May 2019 National Union Management Conference

National Union Management Conference
May 22, 2019

President Rob Arnold opened the meeting with a statement regarding that hopefully we can all work for positive change with a new DAS and new contract under our belts. Everyone agreed that the time was right for a positive outlook going forward.

  • Top Secret Clearances: discussion revolved around how much longer the process will take and if the monthly call needs to continue. It was agreed if the Union could get a good copy of everything related to the security clearances and shows close to zero clearances left to be finished, the call would not need to continue.
  • Telework: A pilot for AFOs should be coming in the near future. 1998 officials recommended that other non-adjudicative positions also get the opportunity.
  • Fair Promotions: the Union stated that promotions don’t always happen in the contractual allotted time. Management states it does if the person is ready to promote, but please advise if not happening.
  • HR Improvements: the Union stated things still appear to be very non-responsive based on information received from the field. Management stated HR should be more stable going forward, as new people have been hired, but please advise PMO if issues are not being dealt with.
  • Underperforming Managers: discussion revolved around what makes a good manger. Per management, a pilot training class is being created for supervisors. Hopefully, this will assist them be better supervisors. Management is willing to accept ideas from the Union regarding this topic.
  • Rating Inequities: no decisive conclusion was determined during the discussion. Biggest suggestion from the Union was to have management make sure there is a better balance regarding ratings across the board.
  • Weather Closure: offices closings are determined by different entities based on where the passport office is located.
  • Updates on hiring: no current hiring freeze, but everything is now determined by staffing caps per location. The future trend in hiring is towards Peace Corps, Schedule A, and eligible family members. IEP will not be as prevalent going forward.
  • Greater transparency in hiring: the union is asking management to make sure people understand that if someone is applying for a job as a passport specialist, that they know the position is production-based. Management will look into the matter.
  • Flex connect: management will respond to the Union’s concern that most people are being turned down for the positions. But, as stated by management, the main issue is staffing, and the fear of losing more people to other positions.
  • Technology: phase one of Consular One is being used overseas for (e-CRBA). Online PPT renewal is tentative for 11/2020, with a beta test prior to release. Photo live capture may is being tested. More info to come. Biggest issue regarding technology is funding. Most funds are going towards future projects vs. TDIS. The Union suggested using present staff to assist with programming, management stated they would look into the topic if the union submitted a proposal.
  • Electronic sign-in/sign out: software is being redeveloped. No time frame for implementation.
  • Systems outages: discussion to follow after the NUMC.
  • Wi-Fi for public counters: the idea can be looked into, but may not be feasible due to building limitations.
  • Random drug testing: future discussion to be had between PMO and President Arnold.
  • Overhead bin arbitration: PMO to send updated information.
    Arbitration expense: ongoing discussion from prior meetings. PMO suggests both parties pay for transcript if to be used, without involving the arbitrator.
  • OIG – NPC: changes in process with multiple trainings and possible staffing reorganization. If successful, some of the changes will be rolled out to other offices.
  • Air quality: if issues arise, please let local management know, if nothing is being done, please route issues to PMO via the National Officers.
  • Assistant Secretary’s Town Hall: discussion touched on future technology, NPC, quality of decisions.
  • UMC Monthly call: both parties agreed to continue.

National Union Management Conference
May 23, 2019

  • Passport Material: has multiple items in Spanish. Passport material is available in multiple languages. Outreach is going on near the U.S. southern border regarding passport applications.
  • NPIC procedures: discussion revolved around how each office processes NPIC e-mails, with discussion on how NPIC actually functions.
    Appliances: pending response from PMO.
  • Resiliency boosting: multiple ideas suggested at the table. Nothing fully defined for future implementation.
  • Training coordinators: Regional Training Coordinators busy with the Values exercise. Hopefully, they will be used for more training in the future.
  • CPC Training: additional FAM training in the works.
  • CPC settlement: PMO and President Arnold will work out details.
  • FAM updates: an attempt is being made by headquarters to get information to everyone in a more timely fashion. If issues arise please advise PMO.
  • EEO contact info: the Union will verify which offices have representatives and then contact PMO regarding how the EEO information can be better distributed to each office.
  • Mentoring: for future reference GS-11 passport specialists may have to create presentations. This is not mandatory at this time, but most likely will become a part of most employees’ standards. The Agency is open to Union suggestions on what a nationwide policy should look like.
    EF work at NPC: work is spread around, even if employee’s think it is not, per discussion with PMO and NPC.
  • Joint training: to be worked out with PMO and President Arnold.
  • Who is acting: PMO would like Union officers to act in week blocks vs. day to day. The parties differ on what the contract requires in that regard.
  • Rate your supervisor: the Union suggested a form of 360 degree rating for supervisor. PMO not against the notion. Future discussion to come.
  • Bargaining at NPC: a counter from the Union to management has been submitted.
    Overhead bin bargaining: PMO and Union to clarify where each party stands.
  • Furlough Agreement: possible discussion during the next NUMC.
  • GS-11 training: the Union suggested additional opportunities for GS-11 specialist once they have completed all mandatory training to keep them fresh and invigorated. Possible working with supervisor if needed. No further discussion.
    Online foreign language training: ok to complete classes as long as it is before or after work. Please advise PMO if any office is not allowed to take the classes.
  • Information requests: PMO to follow up with where requests stand.
  • Time in Motion: time line will be sent to the Union once it is completed.
  • SKE’s: the discussion proposed an August evaluation season or a staggered performance period, as well as employees requesting an increased audit as a training tool, and during which they’d be free from career jeopardy. PMO stated they would think about the suggestions.Developing DAS relationship: both sides agreed this is a good time to create better working relationships. The Agency suggested seeing about whether grievances could be avoided through informally improved communication between the parties.

Compiled by Recording Secretary Lee Wentz