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> November 2004 ENEWS
TRANSFER POLICY OFF THE TABLE
UNION CONTINUES TO PURSUE EXPANDING CREDIT HOURS TO 6AM
HUD CONTINUES TO DISRESPECT HUD EMPLOYEES AS CUSTOMERS OF HR
BARGAINING UPDATE: 90% OF FHEO REASSIGNMENTS VOLUNTARY
HUD/AFGE MEMBERS PROVIDE HURRICANE RELIEF
DECLINING RETIREE HEALTH COVERAGE
HARDSHIP TRANSFER POLICY
OFF THE TABLE
Since 2002, the Union has been in discussions with Management over a written Hardship
Transfer policy (http://afgecouncil222.com/bargaining.html). We are seeking a
clear process that includes timeframes and review for cross-cylinder reassignments.
There is currently no written policy.
On November 5, Management terminated further discussions. Claiming that the current
system works fine, they are removing the proposed written policy from the table.
We believe that any unwritten process invites favoritism and cronyism. That's
why HUD programs follow handbooks. HUD personnel practices should be reduced to
Send us your Hardship Transfer story. We want good stories and bad. We want
to be able to show how unevenly employees are treated. In particular, how long
did it take from start to finish? Who did you finally have to reach to get a decision?
Tell us your Hardship Transfer story by replying to this eNews. We may post your
story (anonymously - no names will be posted) on our website. If you do not want
your story posted, state so in your email.
Employee morale and productivity are harmed by the pervading sense of inequity--lack
of upward mobility, grade parity, merit staffing, etc. A written Hardship Transfer
policy would be a small step in the right direction. If they can't get this done
. . .
UNION CONTINUES TO PURSUE EXPANDING
CREDIT HOURS TO 6AM
Credit Hours were expanded to 6AM in five offices across the nation last year
as part of a pilot program. The pilot proved successful, and the Union moved to
have the pilot expanded. After discussion regarding the cost of expanding the
program, Management agreed to a nationwide expansion. The authorizing memorandum
was sent through the usual channels for clearance in September. OGC sent it back
to Human Resources with comments. Human Resources reviewed and reissued the memorandum
for the Deputy Secretary's concurrence.
On November 3, Management advised that the Deputy returned the memorandum unsigned
seeking clarification of core hours and implementing guidance. The Council believes
both of these issues were resolved as part of the pilot, and no further delay
We will advise Local Presidents as we receive additional information, as well
as post it on the Council homepage, http://afgecouncil222.com.
HUD CONTINUES TO DISRESPECT
HUD EMPLOYEES AS CUSTOMERS OF HUMAN RESOURCES
Since 1998, the Staffing and Classification Division of HUD has failed HUD employees.
There have been findings of irregularities in the hiring process made by Administrative
Law Judges, the Office of Special Counsel and the Office of Personnel Management.
In 2003, an audit was done by OPM which found serious errors in almost all of
the 59 external (also known as DEU) vacancy announcements audited. EEO hearing
officers have written that "the level of ineptness and ignorance of proper selection
protocol . . . is astounding."
HUD Council 222 raised this as a priority issue during the 2004 Labor Management
Relations Meeting held on June 23-24. The Council requested that management give
the Union a copy of the quarterly report that OPM is requiring from HUD pertaining
to the Delegated Examining Unit (DEU) as well as the audit of the Human Resources
On September 27, 2004, Management advised that they would not provide the Union
with copies of the audit reports, arguing that the DEU function applies to non-status
candidates only at the same time they acknowledged that HUD employees can and
do apply under the DEU. Management took three months to advise us that they wouldn't
cooperate--a double hit.
Management continues to disrespect HUD employees as the customers of Human Resources.
The Council will continue to fight on this issue because we know that malfeasance
and incompetence in the hiring process causes damage to employee morale and productivity.
( For the 9/27/04 mgmt memo and other Labor Mgmt Relations info
go to the other resources page at: http://afgecouncil222.com/oresources.html)
UPDATE: 90% OF FHEO REASSIGNMENTS VOLUNTARY
On September 22, Management provided to the Union a list of 11 FHEO employees
targeted for reassignment to PIH, and advised us that we could expect another
9 reassignments. We quickly contacted the listed employees, and discovered that
only two of the employees volunteered for reassignment. The others did not volunteer,
and in almost every instance, they had seniority over many others in their work
locations. The Union could not agree to their reassignment.
We proposed an alternative, which we knew to be negotiable--that Management would
determine all FHEO employees who were qualified for the new positions, accept
qualified volunteers, and, if there was no volunteer, select for reassignment
the least senior qualified person. The Union's process emphasized volunteers,
and any involuntary reassignment would be based on objective criteria.
The Union was successful. Of the final 20 reassignments, 18 were voluntary. Only
two were involuntary. For these employees, the results were not positive. But
at least they know that their reassignments were not based on any personal animosity.
"Our goal was to avoid another '2020 pool' when people were declared excess based
upon criteria that had nothing to do with qualifications or seniority," said Council
President Carolyn Federoff.
( For more information on this and other
bargaining news, go to the bargaining page on our website at:http://afgecouncil222.com/bargaining.html)
NEWS FROM THE VOLUNTEER HUD/FEMA
EFFORT IN FLORIDA
We are getting messages from our AFGE members that are currently working as volunteers
in the HUD/FEMA effort in hurricane ravaged Florida. From their reports, all seems
to be going well, but the hours are long and the days are hot and humid. One member
reported that “It is really a disaster where we are." Nearly 50 days after Hurricane
Charlie went through, two Florida counties where he's working "still look like
a bomb went off nearby." We hear that the volunteers are working 12 hour days
Although these reports make the effort seem overwhelming, one volunteer added
that “this [volunteer effort] is a wonderful opportunity. Anyone that wants a
challenge and to help people in need should volunteer”.
We are thankful for those that committed themselves to this task, and time away
from home and family. But there are none more thankful than the people they serve.
The reports that are coming bac
DECLINING RETIREE HEALTH COVERAGE
Older Americans are caught between rising needs and costs. Many older workers
are being forced to put off retirement, even when their health problems make continuing
to work difficult. With the high cost of individual health insurance and a drop
in employer-provided health insurance for retirees, a growing number of retired
people are being forced to rely solely on Medicare as more employers discontinue
retiree health coverage due to the rising cost of insurance.
Older workers with health problems, who not long ago would have been retiring
early, are now in a tight bind. Health problems that are pushing older workers
toward retirement also make it impossible to retire, since they need the insurance
coverage more than ever. Many research studies show a clear and direct relationship
between health, access to health insurance, and a decision to retire. More workers
are caught in a lose-lose situation, health problems making it harder to work
are also locking them into their jobs because they can't risk losing their health
Prescription drugs are another problem. 1/3 of employer-sponsored retiree health
plans do not cover prescriptions, accounting for as much as 60% of retiree health
costs not covered by Medicare. Unless this problem is addressed soon, more and
more older workers and retirees will bear the rising cost of health insurance.
Read "The Erosion of Retiree Income Security" at http://www.epinet.org.
AFGE monitors changes in private and nonfederal sector jobs closely, watching
for trends that could affect federal employees. AFGE will continue to work to
preserve retiree health benefits for federal employees.
articles contributed by Carolyn Federoff, Monique Williams, Tim Oravec, and
e:mail comments/suggestions to: AFGE Council 222/ADMIN/RIC/HUD