Be sure to check out our Major Topics page for information on performance matters, teleworking, Metro parking benefits, and other current issues.
Holiday Gala Photos Now Online
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.
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 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.
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
"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.
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!
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.
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.
The 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.
Arbitrator Ruled that HUD Violated the HUD-AFGE Agreement
Regarding Certain Hiring Practices
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.
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.
Money-Saving Discounts for Members
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!
Fill out Form 1187 to join now! Get the benefits you want and need as a federal employee:
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!
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.