home > enews > May 2005 ENEWS
May 4, 2005
Management proposes new space management handbook
Council introduces new intern steward
Council fights proposal to move CDBG to Department of Commerce
Management continues to delay distribution of contract supplements
The Council is tentatively scheduled to begin bargaining the week of May 23 over Management’s proposed new space management standards. Management’s proposals include a maximum cubicle size of 56 square feet, and a total space renovation cost average of less than $7000 per employee; it appears that private office and conference room furnishings are to be included in this average. Region 2 Vice President Tim Oravec will be the Council’s chief negotiator.
Please provide comments to your Local President. To view a copy of Management’s proposals, go to our website at: http://afgecouncil222.com/bargaining.html
In the past four years, the agency has hired many new employees through the intern process. Unlike regular merit staff hires, interns must serve a two-year probationary period and undergo a training program. Depending on your opinion of HUD training, the latter could be a benefit or a detriment. In fact, for many of our interns, the training process was problematic—unavailable or inaccessible. Career ladder promotions were also often delayed.
Because of the sheer number of interns (more than 400) and their often unique concerns, in December the Council recruited for a national steward to specifically address intern issues. There were many fine volunteers. After interviewing each of them, Nique Bullock was selected. Nique works in HQ-Admin and has previous experience as a union steward. She was hired under the Federal Career Intern Program in 2002.
If you’re a current or former intern with a question or a suggestion on how HUD’s intern programs can be better, please feel free to contact Nique or your Local President.
Since January, a group of about ten Union stewards with CPD and/or legislative action experience have been meeting bi-weekly to address the Administration’s proposal to move CDBG to the Department of Commerce. CDBG involves more than half of CPD staff, and despite the Administration’s protestations to the contrary, those staff would certainly face a RIF if CDBG were moved out of HUD. Moreover, the CDBG program would face a crisis, since Commerce lacks the staff, experience, or office infrastructure to administer the $4.7 billion dollar program. The comparable program currently administered by Commerce is less that 0.1% the size of HUD’s program. As Senator Sarbanes has said, consolidating the program into Commerce is rather like the tail wagging the dog.
The FY’06 budget passed by Congress on April 28 includes funding for CDBG in HUD’s budget, so the matter is at rest for next fiscal year. But the Administration has announced that it will submit authorizing legislation to consolidate CDBG and 17 other programs into Commerce. The Union team will continue to meet regularly to prepare a response to the proposal and plan other action to preserve the CDBG program in HUD. Please talk with your Local President if you would like to participate or have ideas.
Expansion of tours of duty and credit hours to 6:00am has now become a standard Council E:News article. Always coming, never here. Last June the Secretary advised that the pilot program (limited to HQ, Seattle, Los Angeles, Albuquerque and Honolulu) would be made permanent and expanded nationwide. Before FY’05 began, the Office of Human Resources prepared a memorandum for the Deputy’s concurrence recommending expansion and setting forth projected costs. Then the FY’05 budget came down, and the Deputy cancelled expansion citing projected costs of more than $500,000. Most of these costs are due to increased HVAC use—turning the climate control systems on an hour earlier. The Council has waived the requirement that HVAC systems be started an hour earlier, noting that most leases call for HVAC systems to be stopped at 6:00pm, an hour and a half before the end of the day for employees choosing to work the late tour of duty on a 4-10 compressed work schedule. Just as HVAC is not an obstacle to late departures, HVAC should not be an obstacle to expansion of the 6:00am pilot program. Nonetheless, Management advised the Council March 18 that it intended to cancel the 6:00am pilot program effective March 31. Mid-Term Bargaining Committee Co-Chairman Eddie Eitches convinced the Deputy Secretary to extend the program for one month for reconsideration. On April 26, Eddie and Council President Carolyn Federoff met with Office of Administration GDAS Darlene Williams and her staff to discuss the projected costs. The Council made it clear that we will work with Management to eliminate the projected costs wherever possible, and that the Council had previously agreed to exclude from participation offices where costs could not be eliminated. Nonetheless, Management continues to hesitate. The final decision has not been made, but it doesn’t look promising.
Management continues to delay distribution of contract supplements; Council posts on website
When the Council and Management negotiate over Management’s proposed changes in working conditions (i.e. changes to the Space Handbook, CPD buyouts, FHEO reorganization, etc.) the result is a supplement to the HUD/AFGE Agreement. Supplements set forth both Management’s and employees’ rights and responsibilities during and after implementation of the proposed change. Under the HUD/AFGE Agreement, Management has a duty to distribute copies of new supplements to all AFGE employees before implementing the change. As HUD reduced Administrative staffing, distribution of supplements became scarce and the Council filed a grievance. Employees are harmed when they do not know their rights and responsibilities during a change in the workplace. For more than a year, Management has advised that they intend to send copies of the supplements to employees via electronic mail. The Council is seeking distribution of the text of the supplement in the electronic mail, as opposed to having a link to another document. While we continue to wait, please know that the Council posts all supplements to the Council website at http://afgecouncil222.com/consupp.html.
The Council 222 E:News was written and edited this month by Carolyn Federoff, President, Council 222.
E:mail comments or suggestions to: AFGE COUNCIL 222/ADMIN/RIC/HUD@hud.gov