purpose of this webpage is to provide information and
resources for NFFE Local 1998 Union Stewards. To the
left are a number of useful links - an explanation of each
link is below. To the right are links to other pages
STEWARD MANUAL: The main resource for Union Stewards is the NFFE Local 1998 Steward Manual (pictured at left). This 18-chapter self-study guide is produced by NFFE Local 1998 and provides instructions, guidance, policy, and exemplars for the use of Union representatives. Unlike the Master Agreement, which was negotiated by the Union and Management together, the Steward Manual was created solely by the Union.
The link is password protected, per NFFE National policy. To obtain access, contact the Local 1998 national level Union officers.
STEWARDS TOOLKIT: NFFE National has a "Stewards Toolkit" that has numerous resources available to Union Stewards. This site is password protected.
The toolkit has examples of grievances and cases for Union Stewards to use. The toolkit examples are generic for federal employees across all agencies and departments.
MASTER AGREEMENT: The July 20, 2009 Master Agreement between Passport Services and NFFE Local 1998 is the collective bargaining agreement between the Union and Management. Unlike the Steward Manual, the Master Agreement was not created solely by the Union. It is the product of negotiations between the Union and Management that started in late 2005 and ended, in its entirety, in August 2009.
The provisions of the Master Agreement are binding. They are not optional. Violations of the Master Agreement can be grieved, in accordance with the negotiated grievance procedure (Article 20). If the grievance process does not resolve a dispute, then the Union may invoke the arbitration process.
Union Stewards may use official time to review the Master Agreement - see Article 7, Section 5c.
All new employees are entitled to 4 hours of official time to review the Master Agreement, per a November 7, 2007 Memorandum of Understanding.
WINPISINGER CENTER: The IAMAW's William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center is located in Hollywood, Maryland (Placid Harbor).
Article 11, Section 1 of the Master Agreement provides that all NFFE Local 1998 Union representatives may use up to 40 hours of administrative leave per year to attend training. The Winpisinger Center is the primary site where representatives are sent for training. Union reps must work with the Local 1998 Training Coordinator before enrolling in courses. Courses often taken by NFFE Local 1998 Union Stewards including the Leadership series (four one-week classes, one per year), the Federal Employees Seminar, and the Federal Sector Collective Bargaining course.
FSLMRS: The Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Status is codified as Title 5, United States Code, Chapter 71 (5 U.S.C. 71). This is the law government labor-management relations. This is the statutory basis for the collective bargaining agreement, the Federal Labor Relations Authority, the Unfair Labor Practice and Negotiability Appeal processes, the certification of labor organizations in the federal sector, and much more.
All Union representatives should read and be familiar with 5 U.S.C. 71. Official time may be used for researching 5 U.S.C. 71 - see Article 7, Section 5c of the Master Agreement.
Management Rights are listed in 5 U.S.C. 7106(a) - but the important point for Union Stewards is to understand that the Management Rights listed in 7106(a) are subject to - "subordinate to" (per 51 FLRA No. 36) - the procedures and appropriate arrangements that the unions may negotiate with Management, which is required by 7106(b)(2) and (b)(3). If Management implements a change or takes an action without bargaining with the Union, then that is potentially an Unfair Labor Practice.
FLRA: The Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) is made up of these parts, which handle the following tasks:
1) The Authority - resolves negotiability appeals, exceptions (appeals) of arbitration decisions, and appeals of Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) decisions on Unfair Labor Practice charges
2) The Federal Service Impasses Panel - resolves impasses between the Union and Management (when the parties have bargained over a subject but have not reached agreement)
3) The General Counsel - prosecutes ULP charges, which are originally investigated by the regional offices
4) Regional FLRA Offices - investigate ULP charges, representation/clarification of unit appeals, and other issues
ULP charges and Negotiability Appeals are handled by the nationwide Union representatives. Consult Chapter 10 of the NFFE Local 1998 Steward Manual. The Union may file a ULP or a grievance over a violation of 5 U.S.C. 71, but not both.
MSPB: The Merit Systems Protection Board handles statutory appeals such as adverse actions, reductions in force (RIF's), equal employment opportunity (EEO) complaints, and classification appeals.
On April 12, 2010, the Union and Management resolved a grievance filed by the Union over the use of official time for MSPB representation. Union Stewards may use the official time from Article 7 to assist employees on MSPB appeals.
Union Stewards work with the nationwide Union representatives to handle MSPB appeals. Consult Chapter 11 of the NFFE Local 1998 Steward Manual. Employees can file an MSPB appeal or a grievance, but not both.
OSC: The Office of Special Counsel handles whistleblower protection issues, potential Hatch Act violations, and complaints dealing with prohibited personnel practices (PPP). The PPP include taking, or threatening to take (or failing to take, or threatening to fail to take) a personnel action in response to a grievance or complaint. The OSC can refer a complaint to an agency but, if the agency does not take appropriate action, the OSC can take action itself.
The OSC also issues Hatch Act Advisory Opinions, including this one issued at the request of NFFE Local 1998 regarding writing letters to the U.S. Congress regarding concerns over the integrity of the passport issuance process.
Consult Chapter 11 of the NFFE Local 1998 Steward Manual. Employees can file an OSC complaint or a grievance, but not both.
OSHA: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration addresses safety and health violations, as well as ergonomic issues.
EEOC: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigates complaints of discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age. Union Stewards should read Article 17 of the Master Agreement and consult with Chapter 11 of the NFFE Local 1998 Steward Manual.
The Union must be invited to attend formal meetings during the EEO process.
Employees can file an EEO claim or a grievance, but not both.