As I sat down to write this message it struck me that we are almost halfway through 2022 and I have just a little over six months left in my term as NFFE-1998 president. Even though the last couple of years have been overwhelming at times for all of us, time keeps marching forward.
Upcoming National Officer Elections
Which leads me into my next topic for this message. Elections for National officers and Senior Stewards will be taking place this coming December. It is time for folks to be thinking about who they want to represent them locally and nationally. Who represents you has a real impact on our workplace each, and every day. We need representatives that are engaged and willing to work on behalf of us. As a reminder regarding the upcoming elections, if you are thinking about running for a position, the by-laws require those running to have been a dues paying member in good standing for a year or more prior to December 1, 2022. Any dues paying member can be “appointed” to a position however, but in order to actually run for an elected position you must have been a paying member for over a year. “Appointments” can only happen in the event of a vacancy in a position after the election. Additionally, in order to vote in the election, one must be a dues paying member. If you want to have a say in who represents you it is not too late to become a member. If you are interested, please see your local steward, if you do not currently have a steward please reach out to the National Officers (NFFE1998-NationalOfficers@state.gov).
Check In With Your Local Steward
I am sure you will get sick of me saying this in emails and on phone calls, but it is worth repeating. Please reach out to your local steward occasionally to see how they are doing. It is a tough and often thankless job at times, and I know they could use your support. At the same time, your local steward needs to hear from you when you notice things are not copesetic in your office. That is why we signed up for the job of representation, so we can help and work towards fixing problems, but we cannot see everything all at once, so please let us know when you see something. This includes new local agreements you may be interested in, meetings with management about conditions in your office, grievances, and anything else you feel we can assist with.
NFFE 1998 Newsletters Win IAMAW Awards
I just wanted to take the time to recognize again the splendid work for our 2020 newsletters. As mentioned in the last NFFE1998 newsletter, it makes me smile every time I look at the two third-place award plaques that we received from the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers for Best Layout & Design and General Excellence. It is easy to smile when you know your organization is recognized for its amazing work. That being said, if there were something you would like to see in the newsletter, please let us know. It is a communication vehicle for all of us and can always be improved upon.
Annual Awards Season
Everyone should start to see the annual awards process starting to move forward for 2022 very soon. Of course, as we know not everyone will receive an award. But one thing that the data shows from our constant fight with management over this topic, is we are making gains in the percentage of dollars going to the folks represented by NFFE-1998. We still have work to do, but things are getting better every year.
Mission Critical and Hazard Pay Grievances
I wanted to update everyone regarding a couple of our biggest grievances that are still working their way through the arbitration process. The Mission Critical grievance is residing with the Federal Labor Relations Authority. At this time, a response will come when it comes as there is no deadline for a response in this process, patience really is a virtue regarding this grievance. It is important to note however that we also have the second grievance out there regarding Hazard Pay. Our Hazard Pay grievance is making its way through the arbitration process right now and includes some of the same remedies we are seeking on the Mission Critical grievance. I wish I could say we will have a speedy answer to this grievance, but as with so many things, it just takes time. We hope to have more information in the upcoming newsletter. Stay tuned.
Civil Service Appraisal System Changing
If you have not visited our website NFFE1998.org recently, then this may be the first time you are hearing about this topic. Headquarters approached the Union recently regarding a proposed change to the Civil Service Appraisal System. The last time a change like this was made was approximately 2007, as you can imagine the issue is fraught with potential downsides, but maybe some upsides as well. Headquarters is hoping that their proposal will go into effect starting in 2023, but as of now we are just in the information gathering stage. We plan to formally initiate bargaining on this proposed change to our working conditions as soon as we have more information on exactly how this change will impact everyone. A team of National Officers and Stewards are working diligently to represent you all for the best overall outcome. We expect these negotiations to begin very soon. So, if you have any suggestions about changes you would like to see to the present appraisal process that we may be able to incorporate into our upcoming negotiations we would love to hear from you.
Promotions of NFFE 1998 Representatives
Regrettably, I want to talk about is the loss of our Recording Secretary Jason Vick. Jason has been promoted to supervisor in Seattle and must resign his position in the union. Some of you know him personally, and some may only know him by name. Jason is one of those type of people that will be hard to replace in any organization. Not only did Jason improve and grow the position of Recording Secretary for NFFE-1998, but he also did a wonderful job at crunching data to the benefit of the Bargaining Unit. Additionally, we will miss his bargaining skills. He helped us settle a number of grievances to the benefit of those in need of representation. All I can say at this point is I wish the best of luck to Jason in his next endeavor, he will be missed.
Additionally, we would also like to say goodbye to our NPC Senior Steward and frequent Chief Steward Julie Geissler. She has been instrumental during her time as a Steward and was successful in winning every Arbitration she was a part of. She too has been promoted to supervisor and we wish her all the best.
Thank You for Checking Our Website
Finally, please do not forget to check the NFFE-1998 website (https://nffe1998.org/) from time to time to see what is going on locally and nationally it’s being updated regularly, dues paying members have access to all information and agreements so if this is something you are interested in let your local steward know and become a member today!