Master Agreement TrainingNational Federation of Federal Employees Forest Service Council (NFFE-FSC)and USDA Forest ServicePresented by Name of Union Rep&Name of Management RepDate Location
Purpose of the Course • Review your roles, responsibilities, and rights as managers, supervisors, and employees under the Labor Statute and the Labor Contract (FS/NFFE Master Agreement) • Identify importance of maintaining a good working relationship between management and the union • Assist you in identifying your Labor Relations resources
The Labor Statute • A portion of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 is the Federal Services Labor Management Relations Statute and it has been codified as Title 5 of the United States Code Chapter 71. • So, when we talk about the “labor statute” or the “federal labor relations statute” we are talking about 5 U.S.C. 71.
The Statute and the Master Agreement • The Labor Statute authorizes collective bargaining in the Federal Sector and provides the legal framework for such bargaining. • The Master Agreement (and other negotiated agreements) are the product of collective bargaining. • The Labor Statute applies to all Agencies; the Master Agreement applies only to NFFE-organized units in the Forest Service.
What is the Master Agreement • Contract between the Forest Service and the Forest Service Council of NFFE • Negotiated by the Forest Service and NFFE at the National level • Agreement to procedures, rights, responsibilities, conditions of employment and working conditions It’s NOT the UNION contract or the FOREST SERVICE contract. It’s OUR contract.
Bargaining Unit • Bargaining unit (BU) is comprised of the employees (BUEs) represented by Union. • There are two consolidated BUs in the Forest Service represented by NFFE: • Professional (These positions generally require a degree, e.g. “ologists,” engineers, etc.) • Non- Professional (Generally do not require a degree, e.g. technicians, specialists, etc.) • Within the Forest Service these two bargaining units are generally lumped together as “the bargaining unit.”
Bargaining Unit • The Bargaining Unit varies with each unit, depending on who voted to be represented. It may include: • Professionals, Non-Professionals • Permanent, term, temp, seasonal • Generally, all non-supervisory, non-managerial employees, except “confidential” employees are eligible. • The description of the bargaining unit for each FS unit is found in Appendix A. Updates and changes are posted on the HRM Labor Relations Website.
Bargaining Unit • Unit Name and Local # (See Appendix A or the LR website) • Included • Excluded
Changes to the Bargaining Unit(Article 1) • Management will notify the Union before changing the BU status of a position. • If Union and Management cannot reach agreement, the Union may file a petition with the FLRA. • During this process, the BU status will not be changed, but management may assign work as appropriate. • The Union will notify management when it believes the BU status of a position should be changed, before going to FLRA.
Implementation(Article 2) • Annotations used to clarify the intent of the language written in the Contract or background information about a given topic • Commitment to jointly developed training on the MA. • Face-to-face MA training when practical • MA will be posted on FSWeb and WWW, and will be 508 compliant.
Key Definitions (Article 3) • Day: Unless stated otherwise, day means calendar day. If a due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, the next official workday will be considered the due date. • In Writing: Email is an acceptable method for all transmittals with reference to the Master Agreement. • Notification: All notification specified in this Master Agreement must be in writing, unless otherwise stated. • Parties: Normally, Parties with an upper case “P” indicates the national Management and Union collectively
Key Definitions (Articles 2 and 3) • Supervisor: An individual employed by an agency having authority in the interest of the agency to hire, direct, assign, promote, reward, transfer, furlough, layoff, recall, suspend, discipline, or remove employees; to adjust their grievances; or to effectively recommend such action. The exercise of the authority is not merely routine or clerical in nature but requires the consistent exercise of independent judgment. For units that include firefighters or nurses, the term “supervisor” includes only those individuals who devote a preponderance of their employment time to exercising such authority (5 U.S.C. 7103(a)(10)).
Employee Rights(Article 4.1) • The Parties agree to mutually establish and maintain a safe, positive, and professional work environment that • promotes good workmanship, • values employees for who they are and what they contribute, • ensures consistent treatment of employees, and • maintains high standards of employee performance.
Employee Rights under Statute(Article 4.2) • Statutory Rights -- • Right to join a union, or not • Engage in collective bargaining • Right to have non-union representative for any appeal not under the negotiated grievance procedure
Rights during Investigations(Article 4.3) • Weingarten Right -- An employee has the right to be represented by the Union during an investigation if: • he or she reasonably believes that the examination may result in disciplinary action against him or her and • he or she requests representation. • The Agency must annually inform employees of their Weingarten Right, and include a negotiated information sheet about investigations. • During an investigation, the employee may ask whether or not they are being directed to answer and will be provided a written statement of this, upon request.
Weingarten Rights(more info) • Management Options in Weingarten • Simply end the meeting and not call in a union representative • Offer the employee the alternative of continuing the meeting without a union representative or foregoing the meeting • Stop the meeting until the union representative arrives
Weingarten Rights(more info) • Union rights in Weingarten situations • Union designates representative • Union rep can take an active role (can clarify questions or answers) but cannot disrupt or answer for the employee • Cannot unreasonably delay the investigation to get choice of rep
Employee Rights(Article 4) • Employees have the right to: • Meet and consult with Union officials concerning working conditions • Be represented by Union at meetings when the employee has a complaint about working conditions • Be treated with dignity and respect • Engage in outside activities/employment, with some limitations and/or approvals • Request reassignment • Privacy when being counseled or disciplined
Employee right to duty time(Article 4.6) • Right to a reasonable amount of duty time in pursuit of rights under the MA. • Employee must request release, including length of time needed and the location where they will be. Normally, workload will not preclude the release of the employee. • If the employee cannot be released immediately they will be released as soon as the work requirement is met or other arrangements are made. If employee can’t be released that day, the denial will be given in writing, along with the reason, and timelines will be extended equal to the delay.
Employee right to duty time(Article 4.6, annotations) • Employees may designate Union to act on their behalf with respect to requesting release. • If the employee and supervisor cannot agree on amount of time, generally: • 4 hours for preparing a Step 1 grievance • 8 hours for the preparing a Step 2 grievance. • Employees use TC = 01, not TC = 37. • Note: Release requests do not apply if employees are meeting with the Union on their own time (e.g. break or lunch).
Electronic Communications (Article 4.15) • All employees will have access to electronic communication system, when practical • Employees will be provided duty time to access electronic records • Employees will not be penalized for lack of profile • Management will not access profile unless required for internal security purposes • Management will provide policy regarding tracking hardware/software annually
Debt Collections(Article 4.16) • When the Agency intends to off-set pay to collect a debt, the employee will be afforded due process in accordance with USC and CFR, including: • 30 days notice of intent to offset salary • Right to Union representation • Right to file a waiver • Right to request a hearing on the existence of the debt.
Union Rights & Representation(Article 5) • NFFE is exclusive representative for bargaining unit • Only NFFE can represent unit in negotiations • Only NFFE can represent an employee in the negotiated grievance procedure contained in the Master Agreement • Only NFFE or the Agency can invoke arbitration • NFFE must represent interests of all members of bargaining unit, regardless of union membership.
Union Representation(Article 5) • Union has right to designate its own representatives. • Union representatives include Local, Council, and NFFE officials. • The Union must notify management of which union officials are the contacts for different issues. • When no Local representatives have been designated, the Regional Vice-President is the primary contact.
Designation of Representatives(Article 5.1) • The Union has the right to designate its officials and representatives, including NFFE National representatives. • The designated officials at the national level are the President and Secretary-Treasurer, NFFE-FSC. • The Local President is the designated official for the Local. The Local President may designate additional representatives for particular matters, for line organizations, and for different shifts or duty stations.
Formal Discussions(Article 5.4) • The Local Union President or designee will be given reasonable notice, the opportunity to attend, and participate in formal discussions. • A formal discussion is any meeting between one or more representatives of the Forest Service and one or more Bargaining Unit employees concerning any grievance, personnel policy or practice, or other general condition of employment.
Formal Discussion(More info) • Formal Discussion Factors: • Who conducted the meeting • Whether other management officials were present • Location and length of meeting • Meeting is announced and planned • Formal agenda • Attendance is mandatory
Agenda topics for “formal” meetings (More info) • When these topics are planned for discussion, it may be considered to be a formal meeting: • Policies regarding leave or work schedules • Safety • Cubicle moves • Resolution of a grievance • Discussion of work assignments, workload, training to perform work, etc. alone do not constitute a formal meeting.
Union Official Time(Article 5.5) • Union officials will be granted official time to • Review management proposals, prepare to negotiate, and negotiate • Receive, review, prepare and present grievances and other complaints • Prepare reports under 5 USC 7120(c) • Contact elected representatives on legislation (only FSC Exec Board or their designees) • Perform general contract administration and representation • Contact other Union officials • Union officials should request release as far in advance as possible, although on-going arrangements can be made.
Reserved Management Rights(Article 6) • 5 USC § 7106(a) establishes management rights under the Statute. The substance of management’s decision to exercise these rights is non-negotiable. • Management has the right to determine the mission, budget, organization, number of employees and internal security practices.
Reserved Management Rights (Article 6) • In accordance with applicable laws, Management has the right to hire, assign, direct, layoff, retain, suspend, remove, reduce in grade or pay, discipline, assign work, contract out, determine personnel, make selections for hiring, and take whatever actions may be necessary to carry out the mission during emergencies.
Permissive Rights (Article 6) • 5 USC § 7106(b)(1) establishes permissive subjects of bargaining. • The Agency may bargain over permissive subjects, but are not required to bargain. • Permissive Subjects: • numbers, types, and grades of employees or positions; • the technology, methods or means of performing work.
Scope of Bargaining (Article 6) • Although the Agency must bargain on many subjects, the substance of decisions in the area of management rights are not negotiable. However, 5 USC § 7106(b)(2) and (3) require an agency to bargain over procedures and appropriate arrangements when it exercises its rights under the management rights clause. • Commonly referred to as bargaining over the “impact and implementation” or “procedures and appropriate arrangements” of a change.
Example of Impact and Implementation(more info) • The Agency decides not to fill summer student positions this summer to save money. The current permanent employees will need to do the work. • The Union can negotiate impact and implementation such as: • Training employees to do the work. • Provisions for assuring that employees are still able to take leave during the summer. • Overtime scheduling, if OT is needed to complete the work. • Notification procedures for who is going to be assigned the extra work.
Union Use of Facilities and Services(Article 7) • Reasonable office space and equipment • Use of electronic communications and internal mail service for Union business • Bulletin boards located where each employee info bulletin board is located • Upon request, union may get a list of all unit employees • May use government vehicles for representational functions
Partnership and Collaboration(Article 8) • The National Parties agree to work collaboratively and encourage subordinate parties to do the same. • National LM Strategic Plan to provide current guidance and assistance in maintaining and enhancing collaborative relationships at all levels.
Partnership Councils(Article 8.2) • Maintain national Forest Service Partnership Council (FSPC) to address issues of service-wide scope and significance. • Parties at all levels may establish Partnership Councils. • The members of each Partnership Council are the designated representatives of Management and the Union. • Decisions and agreements reached by the parties in Partnership are binding on the parties.
Collaborative Relations(Article 8.3) • Parties are encouraged to work collaboratively regardless of whether they have a Partnership Council. • Parties are encouraged to use interest-based problem solving to resolve issues. • Decisions and agreements reached by the Parties in collaboration are binding.
Pre-Decisional Involvement (PDI)(Article 8.4) • Pre-decisional involvement (PDI): The parties will notify one another of emerging topics or initiatives that may affect conditions of employment as soon as practicalin order to: • facilitate the early identification and resolution of issues and • provide the opportunity for participants to add value to the outcome.
Pre-Decisional Involvement (PDI) (more) • Executive Order 13522 requires all agencies to allow employees and their union representatives to have pre-decisional involvement in all workplace matters to the fullest extent practicable.
Pre-Decisional Involvement (PDI)(more info) • The FSPC encourages Regional and Local parties to develop a procedure for PDI that works for them. Suggestions include: • Establishing a formal Labor-Management Forum or Partnership Council • Inviting Union officials to attend leadership team meetings • Holding regularly scheduled meetings between union and management decision makers • Establishing a Labor-Management Committee • Including union leadership on appropriate leadership mailing lists (pdls)
Changes to Organizations and/or Redistribution of Duties(Article 8.5) • Formerly in Article 31 • Management will inform the Union before a final decision is made on the following matters: • Changes to the org structure which affect BUEs • The redistribution of ongoing duties among existing positions such that substantially effects more than one position in such a way that it requires modification of the position description.
Grievances(Article 9) • Purpose of this article is to provide a mutually acceptable method for resolving workplace issues. Try to resolve issues at the lowest level, and encourage using technologies that reduce the need for travel. • Grievance Prevention. Encourage early discussion about issues, but be aware of timelines.
Grievance Definition(Article 9.3) • Grievance means any complaint by any— • Employee concerning any matter relating to his or her employment. • Labor organization concerning any matter relating to the employment of any employee. • Employee, Labor organization, or Agency concerning— • The effect or interpretation, or a claim of breach, of a collective bargaining agreement. • Any claimed violation, misinterpretation, or misapplication of any law, rule, or regulation affecting conditions of employment.
Grievances(Article 9.4, 9.5, and 9.6) • Employees may choose not to have union representation when filing a grievance, but meetings to resolve grievances are formal meetings, and the Union must be invited. • During grievance resolution meetings, there is no set number of attendees, but the focus should be on getting the right people in the room to resolve the issue. • Exclusions from the grievance process are listed in Section 9.5. • Filing a grievance is an election of forum: Generally, an EEO complaint, MSPB appeal, or unfair labor practice cannot be filed over an issue for which a grievance has already been filed.
Grievance Procedure Overview • Most Grievances • Step 1 Grievance and Response • Step 2 Grievance and Response • Arbitration • Exception: Adverse Actions skip to Step 2 of the Grievance process. • Generally, all transmittals shall be electronic. • Both Step 1 and Step 2 grievances and responses need to be copied to other officials.
Grievance Procedure Players Grievant Step 1 Receiving official Step 1 Deciding official Step 2 Receiving official Step 2 Deciding official Representatives of grievant and responding party (generally Union and LMR)
Grievance Procedure If Event = Adverse Action 30 days 30 days Event Step 1 30 days Step 2 28 days Arbitration 30 days 30 days Article 9
Step 1 Grievance Procedure(Article 9.7) • Step 1 Grievance must be submitted within 30 days of the incident or of learning of the incident. • Step 1 Grievance must: • Identify that this is a Step 1 Grievance in the subject line. • Identify the incident; • Identify the date of the incident; • Provide requested relief; • Step 1 Grievance may also provide suggested Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) techniques.