AFGE Local 476

Major Topics

Alternative Work Schedules Performance Matters Telework
Child Care Personnel Clearinghouse Weather
Fitness Activities Student Loans Weingarten Rights
Metro Subsidies    

 

Alternative Work Schedules

Our new Collective Bargaining Agreement (2015) discusses alternative work schedules. It includes a section on Maxiflex, which includes compressed work schedules.

HUD's guidance on Alternative Work Schedules is available as a Handbook, Alternative Work Schedule Programs (600.4).

Child Care

Below are the most recent supplements regarding Child Care Subsidy. Subsidies are available for HUD employees whose annual family income is $69,999 or less. The amount of the subsidy can reach up to $630/month depending on income level, cost of child care, and number of children. Supplement 56A was negotiated by Local 476 President Eddie Eitches on behalf of all HUD employees and was signed by management on 29 May 2007. Please read both supplements for more information.

Fitness Center and Fitness Time

Local 476 filed a Demand to Bargain on January 4, 2012, over its proposal to allow up to three hours per week for bargaining unit employees to participate in fitness activities without charge to leave. Read more.

In 2007, the Union had filed a demand to bargain regarding Fitness Center access. In it, the Union requested that Management issue a statement supporting fitness activities for employees, subsidize employee membership in the Fitness Center, and allow up to three hours per week for for bargaining unit employees to participate in fitness activities without charge to leave. Management simply ignored this demand.

In March 2011, Local 476 signed a local supplement with HUD that permits employees to use the Capitol View Building fitness center without charge while they are temporarily reassigned to the Capitol View Building during the Headquarters renovations.

Metro Subsidy

HUD agreed to increase the transit subsidy for employees to $245 per month, the current maximum monthly transit benefit that can be provided tax-free. The announcement comes after many weeks of effort by Council 222 President Eddie Eitches. The increase will be effective April 1, 2013. The authority to increase the tax-free subsidy was announced as part of the fiscal cliff legislation. Other departments and agencies, including Transportation, EPA, State, and DOD, have already increased their transit subsidies to $245/month. The legislation permitted the retroactive application of the increase as far back as January 1, 2012; however, HUD will provide the increase only going forward from April 1.

The transit subsidy increase applies to employees across the country. See the Council's E-Alert for more information.

The Union continues to aggressively pursue authorization to allow transit subsidy money for parking at Metro or commuter lots on official workdays.

Performance Ratings and Awards

Local 476 Objects to Unfair Performance Award Allocations: Local 476 President Eddie Eitches Calls on Secretary Donovan to "Do the Right/Fair Thing"

The Local strongly objects to what Management unilaterally decided. See the awards chart here.

If there is only one pot of money for all awards, Management could have curtailed awards that are being paid to SESers, an average of $10,000 each, by making standards even more stringent to get more than satisfactory. Those funds could be used to pay for more equitable awards for our workers.

We see no reason why those under PACS (managers) receive a higher percentage than those under the EPPES system (workers). Those with the same grade should be paid the same. Why should a GS-11 manager under the PACS system get $130 more for outstanding work than a GS-11 in the EPPES system? That's 17% more!

The Union contract states that the cash award for outstanding ratings may be up to 3% of the entrance grade (step 1) salary for the performance year. See the 2011 salary table here. Management chose to give you far less: only 1.5% for an outstanding and 1% for an excellent rating.

When health care premiums went up and the transit subsidy went down, there was no distinction between grades. The GS-15 and the GS-5 both took hits as high as $4,000, in spite of the difference in their salaries. These cuts call for a flatter performance awards system.

If money is tight, HUD should pull from the SES pool and not distinguish between PACs and EPPES.

Local 476 proposes that HUD should give all those GS-9 and below 3% for an outstanding rating and 2% for an excellent (consistent with the EPPES ratio in management's awards table). Those above GS-9 should be paid 2% for an outstanding rating and 1.33% for an excellent. We are not talking about a lot of money, but we are proposing a much fairer system. Putting aside money for spot awards is not the answer, nor is it fair. Some managers never grant spot awards.

Interest for Delayed Performance Awards

In pay period 11 (June) of 2011, HUD finally paid interest to employees whose performance awards were delayed in 2003, 2004 and 2005. These payments came more than 18 months after a Federal Labor Relations Authority arbitrator issued a decision on a grievance brought by AFGE Council 222. If you did not receive a payment and believe you should have, or have questions about the amount received, please contact Rose Brady, (202) 402-7462. View the decision and award. View the Notice to All Employees regarding the settlement agreement of this matter.

Performance Improvement Plans

Have you received a poor performance evaluation? Has your supervisor mentioned that a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) is being considered as part of an evaluation of your individual work performance? Beware! In the Union's experience, the use of a PIP is often the beginning of the removal or demotion process. A PIP is a serious process, and often involves a performance evaluation that occurs before you can effectively pass the PIP.

Your supervisor may tell you that a PIP is intended as a benefit to help you perform better. All too often, managers promise to provide special assistance to ensure employees succeed during a PIP period, yet the promised assistance never materializes. Instead, employees find themselves facing a potential demotion or removal some months later. There is an extremely high removal and demotion rate once HUD managers initiate a PIP! If you have been placed on a PIP, or have just received a poor performance evaluation, contact the Union immediately!

ePerformance

Below are the most recent Supplements regarding the implementation of ePerformance at HUD.

Personnel Clearinghouse

Local 476 President Eddie Eitches Blames Management for the Failure of the Personnel Clearinghouse Pilot Program in a January 24, 2012, Message to the Bargaining Unit

Sadly, the Clearinghouse has been a complete failure--and the blame rests entirely with management.

Management claims that it has scarce resources. The Clearinghouse provided management with a tool to better allocate those resources, but management has ignored it. The Clearinghouse should have provided an efficient and effective way for employees to move (by permanent reassignment, detail, or rotation) to the most important positions HUD needed to fill.

Our contract supplement was strong and supportive. It has failed because management violated the intent of the agreement by imposing new limits: An employee's current supervisor may prevent the employee from moving to a Clearinghouse position, and a worker may not be reassigned to another series. We have filed an unfair labor practice on these issues and expect to win.

Even more importantly, management has not advertised even one position through the Clearinghouse. Secretary Donovan needs to instruct all Assistant Secretaries and other cylinder heads to advertise the vacancies they are allowed to fill first with the Clearinghouse. We have the talent here. We need a critical mass of about fifty positions to evaluate the Clearinghouse pilot program. Let's put a freeze on outside hiring. Let's put a freeze on management's resistance to new ideas.

Tell Secretary Donovan that "We want to believe in HUD." There is a reason why morale is so low at HUD, and why HUD tied for last place in the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government ranking.

Give us a reason to believe in HUD. Tell Secretary Donovan to force managers to place their vacancies in the Clearinghouse to make this win/win operation a reality.

Space Management

On August 4, 2011, the Union received notice that several OGC Divisions would be moved to the Portals Building until March because of emergency roof repairs. Local 476 responded promptly with a demand to bargain and proposals based on the HUD/Local 476 swing space move agreement related to the Capitol View Building, which includes up to 5-day telework. OGC Management does not want to permit expanded telework. This position is contrary to the policy that management accepted for the Capitol View swing space and to the Department's policy of encouraging telework. OGC is the one entity that does not accept up to five-day telework for those in long term swing space. Management has rejected virtually every proposal we have made to compensate for the work stations that are smaller and less private than those in Headquarters or the Capitol View Building. Read the full text of President Eddie Eitches' e-mail regarding the OGC move to the Portals Building.

Student Loans

Read the 2011 Student Loan Repayment Program. Under this program, HUD may agree to repay by direct payment to the lender (on behalf of the employee) all or part of any outstanding Federally insured student loan or loans. The operation of this program is contingent upon the availability of funds. Each year, HUD typically offers a very short window in which employees may apply for repayment benefits.

graphic of mouse linked to globeTelework

The Union finalized negotiations with HUD over a new telework supplement on March 24, 2011. The supplement provides guidance for implementation of the HUD Telework Handbook 625.1.

These documents enable you to apply to telework up to three days per week, and entitle you to a written explanation if your request is denied .

You are eligible for telework if you have tasks and work activities that are portable, do not require you to be at the traditional worksite, and can be supervised regardless of where you work. Examples of eligible types of work include reviewing grants, reports, and cases; writing decisions or reports; researching and analyzing material; programming, data entry, and word processing, as well as editing and proofreading documents. You may be a good candidate for teleworking if your work does not require you to have daily face-to-face contact with your supervisor, colleagues, clients, or the general public or require you to routinely access classified or other sensitive information/material.

Situational Telework

The HUD Telework Policy also permits employees to telework up to five days per week for "situational telework." Situational telework covers situations such as when the official worksite is not usable during office renovation projects, or if a short-term work assignment is better performed at a site free from interruptions.

What can you do?

Under the Department's telework policy and the telework supplement agreed to by HUD and the Union, you can:

(1) Apply for telework if you don't have a telework agreement now. Complete the Telework Application and Self-Certification Checklist (both are Word files).
(2) Apply to modify your telework agreement to increase the number of days you telework on a scheduled basis (up to three days per week).
(3) Request situational telework if you have a telework agreement in advance of particular days you want to telework.

OPM 2013 Report to Congress: Status of Telework
in the Federal Government

The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 required federal executive agencies to establish a policy authorizing eligible employees to telework, determine eligibility for all of its employees to telework, and notify all agency employees of their eligibility to telework.

The two most common barriers to telework in the federal government are management resistence and information technology/security, according to OPM's report. Sixty-four percent (64%) of nonsupervisory employees do not telework because of a barrier such as management resistence.

Read OPM's Status of Telework in the Federal Government. Search for "Housing and Urban Development" or scan for highlighted sections to see HUD's data.

OPM's report is based on voluntary agency responses to a data call and the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. While much of the report provides cumulative data without attributing specific issues to a particular agency, it does offer a few specific details about HUD:

telework denials

Based on the report, it appears that 5,283 HUD employees have telework agreements, and 2,655 engaged in situational telework in FY 2012. HUD reported only two denials of requests to telework in 2012.

OPM estimated that each employee that teleworks three days per week can save 6,500 miles of commuting travel per year, as well as the corresponding fuel costs, wear and tear on the car, traffic delays, and stress. Telework is good for employees, good for HUD, good for the metro area, and good for the environment. The Union agrees with the report's conclusion that management attitudes are our biggest barrier to implementing telework more effectively.

Situational and emergency telework is good for continuity of operations but it does not respond to the need for regular telework for all eligible employees. Local 476 is working to improve telework benefits for our employees.

Work is not a place. It's what you do.

Weather

OPM has updated its Washington Metro Area Dismissal and Closure Procedures. When OPM announces an early dismissal, departure times will be based on individual schedules. Employees also have the option of requesting unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework for the time prior to their personal early departure times. Last December, OPM announced that unscheduled telework is an option for Federal employees with existing telework agreements when severe weather conditions or other circumstances disrupt commuting.

Weingarten Rights

If management asks you to answer questions that you think may lead to disciplinary action, you have the right to have a Union representative present. Read more about your rights.