home > enews > October 1, 2002 Issue

Council 222 ENews Banner

October 1, 2002 Issue


In This Issue:
Message From the Council President
Position and Vacancy Announcement tracking
Sexual Harassment Training Deadline Extended
Electronic Mail Policy
Flexible spending accounts to debut next year
Student Loan Repayment on the agenda
AFGE National Leadership Meeting in Chicago, Ill
Do you Know…
Tools to use:
Future Issues
How you can help...

The HUD Council 222 Communications Committee has had a busy summer. Our projects include keeping the Council website ( https://afgecouncil222.tripod.com/ ) up to date, keeping the numerous e:mail databases current and accurate, this Council E:Newsletter, a database of Position Descriptions (see it on our website), as well as our HUD jobs, local union positions and families. It's a lot of work, but bringing you the latest information available regarding all of the issues that affect our jobs and workplaces is important work.

We are also serious about representing your best interests. Should you have any concerns or problems, you should feel free to contact your AFGE representative. We are providing a list of these persons on the web site in the "About Us" section (click on the “about us” button on the home page)

We encourage you to get more involved. Let us know what you think. Your input is valued, and valuable, to help us provide information that can encourage, enlighten, and enrich.

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much". -- Helen Keller

Tim Oravec, Communications Committee
Editor, HUD Council 222 E:Newsletter

Message From the Council President: The biggest buzz is coming from the OPM USAjobs website. Hundreds of HUD jobs are being advertised, and we’re working to track the announcements and the problems (see article below). Last week, I spoke with Deputy Secretary Jackson, Assistant Secretary for Administration Vickers Meadows and Director of Human Resources Sandra Wiggins about the largest of these problems—grade inequity. Several of the vacancy announcements are for entry level positions with career ladders greater than the career ladders of current staff. This is fundamentally unfair to current HUD employees. The Deputy agreed. We’re asking the agency to either reclassify the positions to provide a higher career ladder for all affected employees, or modify the vacancy announcements to reflect a consistent career ladder and conduct internal merit staffing to promote existing staff.

If you are aware of vacancy announcements that reflect this injustice, please send the vacancy announcement number and position title to Gary Mongelli or Patty Petry, our volunteer sleuths for the 9/30 hiring buzz. And look to the website and the E:News for information on this and other hot issues.

In solidarity—Carolyn Federoff, President, AFGE Council 222.

Position and Vacancy Announcement tracking: Gary Mongelli (RVP – Denver/AFGE Local 3972 President) and Patty Petry (Steward Local 3972/Council Communications Committee) have developed a database for tracking Position and Vacancy Announcements, and any potential problems that exist in this area. Their work is already having impact. They discovered a flaw in the way HUD was posting nationwide positions. Employees who limited their search to a geographic area could miss several jobs, because Management input only the first three cities on the USAJobs website cover page. Gary and Patty recommended that Management repost the positions as “nationwide” thus appearing for any geographic search. One of the identified positions, Interagency Homeless Coordinator, was reposted last week with the correction, and an extension of time for applications.

Tracking the hundreds of vacancy announcements is tedious work! Please help Gary and Patty.
When YOU see a vacancy or action that is questionable, you should let your local AFGE representative know.

Sexual Harassment Training Deadline Extended: The "deadline" for all employees to complete the “Mandatory Sexual Harassment Awareness Training” in the HUD Virtual University has been extended to September 30, 2003. The Council advised Management of the many technical problems with the course, and Management agreed to extend the deadline and rework the course software.

AFGE Local 3286 in Omaha, Nebraska, took the lead on this issue. Their willingness to get involved helped many of us. Thank you! You can see a full copy of the memo on the Council Website.

Electronic Mail Policy: The agency has drafted, and is attempting to implement, new rules for use of email. AFGE has issued a "Demand to Bargain" over this matter and a negotiations team has been drawn together. Perry Casper (RVP - Portland) is the Chief Negotiator for the union. In this new policy, management wants to limit the size, and content, of many of the e-mails we send. They want to say "no" to e-mails about retirement luncheons, holiday parties, and more. But the Council can, and will, aggressively bargain over these changes in working conditions. The new draft policy is on our web site in the "Resources" page (https://afgecouncil222.tripod.com/resources.html). Take a look at it and give your comments and suggestions to your local AFGE representative.

Flexible spending accounts to debut next year: Federal employees will be able to cut their tax bills next year by putting money aside for medical services and child care in special tax-free accounts, the Office of Personnel Management announced Tuesday. AFGE and the Council have been proponents of this for sometime. Employees will be allowed to put up to $3,000 in the flexible spending accounts for medical expenses, such as co-payments and deductibles, dental care and vision care (including laser eye surgery). They will be able to put up to $5,000 in the accounts for child care and elder care.
This month, OPM will start seeking out a contractor to run the accounts. Officials expect to run an open season beginning in May, during which employees will be able to sign up for accounts. The accounts would become active in July.
For the full story, go to: http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0902/091702b2.htm

Student Loan Repayment on the agenda: Eddie Eitches (President AFGE Local 476/Chairman Council Mid-Term Bargaining Committee) continues to avidly pursue a Student Loan Repayment plan for HUD employees nationwide. Management has indicated that they may propose a plan that is narrowly tailored to only certain positions, and only for new hires. The Council has insisted that all current and future employees be treated equitably in any plan. “Admittedly, as the Deputy Secretary pointed out, no other agency has the universal coverage that we are proposing,” Eddie recently said. “But HUD has a more serious human capital crisis than any other federal agency with half of us (in all job classifications) eligible to retire in two years. We are one HUD and should not set up rivalries for different benefits among personnel.”

AFGE National Leadership Meeting in Chicago, Ill: This meeting was held August 18-22 at the Palmer Hilton in downtown Chicago. AFGE leaders from all federal agencies met to develop a Vision, a Mission statement, Core Values and Strategic Goals. The outcome of the NLM was a better focus on the responsibilities of the locals, Councils, Districts, and National regarding the issues we all face. Pictures from the NLM are on the Council web site, as well as a copy of the "AFGE Strategy 2002".

Do you Know…that the AFGE National Web site contains a wealth of information that you can access and use. You can check out the web site at : www.afge.org

Tools to use: This issue featured "tool to use" is the Bargaining Unit Representation Contracts. This document is in PDF format and can be downloaded from the web site. A fillable copy in WORD format is also available in the AFGE web site.

More to come in future Council E:Newsletters: We are working on issues that will benefit our members. Future reports will be done on telework, childcare subsidies, student loan forgiveness, upward mobility, cost-benefit studies of contracts that are already out there, and much more. Stay tuned for more e:news, or check the website for news as it happens.

Clark Kent disguised as ACE HUD AFGE reporter

Union members: Volunteer your time and become a "reporter" for your local. Write articles, take pictures, and showcase the work your local is doing. We will place your information on a web page that will be available on the our site. To volunteer, talk to your local president or email us.


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