stop the abuse of the 1039 hiring authority Stop the abuse of the 1039 hiring authority Convert long-term temps to permanent status Convert long-term temps to permanent status Provide mechanism to credit service time as a temp Provide mechanism to credit service time as a temp This will be a long, hard battle. The economy is in bad shape and the fed budget in the red. But it is a matter of justice: the govt. should not treat its employees worse than Wal-Mart does! This will be a long, hard battle. The economy is in bad shape and the fed budget in the red. But it is a matter of justice: the govt. should not treat its employees worse than Wal-Mart does!

28 Temp Hiring Abuse, cont. ¾ of respondents were not union members, but:

29 HRM Centralization

30 Promises Made  Improved Service  Reduced Costs  One stop Shopping  More money to the field

31 Cost of HR Service – The cost savings identified in the business case and the original project proposal are yet to be realized. Prior to Centralization Current State Prior to Centralization Current State $ 61.4 M $ 63.5 M Personnel Costs $ 61.4 M $ 63.5 M Personnel Costs $ 05.3 M $ 04.7 M Facilities Costs $ 05.3 M $ 04.7 M Facilities Costs $ 12.0 M $ 25.0 M Technology Costs $ 12.0 M $ 25.0 M Technology Costs $ 78.7 M $ 93.2 M TOTAL $ 78.7 M $ 93.2 M TOTAL

32 Help Needed – in the Field! In spring of 2009, FSC President Ron Thatcher testified before Congress about the FS morale problem, focusing over-centralization. We are working to get support back to the field and reduce “burden shift” to get employees back to the jobs they were hired to do.

33 It’s time for some straight talk Only a handful of union officials pulled these successes off. Our Locals are in general not engaged. Only a handful of union officials pulled these successes off. Our Locals are in general not engaged. For example, we recently asked Locals to push a Washington Post story on temporary hiring abuse into their local media and report back. The response: zero. For example, we recently asked Locals to push a Washington Post story on temporary hiring abuse into their local media and report back. The response: zero. Congressional reps pay attention to their hometown papers. Imagine how much this agenda would be advanced if this story had been picked up all over. Congressional reps pay attention to their hometown papers. Imagine how much this agenda would be advanced if this story had been picked up all over. We need a Local infrastructure to take our effectiveness to the next level. We need a Local infrastructure to take our effectiveness to the next level.

34 “Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.” - John F. Kennedy, January 20th 1961 With this kind of ethic, working together, we can move mountains.

35 What can Local officials do? On official time, and travel, and using government equipment: On official time, and travel, and using government equipment: Act as the designee of an FSC Executive Board member to contact Congress on specific issues – but get the designation in writing first! Act as the designee of an FSC Executive Board member to contact Congress on specific issues – but get the designation in writing first! On your own time and equipment: On your own time and equipment: Write letters, make phone calls, fax letters, send e- mails to Congressional representatives. Write letters, make phone calls, fax letters, send e- mails to Congressional representatives. Encourage others to do the same. Encourage others to do the same. Take Council issues to your local media. Take Council issues to your local media.

36 What do Locals need to do? Appoint a Legislative Liaison, duties to include: Appoint a Legislative Liaison, duties to include: Provides a responsive POC for the Council Provides a responsive POC for the Council Provides Council info to staff in district offices of your Congressional representative Provides Council info to staff in district offices of your Congressional representative Forwards Council press releases to local media. Forwards Council press releases to local media. Supports Council issues with local stories, e.g., the personal story of a local long-term temp. Supports Council issues with local stories, e.g., the personal story of a local long-term temp. Develops and maintains a Local home and/or phone tree, and utilizes it for rapid responses to breaking issues and/or legislative opportunities Develops and maintains a Local home and/or phone tree, and utilizes it for rapid responses to breaking issues and/or legislative opportunities

37 Who’s speaking?  In speaking to Congress or to the Press, be clear about who you are speaking for. If you identify yourself as a FS employee, indicate you are not speaking on behalf of the FS. Always id yourself as:  A private citizen  A representative of your NFFE Local (give Local number)  A representative of the NFFE Forest Service Council (but only if you have received authorization from the Council President or Legislative Committee Chair)  Do not speak as a representative of NFFE unless you have received authorization from the NFFE Nat’l Office  You may pass on Council or Nat’l info as a Local Official

38 Political action isn’t just for Union officials! While Union Officials may have legal and contract rights to present the views of the Union to Congress, all federal employees are able to contact their Congressional representatives. While Union Officials may have legal and contract rights to present the views of the Union to Congress, all federal employees are able to contact their Congressional representatives. But remember, employees must always do so on their own “time and dime,” and they must do so as citizens - never appearing to represent their agency. But remember, employees must always do so on their own “time and dime,” and they must do so as citizens - never appearing to represent their agency.

39 Tips for contacting Congress Elected representatives are much more likely to listen to someone from their district. (This is why we ALL need to be politically active.) Elected representatives are much more likely to listen to someone from their district. (This is why we ALL need to be politically active.) If you are contacting them about a specific piece of legislation, identify it. If you are contacting them about a specific piece of legislation, identify it. House bills are H.R.____; House bills are H.R.____; Senate bills are designated as S.____. Senate bills are designated as S.____. Be able to state your purpose or concern succinctly. Be able to state your purpose or concern succinctly. Include specific and factual information about how the legislation will affect you, your bargaining unit, your community, your Center. Include specific and factual information about how the legislation will affect you, your bargaining unit, your community, your Center. Focus on one issue at a time. Focus on one issue at a time. Indicate the response that you expect from him or her. Indicate the response that you expect from him or her.

40 Tips for contacting Congress Personal visits and phone calls should be followed up by written correspondence and documentation related to your concern. Personal visits and phone calls should be followed up by written correspondence and documentation related to your concern. When you visit, don’t be disappointed if you see a staff person rather than the elected representative. Sometimes the staffers are more well versed on specific topics. When you visit, don’t be disappointed if you see a staff person rather than the elected representative. Sometimes the staffers are more well versed on specific topics. Written correspondence is best sent by or fax (the mail is still a mess post-anthrax). Written correspondence is best sent by or fax (the mail is still a mess post-anthrax).

41 What does Congress care about? Frame your issue around items that politicians care about, like: Frame your issue around items that politicians care about, like: Wasting money. Wasting money. Jobs lost in their District. Jobs lost in their District. Impacts on small communities, especially when the small community gets involved. Impacts on small communities, especially when the small community gets involved. Public safety because the Agency mission is compromised. Public safety because the Agency mission is compromised. Decreased services or increased costs to the public. Decreased services or increased costs to the public. They especially care about what voters think! They especially care about what voters think!

42 Tips for effective political action Advocate for the Forest Service and Forest Service employees and talk about the good we do (environmental protection, fire protection, recreation, forest products, economic base). Advocate for the Forest Service and Forest Service employees and talk about the good we do (environmental protection, fire protection, recreation, forest products, economic base). Talk to townships boards, city councils, environmental groups, timber groups. (As a citizen or Union official.) Talk to townships boards, city councils, environmental groups, timber groups. (As a citizen or Union official.) Don’t blame other FS Units (Forest, Station, Center). Don’t blame other FS Units (Forest, Station, Center). Don’t blame your co-workers. Timber shouldn’t blame ologists: combatologists shouldn’t blame timberbeasts. Don’t blame your co-workers. Timber shouldn’t blame ologists: combatologists shouldn’t blame timberbeasts. We are all in this together--united we stand, divided we fall. We are all in this together--united we stand, divided we fall.

43 Sources of information on legislation and legislative issues Your UNION. Your UNION. Be sure you are signed up on the NFFE website as an officer/member to receive alerts from NFFE. Be sure you are signed up on the NFFE website as an officer/member to receive alerts from NFFE. Forest Service Council Forest Service Council FSC Executive Officers FSC Executive Officers FSC Legislative Committee – Mark Davis, Chairperson FSC Legislative Committee – Mark Davis, Chairperson – Click on Legislative Action – Click on Legislative Action

44 Sources of information on legislation and legislative issues Google and other search engines. Google and other search engines. Websites: Websites: thomas.loc.gov thomas.loc.gov & & NFFE.org NFFE.org iamaw.org iamaw.org aflcio.org aflcio.org Megavote Megavote

45 Partisan vs. non-partisan legislative action Union membership comes from both political parties. Union membership comes from both political parties. Both political parties support the FS mission: Both political parties support the FS mission: Budget Budget County School Bill County School Bill Healthy Forest Initiative Healthy Forest Initiative Local communities Local communities Both parties have caused job loss. Both parties have caused job loss. Both parties have caused reduced budgets. Both parties have caused reduced budgets. As Union members and working women and men, we support elected officials that support issues important to labor, regardless of political affiliation. IAM’s MNPL fund contributes to candidates who support labor. As Union members and working women and men, we support elected officials that support issues important to labor, regardless of political affiliation. IAM’s MNPL fund contributes to candidates who support labor. Union dues never go to political campaigns! Union dues never go to political campaigns!

46 "If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation…want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters…. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." Frederick Douglass, 1857


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