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Congratulations to Our Newly Elected Officers

AFGE Local 476

Cynthia Carter
Local 476
Cynthia Carter

President: Cynthia Carter

First Vice President: Ashaki Robinson

Second Vice President: Antonio Carraway

Treasurer: Monique Biggs

Secretary: Rodney Rose

Delegates: Chris Mclennon, Jerry Gross, and Kimberly David

Alternate Delegates: Ingrid Brown, Dinorah Nino and Saad Akhdar

AFGE Council 222 of HUD Locals

President: Sal Viola

Executive Vice President: Lorraine Chambers

Treasurer: Lateefah Milton

Secretary: Kimberly Horton

Congratulations to all! Officers and delegates serve a three-year term. Although elections are usually held in August, they were delayed due to the pandemic until January this year.

Proposed Legislation Benefits Federal Workers

Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, Committee on Armed Services Chairman Adam Smith, Committee on Appropriations Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro, Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus Jackie Speier, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, Rep. Don Beyer, and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced a bill on January 28 that would give federal workers 12 weeks of paid leave for personal illness, illness of a family member, or military deployment. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) currently allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for those reasons. The bill is known as "Comprehensive Paid Leave for Federal Workers Act."

On February 7, 2021, Rep. Gerald Connolly introduced a proposal calling for a 3.2% raise for most federal workers in 2022. The raise would include a 2.2% increase in basic pay plus a 1% increase in locality pay. Sen. Brian Schatz proposed a similar bill in the Senate.

Reps. Connolly and Beyer both represent districts in Northern Virginia, and Congresswoman Norton is a non-voting representative of the District of Columbia. AFGE Local 476, which has numerous members in their districts, appreciates their longstanding support of federal employees.

President Biden Appoints Ernest DuBester as Chairman of FLRA

FLRA Chairman Ernest DuBester

On January 21, 2021, one day after his inauguration, President Biden announced his selection of Ernest DuBester as the chairman of the Federal Labor Relations Authority, which governs labor-management relations and often decides disputes between unions and agency management. The designation is not subject to Senate confirmation.

Chairman DuBester has served as a member of the three-person FLRA panel for about 12 years, and previously served as chairman twice, for a few months each time. Over the last four years, many of the decisions issued by the fiercely anti-labor-dominated panel concluded with "Member DuBester dissenting." The decisions in thoose cases, according to Government Executive, did not understand the federal labor management statute, "eroding fundamental rights in the area of collective bargaining."

Chairman DuBester has already voluntarily recognized the FLRA's own union, which his predecessor, Colleen Duffy Kiko, decertified in 2018. The remaining Republicans, one of whose term has expired but has not yet been replaced by President Biden, contested that decision.

AFGE Local 476 joins AFGE National in applauding the selection of Chairman DuBester, and thanks Chairman DuBester for his fortitude over the past four years.

Resignations Demanded of All FSIP Members

President Biden has demanded the resignations of all ten members of the Federal Services Impasses Panel, according to the Government Executive. The FSIP, part of the Federal Labor Relations Authority, resolves impasses in contract negotiations between agencies and unions. The FSIP can impose binding contract terms on federal agencies and labor unions. All of the FSIP's members are appointed by the president. They usually serve set terms, but do not require Senate confirmation.

The previous administration had appointed fiercely anti-labor advocates, "most of whom lacked experience in labor-management relations or conflict resolution," as the Government Executive reported. The FSIP, over the last four years, supported agencies' efforts—including HUD's—to implement the three anti-labor executive orders, imposing contract terms that severely restricting union officials’ access to official time, reduced employee rights, and removed language regarding benefits such as telework.

Scales of justice


Court Rejects Attempt to Dismiss AFGE/Council 222 Lawsuit

On June 22, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia June denied a motion by the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) that sought to dismiss a lawsuit filed by AFGE on behalf of Council 222 of HUD Locals. AFGE's lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of appointments to the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP).

AFGE explains that agencies have declared bargaining impasses "in a rush to send the cases to the stacked FSIP. These actions have resulted in FSIP rubber-stamping anti-worker proposals from agencies."

Council 222 and HUD have been renegotiating our term contract. We have been unable to reach agreement on a number of articles, which are now before the FSIP. Both Council 222 and HUD have provided the FSIP with arguments in favor of their positions and now await the FSIP's decision on whose language will be imposed.

The case before the D.C. District Court argues that the way FSIP members are appointed violates the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution because FSIP members wield substantial power over federal sector labor relations but are not appointed "with the advice and consent of the Senate." The National Veterans Affairs Council and Social Security Administration Council have filed similar challenges.

FLRA Finds HUD Committed Unfair Labor Practice

In a March 6, 2020, decision, the Federal Labor Relations Authority agreed with an arbitrator that HUD committed an unfair labor practice by failing to provide information requested by the Union. The Union had requested information about travel expenses related to negotiations. The arbitrator held that the Union showed a particularized need for its requests in spite of HUD's arguments to the contrary. HUD argued to the FLRA that the Union's information request became moot because it involved a provision that was no longer under contention. The FLRA disagreed with HUD, saying "the Union's information request is not moot because the disclosure of the information pertains to an ongoing ULP [unfair labor practice] that may recur." Read the FLRA's decision.

President Biden Signs Executive Orders Protecting Federal Employee Rights

President Biden signs executive orders while Vice President Harris looks on. Photo by Anna Moneymaker for the New York Times
Photo by Anna Moneymaker for the New York Times

On January 22, 2021, before his first week in office ended, President Biden signed an executive order repealing numerous anti-federal employee executive orders issued by his predecessor. Among the orders repealed were three 2018 executive orders that interfered with collective bargaining, nearly eliminated official time to prevent unions from representing federal employees, and prioritized employee firings and discipline. The new executive order also repealed Schedule F, which was created last October in an attempt to politicize the civil service.

AFGE Local 476 applauds President Biden for his new executive order, which begins:

Career civil servants are the backbone of the Federal workforce, providing the expertise and experience necessary for the critical functioning of the Federal Government. It is the policy of the United States to protect, empower, and rebuild the career Federal workforce. It is also the policy of the United States to encourage union organizing and collective bargaining. The Federal Government should serve as a model employer.

President Biden also reversed President Trump’s ban on the use of federal funds for diversity and inclusion training programs for federal employees and the employees of federal contractors.

Among the changes ordered by President Biden was the revocation of Trump's prohibition against the settlement of individual workplace disputes through adjustments to an employee’s personnel file. Such changes often were used to the advantage of both parties in order to quickly settle matters such as unfair reprimands and claims of discrimination or retaliation that would otherwise have involved lengthy and costly cases before administrative judges, the Merit Systems Protection Board or the EEOC, and federal courts.

AFGE National thanked the President for taking swift and decisive action to protect the federal workforce, noting that the repealed 2018 executive orders "were a direct assault on the legal rights and protections that Congress has specifically guaranteed to the 2 million public-sector employees across the country who work for the federal government."

AFGE President Everett Kelley said, "This is a new day of hope for federal workers, our union, and the American people we serve," commending President Biden’s restoration of "workplace rights and protections for federal employees, along with his commitment to partner with labor unions."

AFGE Local 476 hopes that this signals a new, positive relationship with HUD's management and looks forward to working with the new administration.


HUD Finally Mandates Telework in Delayed Response to COVID-19

Late at night on March 18, a full week after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic and days after President Trump declared a national emergency, HUD emailed employees to announce mandatory telework for almost all employees.

Here's what you need to know:

  • The directive is effective Friday, March 20.
  • It applies to all personnel who are telework ready or telework eligible.
  • You do not need to have a telework agreement in place.
  • The work you perform at home can be ANY work, not just your usual assignments.
  • Supervisors will identify employees who are not telework eligible and have to report to the office to perform mission-essential work.
  • Employees who are neither telework eligible nor required to be physically present in the office will be placed on administrative leave.

For more information, see the email sent by the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration, Chad Cowen, and the information on Telework Guidance for COVID-19, Telework Readiness, and Helpful HUD Phone Numbers.

AFGE Cautions Lawmakers Against Premature Reopening

On June 25, 2020, AFGE Public Policy Director Jacqueline Simon provided a statement to the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations during a hearing that examined how the government can protect federal employees while continuing operations and providing vital resources to the public. Ms. Simon cautioned lawmakers against prematurely reopening federal worksites.

Danger Ahead on roadblock

“We need testing, social distancing, and contact tracing so new outbreaks can be identified and everyone who has been exposed can be quarantined,” Simon said in her prepared statement. “A premature end of these measures is a guarantee of resurgence and a guarantee that thousands more will suffer and die.”

AFGE sent a letter on April 22 to the Office of Management and Budget detailing six preconditions that should be met before offices are re-opened:

  • Universal testing for COVID-19,
  • Using science-based and objective standards for the safe return to worksites,
  • Treating all workers equally in terms of their risk of exposure,
  • Full compliance with OSHA and CDC guidelines and adequate protective supplies at all worksites,
  • Removal of symptomatic employees and those reporting contact with infected workers, and
  • Compliance with any and all bargaining obligations.

AFGE President Everett Kelley rebuked the administration for issuing governmentwide guidance on reopening federal worksites "that is both pre-mature and imprudent.” Kelley stated, “These guidelines would, if implemented too soon, worsen the crisis, and unnecessarily expose millions of Americans to illness and potentially, to death."

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Backlog Grows at EEOC

Employees who want to take their discrimination complaints to the EEOC are going to have to wait in line for a long time before their cases are heard, according to the Government Standard. The AFGE publication reports that sexual harassment claims were up 13.6 percent in 2018 at the same time that the EEOC’s workforce dropped below 2,000 employees for the first time since before 1980. President Trump’s proposed budget for FY 2020 would slash the EEOC’s budget by another $23.7 million and cut staff by 180 more positions, including mediators, judges, intake representatives, and 50 investigators.