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September 2003

In This Issue:

AFGE Election Results 2003 Convention
Council Web Site Wins Major Award
Our Website is Ever Changing
Computer Tips and Tricks
The Latest on Council Bargaining and Grievances
Making a Difference Outside the Government Workplace
Local Spotlight
We're Still Looking...

Solidarity - the combination or agreement of all elements or individuals, as a group. Complete unity, as of opinion, purpose, and interest. (Webster's New World Dictionary)

Do you feel like someone is bent on breaking our back as Federal Employees? Whether it's settling for a smaller raise, or not speaking up when they try to eliminate our jobs, our actions (or inaction) could have the effect of "a stake in the heart". But we cannot die nor can we give up! We must fight for what we know to be right for all of us.

No one can do all that needs to be done alone. The officers of AFGE Council 222 are willing to serve, but they are limited by time and availability. They need you! Think about the union as a hundred strings - - woven together, we're as strong as a rope and not as weak as an individual string. In the words of Revolutionary War patriot Patrick Henry, "we must hang together, or we will certainly hang alone."

We should all take time to think seriously about how we, as individuals, are helping to save our jobs, federal jobs, and the mission of our agency. Especially in these trying times, we cannot be content and let others do the work for us. What are YOU doing to help make us stronger?

On the national level, AFGE has just conducted elections. We're tackling issues with fresh vigor and fresh eyes. Be part of the vitality. Browse around the Council website, look for things that spark your interest, and volunteer!

YOU CAN do it!


Tim Oravec, Editor
HUD Council 222 E:News

AFGE 2003 Election Results

Delegates to the 36th AFGE Convention elected John Gage to the position of AFGE National President on August 20, 2003. Also elected by the delegates were Jim Davis - National Secretary/Treasurer and Andrea Brooks - National Women's Coordinator. For more information regarding the elections and election results go to the AFGE National Web site at: http://www.afge.org/Index.cfm?Page=PressReleases&PressReleaseID=271

The HUD Council held its convention August 14-16. HUD Council delegates elected Carolyn Federoff (Boston) to the position of President of AFGE National Council of HUD Locals 222. Also elected by the delegates were Perry Casper (Portland) - Executive VP; Monique Williams (New York) - Secretary; and Lisa Lowery (Knoxville) - Treasurer. Elections were also held during the convention to fill many of the Regional Vice President positions. These four positions, together with the Regional Vice Presidents, comprise the Executive Board for the AFGE National Council of HUD Locals 222. Click below to see who is representing your Region:

Council Web Site Wins Major Award

In just it's second year of existence, the HUD Council 222 web site took 2nd Place overall at the AFGE Convention. Our Webmaster Patty Petry (Fargo, ND office), who has never had any formal computer and HTML/Web site design training, has taken charge of the site and made it one of the best in all of the government. Without her dedication, most of the information we direct you to would not be available. Congratulations and thanks to Patty and here's to a First Place at the next convention!

Our Website Is Ever Changing

As information changes, so does the Council 222 website. For example, the HUD job vacancy page is updated once a week and is located on the website at: https://afgecouncil222.tripod.com/vacancies.html. Significant news about federal employee issues are linked from our home page.

What's the easiest and quickest way to find changes to the Council website? Check out the What's new page at https://afgecouncil222.tripod.com/whatsnew.html. This page lists the changes to the site and when the changes are made.

Computer Tips and Tricks

Most of the computers here at HUD have been, or soon will be, upgraded to the new HUD XP Professional operating system. The Council is fortunate to have people that understand this new "environment" and have created a spot to pass this knowledge on to you. For instance, did you know that if you press the "windows" key (on the bottom left of the keyboard between the Ctrl and Alt buttons) and the L key at the same time, that you can "lock" your computer. This prevents anyone from using your computer while you step away from your desk. It can be easily "unlocked" by pressing "Alt, Ctrl, and Del" and entering your network password.

To access the information and more, go to: https://afgecouncil222.tripod.com/oresources.html and click on the "Tips and Tricks" page.

The Latest on Council Bargaining and Grievances

Management has proposed changes in the customer service level for the ESC - - making it virtually impossible to access a real person in the event of an emergency. The Council has proposed improvements to customer service. The website includes both Management's and the Council's proposals. We're very concerned about the new IT contracting out plan and its impact on all of us, and we've been expressing our concern to Assistant Secretary Meadows and Deputy Secretary Jackson. We'll keep folks apprised of information as we receive it. We received Management's response to our proposed Hardship Transfer policy; we're collecting comments for our response back. A copy of their polisy (and ours) is on the website. We finally got a pilot program for 6:00 am start! It's limited to five offices right now, but if it's successful, we hope to have it expanded.

Whenever a change in work is proposed, a new program or idea is conceived, or other things that effecdt your work and workplace come up, the Council, in most instances, is given the chance to bargain these things on your behalf. Whether it's a changing policy, or creating a new benefit, the Council is there fighting for you. To see what has been, and is continuing to be, done for you, visit the Council "Bargaining" page at: https://afgecouncil222.tripod.com/bargaining.html

Making a Difference outside the Government Workplace

On the first day of AFGE's four-day national convention, AFGE National Secretary Treasurer Jim Davis announced an opportunity to show solidarity and seek support against President Bush's efforts to privatize some government offices by joining a picket line at the Aladdin Hotel-Casino. To see AFGE in action, go to: https://afgecouncil222.tripod.com/vegasrally.html

Local Spotlight - Local 3367 member (Buffalo office) saves little boy

The article below is taken entirely from the September 5, 2003 HUD Daily Focus. This is just one story that shows how HUD and employee partnership has paid dividends in the life of an employee, and the community.

When Jennifer Propis took the Red Cross cardio-pulmonary resuscitation training offered at HUD's Buffalo Field Office a few years back, she understood that it was a valuable skill to know, but never thought she'd be called upon to use it. Even as a teenage lifeguard, Jennifer never had occasion to save a life. All that changed on a sunny August afternoon this year when Jennifer, a paralegal in the Buffalo HUD office, accepted an invitation to relax beside a neighbor's backyard pool. Jennifer and her children 2were enjoying a hot summer day when the neighbor's screams punctuated the afternoon.

Three-year-old Hayden Kuzma tried to retrieve a ball floating on the water and had fallen undetected into the pool. When the mother saw the boy, he was floating face down in the water. When Hayden was pulled from the water, hysteria gripped grief-stricken women looking down at the boy. Armed with her CPR training, jennifer took action. She started administering resuscitation to the boy, gently at first, but with more urgency when she got no response. Thankfully, however, Hayden was soon spitting and coughing up water from his lungs as he started to breath. He was stabilized by rescue workers summoned by a 911 call and transported to Buffalo Women's and Children's Hospital where he made a full recovery.

The Department offers a wide range of training as one way to invest in people - both in their role as employees while on the job and as citizens in their communities. And while the CPR training was an important investment that HUD made in one field office employee, it's an investment that paid off even more for a little boy and his family from suburban Buffalo.

This is a great story, and I'm sure yours is too! If you know someone, or an event, that you think should be the subject of a future "Local Spotlight", please let us know.

We're still looking...

For anyone that wants to help with getting information out to other HUD employees. Our goal is to have a person, or persons, from each area of the country that can write articles, take pictures, and showcase the work your office is doing. We will place your informaiton on a web page that will be available on our web site. Vast experience is not required...just the desire to help. To volunteer, email us.

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