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October 1, 2002 Issue
HAPPY FISCAL NEW YEAR !!
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:
How you can help...
The HUD Council 222 Communications Committee
has had a busy summer. Our projects include keeping the Council website
( http://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 were 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 problemsgrade 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. Were 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 solidarityCarolyn 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
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 (http://afgecouncil222.tripod.com/resources.html).
Take a look at it and give your comments and suggestions to your local AFGE
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
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
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
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
in the subject of your e:mail type: Attn: Tim Oravec (E:News Editor)