News Archive: 2011


Union and Agency Reach Agreement on PIP Meetings

January 20, 2012: A matter that was about to go to hearing was settled amicably between the agency and Union.  Passport Services now agrees that employees are allowed to request and have union representatives along during performance-related meetings when the performance issue is the already subject of a grievance or unfair labor practice charge.


Awards Agreement Nets Improvements in Tucson

January 20, 2012: In response to an information request from WPC Senior Steward Joel Warne, the agency reported that, since negotiations on a WPC awards agreement were completed, employees covered by Local 1998 received $11,700 out of the $18,700 2011 WPC awards budget.


SF Agency and Union Agree on Duty Officer Policy

January 13, 2012: In collaboration with Local Management, San Francisco Senior Steward Gil Yap signed off on a new Duty Officer Agreement.  The main issue to be resolved was equitable assignment of after-hours cases.


Washington Management Refuses to Negotiate Seating

January 13, 2012: A Washington Passport Agency employee was ejected from the cubicle she had occupied for years.  Since the agency was unwilling to negotiate her seating, as it had with most other employees, Vice President Boyd Hinton filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge.


Agency and Local 1998 Settle ULP Dispute

January 11, 2012: The FLRA brokered a settlement in a long-standing dispute between the agency and Local 1998.  Thee Union had made proposals regarding multiple CPC changes in 2011 work processes.  When the agency later reneged or refused to bargain the matters, Vice President Boyd Hinton filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge. 


Changes to 2012 Performance Standards Denounced

December 15, 2011: The Union filed a grievance over changes announced for the 2012 rating cycle.  The dispute centers on whether the new standards for Passport Specialists, as stated by the agency, can be objectively applied, and whether the changes allow for adequate time for employees to perform the required tasks and still detect passport fraud.


Union Requests Details on New Performance Standards

November 30, 2011: Local 1998 requested the presence of an Office of Adjudication representative at a pre-arranged conference call between the Union and Management, so that changed for 2012 could be fully explained.  No representative attended and no answers were received.


Delayed Promotion Prompts Union Grievance

November 22, 2011.  A Passport Specialist achieved promotion to grade 11.  A grievance filed by the Union maintains that the change came well past the date of her demonstrated readiness for higher grade level.


Union Veteran's Day Newsletter Is Hot Off the Presses

November 10, 2011: Featuring articles from Atlanta, Seattle, Portsmouth, and Charleston, NFFE1998's newsletter shipped out today, for Monday arrival at all agencies.  The online version can be located here.


New Officers Bolster Local's Ability to Represent You

November 3, 2011: Vice President Boyd Hinton announced the ratification of three new officers to fill existing vacant slots.  Local 1998 extends a hearty welcome to newly-elected officers Edward Gonzalez (Miami), Robin Pickens (Colorado) and Diana Dibble (the San Diego agency's first officer).


Local Alerts OSHA to San Francisco Safety Hazard

October 24, 2011: Following completion of an office renovation, San Francisco Union Rep Gil Yap questioned the relative darkness of the employee restrooms.  When local inquiries yielded no results, Yap contacted the Occupational Safety and Health Association.  CORRECTION: OSHA conducted a inspection of the facilities, but found no violation by the agency, as no minimum standards exists for lighting.


IAMAW Accepting College Scholarship Applications

October 23, 2011: The 2012 Union Plus Scholarship Program will provide $150,000 in scholarships to union members and their dependents.
Applicants are required to demonstrate academic ability and submit essays of no more than 500 words describing why they are deserving of a union scholarship.  The application deadline is January 31, 2012.  Visit this  link to find applications and benefit eligibility information.


Local Welcomes New Law Enforcement Employees

October 4, 2011: NFFE 1998 grew a little today.  PPT Headquarters announced that the paralegals of SA-19's Law Enforcement office are officially part of our bargaining unit.  Led by their new Senior Steward, Michael McPherson, these employees questioned their non-bargaining unit status until the results of a desk audit finally confirmed their view.


FLRA Sides With Union In Seattle Negotiability Appeal

September 20, 2011: Questions regarding employee rights to negotiate aspects of new office space were answered in a decision by the Federal Labor Relations Authority.  For 7 out of the 8 proposals in question, the FLRA determined Management was incorrect in declaring it had no duty to bargain.  The decision holds implications for future agency renovations.


Agency Provides Partial Time and Motion Data

September 3, 2011: National Union officers met in Seattle with the heads of the Management Production Working Group to discuss the results of the 2011 Time and Motion Study.  Passport Services shared the summaries from the study.  Union officers expressed doubts about some of the group's findings, and suggested a more comprehensive study.


PPT HQ: Daily Reminders Not For Disciplinary Purpose

September, 2011: The Union was assured by multiple Passport Headquarters officials that the answers given on the daily security quiz would never be used to justify disciplinary actions against employees,


Union Questions Need For Daily Computer Reminders

August, 2011: Local 1998 requested negotiations and submitted proposals to deal with agency changes that require employees to take a new internal security quiz.  The Union was not notified prior to implementation of the daily pop-up quiz, which duplicates coursework employees already take.


Local Disputes Validity of 2011 Time & Motion Study

August 17, 2011: Local President Rob Arnold submitted a grievance concerning the manner in which the agency was conducting the 2011 study which measures averages times for various adjudication duties.


Union Reaches Official Time Settlement With Agency

August 7, 2011: A hearing scheduled for August 10th was averted by an agreement reached over the manner and amount of time granted for union representational activities.  The Union agreed it would not double-up posts with official time attached to them except for instances of acting in place of other existing officers or for officers covering multiple agencies.


Local 1998 Protests Supervisor Treatment of Employee

August 1, 2011: San Francisco Senior Steward Gil Yap filed a grievance to protest inappropriate behavior by a supervisor in meetings with an SF employee.  The grievance charges that Management allowed the supervisor to yell at the employee, chide the employee for adjudication decisions not supported by national policy, and twice send the same employee's private information to other employees.


Management concedes wrongdoing at Miami

July, 2011: .Passport Services agreed to hang a posting at the Miami Passport Agency.  Signed by the office Director, it acknowledges that the agency improperly enacted its preferences in employee work schedules without bargaining.  The agency commits to negotiating a work schedule agreement with Union representatives.


Settlement Provides Additional Job Security

June 10, 2011: Local 1998 reached agreement with Passport Services over a dispute concerning production standards. Until new standards are studied/implemented, the agency agreed it will stop short of dismissal to deal with production-specific performance issues for Passport Specialists.


Release of Private Information Prompts Grievance

May 20, 2011: Sensitive biographical data for most, if not all, passport employees, was improperly copied from a government medical database that had questionable need for the data in the first place.  Local 1998 filed a complaint over the breach and the agency's reluctance to provide details.


New Union Officers Announced at Multiple Offices

May 8, 2011: Vice President Boyd Hinton conducted votes of Local 1998's Executive Board for new officers at multiple locations.  New Senior Stewards and Stewards were confirmed in Miami, Atlanta and El Paso.


Management Clarification Averts Arbitration Hearing

April 29, 2011: An arbitration hearing concerning employee right to look up inquiry trace screen information on applications charged as errors has been mutually settled.  The agency clarified that employees/Union reps would generally be approved access to such information upon request.


Management Lays Out Plans for 2011 Time & Motion

April 12, 2011: A Management working group shared its plans for the 2011 study for developing new production standards.  The Union welcomed news that nights shifts would measured as well as days.  Regrettably, Management has no intent of implementing the new standard until 2012.


Supplemental ID Form in Jeopardy

April 11, 2011: The agency recently put the supplemental ID form up for public comment.  The form has caused considerable negative feedback, partly from misconceptions that the form is new and intended as mandatory for most passport applicants. 


Boyd Hinton, Liza Escobar, Phyllis Cahill & Michelle Salisbury review production data from the 2011 Time & Motion study.

Arnold Tolbert Rideaux

Houston Officers James Rideaux and Trina Tolbert with Rob Arnold

Cantwell meeting
Local President Rob Arnold and officers from the Boeing IAMAW Local 1751 discuss issues facing workers from both bargaining units

Cantwell meeting 2

Photos courtesy IAMAW Local 751

Karen Proctor-Adams, Michelle Salisbury, Josue Trinidad-Perez, Sue Lagle, Boyd Hinton and Rob Arnold during a break at the 2011 National Union Management Council Meeting

Shutdown Averted...For Now

April 8, 2011: The Executive and legislative branches reached agreement to avoid a federal shutdown. Coming months present further potential furloughs, with Congressional approval needed to lift the U.S. debt ceiling.


National 1998 Officers Meet with Headquarters Mgmt.

March 8, 2011:  Local 1998 national officers met in Washington DC with Passport Headquarters officials for the annual Union Management Council meeting.  Topics discussed included the random aspect of adjudication audits, and the current Performance Improvement Plan expectations.


Latest 1998 Newsletter Is Hot Off The Presses

February 17, 2011: The Local's first newsletter of 2011 is now available.  In addition to articles by the national officers, it contains contributions from Sue Lamie (Seattle), Millie Nunez (New York) and Lindsey Liddell (Minneapolis).


Schedule Negotiations Conclude In Colorado

January 28, 2011: Senior Steward Corrina Davis led the Union negotiating team that reached agreement with Local Management on a new compressed work schedule agreement.  The new CWS agreement offers protection for employees seeking to continue using a 5/4/9 schedule.


Four New 1998 Stewards Announced

January 27, 2011: Local 1998 confirmed new Stewards in New York, Chicago and Charleston, bringing us to our largest number of Union reps in the history of the Local.  A search for new Stewards was just concluded in Houston; a number of qualified employees expressed interest.


3 Local Officers Scheduled in Same Training Session

January 22, 2011: Local 1998's contingent for this week's Leadership I course included Chief Steward Sue Lagle, NPC Steward Amanda Booher, and Washington Steward and Trustee Josue-Trinidad-Perez. Photo at right:  Booher (bottom row, left) Lagle (bottom row, right) and Trinidad-Perez (second from left in second row from top)


New National-level Grievances Submitted to Agency

January 19 - 22, 2011: Vice President Boyd Hinton submitted three final step grievances to Passport Headquarters.  One concerned agency demands for additional adjudication duties that were not matched by additional time to perform them; one concerned the agency's computer virus software and its impact on computer performance of night shift employees, and the third dealt with employee safety (fire drills and CPR).


Union Objects to Department Wikileaks Directive

January 14, 2011: Citing the Unfair Labor Practice settlement the agency signed governing new internal control procedures, Local 1998 disputed the appropriateness of the agency's Wikileaks policy.  The policy seems to assume a Management right to monitor employee home computer usage. 


Seattle Reps Submit Response on Negotiability Appeal

January 12, 2011: Seattle Senior Steward Will Davidson and Steward Sue Lamie filed a 40-page position paper arguing that the agency is obligated to bargain over Union proposals for an upcoming change in work site.  Availability of printers and internal drinking water were among the topic