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The Council has received
approximately 116 email responses (from the enews alert sent January 16th) ranging from
short responses such as "I concur" and "I agree" to
lengthier responses. We will post additional comments as time allows. If
you wish to send a comment to the Council, include a statement that is ok/not
ok to post it here. The hand at the bottom of the page will take you to
the second page of comments.
"Your email brought a very perplexing
message which some of us will likely ignore. But hopefully the responses
of those of us who dare to challenge this blatant injustice of those with
employees with physical limitations requiring employee assisted devices
and services will prevail. There must be human compassion and administrative
equity for those who struggle to be productive in their jobs. Yet we are
seeing hard earned supportive means and devices removed or efforts our hindered
by the lack of reasonable and appropriate means to provide, permit and protect
the comfort and fair treatment of workers allowing them to be productive.
Redress of this issue is the minimal response to the matter. The fulfilment
and success our struggle to force a realization of the expectations of those
in need is our charge. And, it is imperative to the future of our relationship
to management and the appreciation of our employment situations both individual
and collective. Forge on - We've got your back!"
"They are probably relying on the Toyota
case (can't remember cite, but it was decided in the last five years) in
which the USSC said that if you can feed yourself and bathe yourself, you
are not disabled under Title I of the ADA. However, to their credit, they
are probably too embarrassed to make such statements publically. Therefore,
your emphasis on the civil rights intent behind the ADA is an excellent
strategy to flush out such a rationale. Furthermore, policies like this,
as well as telework etc., should be looked upon by management as productivity
enhancement tools. Upper management should be trained to train the line
managers how to use those tools to the benefit of the Agency, as well as
to the benefit of the employee. Perhaps the union (in conjunction with the
AFL-CIO) could develop a course on this issue as a counterpoint to the USSC
case cited above."
"I think 'parents' should practice
what they preach."
"This is an outrage. There is very
little, if any additional cost for certain ergonomic equipment. I would
question if the Secretary is aware that his representatives are this naïve
I would suggest that with all of the other violations of human rights that
this agency is currently trying to defend itself against an article should
be placed in the newspaper for all to see. That always seems to get their
attention. For example the number of EEO complaints and grievances filed
each year by the staff. Since they just recently lost a case it would strengthen
the impact of a statement. Not to mention the shear number of outstanding
complaints that show the low moral of the staff as a whole."
"I don't understand how they can deny
an individual the equipment necessary to perform their job duties. If this
is not done, they will be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities
Act (ADA). There will be numerous complaints being filed by individuals
with disabilities because they should be afforded they same opportunities
as other co-workers to perform to the best of their ability."
"I myself have a hearing impairment
and understand that when a request is made that sometimes the agency does
not address the situation properly. This makes the individual ask how can
a government agency not be in compliance with the ADA, that was enacted
to help eliminate discrimination, when it expects the private sector to
follow the law and it does."
"Are you aware that while the proposed
reasonable accommodation does not include electronic technology, HUD employees
can receive whatever assistive technology equipment they require to do their
job under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Assistive technology
is considered any item, piece of equipment, or system, whether acquired
commercially, modified, or customized, that is commonly used to increase,
maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.
This includes mice, ergonomic keyboards, monitors, software, and a variety
of products. Section 504 prohibits discrimination based on disability in
federally funded and federally conducted programs or activities in the United
States, including employment programs. For more information on HUD's Section
504 program (referred to as the Assistive Technology Program) please review
on the following website ---> http://hudweb.hud.gov/po/i/it/usersupp/enabled/index.htm"
"While I am in an office NOT covered
by AFGE, I thought my experience would be helpful. I requested an enhanced
monitor and MAGic 8 Reader System in late December 2002. My supervisor in
immediately acted on the request and contacted the Regional IT folks who
also worked diligently to accomplish this request. Within a week it was
approved and delivered to my office. The response was outstanding. Not only
was the equipment delivered, but John Edington of the IT Assistance Staff
walked me through the programs. It may be difficult to understand why there
may not be a written policy, but, in my case, the Department came through
with flying colors."
"I am employed by HUD as a Civil Rights
Analyst. My hands were severely effected by the workload brought on by the
re-organization and shift of assignments from the clerical division to the
enforcement division. The doctors immediately recommended time off work
and a return to light duty assignments. HUD FHEO Management failed to acknowledge
the doctors' orders initially. The doctors had recommended that I be provided
with a voice activated, laptop computer which would allow me to type or
speak information into the subject case files. The doctors had indicated
that I should not do any lifting, yet Management required that I move boxes
of papers, heavy training manuals and other items which re-injured my hands.
When I hesitated to re-injure myself, I was reprimanded verbally, in writing
and suspended from work losing income. When I borrowed carrying cases for
my work, I was required to return the rolling carrying case and instructed
not to take work home or even on-site unless it was approved. When I asked
to take work home, the requests were denied. Ergonomical accessments were
requested by my doctors but never provided by the Department. In my opinion,
the Department lacked the sensitivity needed to respond promptly to my Reasonable
Accommodation needs. There was no structure or professional approach to
providing me with objective policy and procedure information. Human Resources
and Management were uninformed and insensitive about how to handle Workmen's
Comp matters and Reasonable Accommodation. The progress that was made happened
in a very untimely manner. A voice activated desk-top computer was provided
more than two years after I requested it. The pain and suffering, surgery
and recovery had already occurred and the time had elapsed, minimizing the
real need for the accommodations after the damage was done. The office I
have worked in for thirteen years refused to provide the voice-activated
laptop computer requested for me by my doctors regardless of the numerous
times the request was made. As a result, my work and my moral was adversely
affected. I am providing this statement as a plea for AFGE to press very
hard to substantiate the rights of HUD's disabled workforce."
"HUD management must include all types
of accommodations for persons with disabilities. HUD's commitment to enforcing
accessibility for recipients of HUD's grants seems a bit shallow when dealing
with its own employees if it excludes accommodations for the use of electronic
equipment. This makes me wonder if HUD management has a conscience or a
desire to do the right thing. I applaud the Union's efforts to expand the
range of accommodations for those current and future employees with disabilities."
"I have been a member of the union
since 1988. I am happy to see that the union is moving forward with the
Reasonable Accommodation. I recently had a bad experience and made a Reasonable
Accommodation and was denied. I suffer with a "emotional disability"
and a "physical disability". I commend the AFGE Council 222. Keep
up the positive approaches in breaking the barriers. I look forward in the
up coming information on this subject."
"At the very least, there should be
a statement of commitment to reasonable accommodations for disabled employees.
As you know, we monitor recipients for compliance with Section 504. "
"Even if agreement cannot be reached
on the Procedures, there should be overall guidance for all employees on
safest way to handle the electronic equipment we use and/or are exposed
to in the workplace. You may have already done this but, if not , and if
management does not take the lead, the union should check the literature
in the field, consult EPA, etc., and develop guidance for everyone's benefit.
There are simple things which can be done. For example, most employees do
not have their monitors or keyboards at heights which will be best for their
eyes and hands."
"Thank you for bringing this issue
to my attention. As one of the early advocates for the disabled in HUD,
and a founding member of DIG (Disabled in Government), I continue to nurture
a belief that HUD has a role in making the Federal workplace a demonstration
of the dynamic methods to unleash productivity among all the members of
its workforce. The disabled persons on HUD's staff have made outstanding
contributions over the years, many of them precisely because of the insight
they poses due to their disabling conditions. They are uniquely positioned
to address any number of concerns assigned to HUD. HUD should seek all ways
to nurture and amplify the capacity of each and every one of them to carry
out their responsibilities. And, where possible, HUD should facilitate ways
for them to help the agency succeed in meeting the needs of the disabled
persons among HUD's constituents."
"I think that Department of Housing
and URban Development's slogan of leave no one behind should extend to its
employees and provide reasonable accommodation. We uphold laws of equal
assessment and rights we should uphold reasonable accommodation as well."
"Please consider this. I can tell you
from first-hand experience that your personal situation can go from healthy
to desperate very quickly, and without warning. In a sense therefore, support
for providing reasonable accommodation is support for yourself."
"Please work to provide all employees
reasonable accommodations. I currently do not need any, however, that may
not be the case in the future."
(this page posted January 21, 2003
and updated January 23)