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November 10, 2015: NFFE 1998
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Deciding Official Grievance Answered
November 3, 2015: The Union replied to a Management grievance, responding that the Agency routinely commits the same alleged violation when issuing letters of suspension to passport employees.
Agency Grants QSI's to Employees
November 1, 2015: Twenty five passport employees were given Quality Step Increases (QSI's) in November as a result of an arbitration. The arbitrator determined last year that Passport Management had given an unfairly high proportion of QSI's to members of Passport Management.
Congress Seeks Hiring Changes at State
October 28, 2015: Members of the House of Representatives proposed legislation which would require the Department of State achieve greater gender and ethnic diversity in hiring. The proposed FAIR Act would also mandate periodic reports to Congress on steps taken to improve.
Arbitrator Issues Split Ruling on Official Time
September 25, 2015: Arbitrator Timothy Brown issued a decision on an Agency grievance. He ruled that a NFFE 1998 Steward had inappropriately sent two representational emals during work time. Brown found the majority of Management's allegations to be without merit.
NFFE Protests Internal Controls Reprimand
September 21, 2015: The Union filed a grievance debating alleged internal controls infractions. Recognizing a potential conflict of interest, a Passport Specialist declined to adjudicate the passport application of an acquaintance, and so informed the colleague they passed the case to. Yet the employee was still disciplined because local Management was not notified in writing .
Union Replies to Agency Charges
September 3, 2015: Vice President James Lensen-Callas responded to two Agency grievances against the Union. One response concerned Agency claims the Union President wronged the Agency by being the official who responded to a grievance the Agency had addressed to him.
San Francisco ADR Produces Agreement
August 28, 2015: An Alternative Dispute Resolution agreement brought a dispute concerning employee breaks to a close. The Union had objected to the Agency unilerally outlawing employees attaching their break to the end of the lunch period.
Union Requests Fix on Former Peace Corps Retirement
August 9, 2015: Passport Management has pledged to investigate a possible error that causing ex-Peace Corps employees to be incorrectly charged a higher retirement contribution on each paycheck. Peace Corps work as of December 31, 2012 should serve as an exemption to the mandated higher retirement contributions.
Local 1998 Starts Nationwide Petition
July 30, 2015: Local 1998 began a nationwide petition, addressed to Secretary of State Kerry, objecting to the Agency's decision to ban cell phones in Agency workspace.
Union and Management Bargain Names Procedures
July 24, 2015: A Union bargaining team led by Secretary-Treasurer Amanda Booher concluded bargaining with Management today. The agreement concerned 7 FAM Appendix C, dictating the rules by which name changes are adjudicated.
More Participation for Union in Meetings
July 22, 2015: Following an Unfair Labor Practice charge, the Agency agreed to settle the case rather than dispute its violation at hearing. Giving rise to the dispute was Connecticut Management's threats against Senior Steward Robert Speed for his informing his co-workers at a meeting of the Union's position that the Acqistion Review Panel implrementation constitued a violation (which was later borne out by a second settlement).
Employees Disciplined for Work Product
July 6, 2015: Passport Management implemented its second suspension without pay in recent weeks of a Passport Specialist at CPC. In both cases, the employees were making their best effort to correctly adjudicate passport applications, but were charged with failure to follow instructions.
NY Succesful in Response in Proposed Downgrade
June 25, 2015: Local Officers Andrew Woodford and George Vrotsos assisted an employee whom the Agency proposed to downgrade. Following responses from the Union and employee, the Agency decided not to go forward with the demotion.
Talks Conclude on Adjudication of Child Applications
June 11, 2015: Union and Management came to agreement on details, most notably on translation of foreign documents, in relation to the Agency's changes to 7 FAM 1350, concerning the adjudication of passport applications for minors
Agreement Reached on 2015 Internal Controls
June 10, 2015: The Union's negotiability appeal over several internal control requirements announced in late 2014 was mediated by the FLRA. Comproises on both sides resulted in a deal that alleviated the need for the appeal.
Cell Phone Ban Receives Washington Post Coverage
May 8, 2015: The Washington Post ran a second article on the Agency's plans to ban electronic devices within Agency space. NFFE 1998 opposes the ban for its damage to employee morale and its poor prospects for stopping future malfeasance.
San Juan Assignment Questions Answered
May 1, 2015: Following the temporary closure of the San Juan Passport Agency, the Agency made arrangements to temporarily assign the employees outside of Puerto Rico. In response to Union objections to lack of notification and bargaining, local Management statedSan Juan employees would not be involuntarily detailed.