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July 16, 2003

In This Issue:
1) Council 222 Windows XP Negotiation
2) GovExec Article on HUD Section 8 PBCA
3) June Labor-Mgmt Relations Mtg and the Agenda/Priorities Survey
4) Use Netscape & Internet Explorer to Speed Up Your Internet Browsing
5) Our Website is Ever Changing
6) President Federoff speaks at NAHT Conference
7) Negotiations Update: E:Mail Policy, Reasonable Accommodation, etc.
8) Grievance of the Parties Update: Sunday Travel, Fair and Equitable job postings, etc.

1) Council 222 Windows XP Negotiation
by Glenn Brown Chairman, Council Communication Committee

Coming to your HUD workstation soon... Windows XP Professional. This Windows XP operating system promises the latest and greatest multimedia, security, and ease-of-use features available. HUD HQ's Information Technology Division and many users wait to upgrade fearing the hefty system requirements and potential compatibility disasters inherent in a major OS upgrade. Many questions were asked... "Is XP really more stable and more secure? Does it support all of our hardware and software? Does it really have cool, new features we can't live without?"

Council 222 Communications Committee took on the challenge May 5-9, negotiating Windows XP operating system in Headquarters. The end result was Supplement 42 (https://afgecouncil222.tripod.com/bargaining.html). The Communications Committee negotiated types of training to be provided to employees, hard drive standards of notebooks, workstation minimum requirements for the installation of Windows XP, testing of HUD's Local Area Network (LAN) and Mainframe software applications, to name a few. We addressed what we feel will be employee concerns, one of which will be the inability of an employee to load any software that changes the Windows registry! We negotiated three desktops loaded with Windows XP in order to test the system and provide valuable feedback to Council 222. In an upcoming ENewsletter the Communication Committee will provide you with Windows XP Tips, Tricks and procedures to secure your data from LAN Administrators and Management. Upon completion of the conversion of your desktop or notebook please provide questions (not answered by your local IT Specialist) to the Communications Committee. We will provide answers and in order to assist other employees, questions and answers may be posted in a future ENewsletter.

It was agreed Windows XP would not be installed on desktops or notebooks if the applications were not compatible with employees' program areas. Employees will not be penalized for inability to complete their daily routine jobs due to non- functioning LAN or Mainframe HUDWare application programs. Some (as of this enews) still in the testing phase: 1) PCTARE, HEREMS, and HTMS. For the most part many of the HUDWare software applications are ready and functional with Windows XP. Many offices are beginning their migration from Windows 95 to Windows X (check with your local Computer Specialist or Supervisor to find out your office migration schedule.

2) GovExec Article on HUD Section 8 PBCA
by Carolyn Federoff
President, Council 222

The Government Executive issued a special report on contracting out in June. It includes a lengthy article on HUD's contracting out of the Section 8 Project Based Contract Administration. The full article is listed under "Articles" on our home page (http://afgecouncil222.tripod.com). This is work formerly done by HUD employees in the Office of Multifamily Housing. It is now being contracted out to state housing agencies. Based upon the internal cost assessment of HUD managers, this work costs more than $250 million annually and replaces the need for 1400 staff. This works out to more than $175,000 for each employee replaced. In the article, HUD management agreed that the work could be done in-house for less. The Council has proposed a pilot project for the FY'05 HUD budget to compare the cost and quality of work in-house versus contracting out. For a copy of our FY'05 budget recommendations, go to our other resources web page (https://afgecouncil222.tripod.com/oresources.html).

3) June Labor-Mgmt Relations Mtg and The Agenda/Priorities Survey
by Carolyn Federoff

In May, the Council invited Bargaining Unit members to tell us what the most important issues were to employees in your program areas, field offices, at HUD, as federal employees and as working families in the US. Within one week, we received over 500 responses. Armed with this information, we attended the national Labor/Management Relations meeting held June 4-5 in Washington, DC. In our presentation to Assistant Secretary Vickers Meadows regarding Human Capital Management priorities at HUD, we presented the major findings of the survey. These included greater flexibility in work hours and work place, fair access to promotion opportunities, limiting contracting out and fairer distribution of work and workers.

The Council will be preparing a memorandum to management summarizing the major issues presented at the LMR. Additionally, we'll be consolidating the information from the survey and sending out a second survey to members only, asking them to prioritize the issues we should be working on over the next year. For a copy of the survey, go to https://afgecouncil222.tripod.com/lmrpriorities.htm. The LMR memorandum will be posted at https://afgecouncil222.tripod.com/lmr.html; currently this page contains last year's memorandum.

4) Use Netscape & Internet Explorer to Speed Up Your Internet Browsing
by Patty Petry Council Communication Committee

Web Browser - Software application used to locate and display web pages. The two most popular browsers are Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer. HUD currently uses Netscape Communicator 4.75 (will be Netscape 4.79 when we switch to Windows XP) and Internet Explorer 5.5 (will be 6.0 with XP). Why should you be concerned with browsers? Ever tried to get into a site and it takes forever? Ever tried to access a site and it fails to open, or upon opening, doesn't look right? I thought so. How about using Internet Explorer, along with Netscape? If you aren't already doing that, here's how to start...

To find Internet Explorer and put it on your desktop: 1) Right click on the Start button (bottom left of your desktop) 2) Click Explore 3) On left scroll in your c:drive down to the file named Program Files 4) Click on Program Files (you will see a list of the files in that folder, on the right hand side) 5) In the right hand side, scroll down to the file named Internet Explorer and click to open it 6) Look for the file that has a blue "e" and iexplorer.exe 7) Either right click on the blue "e" file and send it to desktop OR drag and drop the file right into your desktop

You now have two browsers to use, just click on your new desktop icon and get on the Internet. You may start seeing web pages differently, and a whole lot faster! If you need assistance email Patty Petry (Patricia_M._Petry@hud.gov). Happy browsing!

5) Our Website Is Ever Changing
by Patty Petry

The Council 222 website is always changing (for example, the HUD vacancy page is updated weekly (https://afgecouncil222.tripod.com/vacancies.html). What's the easiest and quickest way to find changes to the Council website? The what's new page ( https://afgecouncil222.tripod.com/whatsnew.html), it lists any changes to the site (individual web pages also have the date they were last modified).

6)President Federoff speaks at NAHT Conference
by Carolyn Federoff

On June 21, Council President Federoff was invited to give the plenary speech at the annual National Alliance of HUD Tenants Training Conference in Arlington, VA. NAHT is a union of tenants' living in HUD assisted housing. Through the years of HUD downsizing and threats of elimination, NAHT has been an ally to HUD employees. They've provided testimony to OMB critical of HUD's Section 8 PBCA contracting out, and recently were interviewed for the GovExec article on contracting out at HUD (see #2 above). For several years Federoff has been invited to provide a training session to tenants on navigating the HUD bureaucracy. "It is important for HUD employees to have allies and to build bridges with our clients," said Federoff. For a complete copy of the plenary speech, go to the Events link on our home page (http://afgecouncil222.tripod.com).

7) Negotiations Update: E:Mail Policy, Reasonable Accommodation, etc.by Carolyn Federoff

Council bargaining teams have been hard at work. Along with XP, teams have recently negotiated the new E:Mail and Relocation Allowance policies, and completed negotiations on the Reasonable Accommodation Handbook. Teams are currently working on the Single Family Point of Contact and a new personnel data system. To see copies of management's proposed changes and the Council's initial bargaining proposals, as well as the final supplements, go to the bargaining page on our website (https://afgecouncil222.tripod.com/bargaining.html).

On the E:Mail policy, bargaining unit employees should note that the negotiated Supplement specifically allows employees to continue using E:Mail to advise co-workers of retirement parties and other special announcements, and to use E:Mail for limited personal use. Management refused to change the E:Mail policy to reflect the negotiated agreement. The negotiated Supplement takes precedence -- another indication of why it remains important to know what your union contract says about working conditions. Both the E:Mail policy and the Supplement are on the Council website.

Similarly, the Reasonable Accommodation Handbook will not be changed to reflect the negotiated Supplement the parties have finally completed. You may remember that management had refused to negotiate reasonable accommodation procedures regarding IT and computer equipment, claiming it was beyond the scope of bargaining. We advised you of this, and received hundreds of letters and e:mail supporting the Council's position that reasonable accommodation for access to IT equipment is essential. With this support, we pressed management to negotiate this matter. We also filed with the Federal Services Impasses panel and the Federal Employees News Digest ran an article on the bargaining impasse. The combined effort was successful, and we have completed negotiations on a Supplement that includes reasonable accommodation for IT equipment. A copy of the Supplement will be on the Council website soon.

8)Grievance of the Parties Update: Sunday Travel, Fair and Equitable job postings, etc.by Carolyn Federoff

There are currently four national grievances of the parties. They concern telework by union representatives, posting of positions with higher career ladders than held by current employees (the Fair & Equitable case), failure to post 50% of all positions with promotion potential to or above GS-13 internal only in FY'02, and the most recent case, requiring Sunday travel to attend training. To read any of these grievances (and management responses, etc.) go to the grievance page (https://afgecouncil222.tripod.com/grievances.html).

There is new news for two of the cases: In the Fair & Equitable case, the Arbitrator found for the Council and ruled that the matter is arbitrable (management was arguing that the case is not subject to the grievance process). Management is appealing the Arbitrator's decision to the Federal Labor Relations Authority. This is a rare "interlocutory" appeal that will add another six months to the process. The Sunday travel case was filed recently. It is a grievance regarding travel required by PIH in May, but also alleges that management has a practice of requiring Sunday and non-duty hour travel in violation of law. Furthermore, the grievance tackles the issue of false classification by the agency of employees as FLSA-exempt. There is a potential of back pay for employees who has been required to do non-duty hour travel in the past three years. To view the grievance, go tohttps://afgecouncil222.tripod.com/grievances.html).

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