News Archive: 2014

 

Common Sense Approach to Notations Prevails

December 3, 2014:  The FLRA's Collaboration and Alternative Dispute Resolution Office helped guide Union and Management to an agreement that affects how Passport Specialists are charged errors.  The agreement concluded a longstanding dispute over  Agency implementation of 7 FAM 1340.

 

Poor Treatment of Detroit Employees Addressed

November 26, 2014:  Yet another employee came forward to protest disrespectful treatment by Detroit Passport Agency Management, as well as unfair performance ratings.  Local 1998 assisted in the filing of a step one grievance.

 

Arbitrator Gives Employees Huge Awards Win

November 24, 2014:  Arbitrator Jerome Ross determined the remedy for awards being skewed towards passport managers in 2010 and 2011.  Rejecting arguments that the penalty should be limited to $20,000 Ross decreed that employees must be collectively receive an additional $125,000 and that 25 more employees must receive Quality Step Increases.  The decision may prove to the biggest monetary victory in the 30-year history of the Local.

 

Local Offers Federal Guide to Health Plans to Members

November 24, 2014:  NFFE 1998 purchased priviledges for all its members to the Consumer's Checkbook Guide to Federal Health Plans.  Through health insurance open season, members can access the guide by entering their union member number as the sign-in ID and "healthplans" for the password.

 

Employee Dismissal Prompts 2nd San Fran Arbitration

November 18, 2014:  A second Passport Specialist dismissed from the San Francisco Passport Agency was argued at arbitration today.  The two-day hearing delved into the wording in the Foreign Affairs Manual and subjectivity of knowledge errors.

 

Union Fights for Employee's Job

October 22, 2014:  The dismissal of a Passport Specialist was taken before an arbitrator today.  The Union argued that the Knowledge of Adjudication critical element that the agency cited as the basis for dismissal was already ruled unreasonable in prior proceedings.

 

ULP over PRC Card Retention Resolved

October 10, 2014:  The Agency and Union came to terms on a settlement to resolve an Unfair Labor Practice Charge.  The charge concerned the Agency's expansion of its Permanent Resident Alien Card retention program.

 

Agency Agrees to Negotiate Acquisition Review Panel

September 24, 2014:  An Unfair Labor Practice charge was settled, with the agency agreeing to a public announcement.  The ULP was filed by Local 1998 after the Agency instituted changes to its procedures on adjudicating cases where the passport applicant is born overseas, but acquires citizenship at birth based upon U.S. citizenship of a biological parent.

 

Arbitrability Debated Through Written Arguments

September 15, 2014: NFFE President Rob Arnold and Pasport Attorney Robert E. Murphy submitted briefs to Arbitrator Roger Abrams; at issue is whether or not the Union's grievance on the Agency's failure to bargain the office layout of the San Juan is suitable for arbitration.

 

Passport Day Set for September 13th

Members of the public in Atlanta and Minnesota needing passports can apply (with no appointment needed) on Saturday, September 13, 2014. Detroit's Passport Day will be one week earlier, September 6th.

 

Awards Statistics Disputed

August 27, 2014: NFFE General Counsel Stefan Sutich and Passport Services Attorney Robert E. Murphy submitted briefs to Arbitrator Jerome H. Ross concerning appropriate amount of reimbursement for bargaining unit employees harmed by the Agency's failure to provide equitable award amounts in 2010 and 2011. 

 

Settlement Reached on Foreign Affairs Manual Update

July 23 2014: Labor and Management reached agreement on a plan to provide NFFE 1998 an opportunity to bargain over revisions to the S.O.P. concerning two-parent consent procedures.  

 

Settlement Reached on Foreign Affairs Manual Update

July 23 2014: Labor and Management reached agreement on a plan to provide NFFE 1998 an opportunity to bargain over revisions to the S.O.P. concerning two-parent consent procedures.  

 

Grievance Filed Regarding Invalid Production Quota

July 23 2014: Los Angeles Senior Steward Lynette Frowner grieved statements that employees would be poorly rated if they did not achieve the Agency's Applicant Response quota.  The A/R quota has yet to prove workable nearly three years after being announced. 

Manager Behavior Challenged in Detroit

July 23 2014: NFFE 1998 filed a step 2 grievance over inappropriate treatment of an employee at the Detroit Passport Agency.  Edit: this employee soon became one of several Detroit employees to accept jobs elsewhere.  

 

Agency Commits to Provide Information

July 10 2014: An Unfair Labor Practice charge made against the Connecticut Passport Agency for failing to provide complete information was resolved by a signed settlement.  

 

Agency Acknowledges Its Adjudication Violations

July 10 2014: Per the instructions in the June 17 FLRA decision, Passport Services sent out acknowledgements at most offices that it had violated the Labor-Management Relations Statute.  

 

Arbitrator Issues Split Decision on Employee Breaks

July 2, 2014: An arbitrator ordered that Passport Services take steps to prevent further instances of employees receiving less than their full two 15-minute daily breaks.  The decision agreed with the Union that the issue of how breaks from the public counter are accounted for represented a continuing violation, but sided with Management in determining that Detroit employees had not suffered significant harm to date. 

 

Chicago Management Restores Lunch Arrangement

June 19, 2014: After suddenly ending a long-standing local scheduling practice, the Chicago Passport Agency restored the lunch arrangement.  Local 1998 had filed a ULP, charging that the Agency was forcing through its scheduling preferences while in the midst of bargaining the same topic. 

 

New York Finalizes Deal on Schedules

June 18, 2014: Union and Management teams at the New York Passport Agency completed the first negotiated office schedules policy.  The agreement includes unique provisions not seen at other offices. 

 

Judge Rules For Union on Adjudication Changes

June 17, 2014: An FLRA Judge ruled that the Agency violated the Statute when it implemented significant changes to the adjudication requirements without first bargaining with the Union.  The Judge rejected the Agency's arguments that the Union negotiated away its right to bargaining under the wording of the collective bargaining agreement. 

 

Motives Questioned in Supervisor Incident Investigation

June 16, 2014: Local 1998 filed a step 2 grievance today concerning a New Orleans manager's suspect objectivity and belittling behavior towards employees in investigating the violent tirade of a fellow supervisor. 

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Bargaining on New Contract Continues at CPC

May 6, 2014: For the first time in 2014, Union and Management negotiators met in Charleston, SC to continue working towards completion of a new collective bargaining agreement. 

 

Applicant Response Standard Confirmed Not In Effect

May 6, 2014: The Agency confirmed in writing that the Applicant Response and Counter Inspection production quotas are suspended thus far in 2014 and will not be applied retroactively at whatever point they are once again measurable.

 

Local Opposes Mandatory Security Clearance Changes

May 5, 2014: Union and Management met in a mediation session over security clearances.  The two sides were unable to agree on the procedures with which Management would implement the new security clearance requirements. Further information on the issue is available here.

 

Union Still Puzzled on Measurability

May 1, 2014:   Union President Arnold received a call from the Management Labor Relations office in which it was relayed that Applicant Response and Counter Inspection are presently not measurable.  Arnold asked if the information could be confirmed by the agency in an email. 

 

Union Puzzled on Applicant Response Measurability

April 29, 2014:   Management forwarded Local 1998 portions of a document, citing it as a reference on current measurability of the Applicant Response production quota.  The Union asked if the document was from 2013 and thus referred to the 2013 rating period.  Not hearing back, Union added the question to an agenda for a teleconference with Management set for May 1st.  Management cancelled the teleconference.

 

Local 1998 Reps Complete Nationwide Training Session

April 3, 2014:   Dozens of Union officers from across the nation attended a weeklong training session in Placid Harbor, Maryland.  The rare chance to meet face-to-face allowed the group to set negotiation priorities for the bargaining unit.

 

Positions Debated in Unit Clarification Hearing

March 20, 2014:   A two-day hearing will determine whether Management positions are properly part of Local 1998's bargaining unit.  Local President Arnold and Chief Steward Gerald Moore argued that some AFO, Legal Affairs, Facilities Management, and Strategic Planning personnel were improperly excluded from the bargaining unit.

 

MIS Agreement Provides Time To Account For Time

March 14, 2014:   Passport Headquarters and NFFE 1998 National Officials completed negotiation of a new agreement.  The document stresses importance of timely MIS submission and provides .5 hours per week for Specialists to complete it.

 

Employee Mourned in Miami

March 1, 2014:   In a tragic development, Miami Passport Specialist Durron Swain was murdered as he drove in to work for overtime work early Saturday morning.  Our prayers are with his family.

 

Union February ULP Victory #5

February 7, 2014:   Former Vice President Boyd Hinton pursued this appeal for over a year before it produced major results this week.  The Agency agreed to provide comp time off for the denied re-parking hours accummulated over the past year by 13 night shift employees at CPC.  Any other employees affected by local Management's abrupt change in parking policy can still be grieved during the month of February.

 

Union February ULP Victory #4

February 6, 2014:   The Agency settled yet another Unfair Labor Practice charge by pledging to bargain over the PIERS/ACRQ logs (which allow employees to explain their database searches if required to after the fact).

 

Union February ULP Victories #2 and 3

February 6, 2014:   Two Unfair Labor Practice charges filed over refusals to provide data were settled today.  Passport Services will turn over the requested information and email an acknowledgement of its violation to members of the bargaining unit.

 

Union February ULP Victory #1

February 4, 2014:   The Agency settled an Unfair Labor Practice Charge by agreeing to provide Equal Employment mediation/settlement data to the Union.

 

Holiday Season Marked by Numerous Dismissals

January 15, 2014:   The Holiday Season wasn't so happy for some passport employees.  The Agency terminated the employment of numerous people.  Local 1998 filed grievances on three dismissals.

Union Disputes Creative Interpretation of "Malfeasance"

January 3, 2014:   In a final step grievance, Local 1998 charged that Management characterizations of possible employee malfeasance that supervisors should watch for represent an unjustified elevation of penalties, particularly in comparison to the leeway Management grants itself to deviate from policy.

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