Sequestration Update – What AFGE Local 704 Can Do

The threat of severe reductions in agencies’ budgets in January 2013 is real. Agencies that have been willing to comment on their plans have indicated that they will try to implement the cuts without eliminating occupied positions. However, furloughs of 10 to 40 days, or more are among the possibilities, depending on the agency. Locals and Councils should prepare for negotiating over procedures to be observed, as well as appropriate arrangements for adversely affected employees.

The first step is to check the current collective bargaining agreement. It will contain provisions that govern whether the union is permitted to demand negotiations during the life of the contract, and if so, how to make the demand. Some agreements specifically preserve the right of the union to demand bargaining in the event of an announced RIF or other change in conditions of employment. Others are largely silent in this regard and the union should interpret the contract in the most favorable light. A few contracts might contain waivers of the union’s rights to negotiate during the life of the agreement, thus seriously curtailing the union’s ability to address this event. Check the articles on mid-contract bargaining, adverse actions, reduction in force, and union rights.

A Furlough May Be a RIF or an Adverse Action

1. By regulation, furloughs of up to 30 days are considered to be adverse actions. Even though a furlough caused by budget cuts is not based on the employee’s own conduct or performance, adverse action procedures must be followed.

2. Furloughs of longer than 30 days are reduction in force actions, and RIF procedures must be observed. Since the term “day” in the RIF regulations refers to calendar days, the Office of Personnel Management has interpreted the regulation as requiring RIF procedures for a furlough of 22 or more work days, whether those days are consecutive or not. (This is very important in the context of sequestration).

3. The procedures for adverse actions and RIF differ in terms of length of notice, contents of a notice, and appeal rights.

4. RIF appeal rights are determined by the collective bargaining agreement.

5. If RIF actions are not specifically excluded from the scope of the grievance procedure, then the grievance procedure must be used, and employees could not appeal to the MSPB.

6. The union must ensure that the correct procedures are observed.

 

Lake Forest teachers continue strike; BOE plans teacherless school day – 09/17/12

Lake Forest teachers continue strike; BOE plans teacherless school day – 09/17/12

9/16/2012

While the majority of focus was on the strike of the Chicago Public School system last week, it wasn’t the only Illinois school district to see a strike. The Chicago suburb of Lake Forest watched as teacher’s walked off the job on Wednesday. Those teachers, represented by the Lake Forest Education Association, are on strike over wage and health care issues. Last year the teachers agreed to a one-year pay freeze in an effort to help the district reach a budget surplus.  The teachers are strongly opposed to a two-tier wage proposal from the Board of Education. The union has said the proposal would turn Lake Forest into a district “where rookies come to learn their craft and move on to neighboring districts due to the two-tier wage system.” The two sides failed to reach an agreement this weekend with the Board of Education ending negotiations by making today a mandatory student school day. The board said the school day will consist of a full day of “educational programming.” The school day will commence with administrators and community volunteers. The move is similar to how a private sector factory might keep minimum operations during a strike by having managers or replacement workers do the work of employees.

In order for a school day to be considered a legal attendance day Lake County requires the staffing of certified educators or at minimum, paid substitutes. It also must include five hours of course instruction in English, math, science, and social studies.

Thousands of striking Chicago teachers rally in labor show of force, despite tentative deal

Thousands of striking Chicago teachers rally in labor show of force, despite tentative deal

 (Sitthixay Ditthavong/ Associated Press ) – Teachers from Wisconsin and Minnesota join striking Chicago teachers during a rally Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Chicago. Union president Karen Lewis reminded the crowd that although there is a “framework” for an end to their strike, they still are on strike.

By Associated Press, Published: September 14 | Updated: Saturday, September 15, 4:36 PM

CHICAGO — Thousands of striking Chicago public school teachers and their allies packed a city park Saturday in a boisterous show of force as union leaders and the district tried to work out the details of an agreement that could end a week-long walkout.

Pushing strollers, toting signs and towing wagons of children, thousands of red-shirted teachers cheered and chanted as speaker after speaker urged them to stand firm until they have a deal in writing. They told the teachers that their strike was a symbol of hope for public teachers and other unions that have been losing ground around the nation.

“I’m pretty confident that something will come together that both sides will agree on,” said Ramses James, a sixth-grade math teacher. “I believe this is a very strong turning point when you have so many people coming out to fight alongside (the teachers union). That means a lot.”

Chicago Teacher Strike Stretches To Fourth Day, Negotiations Continue (PHOTOS, LIVE UPDATES)

Chicago Teacher Strike Stretches To Fourth Day, Negotiations Continue (PHOTOS, LIVE UPDATES)

09/13/12 11:10 AM ET

Chicago Teacher Strike Day Four News Updates
A family waves at a large group of public school teachers as they march on streets surrounding John Marshall Metropolitan High School on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 in West Chicago. Teachers walked off the job Monday for the first time in 25 years over issues that include pay raises, classroom conditions, job security and teacher evaluations. (AP Photo/Sitthixay Ditthavong)

CHICAGO — The Chicago Teachers Union president says a deal to end the city’s first teachers’ strike in 25 years is close, but she’s pushed back her timeline a bit.

Just hours after predicting students could be back in class by Friday, Karen Lewis said it might be Monday instead. She spoke to reporters Thursday morning on her way into negotiations.

Negotiators say they made substantial progress the night before. Lewis says signing off on a final proposal would require a meeting by union delegates and that could take some time. Continue reading “Chicago Teacher Strike Stretches To Fourth Day, Negotiations Continue (PHOTOS, LIVE UPDATES)”

Contract issues in the Chicago teachers strike

politics

Contract issues in the Chicago teachers strike

The Associated Press | September 13, 2012 07:57 AM EST |


As Chicago teachers walk the picket lines, their union and the city’s school district resumed negotiating a new contract that includes bigger salaries, more benefits, revised job security measures and revamped teacher evaluations. Thursday is the fourth day of the strike. Here is a breakdown of the issues on the table:

TEACHER EVALUATIONS: The union is particularly concerned about a new teacher evaluation system, arguing it would be unfair because it relies too heavily on students’ standardized test scores and does not take into account external factors that affect performance, including poverty, violence and homelessness. They argue it could result in 6,000 teachers losing their jobs within two years. The district says the union already agreed to the new evaluation system, but it has offered to make adjustments. Continue reading “Contract issues in the Chicago teachers strike”