Work Schedules (including CWS) 
This webpage includes information regarding work schedules.  Please scroll down for legal authorities and guidance, examples of local work schedule agreements, examples of grievances and other actions taken regarding work schedules, and news stories on work schedules.  

Compressed Work Schedules for Passport Services employees represented by NFFE Local 1998 are governed by Article 26 of the July 3, 2001 Collective Bargaining Agreement, as amended on February 8, 2005 and May 22, 2008.  In addition, Article 25 governs the standard work schedule and Article 38 addresses aspects of the night shift. 

Compressed Work Schedules include the following options: 

  • The 4/10 CWS (aka the "Four Day Workweek") - this involves working four 10 hour days in a week and have one regular day off (RDO) or "zero hour day" 
  • The 5/4-9 CWS - this involves working eight 9 hour days, one 8 hour day, and one regular day off (RDO) 

The creation, termination, and details of CWS are fully negotiable according to the Flexible and Compressed Work Schedule Act of 1982 (5 U.S.C. 6120-6133), FLRA rulings, and OPM guidance (scroll down below).  That means that Management cannot terminate a particular CWS or create a particular CWS without negotiating with the Union.  The negotiations would be substantive in nature, meaning the parties would bargain over the decision of whether or not to create or terminate a particular CWS, as opposed to the procedures and arrangements bargaining (also called "I&I" for impact and implementation) that is connected to the implementation of a Management Right.  

Looking at the example at the Seattle Passport Agency in 2003-2004 (scroll down below), Management proposed to terminate three particular CWS (for example, a 5/4-9 CWS that started at 6:30 AM) and move the affected employees to a different CWS that started half an hour later.  Management cited the 5 U.S.C. 7106 Management Rights (including the right to determine internal security practices and to set tours of duty) as the basis declaring the Union's proposal to "retain the status quo" as nonnegotiable and to subsequently unilaterally implement the change.  However, the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) ruled in 60 FLRA No. 34 that the Union's proposals - including the proposal to maintain the status quo (of keeping the 6:30 AM and other CWS) was fully negotiable and that the Management Rights provisions were no basis for refusing to negotiate substantively over the proposal to terminate the particular CWS.  

Because CWS are fully negotiable, that also means that Management is obligated to bargain over a Union proposal to create a new CWS.  Looking at the example of the Houston Passport Agency in 2001 and the New Orleans Passport Agency in 2008, the Union proposed to create a 5/4-9 CWS in Houston and a 4/10 CWS in New Orleans.  Management is required to meet and negotiate over the Union's proposals.  Looking at the example of the Washington Passport Agency in 2007-2008, employees cannot be forced to work a CWS unless it is specified within a collective bargaining agreement.  

In addition, because CWS are fully negotiable, Management cannot dictate the details of the particular CWS that are allowed.  So if the Union proposes to have two 4/10 CWS - one running from 7:00 PM to 5:30 AM and the other running from 6:45 PM to 5:30 AM - but Management desires to only have one CWS, then the parties must jointly agree on the final decision.  

If Management unilaterally implements a particular CWS and forces employees to work it, or if Management unilaterally terminates a particular CWS (e.g., a 4/10 CWS starting at 7:00 PM and ending at 5:30 AM) and forces employees off of it - without bargaining with and reaching agreement with the Union - then Management would have violated the law and the contract (and the Union could file a grievance or Unfair Labor Practice charge).  If Management and the Union bargain to an impasse over whether to create or terminate a particular CWS, then either party can take the matter to the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP).  If Management can prove to the FSIP that a particular CWS is causing an "adverse agency impact" (e.g., an increase in cost of agency operations other than a reasonable administrative cost relating to establishing a CWS), then the FSIP will order the schedule terminated.  If a particular CWS is proposed by the Union is not yet in existence, but Management can prove to the FSIP that it would cause an adverse impact, then the FSIP would order that it not be established.  


 Legal Authorities/Guidance 

5 USC 61 - Flexible & Compressed Work Schedules

OPM - Negotiating Flexible and Compressed Work Schedules
OPM - Handbook on Alternative Work Schedules

FLRA Negotiability Ruling - 60 FLRA No. 34

 Local Work Schedule Agreements, Negotiations, and Problem Resolution 
Seattle Passport Agency 
10-08-2008: Seattle Work Schedules Agreement  


Arbitration Settlement Agreement
Seattle Work Schedules Agreement
10-26-2004:  Union Opening Statement for Arbitration

10-06-2004:  Seattle Response to Settlement Agreement
10-06-2004:  Proposed Settlement Agreement (Proposed by the Union)
03-11-2004:  Management Rebuttal of Union's Arbitration Brief
03-11-2004:  Union Rebuttal of Management's Arbitration Brief
02-26-2004:  Management Arbitration Brief
02-26-2004:  Union Arbitration Brief
09-23-2003:  Arbitration Request
08-25-2003:  Management Response to Grievance
07-25-2003:  Union Grievance: Work Schedules
07-01-2003:  E-Mail from Seattle Union Negotiator to Regional Director
09-05-2001:  Seattle Work Schedules Agreement

Negotiability Appeal

08-17-2004:  FLRA Negotiability Ruling - 60 FLRA No. 34

12-10-2003:  Management Response on Negotiability Appeal
11-21-2003:  Union Position Statement on Negotiability Appeal
11-06-2003:  Management Position Statement on Negotiability Appeal
07-23-2003:  Union Negotiability Appeal: Work Schedules

Colorado Passport Agency 

06-17-2008: Colorado Work Schedules Agreement  

Philadelphia Passport Agency 

08-31-2004:  FLRA Dismissal of ULP
Unfair Labor Practice Charge

Houston Passport Agency 

10-17-2001:  Houston Work Schedules Agreement

CWS Implementation (Step 1 Grievance)
CWS Implementation (Informal Grievance)

New Orleans Passport Agency 

11-28-2008:  New Orleans Work Schedules Addendum
10-08-2008:  New Orleans Work Schedules Agreement

07-06-2000:  New Orleans Work Schedules Agreement

Washington (DC) Passport Agency 

05-22-2008:  Grievance Settlement Agreement  
Forced Participation on 4/10 CWS w/Night Shift (Step 3 Grievance)
05-01-2006:  Washington Regional UMC Work Schedules Agreement
(NOTE: some terms of the Washington DC agreement need to be updated in accordance with the 5-22-2008 settlement) 

National Passport Center

01-19-2007:  Forced Removal From CWS (Step 3 Grievance) 



  News stories about work schedules

Four Day Workweek option added at New Orleans Passport Agency 

November 23, 2008: The Union and Management at the New Orleans Passport Agency agreed to implement a new work schedules agreement that included, for the first time ever, the 4/10 Compressed Work Schedule (CWS).  The 4/10 CWS involves employees working four ten hour days each week, with one day off.  In this initial agreement up to nine employees may participate in the schedule.  Senior Steward Debra Reese-Jolly and Union Stewards Yvonne Smith, Jeanette Triplett, and Donald Roberts led the effort to increase the work schedule options for employees.  

More night shift employees moved to day shift
June 23, 2008: In addition to the 9 employees at the Washington (DC) Passport Agency moved to the day shift as a result of the settlement of the Union's October 2007 grievance, 19 employees at the National Passport Center (Portsmouth, NH) were moved today to the day shift.  

Night shift grievance settled; 9 employees moved to day shift; new contract article created
May 22, 2008: The Grievance initially filed by the Union on October 29, 2007 after Management at the Washington (DC) Passport Agency (PPT/WN) forced new employees to move to the night shift has been amicably settled.  The Union had invoked arbitration on February 15, 2008, but the hearing has been cancelled.  NFFE Local 1998 Union President Colin Walle and Vice President Mike Garofano signed a Settlement Agreement with Department of State and Passport Services officials.  As a result of the settlement, 9 employees at PPT/WN will move to the day shift, effective Monday, May 26th.  Also, employees on the night/second shift anywhere in Passport Services nationwide who were not given fair notice of the requirement to work the night shift prior to be hiring, or who had volunteered for night (assuming they could return to day shift), have until 8:00 PM local time on June 13th to email their supervisors that they desire to return to day shift.  Those employees will be moved back to day shift by August 12th, though delays in construction at the National Passport Center (Portsmouth, NH), the Charleston (SC) Passport Center, and the Chicago Passport Agency may move that timetable back for those three offices.  Moving from night shift to day shift (and day shift to night shift) is henceforth governed by an amendment (a new Article 38) added to the collective bargaining agreement as part of the settlement.  

Union invokes arbitration over schedules dispute
February 15, 2008: NFFE Local 1998 invoked arbitration over the work schedules grievance filed at the Washington, DC Passport Agency.  New employees were forced to work the 4/10 Compressed Work Schedule and work the night shift, in violation of the Article 26 contractual requirement that participation in those schedules is "voluntary".  The Union requested a panel of arbitrators from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and already received the list.  

Forced CWS/night shift grievance continues 
January 15, 2008: NFFE Local 1998 filed a Step 3 Grievance with Passport Services HQ regarding the decision to force new employees to work a 4/10 Compressed Work Schedule on the night shift at the Washington, DC Passport Agency.  

Management denies grievance regarding 2nd shift at Washington, DC Passport Agency 
November 29, 2007: Passport Services Management rejected the Union's grievance that was filed to contest the decision to force new employees at the Washington, DC Passport Agency to work a night shift, including a 4/10 compressed work schedule.  

CWS Continues During Holidays 
December 22, 2006: Management at PPT/LA granted the Union's requested relief in a Step 1 Formal Grievance filed the day before and did not suspend the compressed work schedule for the holidays. 

Union Challenges CWS Removal 
December 22, 2006: The Union filed a Step 2 Formal Grievance for an employee who had been removed from the Compressed Work Schedule for 2 pay periods, and who had to use 16 hours of annual leave as a result. The grievance also addressed recording 3 adjudication days as non-measurable. 

Grievance Filed over Removal from CWS
October 30, 2006: The Union filed a grievance after Management removed an employee from his compressed work schedule (CWS) for allegedly not demonstrating consistent performance at the fully successful numerical adjudication standards.  

Work Schedules Dispute Settled
December 2, 2004: The long running work schedules dispute at the Seattle Passport Agency ended  ended when DAS Frank Moss signed the settlement agreement with the Union. The parties had already held a three-day Arbitration from October 26-28 and had scheduled another from December 1-3, but that latter session has now been cancelled. This dispute was triggered by Management's July 28, 2003 unilateral changes to the Seattle Work Schedule Agreement, including the termination of three compressed work schedules. As part of the settlement, Management will honor a re-negotiated local agreement which returns 10 of the 12 affected employees to their original schedules. The other 2 employees will have a CWS that starts at 6:45AM - a compromise from the 6:30AM they formerly had, and the 7:00AM that they currently work. Management will all pay all of the costs of the Arbitration. This outcome, coupled with the Negotiability Appeal that was decided by the FLRA in the Union's favor, signals a significant reaffirmation that the law and the contract - including local work schedule agreements - must be honored.

NFFE Legal Update Re: Local 1998 FLRA Ruling
September 8, 2004: NFFE National General Counsel included the decision by the FLRA in favor of Local 1998 in the Legal Update e-mailed to all NFFE locals.
Click here for Legal Update

FLRA Rules For Union in Negotiability Appeal
August 23, 2004: The Federal Labor Relations Authority ruled on August 17
th that the Union's proposals, including the proposal to "maintain the status quo", are negotiable and that Management is obligated to bargain with the Union.  The Union's proposals were submitted in response to Management's plan to terminate three of eight compressed work schedule options at the Seattle Passport Agency.
Click here for Decision & Order

FLRA Rules Against Union in ULP
August 23, 2004: The Federal Labor Relations Authority informed the Union that it is going to dismiss the ULP charge filed against the Philadelphia Passport Agency.  The Union had filed the ULP on the basis that formal, written notification of the change was not provided, but the FLRA found that the Management had provided sufficient verbal notification to the Union representatives in advance of the change.  The Union is considering other options to attempt to help the employees return to their original schedules.
Click here for Decision

FLRA Interviews Union Rep Re: ULP at PPT/PA
July 16, 2004: An FLRA investigator interviewed Philadelphia Passport Agency Union VP Sharlene Dandridge regarding the Unfair Labor Practice charge that the Union filed after Management unilaterally changed the arrival times of 15 employees.

ULP Filed Over Schedule Change in Philadelphia
May 20, 2004: The Union filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge (ULP) against Management for changing the arrival times of
fifteen current bargaining unit employees at the Philadelphia Passport Agency in January of this year.
Unfair Labor Practice Charge

Arbitration Hearing Postponed; Management Violates Contract (Again)
May 5, 2004: NFFE Business Representative Steve Flory visits the Seattle Passport Agency to help prepare for the upcoming arbitration case concerning work schedules that was scheduled for May 19
th.  That hearing has been postponed, and has also been lengthened from one to three days.  Management notified the Union after Mr. Flory had already left on his journey to Seattle that employees would not be allowed to meet with the Union Representatives on official time in order to be interviewed as potential witnesses.  The Union subsequently filed a grievance over this and other violations of the official time article in the contract. 
Official Time Grievance

Local 1998 Files Arbitration Brief
On February 26, 2004: Local 1998 filed a brief with the arbitrator over issues related to the schedule change in Seattle.
Arbitration Brief

Negotiability Appeal Pending With FLRA
December 10, 2003: Management responds to the Union's November 21st Position Statement in regard to the Union's Negotiability Appeal filed in response to the elimination of Compressed Work Schedules starting prior to 7:00 AM at the Seattle Passport Agency. The Union invoked arbitration over Management's denial of the grievance, and that will probably take place in February 2004.

Management In Seattle Fails To Honor Time Schedule Agreement, Appeal Filed With FLRA - Arbitration Invoked Over Related Issues
July 28, 2003: Ffourteen government employees were forced by management to change their start times after union/management talks failed to achieve agreement over management proposed changes on time schedules.  According to Article 26, Agreement between Local 1998 and Passport Services, the status quo on schedules will remain in place unless the parties agree on the change.  After Union/Management Council discussions and negotiations, the parties were unable to come to an agreement over the proposed change.  Rather than pursue appropriate impasse proceedings, management simply declared the issue non-negotiable and unilaterally forced the change.  Fourteen Seattle Passport employees were forced to change their schedules because management was unwilling to live up to the contract.  On July 23rd, Local 1998 filed a negotiability appeal with the FLRA.  On July 25th, Local 1998 filed a grievance over management's failure to abide by the provisions of Article 12 of the Agreement concerning negotiations.  Management has agreed to mediation over this issue which is scheduled in September in Seattle.