AFGE Local 476

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Union Demands Safeguards for Employee Health;
Management Refuses to Negotiate over Ebola Protections

ebola virus
A transmission electron micrograph
image of the Ebola virus

The Union responded swiftly to a potentially serious incident in HUD's Fort Worth, Texas office, in which an employee who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus, and who had announced that exposure to co-workers, was subsequently out sick with symptoms that are connected to Ebola, such as fever and vomiting. Although, fortunately, the employee did not have Ebola, the situation highlighted the urgent need to have plans in place in case the spread of Ebola in the U.S. does reach a HUD office or a HUD employee.

On October 16, 2014, AFGE Council 222 President Holly Salamido submitted a demand to bargain to the Department over health and safety measures specifically related to the Ebola virus.

Ebola-CDC link
Visit the CDC page for more
information about the Ebola virus
(click either image).

HUD refused to negotiate. The Department claims that procedures and protective actions taken in response to the Ebola virus are covered by Article 26, Safety and Health, of our collective bargaining agreement, Supplement 99, Pandemic Planning and Response Guidance, and the Department's own "Pandemic Planning and Response Guidance."

That's right. HUD thinks that occupational safety and health procedures and planning for an influenza outbreak will cover Ebola.

Your Union doesn't agree. And we told HUD why. Read the e-mail that President Salamido sent back to the Department (it also contains HUD's inadequate response to our demand to bargain), and the detailed memo that accompanied President Salamido's e-mail.

We didn't ask HUD to equip every employee with biohazard suits. Our demands were reasonable and would not cost the Department anything. We are disappointed by HUD's attitude.

While the Union sees no cause for panic, we do see a need to plan, prepare, and prevent future problems.

The Union cares about protecting employees, our families, and people with whom we come in contact. It does not seem that HUD management shares our concerns.


Find us

Union Office Moves During Renovation

While our former space is being renovated, the Union is located in Room 2254 in the HUD Headquarters building. Our phone numbers stay the same.

 


New Travel System Effective October 1

Concur Travel and Relocation System to Replace FedTraveler

Concur Travel logo

We have concluded two agreements with HUD regarding implementation of the new Concur Travel and Relocation System, which will replace FedTraveler on October 1. Concur is the Federal Government’s E-Gov Travel Service 2 (ETS2) provider. Concur is a cloud-based service, currently used by more than 90 Federal agencies.

The first agreement provides for training of personnel who will use the system, either as travelers or approving officials.

The second agreement addresses both the implementation of the system and the reassignment of six affected employees in Headquarters and Fort Worth.

Management will bargain locally about employee moves and related issues. The reassignments are scheduled for January 1.

Management has agreed to allow us 30 days (instead of the usual 10) to request bargaining over any new information we learn about Concur through November 30, 2014. That gives us two months after system implementation to figure out if there are any new matters that need to be negotiated.


Union Prevails in Ginnie Mae Bypass Complaint

FLRA Upholds Union's Right to Attend and Participate in Formal Discussions

Ginnie Mae Notice
Click image to see full size.

In 2012, Local 476 filed an Unfair Labor Practice complaint against HUD with the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA). The 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. Such meetings--scheduled in advance, with management officials present, a formal agenda, and mandatory attendance--are considered formal discussions. The law permits Union representatives to attend and participate in such meetings. Ginnie Mae had also failed to notify the Union of similar all-staff meetings that it held.

In response to the Union's complaint, the FLRA ultimately ordered Ginnie Mae to post a notice (by e-mailing it to all bargaining unit employees) in which Ginnie Mae promises to provide sufficient notice for Local 476 representatives to attend all formal meetings, and to permit employees to exercise the rights assured by the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute. Under the direction of the FLRA, Ginnie Mae and Local 476 signed a settlement agreement that set out the terms for Ginnie Mae's compliance; in return, the Union withdrew its complaint.


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.


HUD-AFGE National Contract Protects LGBT Community
For Quarter-Century

by Carolyn Federoff, past president, Council 222 of HUD Locals

Did You Know?

A legally-binding union contract is often the only protection LGBT workers have to fight employment discrimination.

Pride At Work is a nonprofit organization and an officially recognized constituency group of the AFL-CIO that organizes mutual support between the Labor Movement and the LGBT Community for social and economic justice.

Carolyn Federoff
Carolyn Federoff

The EEO article of the HUD/AFGE Collective Bargaining Agreement includes additional protected classes beyond those protected under Title VII. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. The HUD/AFGE Agreement also includes protection from discrimination based on "sexual preference and/or orientation.” There's a proud history behind that language, but we don't talk about it. I started to wonder why, and the only thing I can think of is because we had to sue the Department to get it, and we don't want to appear to be rubbing management’s nose in it. But, when you look at the history, the bargaining team that agreed to this milestone language--the first AFGE contract, and, we believe, the first federal employee contract to protect against LGBT discrimination--was composed of civil service managers, as well as union representatives.

During negotiations in 1988 and 1989, the parties agreed to extend non-discrimination protection to LGBT employees, and to recognize as family persons "related by affinity.” LGBT employees still couldn't file a discrimination complaint with the EEOC, but they could file a grievance alleging discrimination in violation of the HUD/AFGE Agreement. During the agency head review of the final negotiated contract, Secretary Kemp struck these two down as "unlawful.” Needless to say, there were probably some management team members who were taken to the woodshed over their agreement to redefine family and protect LGBT employees.

AFGE, my union, appealed the decision to the FLRA. While on appeal, the HUD/AFGE Agreement was published and implemented without the "offending" language. The FLRA ruled in our favor in 1991 (39 FLRA 396), and the Department appealed the decision. Eventually, HUD decided not to pursue the matter further (perhaps because of a change in Administration).

good agreementsShortly thereafter, two replacement pages to the HUD/AFGE Agreement were sent to all AFGE bargaining unit members. The replacement pages included the language originally agreed to by the negotiations team.

When I received my copy, I didn't see it as a "celebration of diversity.” For me, it was an extension of equal employment opportunity rights. It's also an explanation of why GLOBE and the other special emphasis organizations irk me. They frequently undercut and undermine the value of the union. They present themselves as being able to establish better relationships than we can.

Well, as Robert Frost said, "good fences make good neighbors.” And good agreements make good relationships.

It may now seem obvious or even passé to protect LGBT employees in the workplace. But since the FLRA issued its ruling upholding the contract language Clinton's OPM found LGBT discrimination to be a prohibited personnel practice, covered by the Office of Special Counsel, and the Bush Administration cancelled that order. But it didn't matter at HUD, because we have a contract.

I owe my protection in the workplace to some brave civil service managers, to my union negotiation team members, and to AFGE, my national union, for fighting the court battle until it was won.

Don't celebrate my diversity. Recognize my rights, and provide an avenue for enforcement. Put it in my contract!


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.


HUD's Employee Satisfaction Rate Declines for Third Straight Year

See the full report of the 2013 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey results.

You Said It: "HUD is the Worst Place to Work"

Employee Viewpoint Survey Shows HUD Tied for Last Place among Federal Agencies

Ashaki Robinson Johns

Local 476 President Ashaki Robinson Johns Addresses Survey Findings

The evidence is in. HUD ranks (once again) as one of the worst places to work in the Federal Government. This is not news as most of us are aware of morale’s downward spiral across the Department in the past few years. As federal employees, we are assaulted on many fronts; conservatives don’t see the utility of federal service and liberals don’t think that we do enough to service our customers. Sadly, it seems as if we are also being attacked from within our agency by upper management that is constantly “transforming” the way that we do business. Read the full story.


GAO Tells HUD: Make Strategic Human Capital and Workforce Planning an Ongoing Priority

In a March 2013 report to Congress, GAO noted that HUD has not created incentives or accountability for staff to report accurate workload data. Citing a June 2012 OPM review, GAO stated, "HUD’s human capital and workforce planning activities did not always follow key principles for planning, implementing, and evaluating the results of human capital management policies and practices." GAO concluded that "HUD continues to lack consistent, analytically-based data generated from an effective resource management system...management may not have complete information upon which to make effective resource estimation and allocation decisions." Read the GAO report.


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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!


Local 476 Loves Our Members

Spring Luncheon

Check out our photo gallery to see pictures of our celebrations


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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:

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Just stop by Room 3143 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.

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.

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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