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

HUD Attempts to Limit Bargaining with Union

HUD has refused to pay the travel expenses of Union negotiators in an effort to avoid bargaining with AFGE Council 222 over what the Department has characterized as “union-initiated changes.”

When the Council requested data related to HUD’s expenditures on bargaining-related travel, HUD refused to provide the information. HUD said that it could not respond to the Council’s FOIA request because it was “very broad,” and that it “would be quite costly to produce” the information requested because of the many hours of professional search time that would be required.

In spite of the difficulties imagined by the FOIA office, the labor relations office was able to provide some of the information the Council requested under federal labor-management statutes: Data related to travel expenses for Union negotiators for the past two years was provided (the Union had requested data for the past three years).

The Employee and Labor Relations Division, however, refused to provide data on travel expenses incurred by management negotiators. The Union has to wonder what HUD is hiding related to managers’ travel.

Given the current political animus against public sector unions, HUD’s recent actions seem to be part of a concerted effort to marginalize the Union and remove employee protections. In recent months, HUD has:

HUD says it wants to work with the Union, but these actions don’t support that claim.

Legislative Committee

Thursdays, 12:00-12:30pm, Room 5155

The AFGE Local 476 Legislative Political Committee focuses on issues that directly impact HUD employees who work in the Washington, DC area. The job of this committee is to build relationships with their Members of Congress and their staff in order to be well connected when legislation could negatively impact our members.

Take a break and stop by room 5155 on Thursdays from 12:00-12:30 (lunch time) and check out our new Legislative Committee. In these lightning meetings, we will share what other members have done and show you what you can do to protect and promote your salary, earned benefits, and more.

These meetings will be quick, light, and won’t take up your whole lunch break. Please contact Jordan Ghasemi, Local 476 Legislative/Political Coordinator for more information.

Congratulations to Our Newly Elected Council 222 Officers!

Council 222 Officers
L to R: Kirk Mensah, Ashaki Robinson Johns, Holly Salamido, Lorraine Chambers.

AFGE Local 476 congratulates our own Holly Salamido, who was re-elected President of AFGE Council 222 of HUD Locals at the Council's convention in August 2017. Congratulations also go to AFGE Local 476 President Ashaki Robinson Johns, who was elected Council 222 Executive Vice President, and AFGE Local 476 Secretary Kirk Mensah, who was re-elected as Council 222 Treasurer. We also congratulate Lorraine Chambers of Fort Worth, TX, who was re-elected Council 222 Secretary. We thank each of them for their service to the Union and to the employees we support.

FLRA Requires HUD to Resolve Union's Unfair Labor Practice Complaint

Notice to All Employees Settles Union Complaints Against HUD

FLRA Notice

The Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) required HUD to send out a Notice to All Employees (click the image to see a full-size copy) by email and to post it on bulletin boards to settle complaints of an unfair labor practice that the Union had filed against HUD.

The Union had filed two complaints with the FLRA because HUD did not respond properly to the Union’s request for information related to a proposed new Personnel Security and Suitability Policy handbook. The first complaint was based on HUD's failure to provide requested information. The second complaint was filed because HUD tried to force the Union to bargain over implementation before providing the information necessary for effective representation of the bargaining unit. Steward Jerry Gross represented the Union in this matter, demonstrating to the FLRA why the information and documentation requested was essential.

The FLRA required HUD to provide all available information and to distribute the Notice as HUD’s public commitment to respond to Union requests for information in a timely manner in the future. Read the settlement agreement.

You have the right to be represented by the Union to the best of our abilities. That means that we need to have all relevant information before we negotiate the implementation of a new policy. Although HUD did not initially provide the required information, we commend management for ultimately providing all available information so that we can work together to ensure that an important new policy handbook is implemented fairly and equitably.   

Ashaki Robinson Johns
Ashaki Robinson Johns,
AFGE Local 476 President

Washington Post Quotes President Robinson Johns on Housing Concerns

The Washington Post recently summarized concerns of federal employees regarding the effect of proposed budget cuts on their agencies. Many employees are worried about their jobs: According to Lisa Rein of the Post, “layoffs are inevitable, say federal officials, unions and budget experts.”

Yet employees also are troubled by how the reduced funding will affect the public. As Local 476 President Ashaki Robinson Johns noted, the same low-income families that are helped by Social Security programs are also served by HUD. “You can’t say you’re not going to touch Social Security and you’re going to cut housing vouchers. . .We all serve the same people,” said Robinson Johns, as quoted in the Post. Read the full article.

Big Government? Federal Employees Not the Reason

More federal dollars spent on contractors and state & local government employees

capitol building with money

In The Washington Post (February 24, 2017), conservative columnist George F. Will explained that the federal civilian workforce of is about the same size it was in 1952, when Dwight Eisenhower was elected president. Federal spending, however, has increased exponentially—and it’s not because federal employees are being paid that much more.

Will points to a report by the Brookings Institution, which notes that the government’s growth is due to the amount of money funneled to state and local government employees and to contractors. Many government programs, including HUD’s, that are federally funded are administered by state and local government employees; an estimated 3 million state and local workers are funded by federal dollars.

There are about 7.5 million for-profit contractors; the nonprofit contractors might number at least another 2.2 million. Together, they add up to almost five times the 2 million federal employees. And yes, contractors do cost more than feds: According to Will’s information, the government spends $100 billion more on just the defense contractors than on all federal employees. Add all the numbers up, and we 2 million employees federal employees account for less than 14% of the true federally supported workforce.

Read the full article.

Membership Meetings: Your Voice, Your Union

January 2017 Membership Meeting
Click the image for more photos
from our January 2017
Membership meeting.
Ashaki Robinson Johns addresses union members

AFGE Local 476 holds membership meetings every two months from 12:00pm to 1:00pm on the fourth Thursday. All members of the Local--and only members--may attend these meetings. Your participation is encouraged, especially regarding important issues pertaining to working conditions and challenges to our livelihood.

Our next meeting is March 23, 2017. Not a member yet? Join now and come see what's happening in your union.


Union Wins Posting in Unfair Labor Practice Case

AFGE Local 476 President Ashaki Robinson Johns fights to protect employee rights

When employees contacted the Union about a SES manager who threatened to use her “managerial power” against them if they contacted the Union about how they were being treated in the office, Local 476 President Ashaki Robinson Johns jumped into action. She filed an unfair labor practice (ULP) complaint with the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA).

The FLRA found that the manager violated the employees' right to Union representation that is guaranteed by Title VII of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. In a settlement of the case, HUD was required to post a notice electronically and physically throughout the Weaver Building promising not to "say or do anything that discourages employees from contacting the Union."

President Robinson Johns says that the case serves to reassure employees of their legal right to representation. "You have the right to join, participate and assist your Union. No one is allowed to prevent you from exercising that right. Your Union will always do its best to ensure that you are afforded all of the rights to which you are entitled," explains Robinson Johns.


AFGE Local 476 Works with HUD to Increase
Workplace Flexibility during Metro SafeTrack

HUD agrees to union demands but won't sign agreement

AFGE Local 476 President Ashaki Robinson Johns met in early June with HUD's Labor Relations staff to bargain over the impact of Metro's SafeTrack plan on HUD employees in the Washington, DC Metro area. The disruptions caused by single-tracking and shutting down various Metro lines and stations are making it hard for employees in the DC area to get to work.

Read Local 476's proposals in our demand to bargain. HUD agreed to almost all of the Union's requests, including:

These policies apply only to employees in the Washington, DC metro area for the duration of SafeTrack.

As SafeTrack Surge 2 approached, with 16 days of shutdowns affecting the Orange, Blue, and Silver lines, HUD reminded all personnel that "supervisors are encouraged to provide the highest level of flexibility in terms of telework (e.g. up to 5 days of telework, same day recall), arrival times (e.g. allow start times after 9:30 am), liberal leave (e.g. allow use of annual leave or earned credit hours as needed) to all employees that are in need."

Additionally, as requested by President Robinson Johns, HUD provided guidance to employees who want to change their mode of transportation during SafeTrack and who receive or will become eligible to receive transit subsidies.

See HUD's guidance to employees and supervisors, issued in an email on June 3. 2016.

Although HUD agreed to most of the proposals laid out by President Robinson Johns, HUD refused to sign an agreement with the Union and -- as with the transit benefits -- initially failed to recognize the Union in its announcement. Several days later, however, AFGE Local 476 and HUD issued a joint statement regarding the flexibilities offered to mitigate the difficulties that SafeTrack is causing commuters.

Transit Benefits Round 2:
HUD provides transit subsidy increase AND retroactive benefits following Union's second demand to bargain

After AFGE Local 476 submitted two demands to bargain, HUD initially agreed to increase the transit subsidy on May 1 for all employees to the legal maximum of $255 and more recently announced that the agency would provide the increase retroactively back to January 1, 2016.

HUD did not acknowledge the Union in either of its announcements, attempting to appear as if the increased subsidy were an unsolicited benefit offered by the Department.

Both the May 1 increase and the retroactive benefits directly result from the efforts of your Local 476.

On February 12, 2016, our Local submitted a Demand to Bargain to HUD on the behalf of Headquarters and DC Field Office employees, requesting the current increase.

On April 19, Local 476 submitted a second Demand to Bargain requesting retroactive benefits as permitted under the current law.

HUD has refused to negotiate with the Union, instead unilaterally announcing the implementation of the benefits.

AFGE Local President Ashaki Robinson Johns expressed, "AFGE Local 476 is proud to be advocating for you, both in the workplace and on Capitol Hill, and we are pleased to share in this latest victory with you."

The increased benefits can save each HUD employee up to $1500 in 2016 in mass transit expenses.

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:

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.

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.

Local 476 Loves Our Members

Christmas 2014 Photos
Christmas Party 2014

newLocal 476's photos are now on Flickr!

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.

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.

FLRA Requires HUD to Resolve Unfair Labor Practice Complaint

June 17, 2017. To resolve complaints brought by Council 222 before the Federal Labor Relations Authority, HUD signed a settlement agreement promising to respond in a timely manner to Union requests for information. The FLRA required HUD to provide all available information to the Union and to distribute a Notice to All Employees by email as part of the resolution.

Union Wins Case Against Manager's Threats

November 25, 2016. After a HUD SES manager threatened an entire office of bargaining unit employees with reprisal if they contacted the Union about working conditions, the FLRA ordered HUD to post a notice promising not to interfere with employee rights in the future. Read the underlying complaint and the email from Local 476 President Ashaki Robinson Johns explaining the posting to employees.

Increased Transit Benefits Gain Employees up to $1500

April 29, 2016. HUD responded to AFGE Local 476's two demands to bargain over transit benefits by announcing an increase in benefits to the legal maximum of $255 effective May 1, and by offering a retroactive increase for the January 1-April 30 period.

Union Wins Official Time Case

April 8, 2016. After HUD refused to let a Local 476 steward work his allotted official time hours on the schedule set by Local 476, an impartial arbitrator found the HUD in violation of the collective bargaining agreement, and directed HUD “to cease and desist from similar violations.” The arbitrator also ordered HUD to pay the full cost of the arbitration fees associated with this case. Read the full decision.

HUD Settles FLRA Case

October 15, 2015. To resolve a complaint brought by Local 476 before the Federal Labor Relations Authority, HUD signed a settlement agreement promising to negotiate in good faith on matters that involve bargaining unit employees' working conditions.

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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