Sunday, July 19, 2009

Busy Times

Contract negotiations began March 24, 2009 and are starting to make progress. To see where we are with YOUR issue, please check the update posted on Union bulletin boards throughout the facility. The negotiation schedule is two weeks on, and one week off. This coming week is an off week.

During negotiation "off" weeks, many contract and legal issues have finally made it on the schedule through the end of this year. Meetings and hearings are in abundance, and many Local officers will not be as readily available. Our steward family is growing, so please do not hesitate to contact them directly, or contact our Chief Steward.

Many temporary positions will be coming available in the very near future. Put yourself at the top of the list by ensuring your OPF is updated with your most recent work experience and education.

Protect Yourself Heat Stress

When the body is unable to cool itself by sweating, several heat-induced illnesses such as heat stress or heat exhaustion and the more severe heat stroke can occur, and can result in death.
Factors Leading to Heat StressHigh temperature and humidity; direct sun or heat; limited air movement; physical exertion; poor physical condition; some medicines; and inadequate tolerance for hot workplaces.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
  • Headaches, dizziness, light-headedness or fainting.
  • Weakness and moist skin.
  • Mood changes such as irritability or confusion.
  • Upset stomach or vomiting.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke

  • Dry, hot skin with no sweating.
  • Mental confusion or losing consciousness.
  • Seizures or convulsions.

Preventing Heat Stress

  • Know signs/symptoms of heat-related illnesses;
  • monitor yourself and coworkers.
  • Block out direct sun or other heat sources.
  • Use cooling fans/air-conditioning; rest regularly.
  • Drink lots of water; about 1 cup every 15 minutes.
  • Wear lightweight, light colored, loose-fitting clothes.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeinated drinks, or heavy meals.

What to Do for Heat-Related Illness

  • Call 911 (or local emergency number) at once.
    • While waiting for help to arrive:
    • Move the worker to a cool, shaded area.
    • Loosen or remove heavy clothing.
    • Provide cool drinking water.
    • Fan and mist the person with water.

For more complete information:
Occupational Safety and HealthAdministration
U.S. Department of Labor (800) 321-OSHA

OSHA 3267-09N-05

Courtesy of Karen Gibson, Safety Representative, AFGE 1438.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Union Member Rights and Officer Respo...

Source: US Department of Labor. 2004. Retrieved May 27, 2009 from

The standards of conduct provisions of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA), among other statutes, guarantee certain rights to members of unions representing Federal employees and impose certain responsibilities on officers of these unions to ensure union democracy, financial integrity, and transparency. The Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) is the Federal agency with primary authority to enforce many standards of conduct provisions. If you need additional information or suspect a violation of these rights or responsibilities, please contact OLMS at 1-866-4-USA-DOL. You should also refer to 29 CFR 457.1 - 459.5, and your union's constitution and bylaws for information on union procedures, timelines, and remedies.

Union Member Rights

Bill of Rights- Union members have:

  • equal rights to participate in union activities
  • freedom of speech and assembly
  • voice in setting rates of dues, fees, and assessments
  • protection of the right to sue
  • safeguards against improper discipline

Collective Bargaining Agreements - Union members (and certain nonunion employees) have the right to receive or inspect copies of collective bargaining agreements.

Constitutions, Bylaws, and Reports - Unions are required to file an initial information report (Form LM-1), copies of constitutions and bylaws, and an annual financial report (Form LM-2/3/4) with OLMS. Unions must make these documents available to members and permit members to examine the records necessary to verify the financial reports for just cause. The documents are public information and copies of reports are available from OLMS and on the Internet at

Officer Elections - Union members have the right to:

  • nominate candidates for office
  • run for office
  • cast a secret ballot
  • protest the conduct of an election

Officer Removal - Local union members have the right to an adequate procedure for the removal of an elected officer guilty of serious misconduct.

Trusteeships - A union may not be placed in trusteeship by a parent body except for those reasons specified in the standards of conduct regulations.

Protection for Exercising CSRA Rights - A union or any of its officials may not fine, expel, or otherwise discipline a member for exercising any CSRA right.

Prohibition Against Violence - No one may use or threaten to use force or violence to interfere with a union member in the exercise of his or her CSRA rights.

Union Officer Responsibilities

Financial Safeguards - Union officers have a duty to manage the funds and property of the union solely for the benefit of the union and its members in accordance with the union's constitution and bylaws. The union must provide accounting and financial controls necessary to assure fiscal integrity.

Prohibition of Conflicts of Interest - A union officer or employee may not (1) have any monetary or personal interest or (2) engage in any business or financial transaction that would conflict with his or her fiduciary obligation to the union.

Bonding - Union officers or employees who handle union funds or property must be bonded to provide protection against losses if their union has property and annual financial receipts that exceed $5,000.

Labor Organization Reports - Union officers must:
  • file an initial information report (Form LM-1) and annual financial reports (Forms LM 2/3/4) with OLMS.
  • retain the records necessary to verify the reports for at least five years.
Officer Elections - Unions must:

  • hold elections of officers of local unions by secret ballot at least every three years.
  • conduct regular elections in accordance with their constitution and bylaws and preserve all records for one year.
  • mail a notice of election to every member at least 15 days prior to the election.
  • comply with a candidate's request to distribute campaign material.
  • not use union funds or resources to promote any candidate (nor may employer funds or resources be used).
  • permit candidates to have election observers.

Restrictions on Holding Office - A person convicted of certain crimes may not serve as a union officer, employee, or other representative of a union for up to 13 years.

Loans - A union may not have outstanding loans to any one officer or employee that in total exceed $2,000 at any time.

Last Updated: 07/27/04

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Local email 11/4/08: Ready-to-use training for obtaining medical documentation

Avoid agency liability with comprehensive training on requesting medical documentation. Gain expert insights into legal compliance with Obtaining Medical Documentation in Federal Leave and Accommodation: What the EEOC, MSPB and the Courts Are Saying, presented by highly respected federal trainer and consultant Marilyn Mattingly -- now available on audio CD.

Order your copy today, and get concrete guidance on how to handle specific leave issues involving FMLA, sick leave, extended and excessive absences, medical inability to perform, and inability to work a regular schedule. Best of all, with the CD you can train when it's convenient for you! In staff meetings . . . In the office . . . Even on your commute. What could be easier?

In this 90-minute audio conference, Ms. Mattingly draws from key case law to provide specific guidance on when, how and exactly what medical documentation can be required or requested when dealing with leave, discipline and accommodation. And, discover what medical document requests are deemed appropriate by the EEOC, MSPB and the courts.
You and your entire staff get answers to complex questions including:

Ø What are the employer's -- and employee's -- responsibilities when obtaining documentation?
Ø What are the rules for confidentiality?
Ø What is conclusory medical documentation and how do you deal with it?

Plus, handy program materials guide you through the training and help you follow along with the presentation!

Local email 10/30/08: Your 2009 Employee Handbook

Always up to date, always accurate, and always in easy-to-understand terms. With the election just a few days away and the Bush administration departing in January, what does it all mean to the federal civil service system? Things aren't clear and there is no crystal ball. But one thing is certain … New rules, large and small, will be in effect -- rules that impact YOUR pay, YOUR benefits, YOUR retirement.

For more than three decades, the Federal Personnel Guide has updated federal employees, like yourself, with new information, sections, tables and charts to answer your toughest career questions. That's why thousands have relied on the Federal Personnel Guide each year. Every rule and regulation is spelled out in easy-to-understand terms that simplify even the most confusing regulatory language. And now you can rely on this must-have guide to get answers to your career and benefits questions -- from the simplest to the toughest -- involving:

ü Health Insurance
ü Advancement and Promotion
ü Injury Compensation
ü Buyouts/Early Outs
ü And much more!

The 2009 Federal Personnel Guide is available in print or CD-ROM! Both versions include the same valuable guidance and charts. Plus, the CD-ROM gives you searchable access to frequently used forms, full-text regulations, reference documents and more -- for the same low price!

Reserve your print or CD-ROM copy today! Choose from 4 easy ways to order! Mention Source Code E-EM103008F.

Local email 10/28/08: MSPB Case Law and the Douglas Factors

The MSPB has mitigated many agency penalty determinations because the deciding official failed to consider all relevant factors, improperly considered a factor, or assessed a certain fact under the wrong factor.

On Nov. 6, listen in -- right from your own office or conference room -- as Federal labor and employment expert Robert Erbe presents the interactive audio conference Douglas Dos and Don'ts: Using MSPB Case Law to Determine the Right Penalty.

In just 90 minutes, Mr. Erbe will guide you through the Douglas minefield, with a look at the most recent MSPB case law involving penalty determination -- so you understand how the board determines whether a penalty is reasonable and how it views a particular Douglas factor.

You'll get answers to questions such as:

Ø In determining an appropriate penalty, can a deciding official rely on a prior proposed, but not finalized, removal for similar misconduct?
Ø In response to a discovery request, is an agency required to produce e-mail communications between various management officials discussing what penalty should be proposed?
Ø What is the new "penalty trend" at the Board and what does the future hold?

Early Bird DiscountHurry! Register by Thursday, Oct. 30 to save $20.00! Click here to register. Invite your colleagues!

Connect to the audio conference from the comfort of your office -- all you need is a phone. Or, use your conference room and speakerphone, and invite as many colleagues as you like for one low price.

This conference is a must-attend for HR Professionals, Employee and Labor Relations Specialists, Employment Law Attorneys, Union Representatives, Managers and Supervisors.

Local email 10/26/08: Pimentel to speak on Reasonable Accommodation

Find out how the new ADA Amendments, veterans returning to the workforce and other pressing issues affect reasonable accommodation with . . . Demystifying Reasonable Accommodation: Your Agency's Role in the Interactive Process Join renowned disability expert Richard Pimentel on Thursday, December 4 for this in-depth audio conference.

You'll get useful guidance on how to determine if an accommodation is needed, implement the planned accommodation and evaluate its success. Plus, learn how the new amendments to the ADA -- effective in just ten weeks -- will affect the accommodation process.

In just 90 minutes, you'll get valuable tips on carrying out the accommodation process from start to finish including:

Ø The dos and don'ts of discussing disability in the interview process
Ø Where to turn to review possible accommodations for an employee
Ø How to handle accommodation disagreements with employees
Ø What to do when an employee can't help you determine what he or she needs

Plus, time is allotted for interactive Q&A sessions with Mr. Pimentel, so you get authoritative answers to your specific questions. All you need to participate is a phone -- or a speakerphone -- and you can train your entire staff for one low rate!

Register by November 26 to claim your $20.00 Early Bird Discount! Visit for details and to reserve your spot.