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In this Issue:

HITS contract negotiations completed
Human rights rallies held in DC and across nation
Bargaining for you!
Child care subsidy program
Tips and Tricks Giving more

"Without the Union, our jobs would have been at risk" -- Council negotiates HITS Contract Impact

HUD and AFGE Council 222 negotiated the impact of HUD's decision to contract out IT services during the week of December 8. These negotiations were closely followed by IT staff and their clients nationwide. The very first paragraph of the Supplement demonstrates the intensity of the negotiations. "This is the first reorganization I am aware of where management did not want to guarantee no adverse impact on affected employees," said Carolyn Federoff, the Union's Chief Negotiator and President of Council 222. "We put forth the standard language for no harm, and management countered with no harm only through August 2004. Under Management's proposal, they could start RIFing IT staff in less than a year," Federoff continued.

The Union bargaining team persisted, arguing that since the agency failed to conduct a contracting out study under OMB Circular A-76, it could not terminate, separate or down-grade employees as a result of the contract. The final language for the first paragraph wasn't signed until late Friday night, and the entire supplement wasn't finished until 10:30pm.

"I'm not pleased with the HITS contract, but I think overall the Supplement is a good one," said Glenn Brown, negotiation team member, Chairman of the Council Communications Committee and ATA for the Richmond Office. He continued, "rights that employees would have maintained under A-76 were protected. Without the Union, our jobs would have been at risk."

The Supplement includes protections for IT staff and HUD employees who rely on IT services. The final copy has not yet been signed, but an edited electronic copy is available on the Council website at https://afgecouncil222.tripod.com/bargaining.html. The Union negotiations team also included Perry Casper, Council 222 Executive Vice President, and Chris Kelly, member of Local 476 and HQ IT Specialist.

AFGE declares that worker's rights are human rights!

In the past two years, the human rights of 50% of federal employees have been threatened in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which the United states is a signator. In the past two years, the Bush Adminsitration has proposed and Congress has passed laws that strip 50% of federal employees from guaranteed collective bargaining rights. The right to form and join a union and bargain collectively is an internationally recognized human right.

December 10 was International Human Rights Day and the AFL-CIO organized rallies around the nation. AFGE was active in many of these rallies, and organized the rally in DC. HUD AFGE members joined the DC rally. HUD Local President Jim Polito spoke to a crowd estimated to be 5,000 in front of the O'Neill Federal Building in Boston.

For more info and links to pictures and articles about the rallies go to: https://afgecouncil222.tripod.com/

At the bargaining table: The HUD Council has been busy in the past few months bargaining on the issues that effect our jobs. A current listing of Bargaining issues and the resulting Supplements to the Contract can be found on our Web site at: https://afgecouncil222.tripod.com/bargaining.html Hot topics include bargaining a new travel management system.

All of these are dated and most contain a wealth of supplemental information regarding the issue being bargained. Look for the Red arrows to identify the newest issues.

Child care subsidy program: Are you aware that HUD has a program that provides financial assistance to employees with children in day care? The Child Care Tuition Assistance Program is available to all qualifying employees, regardless of grade and pay rate. Payments are made on a "sliding" scale" based on your grade or pay rate, and the number of children you have in care.

To view the guidebook, and learn how to apply, visit: https://afgecouncil222.tripod.com/childcare.doc. Please note: This is a WORD file and must be viewed with Internet Explorer (IE). You may not be able to view the file if you are using Netscape.

Tips and Tricks: This issue's computer tip is to help you use Lotus Notes on another workstation for Windows XP and Windows 95. This was submitted by Glenn Brown of the Richmond, VA office and Marta Suarez of the New York Regional Office. The link to this information is: https://afgecouncil222.tripod.com/tipsandtricks.html

Giving more: Do you have an opinion? An Idea? Want to make your voice heard?? Let us know what it is, or better yet, contact your local. Nearly every local is looking for people willing to get involved. For more information on how you can help, talk to your local officers. Contact information for them can be found at: https://afgecouncil222.tripod.com/locals.html , or email us. A big thank you to Glenn Brown, Lisa Lowery, Irene Facha, Jessyl Woods, Phil Aguirri and Jim Polito for sending us articles for our website/enews this past month.

e:mail comments or suggestions to: AFGE COUNCIL 222/ADMIN/RIC/HUD@hud.gov
in the subject of your e:mail type: Attn: Tim Oravec (E:News Editor)