In the end, the union was faced with a decision: drop and negotiate with the Agency all ongoing disputes relating to the SSA collective agreement, which included two legal proceedings and nine complaints – or let the deadlock body rule on the remaining articles of the existing AFGE contract. In the meantime, SSA said it would begin implementing the provisions of the presidential personnel regulations under the second option. In October and November, the union and the Agency agreed on Articles 3 (workers` rights), 16 (training) and 31 (leave). It is important that the Union has retained the language set out in Article 3(2.A), which requires management to treat workers fairly and equitably in all aspects of personnel management, regardless of protected class status. In November, when the parties focused on Article 9, the Agency abruptly changed its behaviour towards the Union. Despite the progress made by the parties in October and November, the Agency claimed that the Union had not negotiated quickly enough. The Union replied that the basic rules leaving the parties until 1 March 2019 to negotiate and that the parties had just agreed on three articles, in addition to many articles from the previous months. Regardless of this, the Agency did not show interest in the Union`s proposals the rest of the week and asked the Ombudsman to release the parties to the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP). The Union rejected that request on the basis of the basic rules and the negotiating behaviour of the Agency. “The commitment and commitment of all those involved in these difficult negotiations was the reason why an agreement was reached,” Richard Giacolone, an agency commissioner and the president`s nominee for director of the FMCS, said in a statement Monday. “This resolution is proof of the power of good faith negotiations, in which both sides are ready to come to the table, put aside their differences and work towards a mutual agreement that takes into account the interests of both sides.
I commend the leaders of SSA and AFGE for their commitment to solving these difficult issues in a spirit of constructive engagement. After more than a year of tense negotiations, the Social Security Administration and the American Federation of Government Employees have finally agreed on a new six-year contract. In addition, the collective agreement allows the union to file complaints about disputes related to an employee`s performance appraising or other matters — another activity that would have prevented the president`s personnel settlements. “The new contract reflects the agency`s priority in the public service and will take effect on Oct. 27,” an SSA spokeswoman said in a statement to Federal News Network. “The Agency thanks the AFGE and Social Security negotiating teams for their many months of efforts and has set itself up to reach the new agreement.” The agreement allows 20 shop stewards to use no more than 840 hours of official time per year, meaning that these employees can spend about 40% of their time on union activities and spend the remaining 60% of their time performing the duties for which they were originally hired. The new agreement gives a bank 125,000 hours of official time – half the official time granted by afGE representatives under the previous contract, but 75,000 hours more than what the Impass panel granted in its recent decision. FMCS congratulated the agency and the union for the agreement reached by both parties. The new collective agreement signed by the management of the SSA and representatives of the AFGE at the end of last week puts an end to months of disagreements between the two parties and offers them a few days of stability before the cancellation of the president`s summary proceedings of May 2018. Sick leave is advanced if the following conditions are met: Afge/SSA, Article 31, Section 3D, authorises the application of administrative voting leave.
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