AFGE Local 476

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Christmas 2014
Enjoying Your Membership Benefits:
Christmas 2014 Photos Online


Be sure to check out our Major Topics page for information on performance matters, teleworking, Metro parking benefits, and other current issues.

Christmas Party 2015Christmas Party 2015Holiday Gala Photos Now Online

Check out our 2015 Holiday Gala photos on Flickr! You can see all our other albums there, too.

If you were there, you know what a great time everyone had.

Did you miss the fun this year? Join YOUR union, AFGE Local 476 and enjoy members-only events like the Holiday Gala and Spring Luncheon...always free, and only for members.

Washington Post Questions HUD's
EVS Participation Incentives

Starbucks gift cards, free lunch, time off: Did these skew the responses?

Two months after the Washington Post described HUD's "improved" employee morale according to the 2015 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, Post columnist Lisa Rein questioned how HUD increased employee participation in the survey.

Ashaki Robinson Johns
Ashaki Robinson Johns,
AFGE Local 476 President

Rein noted that "HUD officials tried hard this year to drive up the number of employees who filled out the anonymous, voluntary survey the rankings are based on. And they offered goodies in exchange: Starbucks gift cards, free lunches with the boss, an hour of paid leave."

AFGE Council 222 President Holly Salamido explained the problem with tangible incentives such as these. As the Post quoted, "When you offer incentives, you’re skewing the results, because respondents are more likely to answer in a positive manner if they’re getting a reward."

Two-thirds of HUD's responses on the EVS came from high grades, GS-13 and up. As AFGE Local 476 President Ashaki Robinson Johns wrote to our membership, "It looks like our high grades feel engaged, but our GS-12s and below are still disenfranchised."

It also looks like those who can best afford to pay their own way were the ones who got the free lunches, gift cards, and time off.

See the full Washington Post article here or download a PDF version.

See Local 476's information about HUD's EVS results.

HUD's "Best Places to Work" Ranking
a Dismal 21 out of 23

The Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, ranked government agencies to identify which were the best places to work--and which weren't. The Partnership uses three questions from the Employee Viewpoint Survey to determine their rankings.

Within the mid-size agencies, HUD's rank fell in the bottom quartile, just as we did last year. Ranking 21st out of 23 (two agencies tied for 8th and two for 23rd place), HUD did creep up from where we sat in 2014, at the absolute bottom.

HUD's top leadership celebrates our "awesome" and "incredible" 18% improvement over last year's score. HUD's score increased from 44% to 52%.

Ask any kid in high school: 52% is still a failing grade.

The message from "Julian and Nani" to HUD employees on December 8 stating, "We still have work to do," is quite an understatement.

Best Places to Work Table

Click image for full-size chart.

Anonymous Surveys...Not So Secret

What does "Confidential" really mean?


HUD employees are often asked to fill out surveys, from the nationwide Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey to those conducted by small offices. Often the surveys are labeled anonymous or confidential. What does this really mean?

In the case of the EVS, anonymous means that the Department is not given enough detailed data to link any specific responses to an individual in an office. You're pretty safe.

With smaller, more localized surveys, it's easier to link an individual to the responses. How would you feel if you current supervisor found out that you answered "Never" to questions such as "How often did your supervisor follow policy and procedures?" or "...demonstrated fair and equal treatment?"

Just because a survey says it's confidential doesn't make it so.

There are NO guarantees that your opinions won't be shared with your present or future supervisors.

Even if your name isn't revealed, if your information comes from an "exit survey" when you leave one HUD office for another, it probably won't be hard to figure out who expressed those opinions.

So, before you turn in a survey, whether or not you've put your name on it, ask yourself:

AFGE Local 476 Thanks Our Vets

We thank all those who gave of themselves to serve our country, and who continue to serve as civilians.

We recognize that many have suffered losses due to their service in the Armed Forces - even when their losses and disabilities are invisible to the rest of us.

"You know if Brady needs a union, we definitely need unions."

Referring to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, President Barak Obama reflected about the need for unions on Labor Day 2015. "Even Brady’s happy he’s got a union. They had his back."

Local 476 is proud to have YOUR back.

AFGE Calls for Lifetime Credit Monitoring

AFGE Politico Ad
AFGE's ad in Politico on July 9, 2015.
Click to see full-size ad.

"Stop Keeping Employees in the Dark About the Data Breach"

In response to the newest revelations--that more than 21.5 million people have been affected by a second OPM data breach involving background investigation records of current, former, and prospective Federal employees and contractors--AFGE is calling on OPM to provide more details about who was affected and what information was compromised.

OPM has not begun notifying those affected by the background investigation incident (as of mid-August). OPM states that it expects to award the contract for identity monitoring and restoration services in late August 2015, so notifications won't take place until after that.

What AFGE Is Doing For You

AFGE has demanded that OPM provide affected individuals with free lifetime credit monitoring, insure individuals for the entirety of any financial loss attributable to the breach, and provide employees with time at work to address the breach and protect their personal information.

AFGE also filed a class action complaint on June 29 with a demand for jury trial against OPM, Director Katherine Archuleta and Chief Information Officer Donna Seymour in response to the cyberattacks.

By the numbers

For more information about the breaches, see OPM's latest news and read the OPM FAQs about the cyber attacks. Readabout the steps that AFGE is taking in response to these security violations.

See our Cyber Security Breach page for more information.

Worried about being called into the boss's office?

Do You Know Your Rights? You Don't Have to Go It Alone!

Ashaki Robinson Johns
AFGE Local 476 President
Ashaki Robinson Johns.

If you think a conversation with management may lead to disciplinary action, ask for a Local 476 steward or officer. It's your "Weingarten right."

You can ask at any time in the discussion that your Union representative be present. Your Union is here to support you.

But YOU have to ask. Management does not have to tell you about this right.

Weingarten Card
Click for a printable Weingarten card.

This is one of your "Weingarten Rights," named for a Supreme Court decision (read more). It applies to investigative interviews where you are asked to answer questions that you think may lead to a disciplinary action. You do not have the be the subject of an investigation.

If you are asked to answer questions, and you think that the discussion could lead to discipline, you should ask for a Union representative or officer. You do not have to put your request in writing. Keep our handy Weingarten card in your wallet so you remember what to say!

You have the right to:

Read more about your rights in an investigative interview.

Election Season is Getting Underway

Do You Know What the Hatch Act Prohibits -
and What It Permits?

PartyLogosThe Hatch Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 7321-7326, limits certain political activities of most federal employees. For example, the law prohibits employees from engaging in political activity while on duty or in the Federal workplace. It also prohibits soliciting or receiving political contributions.

The Hatch Act applies to all civilian employees in the executive branch of the federal government, except the President and the Vice President. It applies to you even if you are off duty or on leave, including leave without pay and furlough.

There are different rules about what is prohibited when you are on duty than when you are off duty, away from the workplace, and out of uniform. Read more about what is prohibited and what is permitted - and when.

Local 476 Loves Our Members

Christmas 2014 Photos
Christmas Party 2014

newLocal 476's photos are now on Flickr!

Union Prevails in Fair and Equitable Treatment Case

Arbitrator Ruled that HUD Violated the HUD-AFGE Agreement
Regarding Certain Hiring Practices

scale of justice

In 2002, AFGE Council of HUD Locals 222 filed a grievance alleging that HUD violated the Parties’ Collective Bargaining Agreement by not treating all employees fairly and equitably. Specifically, the Union alleged that:

The Union hired the law firm of Snider & Associates, LLC, to represent its interests, and though the case has gone on for more than ten years, the Union has prevailed. Arbitrator Andree McKissick ruled that HUD violated the Parties’ Collective Bargaining Agreement and ordered that a large class comprising of HUD employees is eligible for promotion to the GS-13 level with back pay and other benefits. Because this case goes back to 2002, many back pay awards will likely be significant.

Many bargaining unit employees have already been contacted by attorneys from Snider & Associates. If you have not yet been contacted, you should expect to be contacted within the next few months. Please continue to cooperate with the attorney that reaches out to you. The information and data that the firm is collecting is very important to the case. Read more.

Work is not a place. It's what you do.

Read about the status of telework at HUD and throughout the Federal Government in OPM's Status of Telework in the Federal Government. Search for "Housing and Urban Development" or scan for highlighted sections to see HUD's data.

Telework is good for employees, good for HUD, good for the metro area, and good for the environment. The Union agrees with the report's conclusion that management attitudes are our biggest barrier to implementing telework more effectively.

Situational and emergency telework is good for continuity of operations but it does not respond to the need for regular telework for all eligible employees. Local 476 is working to improve telework benefits for our employees. Read more about HUD telework policies.

Telework in Emergency Conditions

Wondering what you're supposed to do when the office is closed due to inclement weather and other emergencies? See HUD's Telework Policy Handbook (page 20) and the Telework Supplement for guidance.

Money-Saving Discounts for Members

discount tags

Did you know that Union members can save money on travel, shopping, insurance, education and health benefits, even financial and legal services? From computers to cars, amusement parks to real estate...your membership pays you back in many ways. Check out the details on our Benefits page and start saving today!


Union Membership:
A Sure Way to Brighten Your Day

Fill out Form 1187 to join now! Get the benefits you want and need as a federal employee:

A voice on the job

A voice in workplace changes

Representation with workplace issues

And look at the members-only benefits you'll enjoy once you're an active part of your Union.

Just stop by Room 3142 with your form today!

Performance Improvement Plans

Have you received a poor performance evaluation? Has your supervisor mentioned that a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) is being considered as part of an evaluation of your individual work performance? Beware! In the Union's experience, the use of a PIP is often the beginning of the removal or demotion process. If you have been placed on a PIP, or have just received a poor performance evaluation, contact the Union immediately! Read more.

News that Affects You

AFGE's Legislation and Politics has information on legislation that you care about.

New National Contract Signed

July 23, 2015. The Union and HUD signed a new national collective bargaining agreement today. The agreement represents several years of work negotiating the terms, some of which had been implemented as national supplements before the agreement was finalized. This is the first contract that AFGE and HUD have signed since 1998.

Union Reaches Agreement with HUD on Pathways Program

January 22, 2015. The Union signed Supplement 141 with HUD today to establish a national Pathways program in the Department. The parties agreed that the Program, which incorporates internship, recent graduates, and Presidential Management Fellows tracks to bring highly qualified candidates into HUD, will be designed and implemented by the Department in cooperation with the Union.

Union Demands to Bargain over Ebola Health and Safety Measures

October 16, 2014. Recognizing the need for preparedness to avoid a health-related crisis in a HUD office, the Union submitted a Demand to Bargain to HUD. HUD has refused to negotiate, but the Union will persist in bringing this matter to the bargaining table. See the article to the left for more information.

New Agreements on Implementation of Two Major Systems

October 6, 2014. The Union and HUD have signed agreements relating to the implementation of two important systems: Supplement 140 covers WebTA, which will be handled by a the Bureau of Financial Services in the future. Supplement 138 applies to the transition of our travel system from FedTraveler to Concur.

New Agreement on Lateral Movements

September 16, 2014. The Union and HUD have signed a new agreement about the lateral movement of bargaining unit employees. Supplement 139 provides the guidelines under which employees may take temporary assignments for the sake of development and cross-training.

Department Issues Year-End Guidance for Self-Assessments

September 12, 2014. HUD has distributed guidance to help employees complete the performance rating process. It includes advice on how to write a strong self-assessment and step-by-step instructions for InCompass. It also identifies the InCompass Program Office Leads and provides their contact information in case you need one-on-one assistance with InCompass.

Union Prevails in Ginnie Mae Bypass Complaint

August 5, 2014. Ginnie Mae has been ordered to e-mail a notice to all bargaining unit employees promising to allow Union representatives to attend formal meetings as required by law. The unfair labor practice complaint arose when HUD refused to complete bargaining over Ginnie Mae's reorganization and Ginnie Mae officials subsequently ejected Union representatives from an all-staff meeting. Read more.

Union Prevails in Fair and Equitable Treatment Case over HUD Hiring Practices

Arbitrator Andrea McKissick ruled that HUD violated the Parties’ Collective Bargaining Agreement and ordered that a large class comprising of HUD employees is eligible for promotion to the GS-13 level with back pay and other benefits. The Union has hired the law firm of Snider & Associates to represent its interests. Read the full story.

Union Signs Agreements with HUD on New Travel & Relocation System

July 31, 2014. AFGE Council 222 signed two agreements this month with HUD regarding the implementation of Concur, a new travel system that will replace FedTraveler on October 1. The agreements, Supplement 138 and an Interim Training Agreement, affect employees who travel as well as those who process travel orders.

Union Signs MOU with HUD Cancelling Final Two Furlough Days

August 9, 2013. AFGE Council 222 signed an agreement with HUD today that eliminates the last two furlough days scheduled in FY 2013. The agreement was reached in settlement of the Union's grievance against HUD that identified numerous violations of the furlough MOU that was signed two months earlier.

Union, HUD Reach Agreement on Hardship Reassignments

August 5, 2013. AFGE Council 222 signed National Supplement 131 with HUD, spelling out the procedures and conditions under which employees may request reassignments due to hardship conditions.

Union, HUD Sign MOU on Furloughs

March 15, 2013. AFGE Council 222 and HUD signed an agreement today that describes the conditions under which employees may be furloughed. The agreement preserves employees' compressed work schedules and protects other rights.

Increase in Transit Subsidy

February 21, 2013. In response to a Memorandum of Understanding submitted to HUD by AFGE Council 222, HUD agreed today to increase the transit subsidy for all employees to the maximum $245/month as allowed by law. See the Council's E-Alert for more information.

Rotational Assignment Program Established

August 1, 2012. AFGE Council 222 signed an agreement with HUD today to create a rotational assignment program that will provide development opportunities for employees. Read National Supplement 123. This is a pilot program that will expire a year after implementation. Watch for more information about open rotational assignments.

Local 476 Files Unfair Labor Practice Charge over HUD's Implementation of Ginnie Mae Reorganization without Bargaining

April 20, 2012. In spite of AFGE Local 476's repeated efforts to negotiate in good faith with HUD, HUD ignored all points raised by the Local and proceeded to implement Ginnie Mae's Reorganization without bargaining. AFGE filed an Unfair Labor Practice complaint with the Federal Labor Relations Authority over HUD's refusal to bargain with the Union.

Foreclosure Prevention Help Available

February 2, 2012. HUD's Washington, DC Field Office can help borrowers who need assistance in preventing foreclosure. If you need up-to-date information on foreclosure prevention or scams related to foreclosures for yourself, your family, or friends, contact Belinda Fadlelmola at 202-275-6280. All discussions and referrals will remain confidential. See the press release describing the latest changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), which are designed to help more borrowers benefit from refinancing a home mortgage.


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