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  • NCFLL Contract

    U.S. Department of Labor

    and

    National Council of Field Labor

    Locals

    AFGE, AFL-CIO

    Effective October 1, 2012

    Preamble

    This Agreement between the United States Department of Labor

    and the National Council of Field Labor Locals comes on the 50th

    Anniversary of Executive Order 10988, signed by President John

    F. Kennedy, granting collective bargaining rights to federal employees.

    Ours is the longest standing institutional relationship in the

    Department and we believe that the evolution of this progressive

    National Agreement honors the vision of that historic moment.

    Positive labor-management relations are a priority and a necessity

    for our success as an agency. The Department recognizes that our

    dedicated employees are indispensable to the effective conduct of

    our mission. Their full support - and a constructive working relationship

    with their union - is essential to the achievement of our goals.

    We share a desire that the Department serve as the model employer

    for America. We hope that our mutual respect for the collective

    bargaining process - by which this Agreement was forged - will

    set an example at every work site to promote a simple and just

    means for resolving disputes and to provide an effective mechanism

    for articulating employee concerns through their Union.

    We are committed to building a family-friendly workplace that

    achieves the necessary balance between our work and our family

    obligations - a critical component of attracting and retaining the

    talent we need to perform our important mission. And above all,

    we intend to maintain a safe, healthy, and quality workplace, and

    to help create an atmosphere where employees are treated fairly

    and equitably, respect one another, and work together to fulfill the

    promise and accomplish the mission of the United States Department

    of Labor.

    Table of Contents • iii

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Article 1 – Coverage and Recognition ................................... 1

    Section 1 – Recognition...............................................................................1

    Section 2 – Coverage...................................................................................2

    Section 3 – Exclusions from Coverage.........................................................2

    Section 4 – Coverage of Agreement.............................................................2

    Section 5 – Unit Clarification........................................................................2

    Section 6 – Employee Orientation................................................................3

    Section 7 – Bargaining Unit Lists.................................................................3

    Article 2 – Governing Laws and Regulations ............................ 4

    Section 1 – Precedence of Laws and Regulations........................................4

    Section 2 – Prescribing Regulations............................................................4

    Section 3 – Agreement Governs...................................................................4

    Section 4 – Mandated Changes of Agreement or Regulation.......................4

    Section 5 – Management Proposals for Change During the Term of the

    Agreement...................................................................................................5

    Section 6 – Past Practices...........................................................................6

    Article 3 – Labor-Management Relations Commites............... 6

    Section 1 – Purpose and Function...............................................................6

    Section 2 – Labor-Management Relations Committee Meetings..................6

    Section 3 – Coordination of Regional LMR Committee Meetings.................7

    Section 4 – National Meetings.....................................................................8

    Article 4 – Midterm Bargaining............................................ 9

    Section 1 – National Bargaining...................................................................9

    Section 2 – Regional Bargaining................................................................10

    Article 5 – Rights of Employees.......................................... 12

    Section 1 – General....................................................................................12

    Section 2 – Employee Right to Participate.................................................12

    Section 3 – Employee Concerns.................................................................12

    Section 4 – Employee Right to Grieve........................................................12

    Section 5 – Employee Membership............................................................13

    Section 6 – No Discrimination...................................................................13

    Section 7 – Unit Employee Right to Representation...................................13

    Article 6 – NCFLL Stewards................................................. 14

    Section 1 – Designation of Stewards.........................................................14

    Section 2 – Allocation of Stewards............................................................14

    Section 3 – Notification to Management and Posting ...............................15

    Article 7 – Regional and National Union Officials.................. 15

    Section 1 – Regional NCFLL Officials.........................................................15

    Section 2 – National NCFLL Officials..........................................................15

    iv • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    Article 8 – Official Time and Travel Expenses ...................... 16

    Section 1 – General....................................................................................16

    Section 2 – Official Time for Stewards and NCFLL Officials.......................16

    Section 3 – Official Time for Bargaining Unit Employees...........................18

    Section 4 – Definition of Reasonable Amount of Time...............................18

    Section 5 – Use of Official Time: Check-Out, Check-In...............................19

    Section 6 – NCFLL National Officials..........................................................20

    Section 7 – Travel Expenses.......................................................................20

    Article 9 – Use of Official Facilities.................................... 21

    Section 1 – Bulletin Boards .......................................................................21

    Section 2 – Distribution ............................................................................22

    Section 3 – Meeting Rooms ......................................................................22

    Section 4 – Telecommunications Equipment and Systems .......................22

    Section 5 – Use of Government Mail .........................................................23

    Section 6 – Office Equipment ....................................................................23

    Section 7 – Telephone Listings .................................................................24

    Section 8 – Office Space Privacy for NCFLL Executive Committee.............24

    Section 9 – Identification of Equipment and New Technology....................24

    Article 10 – Dues Withholding ............................................ 24

    Section 1 – Eligibility..................................................................................24

    Section 2 – Procedure for Authorizing Dues Withholding..........................25

    Section 3 – Automatic Continuation of Dues Withholding..........................25

    Section 4 – Revocation or Termination of Dues Withholding.....................26

    Section 5 – Changes in Dues Structure......................................................27

    Section 6 – Remittance to the NCFLL and Cost of Service ........................27

    Section 7 – Correction of Errors................................................................27

    Section 8 – Duration of Dues Withholding Article......................................28

    Article 11 – Space Management.......................................... 28

    Section 1 – Informal Process.....................................................................28

    Section 2 – Formal Process.......................................................................29

    Section 3 – Rights of NCFLL Representatives and Stewards.....................29

    Section 4 – Information.............................................................................29

    Section 5 – Workspace..............................................................................30

    Article 12 – Performance Based Actions.............................. 30

    Section 1 – General ...................................................................................30

    Section 2 – Initial Procedure .....................................................................30

    Section 3 – Notice of Proposed Action.......................................................30

    Section 4 – Notice of Decision...................................................................31

    Article 13 – Disciplinary Actions........................................ 31

    Section 1 – General....................................................................................31

    Section 2 – Procedures for Suspension.....................................................32

    Table of Contents • v

    Section 3 – Grievance/Arbitration Rights...................................................33

    Section 4 – Evidence..................................................................................33

    Section 5 – Exception to Disciplinary Action Appeals................................34

    Article 14 – Adverse Actions.............................................. 34

    Section 1 – General ...................................................................................34

    Section 2 – Written Notice ........................................................................34

    Section 3 – Evidence .................................................................................35

    Section 4 – Notice of Decision ..................................................................35

    Section 5 – Records Retention ..................................................................36

    Article 15 – Grievance Procedure....................................... 36

    Section 1 – Purpose ..................................................................................36

    Section 2 – Definition of a Grievance (Coverage and Scope).....................37

    Section 3 – Exclusive Procedure ...............................................................38

    Section 4 – Representation .......................................................................39

    Section 5 – Who May Initiate Grievance ....................................................39

    Section 6 – Grievance Form ......................................................................40

    Section 7 – General Procedures.................................................................41

    Section 8 – Failure to Meet Requirements ................................................45

    Section 9 – Modification of Procedures.....................................................45

    Section 10 – Statement of Grievability.......................................................46

    Article 16 – Arbitration .................................................... 46

    Section 1 – Selection of Arbitrators...........................................................46

    Section 2 – Cost of Arbitrator Fees and Travel Expenses...........................47

    Section 3 – Scheduling, Date and Site of Arbitration Hearing....................47

    Section 4 – Official Time and Expenses ....................................................48

    Section 5 – Witnesses................................................................................49

    Section 6 – Authority of Arbitrator.............................................................49

    Section 7 – Grievability/Arbitrability Decisions...........................................50

    Section 8 – Time Limits.............................................................................50

    Section 9 – Stipulations of Fact .................................................................50

    Section 10 – Hearing Process....................................................................50

    Section 11 – Review of Outstanding Arbitration Cases .............................51

    Article 17 – Alte rnati ve Dispute Resolution (ADR).................. 51

    Article 18 – Equal Pay for Equal Work –

    Position Clasification ...................................................... 52

    Section 1 – Equal Pay for Equal Work........................................................52

    Section 2 – Position Description................................................................52

    Article 19 – Equal Employment Opportunity......................... 52

    Section 1 – General....................................................................................52

    Section 2 – No NCFLL Discrimination........................................................53

    Section 3 – Exchange of Information.........................................................53

    vi • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    Section 4 – EEO Committees.....................................................................53

    Section 5 – Special Emphasis Program Committees.................................54

    Section 6 – Meetings with Outside Groups on EEO Matters.......................54

    Section 7 – EEO Counselors.......................................................................54

    Section 8 – EEO Complaint Resolution......................................................55

    Section 9 – Reasonable Accommodation...................................................55

    Article 20 – Merit Staffing ................................................ 56

    Section 1 – General....................................................................................56

    Section 2 – General Requirements.............................................................59

    Section 3 – Candidates to be Considered...................................................59

    Section 4 – Merit Staffing Reevaluations...................................................59

    Section 5 – Selection ................................................................................60

    Section 6 – Keeping Employees and the NCFLL Informed.........................60

    Section 7 – Merit Staffing Reviews............................................................62

    Section 8 – Corrective Actions...................................................................63

    Section 9 – Cancellation of Vacancy Announcements................................63

    Section 10 – Career Ladder Promotions....................................................63

    Section 11 – Electronic Filing Procedures..................................................64

    Section 12 – Appropriate Use of Equipment..............................................64

    Article 21 – Personel Records.......................................... 64

    Section 1 – Official Personnel Folders........................................................64

    Section 2 – Employee Performance Files...................................................65

    Section 3 – Working Files..........................................................................65

    Section 4 – Employee’s Review of Files.....................................................66

    Article 22 – Training......................................................... 66

    Section 1 – General....................................................................................66

    Section 2 – Official Time and Travel, Labor Relations Training...................66

    Section 3 – Travel......................................................................................67

    Section 4 – DOL Paid Tuition ....................................................................67

    Section 5 – Equipment and Time for Continuing Education.......................68

    Section 6 – Ad-Hoc Training Advisory Groups...........................................68

    Article 23 – GSA Vehicles or Leased Vehicles......................... 68

    Section 1 – Assignment of GSA Vehicles or Leased Vehicles; or Recall.....68

    Section 2 – Use of GSA Vehicles................................................................69

    Section 3 – Unsafe Vehicles.......................................................................69

    Article 24 – Official Travel................................................ 69

    Section 1 – General....................................................................................69

    Section 2 – Scheduling Official Travel........................................................70

    Section 3 – Notification of Temporary Duty...............................................70

    Section 4 – Alternative Travel.....................................................................71

    Table of Contents • vii

    Article 25 – Hours of Work / Flexible Schedules.................... 71

    Section 1 – General ...................................................................................71

    Section 2 – Types of Schedules ................................................................72

    Section 3 – Definitions ..............................................................................74

    Section 4 – Changing Work Schedules .....................................................74

    Section 5 – Split Shifts ..............................................................................75

    Section 6 – Timekeeping ...........................................................................75

    Section 7 – Hours of Work ........................................................................75

    Section 8 – Pay Administration .................................................................76

    Section 9 – Coverage of Mission Needs ....................................................76

    Section 10 – Abuse ...................................................................................77

    Section 11 – Rest Breaks ..........................................................................77

    Section 12 – MSHA Cleanup Time ............................................................77

    Section 13 – Evenings/Night Shifts............................................................78

    Section 14 – Grievability ...........................................................................78

    Article 26 – Overtime........................................................ 78

    Section 1 – General....................................................................................78

    Section 2 – Distribution of Overtime..........................................................78

    Section 3 – Overtime Compensation for Non-Exempt Employees..............79

    Section 4 – Compensation for Exempt Employees.....................................79

    Section 5 – Call-Back Overtime..................................................................79

    Article 27 – Work Schedules for Religious Observances......... 79

    Section 1 – Modifications to Work Schedules............................................79

    Section 2 – Compensatory Overtime/Time Off...........................................79

    Section 3 – Granting and Repaying Compensatory Time Off.....................80

    Section 4 – Non-Applicability of Premium Pay...........................................80

    Article 28 – Job Sharing..................................................... 80

    Article 29 – Telework....................................................... 81

    Section 1 – Purpose ..................................................................................81

    Section 2 – Employee Rights.....................................................................82

    Section 3 – Types of Arrangements ..........................................................82

    Section 4 – Eligibility and Participation......................................................82

    Section 5 – Recall......................................................................................84

    Section 6 – Modification and Termination of Agreement............................85

    Section 7 – Pay Status...............................................................................86

    Section 8 – Dispute Resolution..................................................................87

    Section 9 – Sensitive and Personally Identifiable Information....................87

    Section 10 – Operating Principles and Responsibilities.............................88

    Section 11 – Accountability Statistics........................................................89

    Article 30 – Dependent Care Programs ................................ 89

    Section 1 – General Statement...................................................................89

    viii • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    Section 2 – Types of Programs .................................................................89

    Section 3 – NCFLL Involvement ................................................................90

    Section 4 – Child Care Subsidy..................................................................90

    Section 5 – Nursing Mothers ....................................................................92

    Article 31 – Mas Transit Subsidy and Pre-Tax Parking Benefit.92

    Section 1 – Mass Transit Benefit................................................................92

    Section 2 – Pre-Tax Parking Benefit...........................................................93

    Article 32 – Employee Assistance Program........................... 94

    Section 1 – General....................................................................................94

    Section 2 – NCFLL-Management Cooperation...........................................94

    Section 3 – Use of Leave Under the Program............................................94

    Section 4 – Employee Rights and Responsibilities.....................................94

    Section 5 – Management Rights and Responsibilities...............................95

    Section 6 – Program Training – Union Participation..................................95

    Section 7 – Promoting the Program..........................................................95

    Article 33 – Employee Welnes.......................................... 95

    Section 1 – General Statement...................................................................95

    Section 2 – Health Services Program.........................................................96

    Section 3 – Wellness/Fitness Programs.....................................................96

    Section 4 – Quality Work Environment......................................................98

    Article 34 – Safety and Healt h............................................ 98

    Section 1 – General Statement...................................................................98

    Section 2 – Correcting Conditions ............................................................99

    Section 3 – Employee Rights/Responsibilities...........................................99

    Section 4 – Life Saving Equipment..........................................................100

    Section 5 – Personal Protective Equipment and Clothing........................100

    Section 6 – Vehicle Safety Procedures.....................................................101

    Section 7 – Safety and Health Inspections...............................................101

    Section 8 – Exposure to Hazardous Materials..........................................102

    Section 9 – Ergonomic Hazards...............................................................103

    Section 10 – Training...............................................................................104

    Section 11 – Safety and Health Committees............................................104

    Article 35 – Harasing Conduct and Workplace Violence....... 106

    Section 1 – General Statement.................................................................106

    Section 2 – Reporting Workplace Violence Incidents...............................106

    Section 3 – Correcting Conditions...........................................................107

    Section 4 – Training.................................................................................107

    Section 5 – Program Review and Analysis...............................................107

    Article 36 – Annual Leave.................................................. 108

    Section 1 – General..................................................................................108

    Section 2 – Consecutive Vacation Time...................................................108

    Table of Contents • ix

    Section 3 – Resolving Conflict.................................................................108

    Section 4 – Leave Usage Increments.......................................................108

    Section 5 – Restored Leave.....................................................................109

    Section 6 – Advanced Annual Leave........................................................109

    Article 37 – Administrati ve Leave....................................... 109

    Section 1 – Definition...............................................................................109

    Section 2 – Registration and Voting.........................................................109

    Section 3 – Inclement Weather or Emergency Conditions.......................110

    Section 4 – Vehicle Breakdown While on Official Business......................112

    Section 5 – Blood Donation.....................................................................113

    Section 6 – Participation in Military Funerals...........................................113

    Article 38 – Court Leave................................................... 113

    Article 39 – Family Leave.................................................. 113

    Section 1 – Maternity, Paternity, and Child-Rearing Leave.......................114

    Section 2 – Family Leave.........................................................................114

    Section 3 – Adoptive Leave .....................................................................115

    Section 4 – Definition of Family Member for FEFFLA ..............................115

    Section 5 – Definition of Family Member for FMLA..................................115

    Article 40 – Sick Leave...................................................... 116

    Section 1 – General..................................................................................116

    Section 2 – Approval................................................................................116

    Section 3 – Use of Sick Leave..................................................................116

    Section 4 – Charge to Annual Leave.........................................................117

    Article 41 – Depa rtment of Labor Regional Leave Bank

    Program........................................................................ 117

    Section 1 – Purpose.................................................................................117

    Section 2 – Administration.......................................................................117

    Section 3 – Procedures............................................................................118

    Section 4 – Publicity................................................................................119

    Article 42 – Volunter Services to Non-Profit Organizations .119

    Article 43 – Performance Management System.................... 121

    Section 1 – Coverage...............................................................................121

    Section 2 – Procedures for Developing Elements and Performance

    Standards.................................................................................................121

    Section 3 – Performance Standards........................................................122

    Section 4 – Annual Rating of Record.......................................................122

    Section 5 – Improving Unsatisfactory Performance................................123

    Section 6 – Performance Improvement Plan...........................................123

    Section 7 – Special Circumstances..........................................................124

    Section 8 – Initiation of a New Appraisal Period......................................124

    Section 9 – Removal of “Fail” and “Need to Improve” Performance

    x • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    Information in Personnel Files.................................................................125

    Section 10 – Information Sharing............................................................125

    Section 11 – Grievability and Arbitrability of Job Elements and Performance

    Standards.................................................................................................125

    Article 44 – Performance Awards...................................... 125

    Section 1 – General..................................................................................125

    Section 2 – Effect of Summary Ratings...................................................126

    Article 45 – Accepta ble Level of Competence for Within-Grade

    Increase........................................................................ 127

    Section 1 – General..................................................................................127

    Section 2 – Definition of Acceptable Level of Competence ......................127

    Section 3 – Procedures............................................................................127

    Section 4 – Negative Determination.........................................................128

    Article 46 – Honor Awards Commite................................. 130

    Article 47 – Reduction in Force or Transfer of Function....... 130

    Section 1 – General..................................................................................130

    Section 2 – Notification............................................................................130

    Section 3 – Retention Registers...............................................................132

    Section 4 – Department of Labor Employee Placement Assistance.........132

    Section 5 – Re-promotion List.................................................................133

    Section 6 – RIF Contract Coverage..........................................................134

    Article 48 – Interstation Transfer..................................... 134

    Section 1 – General..................................................................................134

    Section 2 – Procedures ...........................................................................134

    Section 3 – Return to Previously Abolished Position...............................135

    Section 4 – Interstation Transfer for Employee Convenience/Hardship ...135

    Section 5 – Notice to NCFLL....................................................................136

    Section 2 – Procedures ...........................................................................136

    Section 3 – Return to Previously Abolished Position...............................136

    Section 4 – Interstation Transfer for Employee Convenience/Hardship ...137

    Section 5 – Notice to NCFLL....................................................................137

    Article 49 – Contracting Out............................................. 137

    Section 1 – General..................................................................................137

    Section 2 – A-76 Competitive Sourcing/Commercial Activity Process.....138

    Section 3 – Personnel Considerations for Displaced Employees..............139

    Article 50 – Technology.................................................... 140

    Section 1 – Information Technology Committee......................................140

    Section 2 – Hardware and Software Utilization........................................141

    Section 3 – Training on New Technology.................................................141

    Section 4 – Pilot Programs......................................................................141

    Section 5 – Identity Theft.........................................................................142

    Table of Contents • xi

    Article 51 – Information Sharing – Periodic Reports............. 142

    Article 52 – Quality of Service.......................................... 145

    Article 53 – Directed Membership and Participation in

    Profesional Associations ................................................ 145

    Article 54 – Management Rights........................................ 146

    Section 1 – General..................................................................................146

    Section 2 – Applications..........................................................................146

    Article 55 – Leaves of Absence (Union Officials)................... 147

    Section 1 – AFGE or AFL-CIO Officer or Representative...........................147

    Section 2 – Period of Leave of Absence...................................................147

    Section 3 – Conditions and Return Rights...............................................147

    Article 56 – Remployment Opportunities After Retirement.. 148

    Section 1 – Eligibility................................................................................148

    Section 2 – Selection and Approval..........................................................148

    Section 3 – Reemployment......................................................................148

    Article 57 – Concerted Activity......................................... 148

    Section 1 – No Strike...............................................................................148

    Section 2 – No Lockout............................................................................148

    Article 58 – Copies of Agreement ...................................... 148

    Section 1 – Copies...................................................................................148

    Section 2 – Expenses...............................................................................149

    Section 3 – Electronic Posting.................................................................149

    Article 59 – Suplemental Agreements............................... 149

    Section 1 - Authority of Master Agreement..............................................149

    Section 2 – Appropriate Matters for Regional Negotiations.....................149

    Section 3 – Resolution of Regional Negotiation Disputes........................150

    Section 4 – Ratification and Approval of Regional Agreements...............150

    Article 60 – Duration and Termination ................................ 150

    Appendix A – Merit System Principles................................. 151

    Appendix B – Prohibited Personel Practices....................... 152

    INDEX............................................................................. 158

    NOTES............................................................................. 166

    Articles • 1

    Article 1 – Coverage and Recognition

    Section 1 – Recognition

    A. The NCFLL is recognized as the sole and exclusive representative

    for all bargaining unit employees as defined in Section 2

    of this Article.

    B. As the sole and exclusive representative, the NCFLL is entitled

    to act for and to negotiate agreements covering all employees

    in the bargaining unit. The NCFLL is responsible for representing

    the interests of all employees in the bargaining unit without

    discrimination.

    C. Management agrees that in regard to the NCFLL bargaining

    unit, it will not enter into any other agreement, understanding,

    or contract with any other organization, association, or union

    that shall contravene or violate this Contract except as required

    by law, higher regulation, or Executive Order. Management

    agrees that in regard to the NCFLL bargaining unit, it will not

    do anything by custom or practice that shall contravene or violate

    this Contract except as required by law, higher regulation,

    or Executive Order.

    D. The NCFLL shall be given the opportunity to be present at formal

    discussions between Management and bargaining unit employees

    concerning grievances, personnel policies and practices,

    and other matters affecting general working conditions of

    the employees in the bargaining unit. The parties agree that if a

    formal discussion between one or more representatives of the

    Department and one or more employees within the bargaining

    unit consists of mere reiteration of existing personnel policies

    and practices and other matters affecting general working

    conditions, the NCFLL need not be given the opportunity to be

    present.

    E. The following procedures will be used in providing notice to the

    NCFLL of a formal discussion and for the NCFLL to provide

    representation during any formal discussion.

    1. The NCFLL will specify a designated representative(s) in

    each DOL Region of the DOL-NCFLL Agreement, to be notified

    of a formal discussion initiated by the Department.

    2. The Department’s notification will state the DOL Agency

    and component, date, time, location of the formal discussion,

    and include a brief description of the subject to be

    2 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    discussed.

    3. The designated NCFLL Representative(s) in 1. above will

    specify an NCFLL Representative (Steward, Regional Official,

    or National Official) normally from within the commuting

    area of the meeting site to attend any formal discussion

    for the purpose of representing the NCFLL and/or affected

    employee(s).

    Section 2 – Coverage

    The bargaining unit to which this Agreement is applicable consists

    of all employees stationed throughout the Nation in field duty

    stations of the Department outside the Washington, D.C. metropolitan

    area, except non-clerical employees of the Office of Labor-

    Management Standards, employees serving in temporary appointments

    of less than one year’s duration, or employees excluded

    under Section 3 of this Article. Employees of the Employee Benefits

    Security Administration (EBSA) and Occupational Safety and

    Health Administration (OSHA) field offices in the Washington, D.C.

    metropolitan area are included.

    Section 3 – Exclusions from Coverage

    The following employees are excluded from the bargaining unit

    covered by this Agreement in accordance with the Statute:

    A. All Management Officials as defined in the Statute;

    B. All supervisors as defined in the Statute;

    C. Employees who act in a confidential capacity with respect to an

    individual(s) who formulates or effectuates management policies

    in the field of labor-management relations;

    D. Employees engaged in personnel work in other than a purely

    clerical capacity; and

    E. Employees engaged in administering the provisions of the Statute.

    Section 4 – Coverage of Agreement

    Management and the NCFLL agree that the terms and conditions

    of this Agreement apply to all employees in the bargaining unit.

    Section 5 – Unit Clarification

    If the Department determines that a new or existing position is

    outside the bargaining unit, the Department will notify the NCFLL

    Executive Committee within 14 calendar days. The NCFLL will

    Articles • 3

    have 14 calendar days following the notification to challenge the

    Department’s decision. Following a reply from the NCFLL, the Department

    will stay implementation for 21 calendar days to allow the

    parties an opportunity to informally resolve their disputes.

    Section 6 – Employee Orientation

    A. The NCFLL will be afforded the opportunity to have appropriate

    material included in the Department’s on-line new employee

    orientation website.

    B. When formal orientation sessions are held for new bargaining

    unit employees, a designated Union Representative will

    be permitted to make a presentation to the employees. Such

    presentation shall be part of the formal session with Management

    present, shall be approximately 15 minutes in length, and

    shall be limited to factual matters concerning employees’ rights

    under the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the Federal

    Service Labor-Management Relations Statute. The presentation

    shall neither deal with internal Union matters nor be used

    for recruitment of Union membership.

    C. Formal orientation sessions are those coordinated, sponsored,

    or put on by the Regional OASAMs or any other DOL Agency.

    Icons/hyperlink or equivalent will be placed on the union information

    page on LaborNet linking new employees to the NCFLL

    website.

    D. If the NCFLL Representative designated to attend the orientation

    session and make the presentation is not from the local

    commuting area of the orientation site, the provisions of Article

    8 with respect to official time and travel expenses apply.

    E. In regard to a new bargaining unit employee who does not

    participate in a formal orientation session, the designated office

    Steward and new employee will be provided 15 minutes on official

    time to meet privately soon after the new employee comes

    on board.

    Section 7 – Bargaining Unit Lists

    Management will furnish annually to the NCFLL, during the month

    of February, for its internal use only, an electronic spreadsheet by

    Region capable of being sorted by names, position titles, grades,

    bargaining unit status, dues check-off status, Agency duty station,

    and local affiliation of all employees in the bargaining unit.

    4 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    Article 2 – Governing Laws and Regulations

    Section 1 – Precedence of Laws and Regulations

    In the administration of all matters covered by this Agreement, officials

    and employees are governed by existing or future laws and

    regulations of appropriate authorities; by published Department

    and/or Agency policies and regulations in existence at the time this

    Agreement was approved; and by subsequently published Department

    and/or Agency policies and regulations required by law or by

    the regulations of appropriate authorities.

    Section 2 – Prescribing Regulations

    In prescribing Department and/or Agency regulations relating to

    personnel policies and practices and matters affecting working

    conditions, Management shall have due regard for the obligation to

    meet and confer with the NCFLL. The obligation, however, to meet

    and confer does not include matters with respect to the mission of

    the Department; its budget; its organization; the number of employees;

    or its internal security practices; and consistent with Article 54,

    Management Rights, the numbers, types, and grades of positions

    or employees assigned to an organizational unit, work project, or

    tour of duty; or the technology of performing its work. This does not

    preclude Management or the NCFLL from negotiating agreements

    providing appropriate arrangements for employees adversely

    affected by the exercise of any authority under this Section by

    Management.

    Section 3 – Agreement Governs

    Where existing provisions of Department and/or Agency regulations

    are in conflict with this Agreement, the provisions of this

    Agreement shall govern.

    Section 4 – Mandated Changes of Agreement or Regulation

    A. Management agrees to issue no regulation which alters the

    terms or conditions of this Agreement without being mandated

    by law, Executive Order, higher regulation, judicial decision by

    a court of appropriate jurisdiction, or other higher authority.

    B. Amendment(s) to this Agreement or Departmental and/or

    Agency regulations may be required by mandated changes

    after the effective date of this Agreement. Amendment(s) to this

    Agreement or published Departmental and/or Agency regulations

    may be required by changes in applicable laws, ExecuArticles

    • 5

    tive Orders, higher regulations, judicial decision by a court of

    appropriate jurisdiction, or other higher authority made after

    the effective date of this Agreement. The Department agrees

    to transmit to the NCFLL changes proposed during the term of

    the Agreement but not specifically covered by the Agreement

    which relate to conditions of employment of employees in the bargaining

    unit and/or which may adversely affect such conditions.

    C. Management will notify the NCFLL after receipt of notice of a

    required change. Upon receipt of such notification from Management,

    the NCFLL may, within fourteen (14) calendar days,

    request negotiations concerning the amendment.

    D. Upon timely request from the NCFLL, the parties shall meet

    and confer within 30 calendar days concerning any negotiable

    aspects of the required change and/or its impact on bargaining

    unit employees.

    E. Any changes of regulations or amendments to this Agreement

    which are negotiated and agreed to pursuant to this Section

    will be duly executed by the parties and will become an integral

    part of this Agreement and subject to all of the terms and

    conditions of this Agreement.

    Section 5 – Management Proposals for Change During the Term of the

    Agreement

    A. Management agrees to transmit to the NCFLL proposed

    changes relating to personnel policies, practices, and matters

    affecting working conditions of bargaining unit employees, or

    which impact them, proposed during the term of this Agreement

    and not covered by this Agreement, as far in advance as

    possible.

    B. Upon receipt of such a proposed change from Management,

    the NCFLL may, within fourteen (14) calendar days, request

    negotiations concerning the proposed change.

    C. Upon timely request from the NCFLL, the parties shall meet

    and confer within 30 calendar days concerning any negotiable

    aspects of the proposed change and/or its impact on bargaining

    unit employees.

    D. Any changes of regulations or amendments to this Agreement

    which are negotiated and agreed to pursuant to this Section

    will be duly executed by the parties and will become an integral

    part of this Agreement and subject to all of the terms and

    conditions of this Agreement.

    6 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    Section 6 – Past Practices

    It is agreed and understood that any prior working conditions and

    practices and understandings which are not specifically covered

    by the Agreement or in conflict with it shall not be changed unless

    mutually agreed to by the parties

    Article 3 – Labor-Management Relations

    Commites

    Section 1 – Purpose and Function

    The parties recognize that the entrance into a formal collective

    bargaining agreement with each other is but one act leading toward

    a constructive labor-management relationship. The success

    of a labor-management relationship is further assured if a forum is

    available and used to communicate with each other during the life

    of the agreement.

    The Department and the NCFLL, therefore, agree to continue and

    improve upon both the National Labor-Management Relations

    Committee and Regional Labor-Management Relations Committees

    for the purpose of exchanging information and discussing

    matters of mutual concern or interest in the broad area of personnel

    policy and practices and other matters affecting working conditions.

    The parties will strive to have these committees be an effective

    forum for meaningful dialogue and exchanges in a manner that

    will benefit both labor and management and promote an effective

    and efficient government.

    Section 2 – Labor-Management Relations Committee Meetings

    A. Frequency of LMR Committee Meetings.

    1. National Committee: The National Labor-Management Relations

    Committee meetings shall be held semi-annually.

    2. Regional Committee: The Regional Labor-Management

    Relations Committee meetings shall be held semi-annually.

    3. Committee Meeting: National and Regional Labor-Management

    Relations Committee meetings may be held more

    frequently or deferred by mutual consent of the parties.

    B. Ground Rules for Labor-Management Relations Committees

    Meetings.

    1. It is the intent of the parties that LMR Committee meeting

    time be removed from and be mutually exclusive of midArticles

    • 7

    term bargaining.

    2. The discussion of agenda items should be coordinated to

    minimize, if not eliminate, “down” time.

    3. Agenda items should comprise topics conducive to meaningful

    dialogue, exchange of ideas, joint initiatives, and

    problem solving; and not comprise merely of questions

    asked by one party to be answered by the other. The

    agenda should serve the purpose of discussion by the parties

    of specific interests and concerns and for enhancing the

    labor-management relationship.

    4. As a rule, the NCFLL will request information no later than

    30 calendar days prior to the LMR committee meetings.

    Management will endeavor to respond prior to the twentyone

    (21) calendar day deadline for the submission of the

    agenda in order that the NCFLL may frame meaningful

    items for follow-up discussion. When circumstances preclude

    a timely exchange, late information request agenda

    items may provide an opportunity to discuss important issues.

    5. An agenda should comprise both standardized issues and

    ad hoc issues as appropriate, and management is encouraged

    to provide regular or periodic updates on its initiatives.

    The regional committee meetings should address

    only regional issues. National issues are appropriate for the

    National committee meetings and should not have to be

    repeated on agendas at regional committee meetings.

    6. All agenda items (Department-wide as well as individual

    Agency issues) shall be arranged for and scheduled in

    advance. With respect to both National and Regional Committee

    meetings, the parties agree to submit their respective

    agenda items to each other no less than twenty-one (21)

    calendar days prior to the scheduled date of the meeting.

    As necessary, the parties will continue their coordination to

    finalize the agenda no later than five calendar days prior to

    the meeting.

    7. Either party will provide any necessary follow up to the other

    party within 14 calendar days after the conclusion of the

    meeting.

    Section 3 – Coordination of Regional LMR Committee Meetings

    A. The agenda, schedule, and attendees will be coordinated

    8 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    through the NCFLL Regional Executive Committee (NREC).

    B. Recognizing that Regional configurations vary among agencies,

    the parties agree that Regional management will participate

    in all Regional LMR meetings within their jurisdictions.

    Accordingly, for Regional Managers not located in the city

    where the LMR meeting is held, alternative means (such as

    video conferencing) may be utilized to facilitate participation in

    the Regional Labor Management Committee meetings.

    C. If the parties agree, Regional LMR Committee meetings can

    encompass joint training.

    D. To further enhance the Labor Management relationship, when

    Regional management officials are otherwise in a travel status

    for such purposes as REC meetings, District Office meetings,

    etc. they are encouraged to communicate with local Union officials

    to have impromptu Labor Management discussions.

    E. The number of persons entitled to official time and travel

    expenses to attend Regional LMR Committee Meetings will

    not exceed 50 nationwide two times a year. The NCFLL will

    determine the appropriate representation at any scheduled

    LMR meeting. In the interest of conducting a fully informed

    discussion, a local Union representative may participate during

    a specific agency meeting. Their participation will not result in

    travel or per diem expenses.

    F. An NCFLL National Officer may, on an as needed basis, attend

    a Regional Semi-Annual meeting at no cost to the Department.

    Section 4 – National Meetings

    A. NCFLL membership on the National Labor-Management Relations

    Committee shall normally consist of elected officials of the

    NCFLL, not to exceed a total of 11 persons.

    B. The Department recognizes that the NCFLL may request an

    AFGE, AFL-CIO, National Representative to attend Labor-

    Management Relations Committee meetings from time to time.

    C. The National Labor-Management Relations Committee meetings

    shall normally be in Washington, DC. The parties mutually

    can agree to hold any particular meeting at an alternate site.

    D. For the National meeting, each party’s respective agenda will

    be coordinated and shared between the NCFLL President or

    his designee (for the Union) and the Office of Departmental

    Labor Relations and Negotiations (for the Department).

    Articles • 9

    Article 4 – Midterm Bargaining

    As used in this Article, bargaining during the term of the Agreement,

    otherwise referred to as “midterm bargaining” includes all

    aspects of negotiations from preliminary meetings on ground rules,

    if any, through mediation and impasse resolution processes when

    needed. The parties will utilize information technology and electronic

    resources to communicate prior to bargaining. The parties

    also agree to utilize available technology in the bargaining process

    where efficient and cost effective.

    Section 1 – National Bargaining

    A. Notice of Change and Request to Bargain

    1. Midterm collective bargaining between the Department of

    Labor and the National Council of Field Labor Locals (NCFLL)

    is governed, in part, by the provisions of Article 2 of the

    DOL-NCFLL Agreement.

    2. Article 2, Section 4, provides that the Department agrees to

    issue no regulation which alters the Agreement without being

    mandated by a change in law, Executive Order, Government-

    wide rules or regulations, judicial decision by a court

    of appropriate jurisdiction, or other higher authority.

    3. Amendments to this Agreement or Departmental and/or

    Agency regulations may be required by mandated changes

    after the original effective date of the master labor Agreement.

    In Article 2, Section 5, the Department also agrees to

    transmit to the NCFLL changes proposed during the term

    of the Agreement but not specifically covered by the Agreement

    which relate to conditions of employment of employees

    in the bargaining unit and/or which may adversely affect

    such conditions. The NCFLL will also be notified of any

    other proposed changes which may impact upon working

    conditions.

    4. In the circumstances described above, the parties agree

    that the NCFLL has 14 calendar days from receipt of notice

    of a change in which to request bargaining concerning the

    proposed changes in the conditions of employment not

    specifically covered by the Agreement. The Union may be

    granted an extension to request bargaining for a specified

    number of days if agreed to by management.

    B. Scheduling Midterm Bargaining Sessions

    10 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    The parties will meet to bargain no later than 30 calendar days

    from the Department’s receipt of a timely NCFLL request to

    bargain or unless a later time is mutually agreed to by the parties.

    Official time and travel for midterm bargaining are covered

    in Article 8. When bargaining is face-to-face, the bargaining

    site will be based on cost and efficiency unless mutually

    agreed otherwise.

    C. Number of Members on Midterm Bargaining Teams

    The number of employees representing the NCFLL at midterm

    bargaining for whom official time and travel expenses

    are authorized, normally not less than three, shall not exceed

    the number of members designated by the Department on its

    bargaining team (5 U.S.C. 7131(a)), unless otherwise agreed

    to by the parties.

    D. Midterm Bargaining Proposals

    Following the NCFLL initial bargaining request, the NCFLL

    shall state in writing its specific concerns or interests with

    regard to the Management proposed change and/or provide

    the Department with a counterproposal in contract language

    format. The NCFLL will provide the Department with its specific

    concerns and/or counterproposals as soon as possible but no

    later than 14 calendar days prior to the scheduled commencement

    of the bargaining.

    E. Other Services to the NCFLL

    The Department will provide the NCFLL with the use of a

    caucus room, telephone and on an as-needed basis, the use of

    duplicating equipment.

    Section 2 – Regional Bargaining

    A. Notice of Change and Request to Bargain

    For efficient and uniform communication between the parties to

    facilitate regional midterm bargaining, on the effective date of

    this Agreement, the NCFLL President or designee will submit

    to each of the six regional Offices of the Assistant Secretary

    for Administration and Management (OASAM) the NCFLL’s

    regional representatives to whom management will send

    notifications of changes which may impact working conditions

    of bargaining unit employees. The designated Union representatives

    will not exceed 50 nationwide in totality and will not

    exceed 10 for any single regional OASAM.

    Articles • 11

    At the same time the NCFLL submits its designated representatives,

    it will also submit to each of the six regional OASAMs

    the names of designated Union representatives who are the

    only union representatives authorized to request bargaining

    within the OASAM region. These designated Union representatives

    may, or may not, be part of the group of Union representatives

    designated to receive the notifications of changes which

    may impact working conditions of bargaining unit employees.

    1. Within a Region, when the Department or a DOL Agency

    decides to change the manner in which it exercises its

    reserved rights under 5 U.S.C. 7106(a) or (b) and where

    such change will impact upon working conditions, the Department,

    through the Office of the Regional Administrator-

    OASAM, will notify the NCFLL, through its Regional designated

    representative(s), in writing of the proposed change.

    The representative(s) will also be notified of any other

    proposed changes which may impact upon working conditions.

    2. In the circumstances described above, the parties agree

    that the NCFLL has 14 calendar days from receipt of notice

    of a change in which to request bargaining to the fullest extent

    allowable by law, rule, regulation, and this Agreement.

    The Union may be granted an extension to request bargaining

    for a specified number of days if agreed to by management.

    When the Union requests bargaining, it shall at the

    same time designate the individual with whom management

    is to coordinate for purposes of scheduling, location, identification

    of Union participants, etc.

    B. Scheduling Midterm Bargaining Sessions

    The parties will meet to bargain no later than 30 calendar days

    from the Department’s receipt of a timely NCFLL request to

    bargain unless a later time is mutually agreed to by the parties.

    C. Midterm Bargaining Forum and/or Site

    Regional midterm bargaining may be conducted by the parties

    at its Regional Labor-Management Relations Committee

    (RLMRC) meeting. If bargaining is not conducted at RLMRC

    meetings, any face-to-face bargaining will be conducted at a

    bargaining site based on cost and efficiency unless mutually

    agreed otherwise. Official time and travel for midterm bargaining

    are covered in Article 8.

    D. Number of Members on Midterm Bargaining Teams

    12 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    The number of employees representing the NCFLL at midterm

    bargaining for whom official time and travel expenses

    are authorized shall not exceed the 5 U.S.C. 7131(a)), unless

    otherwise agreed to by the parties. Management will inform

    the Union of the number of management team members within

    seven (7) calendar days of receipt of a timely request to bargain.

    E. Midterm Bargaining Proposals

    Following the NCFLL initial bargaining request, the NCFLL

    shall state in writing its specific concerns or interests with

    regard to the Management proposed change and/or provide

    the Department with a counterproposal in contract language

    format. The NCFLL will provide the Department with its specific

    concerns and/or counterproposals as soon as possible but no

    later than fourteen (14) calendar days prior to the scheduled

    commencement of the bargaining.

    Article 5 – Rights of Employees

    Section 1 – General

    Each employee of the Department has the right, freely and without

    fear of penalty or reprisal, to form, join, or assist the NCFLL or to

    refrain from any such activity. Employees shall be protected in the

    exercise of this right.

    Section 2 – Employee Right to Participate

    Except as otherwise expressly provided in this Agreement and in

    Title VII of the Civil Service Reform Act, as amended, the right to

    assist a labor organization extends to participation in the management

    of the organization and acting for the organization in the

    capacity of an organization representative, including presentation

    of views to officials to the Executive Branch, the Congress, or other

    appropriate authority.

    Section 3 – Employee Concerns

    Each employee shall have the right to bring matters of personal

    concern to the attention of appropriate officials of the Department

    and/or the NCFLL.

    Section 4 – Employee Right to Grieve

    The initiation of a grievance by an employee will not cause any

    reflection on his/her standing with his/her supervisor or on his/her

    Articles • 13

    loyalty or desirability to the Department. Employees and NCFLL

    Representatives who have relevant information concerning any

    matter for which remedial relief is available under this Agreement

    will, in seeking resolution of such matter, be assured freedom from

    restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination, intimidation, or

    reprisal. Management will not impose any restraint, interference,

    coercion, or discrimination against any employee in the exercise of

    his/her right to designate an NCFLL Representative for the purpose

    of representing to Management any matter or job related concern

    or of representing the employee to any Government agency

    or official of the Department. The extent to which official time is

    granted to employees and NCFLL Representatives is as provided

    in Article 8 of this Agreement.

    Section 5 – Employee Membership

    Nothing in this Agreement will require an employee to become or

    remain a member of a labor organization or to pay money to the

    organization except pursuant to a voluntary written authorization

    by a member for payment of dues through payroll deductions or by

    voluntary cash payment by a member.

    Section 6 – No Discrimination

    Management and the NCFLL will not discriminate against any

    bargaining unit employee because of age, sex, race, religion, color,

    national origin, disability, sexual orientation, parental status or

    because of veteran status.

    Section 7 – Unit Employee Right to Representation

    A. A meeting between an employee and his/her supervisor and/

    or any other Management Official, during which the principal

    topic of discussion is to be discipline or potential discipline, will

    entitle the employee involved to request to be accompanied by

    his/her NCFLL Representative during the meeting. The employee

    will be informed in advance if discipline or potential discipline

    is to be the principal topic of discussion. If such request

    is made, the supervisor or other Management Official will honor

    the request. If the employee requests an NCFLL Representative,

    the meeting will be held or rescheduled when an NCFLL

    Representative can be present.

    B. If during a meeting between an employee and his/her supervisor

    and/or any other Management Official, discipline or potential

    discipline enters into the discussion, the employee may

    request to be accompanied by his/her NCFLL Representative.

    14 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    If such a request is made, the supervisor or other Management

    Official will honor the request. The meeting will be suspended

    until an NCFLL Representative can be present.

    C. The NCFLL shall be given the opportunity to be represented

    at any examination of an employee by a representative of the

    Department in connection with an investigation if:

    1. the employee reasonably believes that the examination may

    result in disciplinary action against the employee; and

    2. the employee requests representation.

    D. Any employee who has been subject to an internal Departmental

    administrative investigation in which he/she was entitled

    to representation under Subsection C of this Section shall be

    notified of the disposition of said investigation.

    Article 6 – NCFLL Stewards

    Section 1 – Designation of Stewards

    The NCFLL shall provide the Regional Administrator-OASAM,

    with a list of designated Stewards in each OASAM Region. These

    designated Stewards shall be recognized as employee representatives

    for bargaining unit employees in the offices to which they are

    designated and shall be entitled to the use of official time under

    provisions of this Agreement. Normally, the areas of representational

    responsibility for designated Stewards should be separate

    but may overlap.

    Section 2 – Allocation of Stewards

    A. The parties agree that the existing steward positions will remain

    as of the effective date of this agreement.

    B. If there are up to 50 bargaining unit employees, one steward

    will be designated to represent that Office. Two Stewards

    may be designated if there are from 51 to 100 bargaining unit

    employees in the Office. If there are 101 to 150 bargaining unit

    employees in the Office, a third Steward may be designated.

    If there are more than 150 bargaining unit employees in the

    Office, a fourth Steward may be designated. No office having

    fewer than 50 bargaining unit employees will have more than

    two stewards designated from its staff.

    C. Any proposed changes of steward placement positions in A.

    and B. will be discussed between the Local President and the

    Regional Labor Relations Officer. Any unresolved issue(s) will

    Articles • 15

    be forwarded to the Director of the Office of Departmental Labor

    Relations (ODLRN) and the NCFLL President for resolution.

    Section 3 – Notification to Management and Posting

    The NCFLL shall provide each Regional Administrator-OASAM

    with a complete list of Stewards for that Region and identify the

    Agency or segment thereof that each Steward is designated to

    represent. The lists of Stewards shall be posted on LaborNet. The

    Union shall be entitled to post the lists of Stewards on appropriate

    bulletin boards.

    Article 7 – Regional and National Union

    Officials

    Section 1 – Regional NCFLL Officials

    A. The NCFLL may designate up to 33 Regional Officials nationwide,

    who shall be entitled to serve as the representative of

    bargaining unit employees.

    Official time and/or travel expenses will be granted under the provisions

    of this Agreement and consistent with the provisions of

    Article 8. Only one designated Regional NCFLL Official at a

    time may be entitled to official time in connection with a given

    representational matter (e.g., grievance, adverse action, disciplinary

    action, statutory appeal, EEO representation, etc.)

    B. The NCFLL shall provide the Regional Administrator-OASAM

    with the names of the Regional NCFLL Officials in that Region

    who are designated pursuant to Subsection A. above.

    Section 2 – National NCFLL Officials

    A. The NCFLL may designate up to 11 National NCFLL Officials

    who shall be entitled to serve as representatives of bargaining

    unit employees on official time (if Departmental employees)

    under the provisions of this Agreement and consistent with the

    provisions of Article 8. Only one National Official may be designated

    at a time in connection with a given representational

    matter (e.g., grievance, adverse action, disciplinary action,

    statutory appeal, EEO representation, etc.).

    B. The NCFLL shall provide the Labor-Management Relations

    Center with the names of its National Officials who are designated

    pursuant to Subsection A. above.

    16 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    Article 8 – Official Time and Travel Expenses

    Section 1 – General

    A. Management recognizes that official time and travel expenses

    spent by bargaining unit employees in the conduct of labormanagement

    business is spent as much in the interest of Management

    as that of the NCFLL and bargaining unit employees.

    B. Official duty time and travel expenses shall not be allowed for

    internal Union business.

    C. Official time and travel expenses for the conduct of labor-management

    relations business will be granted to NCFLL Stewards

    and Officials, and to affected employees as specified in this

    Article. Official time and travel expenses will be granted to

    NCFLL Stewards and Officials in accordance with their designation

    in Articles 6 and Articles 7 of this Agreement.

    D. It is recognized by the parties that advances in technology are

    changing the way representational activities occur. To the extent

    practicable, the parties agree to evaluate and utilize available

    technology in the most efficient and cost effective method.

    When the parties are not located in the same geographical

    area, meetings may be accomplished utilizing web based technology

    in a real time exchange. The use of any other available

    technology will be by mutual agreement.

    Section 2 – Official Time for Stewards and NCFLL Officials

    A. Grievances and Appeals

    1. An NCFLL Steward or Regional NCFLL Official may utilize a

    reasonable amount of official time to confer with an affected

    bargaining unit employee(s) with respect to any matters for

    which remedial relief may be sought pursuant to the terms

    and conditions of this Agreement or pursuant to a statutory

    appeals procedure or labor-management relations appeals

    procedure, provided that only one representative at a time

    may be entitled to official time in connection with a given

    representational matter. An NCFLL Steward or Regional

    NCFLL Official may utilize a reasonable amount of official

    time to communicate with other Stewards or Officials in connection

    with a representational matter.

    2. Subsection 1 above includes time to counsel a bargaining

    unit employee(s), to investigate a potential grievance,

    and to prepare and present a grievance at the Steps of

    Articles • 17

    the grievance procedure specified in Article 15, Grievance

    Procedure, of this Agreement. Also included is time to investigate,

    prepare, and present a reply to a notice of proposed

    adverse action or performance based action; an adverse

    action, performance based action, or RIF appeal; an EEO

    discrimination complaint; a request for reconsideration or an

    appeal of an acceptable level of competence determination;

    and a classification appeal. In addition, Subsection 1 above

    includes time to investigate, prepare, and, if required, participate

    in an FLRA (ULP or Unit Clarification), FSIP, OWCP,

    or EEO proceeding, ADR procedure, or mediation.

    B. Meetings with Management

    An NCFLL Steward or Regional NCFLL Official may utilize a

    reasonable amount of official time to prepare for and be present

    at meetings with Management, including Safety and Health

    Committee meetings, Labor-Management Relations Committee

    meetings, etc., concerning personnel policies, practices, and

    other matters affecting working conditions of employees in the

    bargaining unit. Such meetings may be initiated by either the

    Union or Management. An NCFLL Steward or Regional NCFLL

    Official may utilize a reasonable amount of official time to communicate

    with other Stewards or Officials in connection with

    such meetings. The Department and the NCFLL encourage

    informal meetings to resolve potential problems at the work

    site and preclude, if at all possible, the need for formal dispute

    procedures to be initiated.

    C. Preparing LM Forms

    Union Officials (one per Local) may utilize up to eight hours

    of official time annually to prepare the annual financial report

    which must be filed with the Department of Labor pursuant to

    5 U.S.C. 7120, Standards of Conduct for Labor Organizations.

    Union officials may also utilize up to eight hours of official time

    to prepare IRS Form 990.

    D. Review of Bi-Weekly Dues Deduction Reports

    Union Officials may utilize a reasonable amount of time for

    review and initiation of corrective action related to the bi-weekly

    dues deduction report.

    E. Formal Discussions

    The NCFLL shall be given the opportunity on official time to be

    represented at any formal discussion, as prescribed in Article

    18 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    1, Section 1D.

    F. Midterm Bargaining

    Union Representatives will be on official time for all midterm bargaining.

    Section 3 – Official Time for Bargaining Unit Employees

    A. Grievances and Appeals

    A bargaining unit employee(s) may utilize a reasonable amount

    of official time to confer with a Steward, Regional NCFLL Official,

    or National NCFLL Official.

    B. Meetings with Management and Third Party Proceedings

    A bargaining unit employee(s) may utilize a reasonable amount

    of official time to attend meetings with Management and third

    party proceedings when he/she is the affected employee or a

    witness in a grievance or statutory appeal proceeding.

    C. Representation of Multiple Grievants

    If two or more bargaining unit employees file a group grievance,

    the following number of those employees will be granted

    official time to discuss the matter(s) with an NCFLL Steward or

    Official, and to attend grievance meetings pursuant to Article

    15, Grievance Procedure.

    Number of Grievants

    Time

    Number of Grievants

    Entitled to Official

    2-10 1

    11-20 2

    more than 20 3

    This Section applies to persons who are currently employed by the

    Department.

    Section 4 – Definition of Reasonable Amount of Time

    A. The determination of what constitutes a reasonable amount of

    time; under this Article is a matter requiring mutual agreement

    between the employee and his/her supervisor prior to the employee’s

    release under Section 5 of this Article, taking into account

    the need to balance the effective conduct of the Department’s

    business with the rights of employees to be represented

    in matters relating to their employment. A factor to be considered

    by the parties in determining what constitutes a “reasonArticles

    • 19

    able amount of time” is the amount of time that is necessary to

    accomplish the specific task for which time is requested.

    B. If there is a dispute between an NCFLL representative and

    his/her supervisor concerning what constitutes a “reasonable

    amount” of time, the matter will be referred to the Regional

    Labor Relations Officer and the Local President for resolution.

    If the dispute is not resolved, the matter will be referred to the

    Director of ODLRN and the NCFLL President for resolution.

    Section 5 – Use of Official Time: Check-Out, Check-In

    A bargaining unit employee(s) or the designated Union Representative

    who desires to use official time under this Article may be

    authorized a “reasonable amount of time as follows:

    A. A designated Union Representative or employee(s) who

    wishes to use official time under this Article will request permission

    of his/her immediate supervisor. Such request should be

    made as early as possible, i.e., generally as soon as the need

    for the official time is known.

    B. A Union Representative or employee(s) who wishes to use official

    time under this Article in an organizational unit not under

    the direction of his/her own supervisor will request permission

    of the supervisor of the organizational unit involved before engaging

    in such activity. Management will reply to such request

    as soon as possible.

    C. Permission as described in Subsections (A) and (B) above

    will be granted unless compelling reasons require the presence

    of the Union Representative or employee(s) at Agency

    tasks which he/she is then performing. If such permission is

    denied, the manager or supervisor refusing such permission

    will give the reasons for refusal in writing, to the representative

    or employee(s) who was so denied. If the supervisor denies or

    delays the use of official time for any representational activity,

    such activity will be delayed and/or an extension granted

    for a reasonable amount of time until the designated NCFLL

    representative is available or another NCFLL representative is

    designated. Disputes regarding this section of the contract will

    be handled in accordance with Section 4(B) of this Article.

    D. The Union Representative or employee(s) will report his/her

    return to work to his/her immediate supervisor upon conclusion

    of use of official time under this Article.

    20 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    Section 6 – NCFLL National Officials

    NCFLL National Officials (as designated in Article 7) will be on

    100% official time. When employees are newly elected or appointed

    to the National Council, the NCFLL will notify the Department

    and there will be a 90-day transition period from the date of receipt

    of such notice before the employee begins utilizing 100% official

    time. There will be a 90-day transition period from the date of

    notice when an NCFLL National Officer leaves office to resume the

    duties of his/her position. When an NCFLL National Official leaves

    office, he/she will normally have a right to return to the position of

    record in the commuting area.

    Section 7 – Travel Expenses

    The Department and the NCFLL have a mutual commitment to

    contain travel expenses in connection with representation. Therefore,

    the parties agree to the following provisions.

    A. Union Representatives

    1. The Department and the NCFLL agree that, ordinarily, representation

    of employees or the Union on official time will be

    performed by Union Representatives from within the commuting

    area.

    2. If there is no Union Representative in the commuting area,

    the Department will pay appropriate travel expenses of

    the nearest representative. This includes representation at

    Steps 1 and 2 of the grievance procedure and for institutional

    grievances.

    3. If the Union designates a representative from outside the

    commuting area when one exists within, the Department will

    have no obligation for the representative’s travel expenses.

    Where there is no representative in the commuting area and

    the Union does not designate the nearest representative,

    the Department will pay constructive or comparable cost

    travel expenses. This includes representation at Steps 1

    and 2 of the grievance procedure and for institutional grievances.

    4. For arbitrations, the Department will pay travel expenses of

    an NCFLL representative from within the OASAM Region

    of the hearing site or the nearest National NCFLL official

    if there is not one within the region. Should the NCFLL

    designate any other representative, the Department will pay

    constructive or comparable travel expenses based on the

    Articles • 21

    nearest National NCFLL official.

    5. Exceptions to Subsections 2 and 3 above

    a. The Department will pay travel expenses for the NCFLL

    Representative within a Region at other third party proceedings

    (as delineated in Section 2A.2. of this Article)

    when an employee has designated a Union Steward or

    Official as his/her personal representative.

    b. If any question arises over travel expenses concerning

    representation in connection with third party proceedings,

    it shall be referred to the Regional Labor Relations

    Officer and the Local President for resolution. If the

    dispute is not resolved, the matter will be referred to the

    Director of ODLRN and the NCFLL President for resolution.

    The Department will pay travel expenses for the

    NCFLL Representatives for midterm bargaining.

    6. The Department will pay travel expenses for the NCFLL

    Representatives for midterm bargaining.

    7. The Department will pay for travel to Labor-Management

    Relations Committee meetings.

    B. Bargaining Unit Employees

    Bargaining unit employees will be reimbursed for travel expenses

    in connection with meetings with Management, faceto-

    face oral responses to proposed disciplinary suspensions or

    adverse actions, or participation in grievances or arbitrations or

    other third party proceedings (as delineated in Section 2A.2 of

    this Article).

    Article 9 – Use of Official Facilities

    Section 1 – Bulletin Boards

    A. The Department agrees to furnish appropriate bulletin board

    space(s) in DOL offices to be used for notices as provided in

    Section 2.

    B. Notices placed by the NCFLL on bulletin boards or distributed

    as provided in Section 2 of this Article may not contain material

    which would appear to identify it as the Department’s material

    or that it is sponsored or endorsed by the Department; nor

    contain any scurrilous or libelous material.

    22 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    Section 2 – Distribution

    A. The NCFLL may distribute printed material, other than labormanagement

    relations information, to individual employees

    on the Department’s premises. NCFLL representatives may

    distribute printed materials before and after their workdays and

    during rest breaks and meal breaks. Printed materials may be

    dropped at employees’ desks or may be placed in employees’

    mailboxes. Employees may use the Department’s technology

    to access the NCFLL website (www.NCFLL.org) consistent

    with the Department’s appropriate use policy as prescribed in

    DLMS 9, Chapter 900.

    B. The Department agrees that the NCFLL may distribute quarterly

    the NCFLL Courier through the Department’s email system

    to all employees in the bargaining unit. The Courier shall be

    clearly identified as NCFLL material and contain nothing that

    identifies it as Department material or implies that it is sponsored

    or endorsed by the Department. Prior to distribution, the

    NCFLL Courier must be cleared for release by the Department.

    Section 3 – Meeting Rooms

    A. Management, with an advance request from the NCFLL, will

    provide meeting space for meetings of bargaining unit employees

    before or after working hours or during lunch periods. The

    NCFLL agrees to comply with all security and housekeeping

    rules in effect at that time and place.

    B. Management, with an advance request from the NCFLL, will

    provide a meeting room, equipped where practicable with a

    telephone if included in the request, for preparing or discussing

    a grievance and preparing for meetings with Management.

    C. Management will provide the NCFLL Executive Committee Officials

    with a meeting room in the National Office when they are

    meeting with Management.

    Section 4 – Telecommunications Equipment and Systems

    A. NCFLL Officials and Stewards shall have access to the Departmental

    Telecommunications System and where this system is

    unavailable NCFLL Officials and Stewards shall have access

    to the commercial telephone system for the conduct of labormanagement

    relations business, but not for internal Union

    business.

    Articles • 23

    B. Management will provide National NCFLL Officials with access

    to the Departmental Telecommunications System for the

    conduct of labor-management business during the time they

    are meeting in the National Office.

    C. NCFLL Officials and Stewards shall have access to Departmental

    facsimile equipment for the conduct of labor-management

    relations business, but not for internal Union business.

    D. Consistent with Departmental security requirements, the

    NCFLL representatives will have access to the Department of

    Labor electronic mail system for the conduct of labor-management

    relations business, but not for internal Union business.

    E. NCFLL Representatives shall have access to a computer with

    internet access and a printer to conduct labor-management

    relations business, but not for internal Union business.

    Section 5 – Use of Government Mail

    NCFLL Officials and Stewards shall have use of Government mail

    and/or premium delivery service under contract for the conduct of

    labor-management relations business, but not for internal Union

    business. All use of Government mail and premium delivery service

    shall be in accordance with DLMS 2, Chapter 560.

    Section 6 – Office Equipment

    A. National Office

    Management agrees to provide the NCFLL with the use of a

    lockable file cabinet in the National Office, conveniently located,

    for the use of the National NCFLL Executive Committee

    Officials, plus one in each National NCFLL Official’s field office.

    B. Regional Offices

    Management agrees to provide the use of one lockable file

    cabinet in each Regional Office for the use of Regional Union

    Officials.

    C. Use of Photocopying Equipment

    NCFLL Officials and Stewards shall have access to Departmental

    photocopying equipment for the conduct of labor-management

    relations business but not for internal Union business.

    D. Appropriate Use

    The NCFLL’s use of the Department’s equipment for Labor-

    Management business is considered official use and is not

    24 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    subject to the appropriate use policy regarding personal use

    contained in DLMS 9 Chapter 900.

    Section 7 – Telephone Listings

    A. Subsequent publications of the Department of Labor telephone

    listing will include a list of the members of the NCFLL Executive

    Committee, their addresses, and their telephone numbers.

    Additional information may be included by mutual agreement.

    B. In subsequent publications of the Regional Department of

    Labor telephone listing, the names, addresses, and telephone

    numbers of the Presidents of the Locals in that Region will be

    included. Additional information may be included by mutual

    agreement.

    Section 8 – Office Space Privacy for NCFLL Executive Committee

    A. The Department will make good faith efforts to obtain private

    space for Executive Committee Officials who are not so situated.

    Ideally, such efforts will result in the provision of an office,

    but it is recognized that such facilities cannot be guaranteed.

    B. In any case, where a member of the Executive Committee

    acquires or has acquired the use of space, any right to the use

    will cease when that official has relinquished the position on

    the Executive Committee.

    Section 9 – Identification of Equipment and New Technology

    This Article identifies the use of facilities and equipment to which

    the parties have agreed. However, with the introduction of new

    technology into the Department’s work environment, either party

    may initiate bargaining on the new technology

    Article 10 – Dues Withholding

    Section 1 – Eligibility

    A. Bargaining unit employees, who are members of Locals affiliated

    with the NCFLL, may have their dues withheld through

    payroll deductions. Dues withholding is to be voluntary on

    the part of the individual employee. The Locals affiliated with

    the NCFLL will undertake to inform members of the voluntary

    nature of dues withholding and of the conditions governing a

    member’s cancellation of dues withholding.

    B. Any member of a Local affiliated with the NCFLL within the

    Articles • 25

    bargaining unit who is in good standing and who is currently

    employed on a regularly scheduled tour of duty by the Department

    of Labor may authorize dues withholding at any time

    during the life of this Agreement provided that his/her regular

    biweekly salary is sufficient to cover the amount of the deduction.

    C. Dues are defined as the regular, periodic amount of money

    required to maintain the member in good standing in a local

    affiliated with the NCFLL. The Department shall honor the assignment

    and make allotments required to maintain the member

    in good standing in an NCFLL Local.

    D. Information as to which employees elect to pay dues will only

    be used in conducting official business and will not be disseminated

    to any individual without a need for this information.

    Section 2 – Procedure for Authorizing Dues Withholding

    A. All authorizations must be made on Standard Form 1187,

    Request For Payroll Deductions For Labor Organization Dues.

    The current form shall be made available through the Department’s

    website.

    B. Each Local President will notify the RA-OASAM of the

    person(s) authorized to certify the SF 1187. OASAM will

    ensure that the correct dues amount will be withheld from the

    employee in accordance with the dues structure transmitted

    under Section 5 of this Article. The form may be submitted

    electronically, by facsimile or other means.

    C. Deductions will be made beginning with the first full pay period

    after the form is received in the Office of the RA-OASAM. All

    regular and periodic dues allotments will be processed by the

    parties in a timely manner. If the Department fails to honor a

    certified Request for Payroll Deductions for Labor-Organization

    Dues, SF 1187, the Department may reimburse the Union for

    the amount the Union should have received. The Department

    may grant waivers pursuant to the provisions of 5 USC 5584.

    Deductions will continue to be made in each subsequent pay

    period until terminated as provided in this Article.

    Section 3 – Automatic Continuation of Dues Withholding

    A. The Department will automatically reinstate the dues withholding

    of bargaining unit employees who are returning to a

    bargaining unit position from a temporary reassignment or

    temporary promotion to a position outside the bargaining unit.

    26 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    B. The Department will automatically reinstate the dues withholding

    of bargaining unit employees returning to a pay status from

    a non-pay status (e.g., LWOP).

    C. When a dues paying bargaining unit employee transfers from

    one duty station in the bargaining unit to another, the employee’s

    dues will continue to be withheld pursuant to the existing

    SF 1187 until such time that a new SF 1187 is executed. The

    designated regional NCFLL representatives of the gaining and

    losing locals will be notified of transfers of bargaining unit employees

    at least two weeks in advance.

    Section 4 – Revocation or Termination of Dues Withholding

    A. Members may revoke their authorization at any time by

    sending written notice or Form 1188 (Cancellation of Payroll

    Deduction for Labor Organization Dues) to the Office of the

    RA-OASAM. Revocations should be submitted in duplicate.

    Revocations will not become effective until the beginning of the

    first pay period which starts after January 11, provided that the

    revocation has been received in the Office of the RA-OASAM

    by that date. The Department will also send copies of revocation

    notices to the respective Local Presidents and Treasurers

    as they are received.

    B. Authorizations will be automatically terminated if the member

    leaves the Department for any reason.

    C. Any employee who is reassigned or promoted to a position

    outside the bargaining unit shall cease to be eligible for dues

    withholding. Deductions will be terminated at the beginning of

    the pay period in which the action becomes effective. The affected

    employees will be provided with the following notice:

    NOTICE OF TERMINATION OF DUES WITHHOLDING

    Regulations governing dues withholding to a labor organization

    require that dues withholding be automatically cancelled

    whenever an employee is reassigned or promoted to a position

    outside the bargaining unit.

    You were recently subject to a reassignment or promotion which

    will automatically terminate your dues withholding. The final dues

    withholding will be made for the last pay period in your old position.

    If this is a temporary assignment or promotion, your dues will be

    reinstated upon your return to the bargaining unit.

    If you have any questions regarding the termination of your dues

    Articles • 27

    withholding, you may wish to contact your steward or Local President.

    You may continue your membership by direct payment of

    dues.

    D. The individual Local Union Treasurer will notify the RA-OASAM

    within five calendar days when a member of a Local affiliated

    with the NCFLL who has authorized dues withholding and is

    currently employed by the Department is expelled or ceases

    to be in good standing. Deductions in this situation will be

    stopped at the beginning of the first full pay period after the

    notice is received.

    Section 5 – Changes in Dues Structure

    In the event of a change in the regular dues of a Local affiliated

    with the NCFLL, the deduction from the salaries of those members

    who have previously authorized dues withholding for the NCFLL

    Local will be adjusted upon certification of the dues change by the

    NCFLL Local Union to the RA-OASAM. Certification may be provided

    electronically, facsimile or by other means. This change will

    be made beginning with the first full pay period which starts after

    the certification is received. A change in deductions under this Section

    may not be made more frequently than once every 12 months.

    Section 6 – Remittance to the NCFLL and Cost of Service

    A. Dues will be transmitted electronically to the bank account

    designated by the Union. There will be no cost to the NCFLL or

    individual Local Unions for dues deductions.

    B. The Department will provide to the individual Local Union

    Treasurer an electronic biweekly Union Roster and Activity

    Report for that local. The reports will include the name and the

    Agency of each member from whose salary dues have been

    withheld and the amount withheld for each person listed. The

    biweekly listing will provide annotated explanations of cases in

    which dues are not withheld (such as no payment, cancellation,

    LWOP, separated, etc.)

    C. If the Department changes or replaces its existing payroll and/

    or personnel system(s), the NCFLL reserves the right to reopen

    this section.

    Section 7 – Correction of Errors

    A. Administrative errors in remittance amounts will be corrected

    and adjusted in the next remittance to be issued to the individual

    Local Union Treasurer. If the individual Local Union Treasur28

    • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    er is not scheduled to receive a remittance after discovery of

    the error, the individual Local Union Treasurer agrees to refund

    the amount of erroneous remittance as soon as practicable.

    B. Management agrees that the total error in the amount of

    dues withheld from individual employees shall be adjusted as

    soon as practicable after Management has discovered or has

    received written notification from the individual Local Union

    Treasurer of an error.

    C. If the Department removes an employee from dues withholding

    based on a change in the employee’s position description

    that places the employee outside of the bargaining unit or if

    bargaining unit status changes for any other reason, and the

    Federal Labor Relations Authority determines that the Department

    acted improperly, the Department will promptly reinstate

    the employee’s dues withholding authorization and make the

    Union whole for all lost income.

    Section 8 – Duration of Dues Withholding Article

    A. This Article will remain in effect after the termination of this

    Agreement and until completion of negotiations or until 30 calendar

    days beyond the completion of any third party procedure

    there under.

    B. The parties to this Agreement may mutually agree in writing to

    extend this Article at any time.

    C. Should the NCFLL, for any reason, lose its exclusive recognition

    status under the Statute, deductions for all members will

    be terminated at the beginning of the first full pay period following

    loss of such recognition.

    D. When a bargaining unit employment requests and/or submits

    paperwork for retirement from the Agency, the employee may

    be supplied with the appropriate material from the NCFLL.

    The material may not contain anything that would appear to

    identify it as the Department’s material or that it is sponsored

    or endorsed by the Department; nor contain any scurrilous or

    libelous material

    Article 11 – Space Management

    Section 1 – Informal Process

    The NCFLL and Department of Labor recognize that employee

    workspaces are an important condition of employment and that

    Articles • 29

    potential changes should be handled at office locations between

    the affected employees, the designated local union Steward, and

    local management to the fullest extent possible. When management

    makes a decision that a change in employee’s work space

    (including relocations and renovations), management will inform

    the NCFLL Regional Executive Committee. It is desirable that

    issues concerning space be resolved informally through discussion

    between the office Steward and local management with the

    understanding that any unresolved issues can always become the

    subject of formal bargaining.

    Section 2 – Formal Process

    After the informal process, as described above has concluded, the

    Office of the Regional Administrator — OASAM, will provide formal

    notification to the union of the final disposition of the informal process.

    The NCFLL may then request bargaining in accordance with

    the terms of Article 4 of the Agreement.

    Midterm bargaining concerning space will normally be held at the

    site in question or at a location where minimal travel expenses will

    be incurred by the parties.

    Section 3 – Rights of NCFLL Representatives and Stewards

    When the space change involves an office move or when a new

    office is established, the designated NCFLL Steward shall be allowed

    to have input into the requirements that are included in the

    SF 81 and participate in market surveys and site visits scheduled

    by GSA provided that the steward agrees to follow all GSA requirements.

    Section 4 – Information

    Regional OASAM will provide the NCFLL with the inventory

    of space actions on no less than a semi-annual basis, at each

    Regional LMR meeting. The inventory shall include the agency,

    city/state, lease expiration date, considered action, justification,

    estimated timeframe and status of the renovation/move. Updates

    of the inventory will be provided upon request.

    Upon written request, management will provide the Union with the

    following information:

    A. Copies of the Building Lease Agreement and all Addenda, if

    available.

    B. The Department’s request for space, SF-81, and floor plans

    with detailed specifications.

    30 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    C. Any other material necessary to provide the Union with information

    on a space change.

    Section 5 – Workspace

    The parties recognize the need to efficiently manage space, which

    in turn is a financial savings. Alternative workspace may be utilized

    for DOL workspaces. This includes, but is not limited to open

    space, carrels, hot desking, collaboration rooms and shared workspace.

    Employees that telework three (3) days or more a week

    may be required to utilize alternative workspaces subject to local

    bargaining.

    Article 12 – Performance Based Actions

    Section 1 – General

    A. This Article pertains to reduction in grade and removal based

    on unacceptable performance.

    B. The Department will administer actions based solely on unacceptable

    performance in accordance with law, applicable

    Government-wide and DOL regulation, and this Article.

    Section 2 – Initial Procedure

    A. At any time during the performance appraisal cycle that an employee’s

    performance becomes unacceptable in one or more

    critical elements, Management shall inform the employee as

    provided in Article 43 of this Agreement. Management should

    also inform the employee that unless his or her performance

    in the critical element(s) improves to and is sustained at an acceptable

    level, as defined in 5 CFR 432, the employee may be

    reduced in grade or removed.

    B. The employee will be afforded a reasonable opportunity to

    dem¬onstrate acceptable performance in accordance with

    Article 43 of this Agreement.

    Section 3 – Notice of Proposed Action

    An employee will be given written notice of a proposed reduction

    in grade or removal based on unacceptable performance at least

    thirty (30) calendar days in advance of the action. The employee

    has a right to repre¬sentation and will be given a reasonable

    amount of time to respond orally and/or in writing to the proposed

    action prior to a decision.

    Articles • 31

    Section 4 – Notice of Decision

    A. Management shall make its final decision within thirty (30)

    calendar days after expiration of the advance notice period and

    shall issue written notice of the decision to the employee. An

    employee against whom the action is taken will be informed

    of any applicable appeal rights in writing in accordance with 5

    CFR 432 and 5 CFR 752.

    B. If the reasons are sustained in the notice of decision and a

    performance-based action will be imposed, the decision notice

    shall include 1) a statement of the employee’s EEO complaint,

    individual grievance and MSPB appeal rights; and 2) a statement

    that the employee may appeal to the MSPB or may file a

    grievance, but not both. The notice of decision shall include an

    explanation that any appeal to arbitration may be invoked only

    by the NCFLL within thirty (30) calendar days from the effective

    date of the adverse action, and the name, address, and

    telephone number of the Chairperson of the NCFLL Arbitration

    Committee. The employee will be given an original and one

    copy of the notice for referral, at the employee’s option, to the

    Chairperson of the NCFLL Arbitration Committee. If the NCFLL

    invokes arbitration, notice will be provided to the Office of

    Departmental Labor Relations and Negotiations.

    Article 13 – Disciplinary Actions

    Section 1 – General

    The objective of discipline is to correct and improve employee behavior

    so as to promote the efficiency of the service. The concept

    of progressive discipline will guide managers in making decisions

    regarding discipline.

    A. A disciplinary action, for the purposes of this Article, is defined

    as an oral admonishment confirmed in writing, a written reprimand,

    or a suspension for fourteen (14) calendar days or less.

    In order to ensure a common understanding of how the Department

    effects disciplinary actions, Regional Labor and Employee

    Relations staff will be made available to conduct training at

    NCFLL Stewards training.

    B. The parties are mutually committed to Alternative Approaches

    to Discipline (AAD) for addressing employee conduct matters.

    The policy, goals, and procedures are contained in Department

    of Labor Policy Guidance for Alternative Approaches to Disci32

    • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    pline of November 1999 posted on LaborNet.

    C. No bargaining unit employee will be the subject of a disciplinary

    action except for just and sufficient cause and for reasons

    which will promote the efficiency of the Department.

    D. A meeting between an employee and his/her supervisor and/

    or any other Management Official, during which the principal

    topic of discussion is to be discipline or potential discipline, will

    entitle the employee involved to request to be accompanied

    by his/her NCFLL Representative during the meeting. The

    employee will be informed in advance if discipline or potential

    discipline is to be the principal topic of discussion. If such request

    is made, the supervisor or other Management Official will

    honor the request. If the employee requests an NCFLL Representative,

    the meeting will be held, or rescheduled, when an

    NCFLL Representative can be present. A reasonable period of

    time should elapse between the date of receipt of the decision

    to suspend and the effective date of the suspension.

    Nothing in this Article confers a right to representation during a

    counseling session.

    E. A reasonable period of time should elapse between the date of

    receipt of the decision to suspend and the effective date of the

    suspension.

    Section 2 – Procedures for Suspension

    When Management proposes to suspend an employee for fourteen

    (14) calendar days or less, the following procedures will apply:

    A. Management will provide the employee with fifteen (15) calendar

    days advance written notice of the proposed suspension.

    B. The notice must state reasons for the proposed discipline

    specifically and in detail, in order to allow the employee to

    respond, and must clearly state the employee’s right to make

    a response to the proposal and his/her right to be represented

    by the NCFLL. The employee will be given an original and one

    copy for referral to the Chairperson of the NCFLL Arbitration

    Committee, at the employee’s option.

    C. The employee may file a written response and/or make an oral

    response to the notification prior to the end of the fifteen (15)

    calendar day notice period.

    D. After receipt of the written and/or oral response or the termination

    of the notice period, management will issue a final written

    Articles • 33

    decision to the employee which shall include a statement of the

    employee’s grievance/arbitration rights, including a statement

    that any appeal is only to arbitration, which may be invoked

    only by the NCFLL within thirty (30) calendar days from employee

    receipt of the final written decision, and the name, address,

    and telephone number of the Chairperson of the NCFLL

    Arbitration Committee. The employee will be given an original

    and one copy for referral to the Chairperson of the NCFLL Arbitration

    Committee, at the employee’s option.

    Section 3 – Grievance/Arbitration Rights

    A. An employee who is dissatisfied with an oral admonishment

    confirmed in writing or with a written reprimand may file a grievance

    pursuant to Article 15 of this Agreement.

    B. If the final written decision provided for in Section 2 of this

    Article involves a suspension for fourteen (14) calendar days

    or less, the matter may be appealed directly to arbitration,

    in accordance with Article 16 of this Agreement, by notifying

    management within thirty (30) calendar days from receipt of the

    final written decision. Such notification shall be sent electronically

    to the Director, Office of Departmental Labor Relations

    and Negotiations (ODLRN), with a copy to the appropriate

    Regional Agency Head.

    C. The arbitrator’s decision will be in accordance with the provisions

    of Article 16.

    Section 4 – Evidence

    A. An employee will, in any disciplinary action, be furnished a

    copy of all material relied on by Management which formed the

    basis for the reasons and specifications.

    B. If the discipline is based on an investigative report, the employee

    will be furnished all written documents from the investigation

    which are disclosable in accordance with applicable law, rule,

    or regulation.

    C. The documentation specified in Subsections A and B above will

    be attached to the notice of proposed disciplinary action.

    D. Evidence which Management is not permitted to divulge to an

    employee under applicable law, rule, or regulation will not be

    used against the employee.

    34 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    Section 5 – Exception to Disciplinary Action Appeals

    If a matter is pending before a court of law or the employee involved

    is under arrest or indictment, and the matter is otherwise

    appealable to arbitration under this Agreement, the arbitration will

    be postponed pending the conclusion of that legal process.

    Article 14 – Adverse Actions

    Section 1 – General

    A. An adverse action, for the purpose of this Article, is defined in 5

    CFR 752. In order to ensure a common understanding of how

    the Department effects adverse actions, Regional Labor and

    Employee Relations Staff will be made available to conduct

    training at NCFLL Stewards training.

    B. This Article applies to bargaining unit employees who have

    completed their probationary or trial period.

    C. No bargaining unit employee will be subject to an adverse action

    except for reasons which will promote the efficiency of the

    Department.

    D. A meeting between an employee and his/her supervisor and/

    or any other Management Official, during which the principal

    topic of discussion is to be an adverse action or a potential

    adverse action, will entitle the employee involved to request to

    be accompanied by his/her NCFLL Representative during the

    meeting.

    E. The employee will be informed in advance if an adverse action

    or a potential adverse action is to be the principal topic of

    discussion and his/her rights to have an NCFLL Representative

    present during any such discussions. If such request is

    made, the supervisor or other Management Official will honor

    the request. If the employee requests an NCFLL Representative,

    the meeting will be held, or rescheduled, when an NCFLL

    Representative can be present. Nothing in this Article confers a

    right to representation during a counseling session.

    F. Once the employee requests an NCFLL Representative, that

    representative will be present at all subsequent meetings and a

    copy of all subsequent written communications will be provided

    to the NCFLL Representative.

    Section 2 – Written Notice

    In all cases of proposed adverse action, the employee will be given

    Articles • 35

    written notice, which will state any and all reasons for the proposed

    action specifically and in detail, at least thirty (30) calendar days in

    advance of the action, except when there is reasonable cause to

    believe that an employee is guilty of a crime for which a sentence

    of imprisonment can be imposed. The employee will be given the

    opportunity to respond orally and/or in writing to the reasons for the

    action prior to a decision. The response may include written statements

    of persons having relevant information.

    Section 3 – Evidence

    A. An employee will, in any adverse action, be furnished a copy of

    all material relied on by Management which formed the basis

    for the reasons and specifications.

    B. If the adverse action is based on an investigative report, the

    employee will be furnished all written documents from the investigation

    which are disclosable in accordance with applicable

    law, rule, or regulation.

    C. The documentation specified in Subsections A and B above will

    be attached to the notice of proposed adverse action.

    D. Evidence which Management is not permitted to divulge to an

    employee under applicable law, rule, or regulation will not be

    used against the employee.

    Section 4 – Notice of Decision

    A. An official who sustains the proposed reasons against an employee

    in an adverse action will set forth his/her findings with

    respect to each reason and specification against the employee

    in his/her notice of decision.

    B. If the reasons are sustained in the notice of decision and an

    adverse action will be imposed, the decision notice shall include

    a statement of the employee’s EEO complaint and MSPB

    appeal rights. The decision notice shall also include 1) a statement

    of the employee’s grievance rights, and 2) a statement

    that the employee may appeal to the MSPB or may file a grievance,

    but not both. The notice of decision shall also include an

    explanation that any appeal to arbitration may be invoked only

    by the NCFLL within thirty (30) calendar days from the effective

    date of the adverse action, and the name, address, and

    telephone number of the Chairperson of the NCFLL Arbitration

    Committee. The employee will be given the original decision

    and with the employee’s consent a copy will be sent electronically

    to the members of the NCFLL Arbitration Committee. If

    36 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    the NCFLL invokes arbitration, the grievance form signed by

    the employee will be provided to ODLRN as an attachment to

    the written invocation of arbitration or at a later date if it is not

    readily available at the time of the arbitration invocation.

    Section 5 – Records Retention

    If the Deciding Official does not sustain the proposal as at least a

    disciplinary action, all information related to the proposed adverse

    action will be expunged from the eOPF, and the proposal notice

    from the employee’s working file.

    Article 15 – Grievance Procedure

    Section 1 – Purpose

    The purpose of this Article is to provide a mutually acceptable

    method for prompt and equitable settlement of grievances. The

    parties have a mutual interest in resolving grievances at the lowest

    level in a timely manner. To promote conflict resolution, supervisors,

    stewards, and employees should deal with the issue(s) and

    not personalities.

    A. Efforts should be made to resolve disputes informally prior

    to filing a formal grievance. Education and training in dispute

    resolution is a means to achieve this interest.

    B. Interest-based problem solving should be utilized as much as

    possible to resolve disputes. Both managers and Union Representatives

    should become familiar with interest-based problem

    solving techniques. The parties remain committed to forging

    new Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedures. See

    Article 17.

    C. Supervisors and NCFLL Stewards are encouraged to meet

    regularly to discuss matters of mutual concern. If informal

    discussions do not resolve the issue(s) and a grievance is filed,

    a face-to-face meeting at Step 1 may be unnecessary and can

    be waived by mutual agreement. In reaching the agreement,

    the parties will consider the complexity of the grievance and

    travel related costs. At any step of the process, the use of a

    facilitator may be useful and agreed to mutually

    D. Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed as precluding

    discussion between a bargaining unit employee and/or his/

    her designated NCFLL Representative and his/her immediate

    supervisor about a matter of concern to either of them.

    Articles • 37

    E. Once a matter has been made the subject of a grievance under

    this procedure, nothing in this Agreement shall preclude either

    party to this Agreement from attempting to resolve the grievance

    informally.

    F. The parties agree to utilize technology to the maximum extent

    possible. Absent unusual circumstances, grievances will be

    filed, acknowledged, and responded to electronically. Grievances

    submitted electronically will be considered to have been

    signed.

    Section 2 – Definition of a Grievance (Coverage and Scope)

    A. A grievance by a bargaining unit employee(s), including probationary

    employees, is a request for personal relief in any matter

    of concern or dissatisfaction to the employee or group of employees

    concerning the interpretation, application, and/or violation

    of this Agreement; or the interpretation or application of

    Departmental regulations, and the application of Governmentwide

    regulations with respect to personnel policies, practices,

    and other matters affecting working conditions.

    B. Exclusions from the Grievance Procedure

    1. This Article does not apply to:

    a. A matter which is subject to a statutory appeal procedure

    (except as provided in Subsection 2. below) outside the

    Department under law or regulations including but not

    limited to the following:

    Actions or Decisions Available Procedure

    EEO Discrimination 29 CFR 1614

    Reduction in Force 5 CFR 351

    Personnel Security 5 CFR 732 & 736

    Classification 5 CFR 511

    b. a binding decision made by an authority outside the

    Department,

    c. non-selection from a properly prepared Merit Staffing

    Certificate,

    d. failure to recommend or disapproval of a recommended

    quality step increase, individual performance award, or

    other kind of honorary or other discretionary award,

    38 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    e. failure to adopt a suggestion submitted under the Incentive

    Awards Program,

    f. summary rating on appraisal of Highly Effective or Outstanding,

    g. termination and/or separation of probationary employees,

    and

    h. decisions of the Leave Bank Board.

    2. The Article does apply to coverage, status, and back pay

    claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act and to the denial

    of a within-grade increase.

    3. With regard to filling any position outside the bargaining

    unit, employees must utilize the Department’s Administrative

    Grievance Procedure. (See DPR 771).

    C. Matters Subject to Pending EEO Complaint

    In the event that an employee files a grievance and also files

    or pursues an informal EEO complaint concerning the same

    matter, the grievance will be held in abeyance. If the matter is

    not resolved during the informal EEO process, the employee

    can resurrect the grievance or pursue a formal EEO complaint.

    If the employee files a formal EEO complaint, the grievance will

    be terminated.

    Should the EEO complaint be dismissed on a technicality or for

    a non-substantive reason, the Union or the affected employee

    may resurrect the grievance in connection with any non-EEO

    issues within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt of the Department’s

    EEO complaint decision by notifying the appropriate

    Management Official at the last processed step of the grievance

    procedure.

    D. Matters Subject to Other Statutory Appeals

    If the Department determines that the issue(s) raised in a grievance

    under this negotiated procedure is subject to a statutory

    appeals procedure, and is therefore not grievable under this

    procedure, it shall immediately notify the grievant(s) and/or his/

    her designated NCFLL Representative.

    Section 3 – Exclusive Procedure

    This shall be the exclusive procedure available to unit employees

    for the resolution of grievances as defined in Section 7 of this

    Article and for the Union as defined in Section 7D of this Article.

    With respect to adverse actions as defined by 5 CFR 432 and 5

    Articles • 39

    CFR 752, if the Department’s final decision is to effect an adverse

    action against a bargaining unit employee, the employee may elect

    either to appeal the decision to the Merit Systems Protection Board

    (MSPB) or to file a grievance as clarified in Article 15. Under no

    condition may an employee appeal an adverse action to the MSPB

    and file a grievance.

    Section 4 – Representation

    A. Filing a grievance:

    1. Bargaining unit employee(s), filing a grievance under this

    procedure, may be represented only by a designated NCFLL

    Steward, Regional NCFLL Official, or National NCFLL

    Official, or a personal representative endorsed by the NCFLL.

    2. Any bargaining unit employee or group of bargaining unit

    employees may present a grievance under this procedure

    without representation as long as the resolution is not inconsistent

    with the terms of this Agreement and the NCFLL

    is given an opportunity to be present at any discussion or

    attempts at resolution of the grievance with the grievant(s).

    Official time will be granted and travel expenses will be paid

    in accordance with Article 8.

    B. At each step of the grievance procedure, one representative at

    a time shall be entitled to official time for purposes of preparation

    and presentation of the grievance. Travel expenses will be

    paid in accordance with Article 8.

    C. Where the grievant(s) has designated an NCFLL Representative,

    all communications with regard to the grievance and

    attempts at resolution of the grievance shall be made through

    the designated NCFLL Representative or simultaneously to the

    representative and the grievant(s).

    D. The grievance meeting will be with the contractually designated

    Management Official and the employee with his/her designated

    Union Representative. The designated Management Official

    may have necessary staff support for a full and accurate discussion

    of the grievance.

    Section 5 – Who May Initiate Grievance

    A. Employee – A grievance under this Article may be initiated by

    unit employees either singly or jointly. Any such grievance must

    bear the signature(s) of all the aggrieved employee(s).

    40 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    B. Union (Institutional/Employee) – The NCFLL or its designee

    may initiate a grievance on its own behalf. Any such grievance

    must bear the signature of the grievant. The NCFLL will provide

    to the Director, ODLRN, the names of all NCFLL Representatives

    authorized to file a Union grievance as defined in Section

    7, Union Grievances.

    C. Department of Labor (See Section 7)

    Section 6 – Grievance Form

    The grievance form is a critical component to the grievance process.

    It is intended to put the agency on notice of all the issues and

    the specific allegations of the grievance so that it may resolve the

    dispute at the lowest possible level.

    A. An employee grievance shall be presented on the negotiated

    standard grievance form. The filing of grievances can be done

    electronically. It shall be signed by the grievant(s), dated, and

    to the extent practicable shall contain:

    1. Date filed,

    2. The names(s) of the grievant(s),

    3. The name of the NCFLL Representative, if any,

    4. Specification of the Article(s), Section(s), and Subsection(s)

    of this Agreement or the Department regulations or working

    conditions which are alleged to have been violated,

    5. The nature and facts of the grievance,

    6. The remedy desire,; and

    7. Signature(s) of grievant(s).

    B. An appeal of a grievance to a higher Step of this procedure

    shall include a copy of the grievance form.

    C. Except by mutual consent of the parties, no allegations shall be

    raised in the appeal of a grievance which were not contained in

    either the Step 2 or institutional grievance procedures.

    Articles • 41

    DOL/NCFLL GRIEVANCE FORM

    Name of Grievant(s):

    Region:

    Agency:

    Name of NCFLL Representative

    (If Any):

    Date of Alleged Violation:

    Alleged Violation(s) – Contract Article(s), Section(s),

    Subsection(s), Regulation(s), or Working Condition(s):

    Nature and Facts of Grievance:

    Remedy Desired:

    Step 1 Grievance – Signature(s)

    of Grievant(s):

    Date:

    Step 2 Grievance – Signature(s)

    of Grievant(s) or NCFLL Official:

    Date:

    Section 7 – General Procedures

    The parties to a grievance at either Step 1 or Step 2 may mutually

    agree to use ADR to assist them in resolving the grievance. Official

    time and travel expenses for the NCFLL Representative and bargaining

    unit employees will be in accordance with Article 8.

    A. Step 1

    1. A grievance must be presented in writing on the negotiated

    grievance form within thirty (30) calendar days of when the

    bargaining unit employee or NCFLL has learned or may reasonably

    have been expected to have learned of its cause.

    42 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    2. Unless mutually agreed otherwise, a grievance shall be discussed

    at a meeting between the grievant, the NCFLL Representative,

    and the immediate supervisor (who prepares

    the aggrieved employee’s performance evaluation) or with

    the manager whom it is alleged has violated this Agreement.

    The supervisor/manager shall have ten (10) calendar days

    in which to attempt to resolve the grievance with the aggrieved

    employee and/or designated NCFLL Representative

    and provide a written response addressing all the issues

    raised in the grievance.

    3. If the grievance involves merit staffing procedures which

    prevent an applicant from being considered, the grievance

    shall be filed with the Regional Human Resources Officer.

    The grievant will discuss the issue telephonically with the

    Regional Human Resources Officer within thirty (30) calendar

    days of when the bargaining unit employee or NCFLL

    has learned of its cause. The Regional Human Resources

    Officer will have ten calendar days in which to respond

    telephonically to the grievance. The grievance may be filed

    at Step 2 with the OASAM Regional Administrator on the

    negotiated grievance form within ten calendar days of the

    response from the Regional Human Resources Officer. The

    procedures set forth below for processing Step 2 grievances

    must be followed.

    B. Step 2

    1. A grievance may be appealed to Step 2 of this procedure

    within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of the written

    response to the aggrieved employee(s) at Step 1 or, if no

    timely reply is made at Step 1, within twenty (20) calendar

    days after the grievance was presented at Step 1.

    The time limit requirement of this Section will be satisfied if

    the grievant does any of the following:

    a. Electronically transmits or delivers to the Step 2 Official

    by hand the Step 2 appeal within ten (10) calendar days

    or twenty (20) calendar days, as the case may be, of

    receipt of the Step 1 reply;

    b. Mails by Government certified mail, to the Step 2 Official,

    an appeal within ten (10) or twenty (20) calendar days,

    as the case may be, and the mailing envelope shows

    a postmark with a date indicating that the appeal was

    mailed within the ten (10) or twenty (20) calendar day

    Articles • 43

    period; or

    c. Notifies the Step 2 Official by telephone within the ten

    (10) or twenty (20) calendar day time period, as the case

    may be, that an appeal is being filed, followed immediately

    by a written appeal mailed or electronically transmitted

    to the Official.

    2. The Step 2 grievance appeal shall be submitted utilizing

    the negotiated standard grievance form to the appropriate

    Agency Regional Administrator (or equivalent). The Regional

    Administrator (or equivalent) or designee shall have

    ten (10) calendar days in which to discuss and resolve the

    grievance with the aggrieved employee and/or the designated

    NCFLL Representative and to issue a reply.

    3. Upon receipt of the reply of the Step 2 Official, the NCFLL

    may, within thirty (30) calendar days, invoke arbitration as

    provided in Article 16 of this Agreement with the Director,

    ODLRN.

    4. If no timely reply is issued by the Step 2 Official, the NCFLL

    may within forty-five (45) calendar days from the date that

    the Step 2 decision was due, invoke arbitration as provided

    in Article 16 of this Agreement with the Director, ODLRN.

    C. Adverse Actions

    In the case of an employee electing to grieve an adverse action,

    within thirty (30) calendar days of the effective date of the

    decision, the employee shall file a signed grievance form with

    the Deciding Official. Steps 1 and 2 of the negotiated grievance

    procedure are automatically waived, and the Union may invoke

    arbitration. The time frame for the Union to invoke arbitration is

    the same time frame the employee has to file with the MSPB,

    namely thirty (30) calendar days. Therefore, it is incumbent

    upon the affected employee to coordinate with the Union well

    in advance of the deadline.

    D. Union Grievances

    This shall constitute the exclusive procedure available to

    the Union for the resolution of grievances. A grievance initiated

    by the Union must bear one signature of an official(s) or

    representative(s) designated by the President or Executive

    Vice President of the NCFLL.

    For the purpose of filing this type grievance, it must be submitted

    within thirty (30) calendar days of when the incident

    44 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    occurred, or the NCFLL has learned or may have reasonably

    been expected to have learned of its cause.

    1. Union-Filed Institutional Grievances

    A grievance by the NCFLL is a request for institutional relief

    over the interpretation or application of this Agreement or

    the interpretation or application of Departmental regulations,

    and the application of Government-wide regulations

    covering personnel policies and practices and other matters

    affecting working conditions. In the case of a Union grievance,

    the parties will waive Steps 1 and 2 of this negotiated

    procedure; however, the parties will make an informal effort

    to resolve the grievance at the level of dispute. If within ten

    (10) calendar days the matter cannot be resolved, it will be

    transmitted to the Department’s Office of Departmental Labor

    Relations and Negotiations, (ODLRN) Washington, D.C.

    The Director, ODLRN will issue a written decision within

    thirty (30) calendar days. Upon receipt of the reply, the NCFLL,

    may, within thirty (30) calendar days, invoke arbitration

    as provided in Article 16 of this Agreement, with the Director,

    ODLRN. If no timely reply is issued, the NCFLL may, within

    forty-five (45) calendar days from the date the decision was

    due, invoke arbitration.

    2. Union-Filed Employee Grievance

    A Union-filed employee grievance seeks personal relief

    for an individual employee or group of employees. The

    grievance(s) should be filed in accordance with the procedures

    and time frames delineated in Section 7, just as if the

    affected employee(s) had initiated the grievance(s).

    a. Union-filed grievances on the same matter on behalf

    of one (1) or more employees may be processed as a

    single grievance for the purpose of resolving the grievances.

    i. If the employee grievant(s) is under the supervision

    of a single supervisor, the Step 1 grievances may be

    consolidated as a single grievance with that supervisor.

    ii. If the employee grievant(s) are under the supervision

    of different supervisors within a single DOL agency,

    the grievances may be consolidated with the Regional

    Administrator, (or equivalent) or designee, at Step 2.

    Articles • 45

    iii. If the employee grievant(s) are under the supervision

    of different supervisors in more than one DOL

    Agency within a specific region, the grievances may

    be consolidated and filed with the OASAM Regional

    Administrator at Step 2.

    iv. On a matter crossing Regional lines, the grievance

    shall be filed with the Director, ODLRN, at Step 2.

    E. Department of Labor Grievances

    If the Department of Labor wishes to file a grievance, the

    Director, ODLRN, will sign and file a written grievance with the

    NCFLL President within thirty (30) calendar days of when the

    Department knew or should have known of the alleged violation.

    The grievance will detail the nature of the harm, the violation

    of law, rule, regulation, and/or collective bargaining agreement

    violated, and the relief requested. If the grievance is not

    resolved, the NCFLL President shall issue a written decision

    within fourteen (14) calendar days. Upon receipt of the decision,

    the Director may, within thirty (30) calendar days, invoke

    the grievance to arbitration. The Director may also invoke the

    grievance to arbitration within forty-five (45) calendar days of

    when the decision of the NCFLL President is due.

    Section 8 – Failure to Meet Requirements

    A. Failure on the part of an aggrieved employee to prosecute his/

    her grievance within the stated time periods at any Step of this

    procedure will have the effect of nullifying the grievance unless

    the parties mutually agree otherwise.

    B. Failure on the part of the NCFLL to prosecute a grievance, filed

    in its own behalf within the stated time periods at any Step of

    this procedure will have the effect of nullifying the grievance

    unless the parties mutually agree otherwise.

    C. Failure on the part of Management to meet any of the time

    requirements of this procedure will permit the aggrieved employee

    or the NCFLL to move to the next Step.

    Section 9 – Modification of Procedures

    A. The time limits delineated in this Article may be extended by

    mutual written agreement of the parties at that Step. Absent

    such mutual consent, the failure to timely file an initial grievance,

    timely appeal the grievance to Step 2, or timely invoke

    the grievance to arbitration shall result in a dismissal of the

    46 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    grievance.

    B. The parties may mutually agree in writing to waive Step 1 or 2

    of this procedure.

    C. For expeditious processing of grievances, the parties, by mutual

    agreement, may consolidate grievances concerning similar

    issues into a single grievance.

    D. No issues/allegations shall be raised in that appeal/arbitration

    of a grievance which were not contained in the Step 2 grievance

    process.

    Section 10 – Statement of Grievability

    Management agrees to furnish the NCFLL with a final written statement

    of grievability / arbitrability of a grievance prior to the invocation

    of arbitration

    Article 16 – Arbitration

    Alternate Dispute Resolution

    The invocation of a grievance to arbitration does not preclude the

    parties from mutually agreeing to achieve resolution through the

    use of ADR. Both parties recognize that ADR achieves the Department’s

    goals and objectives for resolving workplace disputes at the

    lowest possible level and promotes the mission of the Department.

    Therefore, prior to a case being heard at arbitration, the parties

    will identify and schedule those cases which should be resolved

    through mediation, settlement, or other means of alternate dispute

    resolution. If a party opts not to use the ADR process then it must

    notify the other party of this decision in writing.

    If the parties agree to use ADR prior to having a scheduled arbitration

    hearing date, all time frames in the Agreement will be suspended

    until the completion of the ADR process. Once an arbitration

    hearing has been scheduled it may be delayed for ADR only

    by mutual agreement. If the matter is not resolved by ADR, the

    case will be placed on the calendar for hearing.

    Section 1 – Selection of Arbitrators

    A. When the NCFLL invokes arbitration, it will request the Federal

    Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) to provide a list of

    seven (7) arbitrators with copies to each of the parties. The Department

    will be responsible for the direct payment of all fees

    associated with getting lists of arbitrators from FMCS.

    Articles • 47

    B. Within ten (10) calendar days from receipt of the list from

    FMCS, the parties shall choose an arbitrator. If the parties

    cannot mutually agree on one name from the list, they will

    alternately strike one name from the list until only one name

    remains. The FMCS case numbers will be used to determine

    which party strikes first. The NCFLL will strike first if the last

    digit of this number is an even number. The Department will

    strike first when the last digit of this number is an odd number.

    The remaining name on the list shall be the duly selected

    arbitrator. The NCFLL shall immediately notify the FMCS of this

    selection.

    C. The FMCS shall be empowered to make a direct designation of

    an arbitrator to hear the case in the event that:

    1. Either party refuses to participate in the selection of an arbitrator,

    and/or

    2. There is inaction or a delay of more than forty-five (45) calendar

    days on the part of either party.

    Prior to requesting a direct designation, the requesting party must

    notify the other party seven (7) calendar days in advance.

    Section 2 – Cost of Arbitrator Fees and Travel Expenses

    The parties agree to share equally the arbitrator’s expenses and

    fees, including reasonable travel expenses. The parties may wish

    to consult on the “reasonableness” of the arbitrator’s charges.

    Section 3 – Scheduling, Date and Site of Arbitration Hearing

    A. Within ten (10) calendar days of the selection of the arbitrator,

    the representatives for the parties will jointly communicate

    with the arbitrator and each other in order to select a mutually

    agreeable date for the arbitration hearing.

    B. The parties will schedule arbitration cases on the following

    priorities within an OASAM region or the National Office: (1)

    adverse actions and disciplinary actions, (2) institutional grievances,

    and (3) other grievances, including union-filed employee

    grievances. Arbitration hearings will not be rescheduled to

    achieve compliance with the priority list.

    C. Arbitration hearings will normally be held on the Department’s

    premises at a location where minimal travel expenses will be

    incurred by the parties.

    D. Once an arbitration hearing has been scheduled in accordance

    with the provisions of this Article, either party may postpone

    48 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    based on emergencies or other instances where there are

    extenuating circumstances. The postponing party will pay any

    postponement fee.

    Section 4 – Official Time and Expenses

    A. When the witnesses are not located in the same commuting

    area of the hearing site, testimony may be accomplished utilizing

    web based video technology in a real time exchange. The

    use of any other available technology will be by mutual agreement.

    B. The grievant, his/her NCFLL representative, a technical assistant

    and all employees who are called as witnesses, in

    accordance with Section 5 of this Article, will be excused from

    duty to the extent necessary to participate in the arbitration

    proceedings without loss of pay or charge to annual leave.

    Travel expenses of the grievant and an NCFLL Representative,

    if employed by the Department of Labor, will be reimbursed in

    accordance with the provisions of Article 8 of this Agreement.

    Travel expenses for witnesses approved in accordance with

    Section 5 of this Article will be reimbursed for travel expenses

    where mutual agreement has been reached by the parties

    that a witness will travel to the site of the arbitration hearing to

    provide his/her testimony.

    C. The travel expenses of the technical assistant will be the

    responsibility of the Department if located within the OASAM

    Region of where the arbitration hearing is being held. If the

    technical assistant is located outside that OASAM Region,

    travel expenses will be paid by the NCFLL. If the arbitration

    hearing is held in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, travel

    expenses of the technical assistant will be paid by the Department.

    D. The Department will issue travel accounting codes, and enter

    those codes in the Department’s electronic travel management

    system as soon as possible (but no later than 14 calendar

    days prior to the hearing) after the list of witnesses has been

    submitted and approved consistent with the terms of Article 16,

    Section 5.

    E. Transcripts

    1. Representatives of both parties will consult no later than 30

    calendar days before the beginning of the hearing regarding

    the desirability of transcripts.

    Articles • 49

    2. Either party may request verbatim transcripts of the arbitration

    hearing. The requesting party will pay the cost of the

    transcripts for itself and the arbitrator. The other party may

    order a copy of the transcript at their own expense. Where

    there is mutual agreement to request transcripts, the parties

    will split the costs equally.

    Section 5 – Witnesses

    A. At least thirty (30) calendar days before the opening of the

    arbitration hearing, the parties shall exchange lists of witnesses

    whom they expect to testify. The parties shall provide the

    arbitrator with a copy of the list at the same time they exchange

    lists. The lists shall contain a summary statement concerning

    the proposed testimony of each proposed witness and the

    manner in which she/he will testify.

    B. If the parties cannot agree, the arbitrator shall determine who

    may testify. Upon request of either party, the arbitrator may be

    asked to make a ruling prior to the hearing via a teleconference

    and/or video conference on disputes involving witnesses.

    C. Except in unusual situations, the arbitrator will not have the

    authority to keep the record open in order to hear testimony of

    additional witnesses.

    Section 6 – Authority of Arbitrator

    A. Management and the NCFLL agree that the jurisdiction and

    authority of the chosen arbitrator and his/her opinions as

    expressed will be confined exclusively to the interpretation and

    application of the provision(s) of this Agreement, Departmental

    regulations and government-wide regulations. However,

    regulations and decisions of higher authorities may be introduced

    as evidence regarding the interpretation and application

    of the provision(s) of this Agreement and/or Departmental and

    government-wide regulations.

    B. The arbitrator will have no authority to add to, subtract from,

    alter, amend, or modify any provision of this Agreement.

    C. The arbitrator will have the authority to make an aggrieved

    employee whole to the extent such remedy is not prohibited

    by statute, higher level regulations, decisions of appropriate

    higher authority, or this Agreement.

    D. The arbitrator’s decision will be final and binding. However, the

    parties reserve the right to take exceptions to any award to the

    50 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    Federal Labor Relations Authority in accordance with its rules

    and regulations or the U.S. Federal Circuit Court, as appropriate.

    E. The arbitrator should render and serve the written award on

    both parties within thirty (30) calendar days of the close of the

    record.

    F. The arbitrator will have no authority to consider new issues,

    allegations and defenses raised by the grievant or management

    that had not previously been raised at or before the Step

    2 grievance meeting.

    Section 7 – Grievability/Arbitrability Decisions

    The Arbitrator shall have the authority to make all determinations

    regarding grievability and arbitrability. If the Department considers

    a grievance non-grievable or non-arbitrable, it shall furnish the

    NCFLL with a final written statement of grievability/arbitrability as

    soon as possible, but no later than the invocation of arbitration. Either

    party raising a threshold issue of grievability and/or arbitrability

    may do so in a separate teleconference and/or video conference

    with the arbitrator.

    Section 8 – Time Limits

    Time limits in this Article may be extended by mutual written consent

    of the parties.

    Section 9 – Stipulations of Fact

    The parties shall endeavor, wherever possible, to stipulate the

    facts involved in a case prior to the opening of the arbitration hearing.

    The parties may, by mutual agreement, stipulate the facts of the arbitration

    case and argue their respective positions in briefs without

    a hearing.

    Section 10 – Hearing Process

    A. Either party may submit a written opening and/or closing statement.

    B. Parties are encouraged to submit joint exhibits prior to commencement

    of the hearing.

    C. Either party may file a brief in adverse and disciplinary action

    arbitrations. The parties and the arbitrator, at the conclusion of

    the hearing, will determine when such briefs will be due.

    Articles • 51

    D. At the conclusion of the non-adverse and non-disciplinary action

    arbitrations, the parties and the arbitrator will determine

    whether briefs will be submitted. The arbitrator will have final

    say on whether briefs should be submitted and when such

    briefs will be due.

    E. The parties may have observers at the hearing for training purposes

    only. The number of union observers on official time will

    not exceed the number of management observers. The NCFLL

    is responsible for travel expenses for union designated observers.

    F. OASAM Labor Relations Officers shall be responsible for communicating

    with the arbitrator about her/his assignment and the

    scheduling of the assigned cases.

    Section 11 – Review of Outstanding Arbitration Cases

    At the beginning of each fiscal year, but not later than October

    30, the NCFLL Arbitration Committee will meet with Departmental

    management to address outstanding cases. These cases will be

    scheduled for hearing, scheduled for mediation, settled or withdrawn.

    Any arbitration invoked thirty (30) calendar days prior to the

    end of the fiscal year that are not scheduled for hearing are not

    subject to this provision.

    Article 17 – Alte rnati ve Dispute Resolution (ADR)

    A. The department and the NCFLL recognize that ADR can serve

    as an effective tool to resolve labor management disputes. The

    benefits of ADR can be avoiding protracted and costly litigation,

    improving working relationships between management and

    labor, and enhancing communications between employees and

    their supervisors. Therefore, the parties agree to implement

    ADR as stipulated in this Article.

    B. ADR may be utilized to resolve workplace disputes at any time

    by mutual agreement between the parties, to include within the

    grievance procedure prior to an arbitration hearing.

    C. If a grievance is submitted to ADR, the timeframes for further

    processing the grievance will be suspended commencing from

    the day on which the parties agree to proceed to ADR.

    D. The ADR process will be grievance mediation, utilizing mediators

    from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services

    (FMCS). The Department’s Office of Departmental Labor Relations

    and Negotiations or Regional Labor Management Rela52

    • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    tions Office, as appropriate, will work together with the NCFLL

    to coordinate the responsibility of communicating with mediation

    services for obtaining the mediators.

    E. The aggrieved employee, a union representative, the supervisor/

    manager and a management representative may participate

    during the mediation. The parties agree that all information

    shared during the mediation shall be kept confidential and

    will not be admissible before an arbitrator or other administrative

    or judicial court. The mediation shall proceed for no longer

    than two consecutive days unless the parties mutually agree

    otherwise. Any settlement agreement shall be reduced to writing

    and signed by Management, the aggrieved employee, and

    the Union.

    F. If the matter is not resolved through the ADR process, the

    employee or the Union retains the right to file a grievance. If

    the ADR process occurred during the grievance procedure, the

    timeframes for the Union to pursue or continue the grievance

    process are resumed

    Article 18 – Equal Pay for Equal Work –

    Position Clasification

    Section 1 – Equal Pay for Equal Work

    Management and the Union agree to the principle of equal pay for

    equal work.

    Section 2 – Position Description

    Management will maintain an accurate position description for

    each position, reflecting the significant duties of the employee filling

    the position.

    Article 19 – Equal Employment Opportunity

    Section 1 – General

    The Department and the NCFLL agree to cooperate in providing

    equal opportunity for all qualified persons to prohibit discrimination

    because of:

    • race

    • color

    • religion

    Articles • 53

    • national origin

    • sex, including sexual harassment and gender-based wage

    discrimination, pregnancy and gender identity

    • age (40 and up)

    • sexual orientation

    • genetic information

    • disability

    • parental status

    to promote the full realization of equal opportunity through a continuing

    affirmative program where all employees have the freedom

    to compete on a fair and level playing field; and to maintain a workplace

    free of discriminatory practices and policies.

    Section 2 – No NCFLL Discrimination

    It is agreed between the parties that in the policies and practices of

    the NCFLL there shall continue to be no discrimination against any

    employee on account of age, sex (including pregnancy and gender

    identity) race, religion, color, national origin, disability, sexual orientation

    or status as a parent, and the NCFLL invites all employees

    to share in the full benefits of Union membership and organization.

    Section 3 – Exchange of Information

    Through the procedures established for labor management cooperation,

    each party agrees to advise the other of outstanding equal

    opportunity problems of which they are aware. The Department

    and the NCFLL will jointly seek solutions to such problems through

    personnel management procedures and programs provided in this

    Agreement and in Department regulations. This Section does not

    apply to individual complaints of discrimination.

    Section 4 – EEO Committees

    A. In each Region, there may be a Regional EEO Committee

    whose membership shall include one representative from each

    NCFLL Local Union in the Region, who is a bargaining unit

    employee in that Region.

    B. The functions of these Committees shall include recommendation

    of necessary changes in new or revised EEO Plans;

    review of the effectiveness of applicable EEO Plans and

    Affirmative Action Programs in the Region; and recommendation

    of actions to remedy shortcomings in existing EEO Plans

    54 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    and Programs insofar as may be appropriate under the Civil

    Service Reform Act of 1978.

    Section 5 – Special Emphasis Program Committees

    Wherever Management meets with these Committees (for example,

    the Federal Women’s Program and Hispanic Employment

    Program Committees) concerning matters which affect personnel

    policy and practices and other matters affecting working conditions

    of employees in the bargaining unit, the NCFLL shall be informed

    in advance and shall have an opportunity to be present and participate

    at such meetings.

    Section 6 – Meetings with Outside Groups on EEO Matters

    A. Management may from time to time meet with groups or associations

    other than the NCFLL (for example the NAACP,

    Urban League, LULAC, GI Forum, IMAGE, NOW, FEW, and

    SER) concerning EEO matters that affect personnel policy and

    practices and other matters affecting working conditions of

    employees in the bargaining unit. The NCFLL shall be informed

    in advance and shall have an opportunity to be present at such

    meetings.

    B. Management may from time to time engage in consultation or

    dealings with religious, social, fraternal, professional, or other

    lawful associations, not qualified as a labor organization, with

    respect to matters or policies which involve individual applicability

    to it or its members provided that such consultation or

    dealings shall be so limited that they do not assume the character

    of formal consultation on matters of general employeemanagement

    policy covering employees in the bargaining unit,

    or extend to areas where recognition of the interests of one

    employee group may result in discrimination against or injury to

    the interests of other employees.

    C. This Section does not apply to meetings with individual employees

    concerning an individual complaint of discrimination.

    Section 7 – EEO Counselors

    A. The Department will appoint and train EEO Counselors.

    B. EEO Counselors will be selected from a list of nominees which

    shall include the names of any employees who have been

    nominated by the NCFLL.

    C. Counselors may not be NCFLL Stewards or Officers and may

    not be supervisors or Management Officials.

    Articles • 55

    D. The Department will issue notices at least annually or as

    needed to NCFLL Bargaining Unit Employees concerning the

    availability of EEO Counselor positions.

    E. The duties of an EEO counselor include: explaining the EEO

    complaint process and informing the complainant about his

    or her rights and responsibilities; making whatever informal

    inquiry she/he believes is appropriate to define the issue and

    aids in an attempt to resolve the complaint (this could include

    contacting the alleged discriminating official and/or witnesses

    to the alleged discriminatory action); and maintaining a record

    of counseling in order to provide the required EEO Counselor’s

    Summary Report to the CRC upon completion of counseling.

    Section 8 – EEO Complaint Resolution

    If requested by the complainant, NCFLL Stewards may represent

    EEO complainants in all phases of the EEO complaint process,

    both informal and formal. With a written release from the EEO

    complainant, the NCFLL shall be provided written copies of all

    proposed remedial or corrective actions covered by that release

    relating to that bargaining unit employee taken as the result of

    informal or formal resolution of EEO complaints. The NCFLL shall

    be notified of all proposed remedial or corrective actions, which

    impact on bargaining unit employees, to be taken as the result of

    informal or formal resolution of EEO complaints.

    Section 9 – Reasonable Accommodation

    A. The Department shall provide reasonable accommodations for

    qualified individuals with disabilities as required by the Rehabilitation

    Act of 1973, as amended, (29 U.S.C. 791). In accordance

    with 29 C.F.R. 1630.2(o), the term reasonable accommodation

    may include:

    1. Modifications or adjustments to a job application process

    that enable a qualified applicant with a disability to be considered

    for the position such qualified applicant desires; or

    2. Modifications or adjustments to the work environment, or to

    the manner or circumstances under which the position held

    or desired is customarily performed, that enable a qualified

    individual with a disability to perform the essential functions

    of that position; or

    3. Modifications or adjustments that enable an employee with

    a disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment

    as are enjoyed by other similarly situated employees

    56 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    without disabilities

    B. In accordance with 29 C.F.R. 1630.2(o), reasonable accommodation

    may include but is not limited to:

    1. Making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible

    to and usable by individuals with disabilities; and

    2. Job restructuring; part time or modified work schedules;

    reassignment to a vacant position; acquisition or modifications

    of equipment or devices; appropriate adjustment or

    modifications of examinations, training materials, or policies;

    the provision of qualified readers or interpreters; and other

    similar accommodations for individuals with disabilities.

    C. Upon request, the Department shall provide visually disabled

    employees with access to this Agreement.

    D. When the results of a medical examination reveal that a disabled

    employee cannot satisfactorily perform his/her job, the

    Department will consider reasonable accommodation for the

    employee under the applicable regulations.

    Article 20 – Merit Stafing

    Section 1 – General

    A. Policies/Procedures

    1. It is the policy of the Department and the NCFLL to fill all

    positions in the bargaining unit in the Competitive Service

    with the best qualified candidates for the positions to be

    filled and to assure that employees have an opportunity to

    develop and advance to their full potential according to their

    capabilities. The Department will administer this Article in

    accordance with DPR 335, dated October 01, 2007, unless

    modified or supplemented in this Article. The Department

    will notify the NCFLL of its intent to modify DPR 335 during

    the life of the Agreement. The Union may exercise its right

    to bargain to the fullest extent of the law.

    2. The parties agree that all positions in the bargaining unit

    shall be filled in accordance with procedures outlined in this

    negotiated Agreement and subject to court order, law, or

    regulation.

    3. The parties agree that electronic filing is the required

    method for NCFLL bargaining unit employees to apply for

    Department of Labor positions. Employees may use the

    Articles • 57

    alternative paper filing method when they can demonstrate

    to the Human Resources Officer, or the HR Officer declares

    significant difficulties to their being able to electronically file

    in a timely manner. All timely applications will be processed

    by the Department. The parties agree to monitor the effectiveness

    of the Department’s electronic filing process as

    specified in Section 11.

    B. The Department and the NCFLL agree to the following practices

    and principles applicable to all merit staffing actions filling

    competitive positions in the bargaining unit.

    1. Based on the criteria and standards of the Merit Staffing

    Plan, selection will be made from a properly prepared

    Certificate. Selection will be based on the judgment of the

    selecting official as to who will best perform in the job to be

    filled in accordance with the announced requirements.

    2. Bargaining unit employees may not file grievances based

    solely on non-selection.

    3. Employee appeals will be handled in accordance with Statute,

    regulation and/or applicable guidance.

    4. Employees detailed to, or assigned to perform the full range

    of duties of, higher graded positions for longer than thirty

    (30) calendar days will have these details converted to temporary

    promotions after serving thirty (30) calendar days,

    or their detail will be terminated. Normally, when it is known

    in advance that a detail to a higher graded position for any

    employee will substantially exceed 30 days, a temporary

    promotion is a preferred alternative. Employees will be

    rotated, to the extent possible, to ensure fairness and equal

    promotional opportunities.

    5. As an exception to merit staffing, an employee may be repromoted

    to a grade previously held on a permanent basis

    in the competitive service (or similar OPM-approved system)

    from which the employee was separated or demoted

    for other than performance or conduct reasons as provided

    at 5 CFR 335.103. Special consideration for re-promotion

    is consideration prior to the use of competitive merit staffing

    procedures for vacancies at the employee’s former grade

    or at any intervening grades for positions for which he/she

    meets minimum qualification requirements. The area of

    consideration for re-promotion for these employees is the

    same as the merit staffing minimum area of consideration.

    58 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    If the merit staffing area of consideration is extended, the

    area of special consideration must be extended as well. The

    employing agency will provide special consideration for repromotion

    for employees whose positions are downgraded

    and/or entitled to grade and/or pay retention for a period of

    two (2) years.

    6. Selection certificates are valid for thirty (30) calendar days

    beginning with the date the Certificate is issued. If no

    selection has been made within this thirty (30) calendar

    day period, the certificate is canceled unless an extension

    is approved by the Director of Human Resources. Such

    extensions should only be requested in rare and unusual

    circumstances when a selection official cannot make a decision

    within the required time period. The designated NCFLL

    official within each OASAM Region will be notified when an

    extension is approved.

    7. Details to positions at the same or lower grade levels with

    no “known promotional potential” are excepted from competitive

    merit staffing procedures. Employees will be rotated

    to the extent possible. Volunteers will be solicited and considered

    for details of sixty (60) calendar days or longer.

    8. Application procedures: a. Employees may register through

    USA JOBS to be electronically notified of specific future job

    opportunities so that they can apply online. b. The Department

    and the NCFLL recognize that there may be unusual

    circumstances in which an employee should be allowed to

    submit an advance application for possible future vacancies.

    An employee who will be unable to receive or respond

    to vacancy announcements for fifteen (15) calendar days

    or more due to military service, service during a national

    emergency, or other similar situation may provide a written

    or electronic application to the OASAM Regional Human

    Resources Officer. The employee’s request for advance

    application consideration must specify the title(s), grade

    level(s), and location(s) of positions for which the employee

    wants to be considered. The advance application expires

    upon the employee’s return to normal duty status.

    9. A Career Enhancement Program trainee who does not satisfactorily

    complete the training period will be assigned to a

    different position or back to a former or similar position and

    grade level.

    10. Vacancy announcements will be opened for a minimum of

    Articles • 59

    fourteen (14) calendar days.

    11. The conditions for submission of supplemental materials

    will be stated on the vacancy announcement.

    Section 2 – General Requirements

    A. Equal Opportunity - Actions under a promotion plan, whether

    in identification, qualification, evaluation, or selection of candidates

    or any other phase of the promotion process shall be

    made without regard to political, religious, or labor organization

    affiliation or non-affiliation; marital status, race, color, sex,

    national origin, disability, or age, and shall not be based on any

    criteria that are not job related, including favoritism based on

    personal relationship, patronage, or nepotism.

    B. Procedural Practices and Preferential Management Action -

    The Department will avoid preferential management practices

    which may lead employees to believe that a person was preselected

    for a vacancy or that selection was based on favoritism.

    These practices include actions taken by Management

    designed to give preference in promotion to a predetermined

    individual or group of individuals such as assigning an employee

    to serve as an understudy, without competition, singling

    out one or a group of employees for special training or assigning

    certain employees to more difficult duties with the intent of

    training them for higher grade work. These practices tend to

    undermine employee confidence in the system and give rise to

    complaints even though the selection was proper.

    C. Special Assignments - Mine Inspection Work - Special assignments

    for mine inspection work such as but not limited to roof

    control, ventilation, special investigator, accident investigator,

    electrical investigator, health specialist, etc., will be posted

    within each Mine Safety and Health District so that those interested

    may apply. The Agency reserves the right to make the

    final selection.

    Section 3 – Candidates to be Considered

    In accordance with the provisions of this Agreement, all candidates

    considered under this article who are to be evaluated must be

    evaluated and certified by the same criteria using the same methods

    and forms. All evaluation criteria must be job related.

    Section 4 – Merit Staffing Reevaluations

    Electronic notification will be sent to bargaining unit applicants

    60 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    who were not referred at the same time the electronic certificate

    is issued. A written request for reevaluation will be granted within

    five (5) calendar days after the Certificate is issued and before

    the selection is made if a question regarding qualifications and/or

    certification has been raised by an employee who applied for the

    position and did not make the Certificate.

    Section 5 – Selection

    A. Action by the Selecting Official The selecting official may

    make a selection no sooner than the sixth calendar day after

    the issue date of the Certificate unless a request for reevaluation

    has been received at which point the selection must be

    delayed until the reevaluation is completed and the Certificate

    revalidated.

    B. Interviewing Candidates The selecting official must interview

    each DOL bargaining unit candidate on the Certificate. The

    interview may be done face-to-face, by telephone, or by other

    state of the art technology as available. When the selecting

    official and the candidate are in the same commuting area, the

    interview will be face-to-face. Supervisors must release DOL

    employees for such interviews for the necessary length of time.

    Section 6 – Keeping Employees and the NCFLL Informed

    A. General Information on the Department of Labor Merit Staffing

    Plan

    1. Copies of the Plan – Copies of this negotiated Merit Staffing

    Plan shall be maintained by each personnel office for

    consultation by employees upon request.

    2. Periodic Issuances – Periodically, information on the Plan

    will be issued in the form of Spotlights, articles in internal

    publications, and booklets, including information on how

    employees may file for vacancies.

    3. Information on Qualification Requirements – Summaries of

    the qualification requirements for vacancies are included in

    vacancy announcements. Complete qualification standards

    shall be available for employee review in personnel offices.

    4. Merit Staffing Tests – Merit Staffing tests (electronic, paper,

    etc.) developed for use in the evaluation of candidates will

    be shared with the NCFLL in accordance with Article 3.

    5. Career Planning and Counseling – Agencies are responsible

    for providing career planning and counseling for their

    Articles • 61

    employees. An employee should be informed of what jobs

    are in his/her career ladder; what he/she can do if he/she is

    in a job with limited promotion opportunities; what additional

    experience and education he/she needs to meet qualification

    requirements for higher-level positions; what education

    and training would be useful to him/her; and what he/she

    should do to improve his/her chances for promotion.

    6. Information on Certificates – A copy of each Certificate from

    which selections may be made will be sent to the designated

    NCFLL Representative at the same time it is sent to the

    selecting official for positions in the bargaining unit.

    B. Information on Selection – Informing the NCFLL Representatives

    The designated NCFLL Representatives will be notified of

    the names of candidates selected for positions within the unit.

    Such notification will be made by the personnel office processing

    the personnel action as soon as a selection has been

    made, and it is determined that the selection meets requirements

    (with respect to procedural compliance and adherence

    to this Agreement as well as law and regulation) and the candidate

    is available.

    C. Information on Specific Actions

    1. Information Available to Employees The following additional

    information about specific actions is available to employees,

    or their NCFLL Representative from the personnel office

    upon written request:

    (a) sources used to consider candidates for a specific

    position; (b) in what areas, if any, the employees should

    improve to increase their chances for future promotion

    or entrance into the occupation; (c) if the vacancy was

    not filled, the reason it was not filled; and (d) who was

    selected for promotion.

    2. NCFLL Request for Specific Information Where it is alleged

    that a specific violation, or concern, of the Merit Staffing

    Article has occurred, the designated NCFLL Representative

    shall notify the RA-OASAM in writing that a preliminary examination

    of record is being requested and cite the alleged

    violation. Such a request must specify the name of the

    individual or individuals directly involved. The representative

    designated by the NCFLL in writing, in the presence of a

    personnel office representative, shall be given access to the

    merit staffing records of the particular action, sanitized as

    62 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    appropriate.

    Section 7 – Merit Staffing Reviews

    The NCFLL Representative will be notified in advance of any

    scheduled reviews of Regional Human Resources Office operations.

    A sanitized copy of the Merit Staffing Review conducted at

    Regional Human Resources Offices will be provided to the affected

    NCFLL Representatives within 30 days after the review is finalized.

    In the event that a review is not performed within two years the following

    structure for the review will apply:

    A. Merit Staffing Review Schedule

    A Merit Staffing Review will be conducted within one year to

    appraise the effectiveness and degree of compliance with the

    provisions, intent, and purposes of the negotiated Merit Staffing

    Plan. The NCFLL Representative will be advised 30 days in

    advance of the review.

    B. Coverage

    The review will cover completed personnel actions effected

    in accordance with the merit staffing provisions of the DOLNCFLL

    Agreement. Actions effected under the exception provisions

    of the Merit Staffing Plan which were negotiated with the

    NCFLL may be examined for proper application of the exception.

    C. NCFLL Input

    The review will be conducted by Management. The NCFLL

    may provide input to Management on significant issues they

    want reviewed. Management must receive the significant issues

    no later than two weeks prior to the review.

    D. Review Sample

    A representative sample selected at random from completed

    actions which were effected between review periods will be

    reviewed. A reasonable sample should consist of a minimum

    of 20 actions where 100 or fewer merit staffing actions are effected

    during the period reviewed. When fewer than 20 actions

    were effected, a total review should be made. Where more

    than 100 actions were effected, the review should include a

    minimum of 20 actions or a maximum of ten percent of the total

    number of actions effected, whichever is greater.

    E. Effecting the Review

    1. The reviewers will examine Merit Staffing files to include;

    Articles • 63

    announcements, Lists of Eligibles, Certificates, evaluation

    sheets, performance requirements, evaluation applications,

    or relevant material from personnel files and any other

    related documents to determine the degree of compliance

    with the provisions of this Contract.

    2. Statistical data of value to both Union and Management will

    be collected.

    F. Confidentiality of Review

    It is understood that all actions and records reviewed are confidential

    and are not to be discussed outside of official channels

    within the Union and Management areas.

    Section 8 – Corrective Actions

    Violations of this Article shall be corrected in a manner appropriate

    to the nature of the violation and the circumstances surrounding it.

    Such corrective actions may include but are not necessarily limited

    to: program or procedural changes in the organization; removal of

    an erroneously promoted employee from the position; priority consideration

    of employees who were not given proper consideration

    because of the violation; and other remedies as stated in 5 CFR

    335 or awarded by third party process and not in violation of the

    law, higher regulations, or the provisions of this Agreement. Corrective

    action will be taken as soon as possible but no later than

    two pay periods after a decision has been made.

    Section 9 – Cancellation of Vacancy Announcements

    A. A cancellation notice will be issued to all applicants and the

    NCFLL Representative.

    B. Upon request, the NCFLL Representative will be advised in

    writing of the reason for the cancellation.

    Section 10 – Career Ladder Promotions

    A. A career ladder is a series of positions of increasing difficulty in

    the same line of work through which an employee may progress

    from the entrance levels to the journey level of full performance.

    Employees are all given grade-building experience and

    are promoted as they demonstrate ability to perform at the next

    higher level, and meet all eligibility requirements.

    B. Career ladder positions are developmental in nature. To be

    promoted, an employee in a career ladder must meet the following

    criteria, in the supervisor’s judgment:

    64 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    1. Meet all performance requirements for the duties and

    responsibilities of the current position, and also carry out

    specific assignments or projects typical of the next higher

    grade position in the career ladder.

    2. Regularly demonstrate, through assigned work, performance

    in the current position that clearly indicates the probability

    of satisfactory performance in the next higher graded

    career ladder position.

    3. Perform in the position for a sufficient length of time to allow

    adequate observation of the work performed.

    C. If an employee is not to be promoted upon initial eligibility for a

    career ladder promotion, the supervisor will have a discussion

    with the employee within 2 pay periods of the eligibility date. At

    this discussion, the supervisor will explain what is necessary

    for that employee to be promoted.

    D. If an employee is not promoted upon initial eligibility for a

    career ladder promotion, the supervisor will meet and discuss

    with the employee what is necessary for the employee to be

    promoted at every subsequent annual rating of record and at

    every mid-year performance discussion. Upon written request

    from the employee, the supervisor will provide this guidance in

    writing.

    Section 11 – Electronic Filing Procedures

    Employees shall be provided specific e-mail notification of actions

    taken on applications to include notice of receipt, certification status,

    and final outcome.

    The parties agree to use both the national LMR meetings (Article

    3) and the Information Technology Committee (Article 50) as the

    primary means to monitor the effectiveness of the Department’s

    electronic filing system.

    Section 12 – Appropriate Use of Equipment

    Employees will be allowed use of Department equipment in accordance

    with appropriate use policy to prepare and file job applications.

    Article 21 – Personel Records

    Section 1 – Official Personnel Folders

    A. The Department shall maintain the Official Personnel Folder of

    Articles • 65

    each unit employee, on behalf of the Office of Personnel Management

    in the appropriate Regional-OASAM or at the National

    Office. Official Personnel Folders are subject to the Privacy Act

    and Freedom of Information Act.

    B. Material placed in the employee’s Official Personnel Folder, as

    allowed by applicable law, rule, or regulation may be discussed

    with the employee. The employee will receive an automatic

    email notice when electronic personnel actions are added to

    their Official Personnel Folder.

    C. Unfavorable material placed in an employee’s Official Personnel

    Folder shall be discussed with the employee to the extent

    disclosure of the material is required under applicable law, rule,

    or regulation.

    D. Employees shall be advised of the length of time the Department

    intends to maintain unfavorable material in the Official

    Personnel Folder. If the Department reduces the time in which

    it maintains such material in the Official Personnel Folder, the

    employee shall be so notified.

    Section 2 – Employee Performance Files

    Employee performance records shall be maintained in accordance

    with applicable law and regulation. Employee performance records

    shall not be made available to persons who do not have an official

    need for them. Performance ratings will be disposed of in accordance

    with OPM requirements.

    Section 3 – Working Files

    A. Working files, if maintained by supervisors, shall be limited to

    dated documents and records of immediate concern to the

    supervisor and the employee. Such files are subject to the

    Privacy Act.

    B. The working file maintained by a supervisor on an employee

    shall be made available at reasonable times upon request to

    that employee for review. Working files shall not be made available

    to Merit Staffing Panels or Qualification Rating Examiners.

    C. Material will not be maintained in an employee’s working file

    indefinitely. Working files should be reviewed at least once a

    year for disposal of non-current material. In the event material

    in the employee’s working file is used as backup for a proposed

    adverse or performance-based action or is the subject

    of a grievance or other appeal, that material shall be placed in

    66 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    the appropriate official file and retained for the time required by

    Privacy Act regulations.

    Section 4 – Employee’s Review of Files

    The right of the employee to review his/her personnel records, at

    reasonable times and upon request to the appropriate official, is

    subject to the provisions in Section 1 of this Article.

    Article 22 – Training

    Section 1 – General

    The Department and the NCFLL agree that the training and development

    of employees within the bargaining unit is a matter of

    importance. The NCFLL and Department further agree that bargaining

    unit employees should benefit from lifelong training consistent

    with the policies of the Department of Labor. Consistent with

    its needs, and in keeping with the principles of equal employment

    opportunity, Management agrees to develop and maintain forwardlooking,

    effective policies and programs designed to:

    A. Aid employees in improving their performance in their current

    positions to provide an internal pool of qualified candidates for

    consideration for anticipated future vacancies in the Department;

    and

    B. Provide general career mobility opportunities within the Department.

    The Department and the NCFLL further agree to use the

    Regional Labor-Management Relations Committee meetings

    with each Agency as the forum for Union and Management

    discussions regarding employee technical training needs and

    programs. General and cross-Agency employee training needs

    and programs may be discussed, as appropriate, at the meetings.

    Section 2 – Official Time and Travel, Labor Relations Training

    The parties are committed to enhancing labor relations. Both sides

    recognize the need for professional labor relations training that is

    cost effective and enhances the mission of the Department. Each

    party will commit to providing adequate resources. Continuing education/

    training will develop an effective group of leaders in labor

    relations. This will enable the Department to be on the cutting edge

    of Labor Management Relations.

    Articles • 67

    Labor Relations training develops knowledge of Departmental policies

    and procedures, representational responsibilities, and enhances

    understanding of the labor relations process. Effective training

    in problem solving strategies and dispute resolution will increase

    the use of informal processes such as mediation and settlements.

    A. During each year of this Agreement, up to 40 hours of official

    time will be granted upon written request to all certified NCFLL

    Stewards, as described in Article 6 for labor relations training.

    This training will be held within the DOL Region in a location

    that is both cost effective and appropriate.

    The Department and the NCFLL Locals will share travel costs

    related to Labor Relations Training every year.

    The parties will generate a biannual schedule of training delineating

    the locals and their responsibility for travel costs. The

    Department will bear the cost for individual locals every other

    year on a reasonably equitable basis. If any questions arise

    over travel expenses the matter will be referred to the Director

    of ODLRN and the NCFLL President for resolution.

    B. Agendas for Labor Relations training will be developed and

    shared with the Department annually prior to the training.

    C. Annually up to 40 hours of official time will be granted upon

    written request of the President of the NCFLL to the Director,

    ODLRN for up to 50 NCFLL designated representatives to

    attend conferences. The conferences are designed primarily

    to deal with labor-management issues affecting the NCFLL

    and the Department and to train Union Representatives to be

    more effective leaders in administering the labor-management

    relationship for the Union.

    Section 3 – Travel

    NCFLL designated representatives may use the Government

    travel system at no cost to the Government to attend meetings and

    conferences which relate to the maintenance of an effective labormanagement

    relationship.

    Section 4 – DOL Paid Tuition

    Where an employee pursues courses which meet the criteria under

    the appropriate organization’s Employee Training and Development

    Plan, the costs of registration, tuition, books, and materials

    will be borne by the employee’s Agency, subject to the availability

    of funds and prior approval by the necessary authority, subject to

    68 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    5 U.S.C. 41 and Executive Order 11348. Approval may be made

    retroactively if the request is submitted prior to the beginning of

    training.

    Section 5 – Equipment and Time for Continuing Education

    A. Bargaining unit employees may use the Department’s computers

    to enroll and take approved electronic courses.

    B. The Department will allow limited duty time to take course work

    that is in the best interest of the employee and the Department.

    Employees may enter into an approved training plan with their

    supervisor and be granted duty time to pursue lifelong training

    courses and electronic courses. The plan will specify the

    number of regular duty time hours an employee can spend on

    course work. Employees who voluntarily take courses outside

    of regular duty time hours during their own time will receive no

    compensation for this time.

    Section 6 – Ad-Hoc Training Advisory Groups

    As the Department initiates new programs and services, ad hoc

    advisory groups may be established to assist the Department in

    the design and implementation of these initiatives. These ad hoc

    working groups will be composed of clerical, supervisory, and

    management employees of the Department. In those cases where

    the work of a group will impact upon bargaining unit employees,

    representatives of the NCFLL will be given the opportunity to be

    included on these committees

    Article 23 – GSA Vehicles or Leased Vehicles

    Section 1 – Assignment of GSA Vehicles or Leased Vehicles; or Recall

    A. Employees may be assigned GSA vehicles or leased vehicles

    in accordance with GSA usage objectives which for passenger

    carrying vehicles is a minimum of 3,000 miles per quarter or

    12,000 miles per year, or the use of a vehicle is required on a

    daily or an almost daily basis to conduct Government business,

    provided, however, that management is not required to buy,

    lease, or rent additional vehicles.

    B. GSA or leased vehicles may be made available by the supervisor

    to those employees who do not wish to drive their

    Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) and are required to travel on

    official business on a daily or almost daily basis and/or there

    is no public transportation available, or when an employee is

    Articles • 69

    required to carry heavy and/or bulky equipment for the performance

    of his/her job.

    C. It is agreed and understood that no employee shall be required

    to provide a POV for use on Department business or to maintain

    a POV as a condition of employment.

    D. In the event management makes changes concerning the utilization

    of GSA or leased vehicles, management will notify the

    Union and bargain with it on appropriate procedures and any

    adverse effect in accordance with Article 2 of the Agreement.

    Section 2 – Use of GSA Vehicles

    In accordance with GSA requirements that Government-owned or

    leased vehicles be used only for official purposes, vehicles assigned

    to employees on either a specific trip or regular basis may

    be parked at or near the employee’s residence during non-duty

    hours only if the employee is required by his/her supervisor to travel

    to a temporary duty post in the morning or return home at night

    without first reporting to his/her duty station, and/or the supervisor

    has determined that it is more advantageous to the Government

    to do so. In such event the supervisor will give the employee prior

    written approval to park the Government-owned or leased vehicle

    at or near his/her residence during non-duty hours. Where parking

    is provided for GOVs, employees may park their POVs in vacant

    Agency spaces, provided that such use is not prohibited by law,

    regulation, or lease.

    Section 3 – Unsafe Vehicles

    Any GSA vehicle or leased vehicle which is reported to be unsafe

    by the operator shall be returned immediately to GSA or the leasing

    company (or such facility contacted for instructions) for repair

    or replacement. If the vehicle cannot be repaired or replaced, the

    employee will, as soon as practicable (within an hour if possible),

    provide the supervisor with an estimate of the situation and obtain

    appropriate instructions.

    Article 24 – Official Travel

    Section 1 – General

    Management and the NCFLL recognize that the nature of the

    mission of the Department is such that bargaining unit employees

    may be required to travel from their official duty station. Time spent

    in travel will be compensated according to 5 CFR 550 and 5 CFR

    70 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    551 as well as other applicable government wide laws, rules and

    regulations.

    Section 2 – Scheduling Official Travel

    A. Management agrees, if administratively controllable, to schedule

    and arrange for travel of bargaining unit employees (for

    TDY jobs, meetings, conferences, seminars, audits, training

    sessions, etc.) to occur within each employee’s work schedule,

    to the extent practicable.

    B. Insofar as practicable, travel during non-duty hours shall not be

    required of an employee.

    C. A separate form of compensatory time off for time spent traveling,

    pursuant to 5 CFR 550 Subpart N, exists to compensate

    employees for time spent in traveling, when the time is not

    compensable under any other authority. Employees can earn

    compensatory time off for time actually traveling as defined in

    the regulations, and for the usual waiting time that precedes or

    interrupts such travel.

    D. When travel results from an event which cannot be scheduled

    or controlled administratively, such travel is hours of employment

    for pay purposes. The parties agree that disputes arising

    under this Section may be adjusted through the use of the

    grievance procedure provided in Article 15 of this Agreement.

    E. The Agency shall avoid requiring employees to perform

    continuous automobile travel for more than eight hours in any

    workday.

    F. If an employee incurs POV mileage or out of pocket expenses

    as a result of local travel, the voucher may be submitted when

    the total expense is at least $50, or one month’s worth of expenses,

    whichever occurs first.

    G. If a trip involves an overnight stay and otherwise qualifies as

    Temporary Duty Travel, a voucher should be submitted within

    five (5) calendar days of completion of travel. All procedures

    for filing and processing travel authorizations and vouchers will

    conform to the Department’s electronic travel system.

    H. The Department’s policy is to pay travel vouchers within twenty

    (20) calendar days of submission by the traveler.

    Section 3 – Notification of Temporary Duty

    Employees who are assigned from their present official duty station

    for extended temporary duty elsewhere shall be notified at least

    Articles • 71

    two weeks in advance. In unusual circumstances, employees will

    be notified at the earliest possible time.

    Section 4 – Alternative Travel

    When an employee on TDY voluntarily returns to the official duty

    station or place of abode for non-workdays, the maximum reimbursement

    for the round trip transportation and actual subsistence

    incurred en-route shall be limited to the actual subsistence and

    transportation expenses which would have been allowed had the

    employee remained at the TDY station. Such voluntary travel will

    be on the employee’s own time.

    Additional information regarding alternative travel is available in

    DLMS-7 which covers travel and transportation.

    Article 25 – Hours of Work / Flexible

    Schedules

    The Department will adhere to all applicable Government-wide

    rules and regulations and the provisions in this Article in the

    administration of hours of work and flexible, compressed or other

    work arrangements. Moreover, the Department shall administer

    this article in accordance with DPR 610, as specified or except as

    provided herein.

    Section 1 – General

    A. All DOL field organizations, except for the Mine Safety Health

    Administration employees who work a first 40-hour tour of duty

    will come under a Variable Week work schedule except that

    any employee may work a standard workday/workweek schedule

    or a compressed work schedule. Supervisory approval will

    not be required for an employee to opt out of the variable work

    schedule to a compressed or standard work schedule. However,

    the specific fixed hours and days to be worked are subject

    to the approval of the supervisor.

    B. Based on agency needs, management may allow part-time

    employees to participate in flexi-time.

    C. In the event of a conflict of flexi-time scheduling among employees

    at a given organizational unit, length of Agency service

    will govern, in the absence of personal hardship or mission

    needs.

    D. This Article and any supplemental agreements will be administered

    according to Title 5 U.S. Code, Chapter 61, Subchapter

    72 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    2, and 5 CFR 610, Subpart D.

    Section 2 – Types of Schedules

    A. The Standard Workweek

    For all Agencies, the basic workweek shall consist of five

    consecutive eight-hour work days, Monday through Friday

    (with the same starting and finishing time each day) except for

    those employees with rescheduling authority as agreed upon

    by the NCFLL and Management, first 40-hour tour of duty, a

    compressed work schedule or flexi-time. Part-time Economic

    Assistants in BLS may be scheduled for up to five days of work

    in any calendar week. Daily hours may be scheduled by the

    supervisor. The function of these exceptions is to enhance the

    ability of the Agencies to carry out their missions and to address

    employee needs.

    B. Variable Week

    Variable Week is a flexible schedule containing core time on

    each workday in the biweekly pay period in which a full-time

    employee has a basic work requirement of 80 hours for the biweekly

    pay period. An employee may vary the number of hours

    worked on a given workday or the number of hours each week,

    within the limits established for the organization. Credit hours

    are applicable to this schedule.

    C. MSHA First 40-Hour Tour of Duty

    The basic workweek for first 40-hour tour of duty for MSHA

    Authorized Representatives and Right of Entry employees shall

    be the first 40-hours worked within a period of five consecutive

    days in the Sunday through Saturday administrative workweek,

    beginning as early as Sunday, but no later than Tuesday

    unless requested by the employee and approved by management.

    In accordance with 5 CFR 610.111(b), a first 40-hour

    tour of duty is the basic workweek without the requirement for

    specific days and hours within the administrative workweek.

    An employee may vary the number of hours worked on a given

    workday within the week. This scheduling may be subject to

    the mission needs of the Agency and will be consistent with

    applicable laws and regulations.

    An exception to the above may be made for professional technical

    staff in district offices that elect to work a different schedule.

    Such election is subject to Management approval, Agency

    mission, and must be in accordance with applicable law, reguArticles

    • 73

    lation, and consistent with other provisions of this Agreement.

    D. Compressed Schedule

    Compressed Schedule is a fixed, non-flexible schedule constituting

    an 80-hour bi-weekly basic work requirement which

    is scheduled for less than ten workdays. The Compressed

    Schedules used most often are the 5-4/9 and the four-day

    week. In the 5-4/9, full-time employees work eight daily 9 1/2-

    hour fixed tours of duty days and one 8 1/2-hour day fixed tour

    of duty in a pay period. In the four-day week, full-time employees

    work four daily 10 1/2-hour fixed tours of duty each week.

    Since a compressed schedule, like a standard workweek, is a

    fixed schedule, the concepts of flexible time bands, core time,

    and credit hours do not apply to a compressed schedule. Overtime

    hours in a Compressed Schedule are any hours of work,

    approved in advance, in excess of those specified hours which

    constitute the Compressed Schedule.

    E. Rescheduling Authority

    1. The basic workweek for rescheduling authority shall be

    five (5) workdays, Monday through Friday of each calendar

    week. The work hours of an employee may be rescheduled

    by the employee or the employee’s supervisor in furtherance

    of the mission of the agency and consistent with applicable

    laws and regulations. The full, applicable workday

    for employees on standard and compressed work schedules

    may be rescheduled. For employees on flexi-time, the

    supervisor shall not reschedule a work day exceeding eight

    (8) hours. However, an employee on flexi-time may elect to

    work the full range of hours under the flexi-time work schedule.

    Under this election by the employee, the total daily

    hours worked (including scheduled hours) cannot exceed

    the maximum daily hours under the flexi-time plan. On days

    when this election is invoked, core hours do not apply. An

    employee on flexi-time, who elects to work more than eight

    hours on a rescheduled day, will notify their supervisor in

    advance. Split shifts may not be worked when workdays are

    rescheduled.

    2. If an employee abuses his/her rescheduling authority, management

    may withdraw this authority upon advance notice

    to the employee.

    F. Evening/Night Shifts- see Section 13 of this Article.

    74 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    Section 3 – Definitions

    In the above schedules, the following definitions shall apply:

    A. Credit hours are applicable to Variable Week Schedule and are

    earned for the time voluntarily worked in excess of an employee’s

    basic work requirement. Management may not require

    employees to work credit hours. Employees may not “borrow”

    credit hours or use credit hours unless they have been accrued

    during a previous pay period. Employees may carry over up to

    24 credit hours from pay period to pay period. Credit hours are

    earned and may be used in 15-minute increments. However,

    time spent in AWOL status will not count toward the basic work

    requirement for the purpose of accumulating credit hours.

    B. Core hours are those designated times and days during the

    biweekly pay period of the Variable Week schedule when an

    employee must be present for work. Core hours shall be 5-1/2

    hours a day. Core hours will be 9:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. With

    the supervisor’s approval, an employee may use credit hours

    or leave during core hours, as well as absences outside of core

    hours.

    C. Overtime hours in flexible schedules (except First 40 Tour of

    Duty employees) are all hours in excess of eight hours in a day

    or 40 hours in a week which are officially ordered in advance,

    but does not include credit hours.

    D. Rest periods will not be continuations of lunch periods, and

    rest/lunch breaks may not be granted immediately after the

    beginning of the workday or immediately prior to quitting time,

    nor shall they be accumulated.

    E. Normally, the time period for all employees to take their lunch

    break is between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The exigencies

    of the work may prevent an employee from taking a lunch

    break. Evenings/night shifts see Section 13 of this Article.

    Section 4 – Changing Work Schedules

    A. General Changes

    Management agrees to notify the NCFLL at least three weeks

    in advance of any management initiated proposal to make a

    general change in regularly scheduled hours of work.

    B. Intermittent Changes

    Management agrees that short-term changes in an employee’s

    scheduled hours of duty shall be kept to the minimum necesArticles

    • 75

    sary to accomplish the mission of an Agency. When Management

    has advance knowledge of the need for such changes,

    management shall notify the designated NCFLL Official and

    the employee as soon as possible.

    Section 5 – Split Shifts

    Management will not schedule breaks of more than one hour in a

    workday, as provided in 5 CFR 610.121.

    Section 6 – Timekeeping

    A. Employees who work the Variable Week Schedule and who

    are assigned to office work or physically report to an office at

    the beginning and end of each day will use serial sign-in/signout

    sheets showing times of arrival and departure to record and

    report attendance. Under the serial sign-in/sign-out method,

    employees sign their name and record their time of arrival in

    order, one after the other. When departing from work at the end

    of the employee workday, employees again sign their name

    and record their time of departure in order, one after the other.

    The serial sign-in/sign-out sheet will be adjacent to a centrally

    located clock which will be used to determine the time recorded.

    B. For each pay period, all employees will report and record all

    hours worked and not worked in the Department’s automated

    time and attendance system. For employees who work the

    Variable Week schedule, total time will be rounded to the nearest

    15 minutes consistent with the FLSA.

    C. It is understood by the parties that any Agency program time

    distribution tracking system is for purposes of tracking program

    activity and not for tracking employee time and attendance for

    pay purposes.

    Section 7 – Hours of Work

    A. Under the Variable Week schedule, employees assigned to

    work in the office for the day may begin work as early as 6:00

    a.m. and may work as late as 7:00 p.m., Monday through

    Friday. Each employee (except Compressed time or First 40

    employees) will orally inform their supervisor of their plans to

    work more than eight hours or beyond the end of the official

    workday of their immediate supervisor. This notification shall

    be made no later than the end of the core hours of the day on

    which the hours are to be worked. Such notification will allow

    76 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    the supervisor to make or alter the employee’s work assignment

    as needed.

    B. An exception to the advance authorization requirement for an

    employee will be made when the exigencies of the situation

    prevent advance authorization of work. In case of abuse, Management

    may withdraw this discretion of an employee to work

    more than eight hours in a day without advance approval. For

    evenings and night shifts see Section 13.

    Section 8 – Pay Administration

    Employees will be paid for the number of hours worked plus the

    amount of paid leave used. For pay purposes, credit hours will be

    treated as a type of leave.

    Section 9 – Coverage of Mission Needs

    A. Management is responsible for seeing that the mission of the

    Department is carried out. Management will determine mission

    need requirements after discussions with employees/representatives

    at the local level. Some examples of the principal forms

    of coverage are:

    1. answering phones;

    2. providing clerical, technical, and professional support;

    3. providing office representation at essential meetings;

    4. handling inquiries from the public; and

    5. providing program needs based on business necessity.

    B. Coverage requirements, once established by the supervisor in

    accordance with Subsection 1 above, will remain in full force

    and effect until altered, amended, or revised. Management will

    explore all options available for office coverage to allow flexibility

    for all participants.

    C. When the supervisor establishes coverage requirements, all

    employees are obliged to meet the coverage requirements.

    The determination of who will work particular days or hours to

    ensure such coverage is within the authority of the supervisor.

    Where practical, personal preference will be honored in scheduling

    coverage. Where personal preference conflicts with the

    equitable sharing of the burden of coverage, personal preference

    shall give way.

    D. Employees assigned to training or any other temporary duty

    assignment with an established schedule will adhere to the

    Articles • 77

    established schedule of the temporary assignment for the duration

    of the assignment.

    Section 10 – Abuse

    A. If an employee abuses his/her flexi-time schedule, Management

    may remove the employee from participation in the flexitime

    plan upon advance notification to the employee. Abuse is

    defined as including but not limited to:

    1. Abuse of timekeeping system.

    2. Continued failure to accurately record hours worked in serial

    and individual logs.

    3. Failure to adhere to office coverage requirements.

    4. Failure to arrange schedules so that work hours, including

    approved absences and credit hour use, total to 80 hours of

    work per pay period.

    5. Falsification of time reporting records.

    B. Removal from flexi-time for abuse of its requirements is not

    a disciplinary action, but does not preclude other action by

    the employer within its authorities to effect disciplinary action

    including removal from employment.

    C. Normally employees will be given at least five (5) calendar

    days notice before being removed from the plan.

    D. Removal of an employee from flexi-time for abuse does not

    preclude that employee from requesting and being allowed to

    participate in flexi-time at a future date.

    Section 11 – Rest Breaks

    A. There will be a 15-minute rest break in the first half of an 8

    hour day and a 15-minute rest break in the second half of an 8

    hour day. Employees will be able to schedule their own breaks

    consistent with office coverage.

    B. Breaks will be scheduled by the employee, subject to supervisory

    approval, so that the operations of the Department are

    not interrupted. Rest periods will not be continuations of lunch

    periods, and they may not be granted immediately after the

    beginning of the workday or immediately prior to quitting time,

    nor shall they be accumulated.

    Section 12 – MSHA Cleanup Time

    A. Mine inspection personnel on duty at mine sites, or upon

    78 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    returning to the office, will be granted time to cleanup, not to

    exceed 15 minutes, prior to the end of the workday, where

    facilities are available.

    B. When MSHA requests new or additional space from GSA,

    shower facilities will be included in the request. This requirement

    can be waived by mutual agreement between the Department

    and the NCFLL National Executive Committee.

    C. The MSHA Academy will provide a reasonable amount of time

    when necessary and limited to 15 minutes, consistent with the

    nature of the work performed, for employees to change clothes

    at the beginning and end of the workday and to cleanup prior

    to the lunch period and at the end of the workday. In the same

    manner, a reasonable amount of time will be allowed for employees

    for the storage, cleanup, and protection of Government

    property, equipment, and tools prior to the end of the workday.

    Section 13 – Evenings/Night Shifts

    The parties agree that evening and night shift scheduling may

    occur for the MSHA Lab Employees. Prior to implementation, the

    parties will bargain appropriate arrangements for the proposed

    scheduling.

    Section 14 – Grievability

    A. Any employee being removed from flexi-time for performance

    reasons may grieve that decision.

    B. Any employee denied the right to participate in flexi-time may

    grieve the denial.

    Article 26 – Overtime

    Section 1 – General

    A. Management, at its discretion, may require employees to work

    overtime.

    B. Employees shall have advance authorization from Management

    to work overtime.

    Section 2 – Distribution of Overtime

    Overtime will be distributed as equitably as possible among qualified

    employees. First consideration will be given to those employees

    who are permanently assigned to the job.

    Articles • 79

    Section 3 – Overtime Compensation for Non-Exempt Employees

    All non-exempt employees who have been authorized in advance

    to work overtime will be compensated in accordance with applicable

    laws and regulations. Employees and supervisors shall use

    DOL Form DL-1-105 to document supervisory approval of overtime

    work.

    Section 4 – Compensation for Exempt Employees

    A. All exempt employees who have been authorized in advance

    to work overtime will be compensated in accordance with applicable

    laws and regulations.

    B. An exception to the advance authorization requirement will be

    made when the exigencies of the situation require overtime

    work. In case of abuse, Management may withdraw this discretion

    of an employee to perform overtime work without advance

    approval.

    C. Employees and supervisors shall use DOL Form DL-1-105 to

    document overtime work and compensatory time.

    Section 5 – Call-Back Overtime

    Unscheduled, irregular, or occasional overtime performed on a day

    when work is not ordinarily scheduled in duty status, or for which

    the employee is required to return to his/her place of employment,

    is at least two hours in duration for pay purposes.

    Article 27 – Work Schedules for Religious

    Observances

    Section 1 – Modifications to Work Schedules

    An employee whose personal religious beliefs require the abstention

    from work during certain periods of the workday or workweek

    may elect to make up time for time lost for meeting those religious

    requirements.

    Section 2 – Compensatory Overtime/Time Off

    To the extent that such modifications in work schedules do not

    interfere with the efficient accomplishment of the Agency’s mission,

    the Agency shall afford the employee the opportunity to work

    compensatory time and shall grant compensatory time off to an

    employee requesting such time.

    80 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    Section 3 – Granting and Repaying Compensatory Time Off

    The employee may work such compensatory time before or after

    the granting of compensatory time off. A grant of advance compensatory

    time off should be repaid by the appropriate amount of

    compensatory time worked within a reasonable amount of time.

    Compensatory time shall be credited to an employee on an hour

    for hour basis or authorized fractions thereof. Appropriate records

    will be kept of compensatory time earned and used.

    Section 4 – Non-Applicability of Premium Pay

    The premium pay provisions for overtime work do not apply to

    compensatory time worked by an employee for this purpose.

    Article 28 – Job Sharing

    In today’s labor market, the NCFLL and Management recognize

    that more flexible work schedules are necessary to attract and

    maintain a quality work force. Job sharing is a way to permit employees

    to work part-time in positions where full-time coverage is

    required.

    A. Definition – Job Sharing is a form of part-time employment in

    which the tours of duty of two (or more) employees are arranged

    in such a way as to cover a single full-time position.

    B. Status – Although they share the duties of a full-time position,

    job sharers are considered to be individual part-time employees

    for purposes of appointment, tour of duty, pay, classification,

    leave, holidays, benefits, position change, service credit,

    record keeping, reduction in force, adverse actions, grievances,

    and personnel ceilings.

    C. Tour of Duty – Specific work schedules depend on the nature

    of the job and the needs of the office and the job sharing team.

    Almost any reasonable arrangement is possible if it meets the

    needs of the supervisor and the job sharers. Scheduling should

    take advantage of the fact two people rather than one are filling

    the job; these possibilities include overlapping time, split shifts,

    or working in different locations at the same time. Work schedules

    for job sharers can be from sixteen (16) to thirty-two (32)

    hours per week and can be varied in the same way as other

    part-time employees. The amount of scheduled overlap time

    depends on the needs of the particular position.

    D. Other – A proposal can come from a full-time employee who

    wants to reduce work hours, from a team of job sharers, or

    Articles • 81

    from a supervisor who wants to consider filling a vacancy with

    job sharers. When an employee’s request for part-time cannot

    be accommodated because of the need for full-time coverage,

    job sharing may well be an option. Any job sharing arrangement

    is subject to management approval based on workload

    and mission requirements.

    Article 29 – Telework

    Section 1 – Purpose

    The NCFLL and the Department recognize circumstances where it

    is mutually beneficial for employees to perform work at approved

    alternate worksites other than the traditional office or at locations

    other than where typical fieldwork is performed. Such circumstances

    include, but are not limited to, accommodation of special

    needs, disabilities, energy or environmental conservation, savings

    in commuting costs, the need for an uninterrupted work environment,

    cost or space savings. Employees and their supervisors

    may make telework arrangements for purposes of promoting the

    efficiency of the government and fostering a family friendly DOL.

    While telework is not intended to be a substitute for family care, it

    may enhance the quality of family life through savings in commuting

    time.

    Telework is voluntary and must be consistent with mission accomplishment

    and customer service without diminishing employee

    performance or the operations of the agency. Union activities performed

    while on official time, in accordance with Article 8 “Official

    Time and Travel Expenses for Representational Activity”, may be

    performed at telework sites.

    Consistent with the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 (TEA),

    teleworkers and non-teleworkers will be treated the same for purposes

    of:

    A. Periodic appraisals of job performance of employees;

    B. Training, rewarding, reassigning, promoting, reducing in grade,

    retaining, and removing employees;

    C. Work requirements;

    D. Other acts involving managerial discretion;

    E. Determining what constitutes diminished employee performance;

    or

    F. Daily work assignments.

    82 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    The Department agrees that there will not be any discrimination

    against, or disparate treatment toward, any employee exercising

    their rights under this Article.

    Section 2 – Employee Rights

    Employees have the right to contact and consult with a union

    representative regarding any step in the telework process. Nothing

    in this article will alter the NCFLL’s rights under Article 1, Section 1

    and Article 5, Section 7 of this Agreement.

    Section 3 – Types of Arrangements

    In accordance with the Telework Enhancement Act, all telework

    arrangements require a written agreement between the employee

    and his/her supervisor. There are two basic types of telework arrangements:

    A. Informal arrangements are episodic in nature and may include

    telecommuting centers or home-office sites. Informal arrangements

    may be used as trial periods to determine the practicality

    of formal arrangements.

    B. Formal arrangements are regular and recurring in nature, and

    may include telecommuting centers or home-office sites.

    Employees on formal telework agreements can adopt a formal

    telework schedule with variable telework days in which the employee

    can vary the number of days and which day(s) they telework in

    a work week according to the business needs of their assignment.

    Employees working a variable telework schedule will discuss with

    their supervisors their anticipated work schedule prior to the start

    of the workweek to allow supervisors sufficient time to assign work

    and ensure the necessary office coverage.

    It is agreed that probationary employees are not eligible for a formal

    telework arrangement; however, they are eligible to participate

    in an informal telework arrangement. Employees who are engaged

    in formal arrangements will not be precluded from working additional

    informal telework as approved by their supervisor.

    Section 4 – Eligibility and Participation

    1. Consistent with the parties’ goals of fostering a family-friendly

    workplace, all or parts of many positions could be considered

    eligible to participate in telework. When a position is determined

    ineligible, management will provide justification upon

    request.

    Articles • 83

    Management must consider the following criteria when deciding an

    employee’s eligibility to participate in telework:

    A. Required daily access to or direct handling of classified/secured

    or sensitive information which cannot be transported

    or accessed remotely;

    B. Required daily in-person contact with customers or members

    of the public at the regular office;

    C. Required daily use of equipment at the regular office; or

    D. Required daily activity that is otherwise infeasible away from

    the regular office.

    2. In accordance with the Telework Enhancement Act, employees

    occupying telework eligible positions may not participate in

    telework if:

    A. The employee has been officially disciplined for being

    absent without permission for more than five (5) days in any

    calendar year after December 9, 2010, the enactment of the

    Telework Enhancement Act; or

    B. The employee has been officially disciplined for violations

    of subpart G of the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees

    of the Executive Branch for viewing, download, or

    exchanging pornography, including child pornography, on a

    Federal Government computer or while performing official

    Federal Government duties, after December 9, 2010, the

    enactment of the Telework Enhancement Act.

    3. When an employee who meets the conduct requirements outlined

    above wishes to participate in telework, the employee will

    complete the required telework training, complete the employee

    section of the Telework Agreement, and submit it to their

    supervisor who will evaluate requests by considering aspects

    such as:

    A. Whether the employee’s work can be performed at an alternate

    work site;

    B. Whether the arrangement would be consistent with the mission

    of the agency;

    C. Costs of such arrangement;

    D. Existing performance, conduct, or leave restrictions situations;

    E. Technological and equipment needs;

    84 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    F. Communication methods;

    G. Office coverage, access to customers, team involvement, and

    access to the supervisor.

    The telework agreement does not become official until both the

    employee and his/her supervisor sign the agreement.

    Upon request, OASAM will notify the NCFLL at the Regional Labor

    Management Committee meetings of the names of the individuals

    approved for telework arrangements and the effective dates.

    After receiving a request to participate in telework the manager

    may meet with the employee to discuss and review the request.

    The supervisor’s decision will be provided within seven (7) calendar

    days. If participation is approved, the supervisor and the

    teleworker will complete and execute the Telework Agreement.

    The original signed agreement will be retained by the supervisor,

    a copy of the signed agreement will be provided to the employee,

    and the supervisor must provide a copy of the signed agreement to

    the respective Regional Telework Coordinator to be retained at the

    regional level by OASAM. The employee will begin working at the

    alternate worksite within fourteen (14) calendar days after completion

    of the agreement unless circumstances agreed upon by the

    supervisor and employee dictate otherwise.

    If participation is denied, the supervisor will explain the reason(s)

    for denial in writing. A denial must be based on mission related

    reasons.

    Management will explore all options available for office coverage

    to maximize the opportunity for telework for employees. When

    coverage requirements are established for any given function,

    all employees with such responsibilities will be obligated to meet

    coverage needs. The supervisor will determine coverage. Where

    practical, personal preference will be honored in scheduling office

    coverage. Where personal preference conflicts with the mission

    or equitable sharing of office coverage, office coverage takes

    precedence. All other factors being equal, seniority shall prevail in

    scheduling office coverage.

    Telework may be requested as a reasonable accommodation for

    disability through following the process outlined in DLMS 4, Chapter

    306 - Reasonable Accommodation for Employees and Applicants

    with Disabilities, dated December 5, 2005.

    Section 5 – Recall

    Employees participating in telework programs must be accessible

    Articles • 85

    and available for recall to their duty station for work needs and

    requirements that cannot be performed at the telework site. Recall

    examples include, but are not limited to, training, special assignments

    or meetings, new work requirements, unanticipated shortterm

    staffing shortages, and emergencies.

    Management will take full advantage of existing technology (teleconference,

    email, fax, collaborative tools, etc.) where possible to

    minimize recall. A recall shall last no longer than is reasonable to

    complete the task or purpose of the recall. When possible, management

    will provide reasonable advance notice for all recalls;

    however depending on the circumstances, there may be times

    when advance notice cannot be given. In these cases, management

    will provide notification as soon as possible, and employees

    will be provided a reasonable time to report to the employee’s

    normal work location.

    A recall is not a termination of the telework arrangement.

    Section 6 – Modification and Termination of Agreement

    A. Any changes to existing telework agreements must be agreed

    upon by the supervisor and employee. Changes should be

    documented on the original telework agreement and initialed/

    dated by both the supervisor and employee. A copy of the revised

    telework agreement should be kept on file by the supervisor

    and employee, and forwarded to the appropriate Regional

    Telework Coordinator.

    Supervisors may terminate agreements whenever one or more

    of the following conditions occur:

    1. The arrangement no longer supports the mission.

    2. Reassignment causes a change of work.

    3. Individual performance standards are not being met or conduct

    is unacceptable.

    4. An individual’s normal production and quality of work are not

    being maintained.

    5. Costs of the agreement become impractical.

    6. Technology changes require return to the regular worksite.

    7. Employees do not conform with the terms of their agreement.

    B. When Terminating a telework arrangement, the following must

    occur:

    86 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    1. To the extent practicable, management will provide at least

    ten (10) calendar days advance notice of the termination of

    an arrangement.

    2. The Notice of Termination must be in writing and indicate

    the mission related reason(s) for termination.

    3. When a telework arrangement is terminated, supervisors

    must notify the appropriate Regional Telework Coordinator.

    C. Employees may voluntarily terminate participation in the telework

    agreement at any time. If feasible, advance notice will be

    provided to the supervisor.

    D. Termination of a telework agreement does not prevent an employee

    from reapplying as soon as the required criteria are met.

    Section 7 – Pay Status

    A. Overtime and night pay differential agreements will conform

    to regulations and this contract. Employees will not perform

    overtime or night work at telework site without prior approval.

    The governing rules, regulations, and policies concerning time

    and attendance, leave, and overtime are unchanged by an

    employee’s participation in telework.

    B. Agreements will conform to time and attendance regulations

    and this Agreement. Employees will adhere to the work schedules

    selected (Standard, MSHA First-40, Variable Week, and

    Compressed – as defined in Article 25, Hours of Work/Work

    Schedules).

    C. With management approval, employees may be allowed an

    alternate telework day if their regularly scheduled telework day

    occurs on a Federal holiday.

    D. In accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act, it is the

    responsibility of the supervisor to exercise appropriate supervision

    to ensure that only work for which it intends to make payment

    is performed.

    E. An employee must obtain advance supervisory approval to depart

    the telework site and complete the remainder of the workday

    at the duty station or in the field. Under 5 U.S.C. 5542(b)

    (2) and 5 CFR 550.112(g), travel to and from an employee’s

    official duty station may be considered hours of work if the

    travel is within the days and hours of the employee’s regularly

    scheduled administrative workweek.

    F. Bargaining unit employees must check the “telework box” in

    Articles • 87

    the time and attendance system for those days that they work

    at their telework locations. Entering this data will ensure accurate

    reporting of hours worked in the DOL Telework Program.

    Section 8 – Dispute Resolution

    Supervisors and bargaining unit employees are encouraged to

    resolve disputes related to the program informally.

    Disputes related to eligibility, denial of participation, or termination

    of formal telework arrangements, which cannot be resolved

    informally, may be grieved and arbitrated using the procedures set

    forth in Article 15 Grievance Procedure and Article 16 Arbitration of

    this agreement.

    Disputes related to an individual’s eligibility to participate in informal

    telework or termination of an informal telework agreement that

    cannot be resolved informally, may be grieved. Any other disputes

    related to an individual’s informal telework arrangement are not

    grievable.

    Any telework dispute which is not grievable is subject to the following:

    A. Dispute will be submitted in writing directly to the Regional

    Head of the Agency.

    B. The Regional Head of the Agency will meet with the employee

    and his/her Union Representative within five (5) calendar days

    to hear the appeal of actions taken by management.

    C. The Regional Head of the Agency will make a written determination

    to all parties within two (2) calendars days after the

    meeting.

    D. Time extensions will be made by mutual consent of the Union

    and Regional Head of the Agency.

    E. The Regional Head of the Agency’s decision is final and binding.

    The NCFLL reserves the right to file an institutional grievance on

    telework arrangements as described in Article 15 Grievance Procedure.

    Section 9 – Sensitive and Personally Identifiable Information

    NCFLL bargaining unit employees may routinely handle secure

    and sensitive materials including personally identifiable information

    (PII). When handling PII, secure, sensitive information during

    telework, bargaining unit employees must apply approved safe88

    • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    guards to protect Government/Agency records from unauthorized

    disclosure or damage and must comply with requirements set forth

    in the Privacy Act of 1974, Public Law 93-579, as well as any other

    applicable regulation or specific DOL and sub-agency confidentiality

    requirements.

    Supervisors must ensure employees are properly trained on the

    approved safeguards to protect information when transporting,

    reviewing, and processing secured and sensitive materials at telework

    locations prior to executing a telework arrangement.

    Section 10 – Operating Principles and Responsibilities

    A. Employees who are regularly scheduled to telework on a day

    when there is a building closure due to inclement weather or

    other emergency situations are expected to continue working

    unless they are excused from duty as determined by their

    supervisor on a case-by-case basis.

    A supervisor may excuse a teleworker from duty during an

    emergency situation if the emergency adversely affects the

    telework site (e.g., disruption of electricity, loss of heat, etc.), if

    the teleworker faces a personal hardship (including unexpected

    childcare or eldercare responsibilities due to school or center

    closings) that prevents him or her from working successfully at

    the telework site, or if the teleworker’s duties are such that he

    or she cannot continue to work without contact with the regular

    office.

    B. Communication between supervisors and teleworkers is essential.

    Email, telephone, voicemail, facsimile, or other means of

    communication may be used to effect communication between

    supervisors and teleworkers. Management and the bargaining

    unit employee should agree in advance which methods will be

    utilized.

    C. Employees are responsible for notifying their supervisor if conditions

    at the telework site impact their ability to successfully

    complete work assignments, e.g. interruption of electricity or

    internet service, or unexpected dependent care situations.

    D. The Government is not responsible for operating costs, home

    maintenance, or any other incidental costs to the employee

    (e.g., utilities) while teleworking, except where authorized by

    law and approved by management.

    E. For employees who use government furnished equipment

    during telework; the employee will use and protect the equipArticles

    • 89

    ment in accordance with 5 CFR 2635.704. Teleworkers may

    be recalled to permit maintenance on government furnished

    equipment. If the employee uses his/her own equipment, the

    employee is responsible for its service and maintenance. Employees

    are responsible for applying the necessary safeguards

    to protect government records from damage or unauthorized

    disclosure.

    F. Teleworkers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful

    working environment at the telework site.

    G. The employee may be covered under the Federal Employee’s

    Compensation Act if injured while performing official duties at

    the official duty station or alternate work site. The employee

    will notify the supervisor immediately of any accident or injury

    that occurs at the alternate work site.

    Section 11 – Accountability Statistics

    The Department will share with the NCFLL the information reported

    to OPM on the use of Telework on an annual basis.

    Article 30 – Dependent Care Programs

    Section 1 – General Statement

    Recognizing that balancing home and workplace needs is important

    to the well-being of employees and therefore the productivity

    of the Department, Management, and the NCFLL support DOL dependent

    care programs designed to assist employees in meeting

    their child care, adult and elder care needs. General programs and

    practices which serve to assist DOL employees in meeting these

    concerns and needs have been incorporated by the Department

    and the NCFLL into this Agreement in other Articles: Flexi-time,

    Job Sharing, Family Leave, and Telework. The intent of this Article

    is to encourage development of innovative and cost effective approaches

    to providing additional assistance in meeting employee

    childcare, adult and elder care needs. The Department, to the

    extent permitted by Government rules and regulations and budget,

    will support these programs.

    Section 2 – Types of Programs

    A. Dependent care assistance at the Regional/local level may

    include, but is not limited to the following:

    1. Child care, adult and elder care referral services;

    90 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    2. Seminars, workshops, and exhibitions;

    3. Periodic newsletters and brochures;

    4. Family resource centers;

    5. Consultants to assist employees with dependent care problems;

    and

    6. DOL cooperation with other agencies regarding Dependent

    Care Programs, including Infant and Childcare Centers.

    B. Employees are encouraged to take advantage of Dependent

    Care Programs. New employees should be informed about the

    availability of Dependent Care Programs during orientation.

    Employees will be permitted to contact childcare, adult and

    elder care providers during duty hours consistent with DLMS

    Chapter 9-900, Appropriate Use of Information Technology.

    Section 3 – NCFLL Involvement

    The Department will keep the NCFLL advised of the status of Departmental

    Dependent Care Programs. The NCFLL will be afforded

    the opportunity to provide input on the operation of the Department’s

    Dependent Care Programs and to participate in Regional

    task groups or committees involved in developing and formulating

    such programs as appropriate.

    Section 4 – Child Care Subsidy

    A. The Department of Labor Child Care Subsidy Program, conditional

    upon and in accordance with authorizing legislation, is

    intended to foster a quality work place for employees through

    the use of licensed and/or regulated child care by subsidizing

    costs for low family income employees while at the same time

    improving recruitment efforts, improving retention, reducing absenteeism,

    and improving morale. The DOL Program provides

    assistance to lower income working families in their efforts to

    obtain quality, licensed and/or regulated day care for dependent

    children through age 13 and disabled children through

    age 18. Qualified participants must be utilizing licensed and/or

    regulated childcare, meet income level definitions, and maintain

    a full-time or part-time permanent position status. This subsidy

    may apply for federal childcare centers, non-federal child

    care centers, in family child care homes, and care in the home

    of participants for both full-time and part-time programs, and to

    include after school programs and daytime summer programs.

    B. The Department of Labor Child Care Subsidy Program will be

    Articles • 91

    administered in such a manner that is cost efficient, manageable,

    accessible, and will serve to support valid performance

    data that will provide for meaningful program review and enhancement

    of the program.

    C. This agreement is made pursuant to the government-wide

    regulations of the Office of Personnel Management. Appropriated

    funds, otherwise available for salaries, will be utilized to

    fund the program.

    The subsidy payment plan is as follows:

    Total Family

    Income

    Percentage of Actual

    Child Care Costs

    Monthly Not

    To Exceed

    < $40,580 75% $700

    $40,581 - $49,999 60% $600

    $50,000 - $59,999 50% $575

    $60,000 - $69,999 40% $550

    $70,000 - $79,999 35% $450

    D. Any annual subsidy received in excess of $5,000 ($2,500 in

    the case of a separate return by a married individual) must be

    included as part of gross income for tax purposes, in accordance

    with 26 USC 129.

    E. Employees already participating in the program need not reapply.

    However, their records will be reviewed annually in January

    for subsidy adjustment based upon the foregoing formula. Applications

    received and approved will be effective the beginning

    of the month in which approved.

    F. The parties will make every effort to ensure overall employee

    awareness of the provisions of the Department of Labor Program

    for Use of Appropriated Funds for Child Care Costs for

    Lower Income Employees. Mechanisms to be used to support

    this effort, although not all inclusive will include the NCFLL

    Courier, LaborNet, Labor Exchange, and Spotlight publications.

    G. The DOL will collaborate with the NCFLL in the development

    of any required report to Congress that is due pursuant to the

    legislation. The Department, in the administration of this program,

    will collect information and share such information with

    the NCFLL. The information will be in regard to matters such

    as employee participation in connection with their duty station,

    total family income, amount of subsidy, eligibility/ineligibility of

    applicants, and number and age of children coming under the

    92 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    program.

    H. The Department may reduce or suspend the child care subsidy

    for all bargaining unit employees when it deems funding to be

    insufficient. Each year when DOL has a final budget the dollars

    will be examined to ascertain if sufficient funds for child care

    subsidy exists. The NCFLL will be provided the opportunity to

    consult with respect to the possibility of an adverse determination.

    The Department will subsequently notify the NCFLL of any

    determination that childcare subsidies must be discontinued

    for all or any part of the fiscal year. Any such determination(s)

    by management that child care subsidies are no longer viable

    within its budgetary limitations may be contested by the Union

    by invoking arbitration with the Department’s Labor-Management

    Relations Center within 30 calendar days of notification to

    the Union.

    Section 5 – Nursing Mothers

    During the time a mother nurses her child the Department will provide

    a reasonable amount of time to express milk. The Department

    will provide appropriate time and space. The place provided for this

    purpose cannot be a bathroom and/or laboratory and it must be

    shielded from view and free from intrusion by coworkers and the

    public.

    Article 31 – Mas Transit Subsidy and Pre-Tax

    Parking Benefit

    Section 1 – Mass Transit Benefit

    A. Within budgetary limitations, all bargaining unit users of eligible

    mass transit or eligible commuter highway vehicles (CHVs)

    shall receive 100% of their actual monthly commuting costs,

    not to exceed the statutory maximum (currently $125), as

    authorized by law or regulation, which may be in the form of an

    electronic transit benefit.

    B. An employee’s monthly subsidy cannot exceed the employee’s

    actual cost of commuting by eligible mass transit or CHV.

    C. Employee participants must certify monthly or annually that

    they use eligible mass transit or eligible CHV as their regular

    and recurring means of commuting. Whenever an employee

    with an annual transit pass ceases to use eligible mass transit

    or eligible CHV as their regular and recurring means of commuting,

    the employee must promptly return the transit pass to

    Articles • 93

    the designated OASAM official.

    D. “Mass Transit Check” or equivalent is not transferable and

    must be used exclusively by the employee for the cost of commuting

    by mass transit or eligible CHV.

    E. The Department may reduce or suspend the transit subsidy

    for all bargaining unit employees when it deems funding to

    be insufficient. The NCFLL will be provided the opportunity to

    consult with respect to the possibility of an adverse determination.

    The Department will subsequently notify the NCFLL of any

    determination that transit subsidies must be discontinued for

    all or any part of the fiscal year. Any such determination(s) by

    management that transit subsidies are no longer viable within

    its budgetary limitations may be contested by the Union by

    invoking arbitration with the Department’s Labor-Management

    Relations office within thirty (30) calendar days of notification to

    the Union.

    F. The parties’ National or Regional Labor-Management Relations

    Committees will jointly oversee/monitor the program to deal

    with systemic problems or issues as they arise.

    Section 2 – Pre-Tax Parking Benefit

    The Department agrees to develop and implement a pre-tax parking

    benefit program consistent with IRS regulations and guidelines.

    The program will be implemented within six months of the date of

    this Agreement. Prior to implementation, the Department will provide

    notice to the NCFLL and the opportunity to bargain impact and

    implementation of the program.

    A. This program allows employees to allot pre-tax money to pay

    for eligible parking expenses (also known as qualified parking)

    as defined by the Internal Revenue Service.

    B. All employees are eligible to participate on a voluntary basis

    provided that they meet the eligibility requirements for the Program.

    C. Employees may voluntarily participate in both the Mass Transit

    Subsidy Program and this Program provided that the employee

    independently meets the eligibility requirements for each

    program, including the requirement that transit subsidy participants

    use mass transit as their regular and recurring means of

    commuting.

    D. Each month the amount of the compensation deduction cannot

    exceed the applicable statutory limit for qualified parking. For

    94 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    2012, the IRS limits the amount of money an employee can

    deduct on a pre-tax basis to pay for eligible parking expenses

    to $240 per month. If the IRS changes the maximum amount

    of money that may be excluded from taxable income to pay for

    eligible expenses, the Department will make changes to align

    with the revised limits.

    Article 32 – Employee Assistance Program

    Section 1 – General

    Management and the NCFLL support the objective of assisting

    employees with personal problems that may or may not affect their

    job performance. This assistance includes finding treatment for

    employees, following up during their recovery, and helping them

    return to full productivity.

    Given this common objective, Management and the NCFLL agree

    to work together to promote the DOL Employee Assistance Program

    (EAP), which is designed to assist employees and their

    families affected by problems including alcoholism, drug abuse,

    emotional illness, and other personal problems that may affect job

    performance.

    Section 2 – NCFLL-Management Cooperation

    The NCFLL agrees to cooperate fully with Management in an attempt

    to rehabilitate affected employees who accept assistance

    made available under the provisions of the Program.

    Section 3 – Use of Leave Under the Program

    Employees shall be allowed up to one hour (or more as necessitated

    by travel time) of excused absence for each counseling

    session during the assessment/referral phase of rehabilitation, not

    to exceed six sessions. Administrative leave may be granted for

    this purpose subject to supervisory approval. Absences during duty

    hours for rehabilitation or treatment must be charged to the appropriate

    leave category in accordance with leave regulations.

    Section 4 – Employee Rights and Responsibilities

    A. Employees may voluntarily seek counseling, referral, and information

    from the EAP on a confidential basis.

    B. The confidentiality of medical/counseling records of all employees

    will be preserved in accordance with the Privacy Act and

    other applicable law and regulations.

    Articles • 95

    Section 5 – Management Rights and Responsibilities

    A. The NCFLL and management recognize that the Program is

    designed to deal forthrightly with a range of problems at an

    early stage when the situation is more likely to be correctable.

    If an employee requests assistance under the Program and

    participates in the Program, the responsible supervisory official

    must weigh this fact in determining appropriate disciplinary and

    adverse action, should such action become necessary.

    B. Managers and supervisors may refer employees to the EAP.

    C. If employees attend EAP sessions during duty hours, supervisors

    may request information as to where and when the

    employee is going.

    Section 6 – Program Training – Union Participation

    A designated NCFLL Representative from the Regional Office

    city for each Region will be invited to attend Regional seminars,

    workshops, conferences, or training sessions designed to acquaint

    supervisors, managers, and employees with the Program and its

    operation.

    Section 7 – Promoting the Program

    A. At least once a year, management will make employees aware

    of the Employee Assistance Program and the services it provides.

    B. Newly hired employees will receive appropriate EAP materials

    at their DOL orientation.

    C. Within sixty (60) calendar days of the change in any EAP

    contractor, or any change in the nature of services provided, all

    affected employees will be notified in writing.

    Article 33 – Employee Welnes

    Section 1 – General Statement

    The Department and the NCFLL agree that the well-being of Department

    of Labor employees is a mutual interest of fundamental

    importance.

    Accordingly, they are mutually committed to maintaining a healthy,

    quality working environment for those employees and to promoting

    and fostering programs which will enhance their well-being.

    The Department, within budgetary limitations, operates a health

    96 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    services program and wellness/physical fitness programs. To the

    extent of its authority and resources, the Department is committed

    to providing a quality work environment for its employees. In

    addition to Department sponsored programs, DOL Agencies are

    encouraged to initiate their own wellness/fitness programs. The

    Department and the NCFLL recognize that some of the activities

    envisioned in this Article may involve voluntary employee financial

    contributions, in part or whole.

    While the Department and the NCFLL are committed to these

    activities as positive contributions to employees’ well-being, job

    performance, and productivity, they agree that employee wellness

    is ultimately the individual responsibility of each employee.

    Section 2 – Health Services Program

    A. The Department has established, within budgetary limitations,

    a Health Services Program according to guidelines and

    procedures specified in DLMS 4, Chapter 800. Various health

    services may be provided to the Department’s employees

    through the Program including periodic medical screening for

    early detection of potential health problems such as diabetes,

    visual defects, glaucoma, hearing defects, etc.; immunizations;

    periodic medical examinations for employees whose work is a

    source of health risk; and biennial health maintenance examinations.

    B. Biennial employee health maintenance examinations will be

    offered to employees age 40 and over, within budgetary limitations.

    Priority will be given to those employees applying for

    the first time. After this, priority will be given to employees on

    a first come, first serve basis. Employee participation will be

    voluntary. Results of the examination will be furnished only to

    the employee and/or to a private physician designated by the

    employee in writing.

    C. The RA-OASAM will advise employees within the Region

    periodically of the availability of such periodic medical screening

    and health maintenance examinations so that those eligible

    employees who are interested may apply. Fourteen (14) calendar

    days will be allowed for employees to respond to notices

    for health maintenance exams.

    Section 3 – Wellness/Fitness Programs

    A. The Department and the NCFLL are mutually committed to the

    concept of wellness and fitness programs as a valuable means

    Articles • 97

    of enhancing the well-being, and thereby, the performance and

    productivity of the Department’s employees. In addition to the

    more traditional medical services provided by the Department,

    wellness programs can provide counseling and assistance

    to employees on health issues such as life style, weight loss,

    nutrition, avoidance of harmful substances, positive mental

    health, etc. Fitness programs are developed as one component

    of the Department’s overall commitment to employee wellness.

    B. The NCFLL will work cooperatively with the Department in developing

    wellness/fitness programs for the Department’s field

    employees. The Department will share with the NCFLL at least

    annually reports on the current status of its wellness/fitness

    programs including funding levels and possible changes to

    individual employee reimbursement. The NCFLL will participate

    with the Department in identifying employee wellness/fitness

    needs and developing the programs which will address those

    needs. The Department will notify the NCFLL prior to implementing

    any field programs according to their normal notification

    procedure.

    C. The Department is committed to equitable support of wellness/

    fitness programs for participating field employees. The Department

    and the NCFLL agree that the costs for wellness/fitness

    programs will normally be shared by participating employees

    with the Department. Because of the decentralized distribution

    of employees throughout the field, various physical fitness/

    wellness program models will be developed to meet employee

    needs. These models may include the following:

    1. Coordinate with other local Federal agencies to establish a

    joint program.

    2. Establish and maintain a DOL fitness facility.

    3. Subsidize/reimburse a portion of commercial health club/

    fitness center cost to participating employees upon demonstrating

    proof of membership (health club/fitness center

    membership reimbursements are considered taxable

    income).

    4. Negotiate a corporate rate or contracts for employees with a

    commercial health club/fitness center. To the extent possible,

    these programs will be tailored to the unique conditions

    within each duty station or commuting area.

    D. Employees are encouraged to take advantage of fitness/wellness

    programs. New employees should be informed about the

    98 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    availability of fitness/wellness programs during orientation.

    Section 4 – Quality Work Environment

    A. The general environmental quality of the Department’s workplaces

    is an important mutual interest of the Department and

    the NCFLL. Accordingly, the parties are committed to policies

    and practices which will enhance that general quality.

    B. General ventilation and quality of the air in Departmental

    workspaces will, to the extent of the Department’s authority, be

    maintained at levels conducive to good health and employee

    well-being. To the extent practicable, the Department commits

    to maintaining sanitary conditions in ventilation systems

    servicing Departmental workspaces and to the availability of

    adequate fresh air for those workspaces. Unless previously

    provided for in accordance with the OSHA rule on Indoor Air

    Quality, smoking is prohibited in Department of Labor space as

    well as hallways and lobbies adjacent to DOL-occupied space.

    Smoking is prohibited in any office space, including private offices.

    C. Recognizing its risk to their health and well-being, the Department

    and the NCFLL mutually support and encourage

    all efforts by employees to quit smoking. In this regard, the

    Department will sponsor and provide appropriate time and bear

    the cost of employee participation in DOL smoking cessation

    classes, clinics, or other such activities. Recognizing it is the

    individual choice of each employee as to whether they will

    smoke, participation in a smoking cessation program will be

    voluntary.

    D. Employees who desire to leave their work areas to go to outside

    smoking areas may break up their morning and afternoon

    rest breaks into short smoking breaks.

    Article 34 – Safety and Healt h

    Section 1 – General Statement

    The Department will, to the extent of its authority, provide and maintain

    safe and healthful working conditions for all employees. Management

    will designate a collateral duty safety and health representative

    for each duty station responsible for reporting any unhealthful,

    hazardous, or unsafe conditions to the Regional Safety and Health

    Manager. Pursuant to 29 CFR 1960.25(a) personnel responsible for

    conducting inspections under the Department’s Safety and Health

    Articles • 99

    Program shall have both the requisite equipment and expertise

    in the recognition and abatement of hazards. The Department of

    Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Program will comply with

    the requirements of all applicable law, rules, and regulations. The

    Department is committed to operate the Department of Labor Safety

    and Health Program in accordance with 29 CFR 1960.

    Section 2 – Correcting Conditions

    The Department agrees that its Occupational Safety and Health

    Pro¬gram will provide prompt abatement of unsafe or unhealthful

    working conditions. Procedures for abatement of unsafe or unhealthful

    work¬ing conditions as required by 29 CFR 1960 are described

    in DLMS 4, Chapter 800. Where the unsafe conditions are

    immediately dangerous to life and limb and the repairs necessary

    to correct the unsafe condi¬tions are of such an extensive nature

    that immediate repairs cannot be made to render the area safe, the

    employees shall not be exposed to the hazard and alternate accommodations

    shall be found until the area is made safe.

    Instances of unsafe and unhealthful conditions, corrective actions,

    recommendations, and abatement will be communicated to the

    Regional Safety and Health Oversight Board.

    Section 3 – Employee Rights/Responsibilities

    A. The detection of unsafe and unhealthful working conditions at

    the earliest possible time and the prompt correction of related

    hazards at the lowest possible working level are essential elements

    of the Department’s Safety and Health Program. Any

    employee in the bargaining unit who is assigned duties which

    he/she reasonably believes could possibly endanger his/her

    health or well-being shall notify the supervisor of the situation

    and file a report of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions. If

    the supervisor cannot solve the problem, and after an investigation

    agrees with the employee, the supervisor shall delay the

    assignment and refer the matter through the proper channels

    for appropriate action. Specific procedures are described in

    DLMS 4, Chapter 800, dated November 7, 2007.

    B. The Department shall assure that no employee is subject to

    restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal for

    fil¬ing a report of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions or

    other participation in Agency Occupational Safety and Health

    Program activities. An employee who believes he/she has been

    subject to acts of reprisal for participation in the Department’s

    100 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    Safety and Health Program activities has the right to seek

    redress through established grievance procedures.

    C. An employee has the right to decline to perform his or her

    as¬signed task because of the reasonable belief that, under

    the circumstances, the task poses an imminent risk of death

    or seri¬ous bodily harm, coupled with a reasonable belief that

    there is insufficient time to seek effective redress through normal

    hazard reporting and abatement procedures.

    D. Employees or Union Representatives are entitled to official

    time to participate in the Department’s Safety and Health Program.

    E. Employees or Union Representatives have the right to advise

    Management concerning safety and health problems.

    F. Employees or Union Representatives have the right to

    be in¬volved in inspection activity. Employees and Union

    Representa¬tives should be interviewed during Regional

    Safety and Health Program evaluations.

    G. Employees are expected to follow safety and health directives

    and practices, including the wearing and use of protective

    equipment.

    Section 4 – Life Saving Equipment

    A. The Department recognizes the value in making available and

    providing required support and training in the use of Automated

    External Defibrillators (AEDs). On a cost effective basis, the

    De¬partment will continue to expand the availability of AEDs

    at all Department of Labor facilities to the extent feasible. The

    parties agree to the particular need for feasibility studies for

    small DOL field offices. The NCFLL will be afforded an opportunity

    for input into the design of such studies.

    B. The Department will continue to provide the NCFLL with a

    recurring formal report on the extent to which AEDs are currently

    available for all field locations. The results of any DOL

    feasibil¬ity studies on expanding AED availability will be provide

    to the NCFLL.

    Section 5 – Personal Protective Equipment and Clothing

    The Department will provide appropriate personal protective

    equipment and cloth¬ing (such as fire retardant clothing) to protect

    employees from safety and health hazards. The Depart¬ment

    of Labor shall comply with 29 CFR 1960; DLMS 4, Chapter 800;

    Articles • 101

    and 29 CFR 1910.132. Management will consider Union input on

    equipment selection and purchase. These discussions could occur

    at Safety and Health Committee meetings, LMR meetings, and

    at the local office level. Decisions on weather-related equipment

    will be made by Management based on local conditions. Insulated

    coveralls will be provided where needed based on a case-by-case

    situation.

    Section 6 – Vehicle Safety Procedures

    Department of Labor employees operating or riding in Government

    owned, rented, or privately owned vehicles on official business are

    to use safety belts and follow government regulations involving

    hand held electronic equipment at all times while the vehicle is in

    operation. The Department shall develop and implement a Motor

    Vehicle Safety Program. The Program shall be written and include

    the requirements to provide vehicle safety awareness information

    and training sessions to all employees who operate motor vehicles

    in the course of their employment.

    Section 7 – Safety and Health Inspections

    A. The Department of Labor Safety and Health Program includes

    the following types of workplace inspection activities:

    1. Day-To-Day Inspections,

    2. Annual Inspections,

    3. Unannounced Inspections, and

    4. Pre-Occupancy Inspections.

    These inspections are described in DLMS 4, Chapter 800.

    B. Pursuant to 29 CFR 1960, the NCFLL is entitled to designate

    representatives to be afforded an opportunity to take part in

    safety and health inspections. On a regional basis, the NCFLL

    will advise the Department who will serve as their officials to

    designate these union inspection representatives. Normally,

    these representatives will be within the local commuting area.

    The Department will allow official time and travel expenses

    when the designated union representative is from the local

    commuting area. Where there is no trained union representative

    in the commuting area, the Department will cover official

    time and travel expenses for the nearest trained union representative.

    If the Union designates a representative from outside

    the commuting area when one exists within, the Department

    will have no obligation to cover the representative’s travel ex102

    • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    penses.

    C. The Department and the NCFLL will work together to ensure

    that designated NCFLL safety and health inspection representatives

    are provided appropriate training in order to perform

    their duties as specified in 29 CFR 1960 and Section 10 (Training)

    of this Article. This training will normally be web-based or

    conducted through other technology-based methods. A reasonable

    amount of official time will be granted in order to complete

    the necessary training. The Department will provide a report of

    the above training to the NCFLL on an annual basis.

    D. The Department will submit to the respective NCFLL Officials

    (described in B above) its annual safety and health inspection

    plans at the beginning of each fiscal year. These plans

    will specify the planned dates that each DOL office will be

    inspected. They will also specify if the office will be inspected

    by a safety and health professional from OASAM and, if not,

    what alternative method will be used. Changes to these plans

    will be communicated to the affected NCFLL officials in a timely

    manner.

    E. For each respective region, the NCFLL will provide the

    appropri¬ate OASAM Regional Administrator with a list of the

    names and telephone numbers of NCFLL safety and health

    representatives by location who are to be contacted and afforded

    an opportunity to take part in planned, unannounced

    and unplanned safety and health inspections of the listed DOL

    offices. For planned inspections, management will provide the

    NCFLL representative 14 calendar days advanced notice of

    the anticipated date and time that the inspection will begin. For

    unplanned inspections, management will notify the NCFLL as

    soon as practicable. If for some reason this designated NCFLL

    representative is not available, the affected NCFLL designating

    officials will be contacted and afforded an opportunity to designate

    an alternate NCFLL representative.

    Section 8 – Exposure to Hazardous Materials

    It is the policy of the Department of Labor to protect employees

    from exposure to hazardous materials through the use of personal

    protective equipment and the Department’s Hazard Communication

    Program (DLMS 4, Chapter 800).

    Employees who are accidentally exposed to carcinogenic or similar

    hazardous material will be offered an opportunity to take a physical

    ex¬amination provided by the Department. Any recommended

    Articles • 103

    subsequent periodic examinations will be voluntary. Instances of

    hazardous exposure will be communicated to the Regional Safety

    and Health Oversight Board. The Department will provide a means

    by which employees may docu¬ment any exposure to chemical

    hazards contacted on the job by utilizing Office of Workers’ Compensation

    CA Forms.

    Section 9 – Ergonomic Hazards

    A. The Department will provide employees infor¬mation about

    ergonomic hazards and how to prevent ergonomic related

    injuries. This information will be provided as part of the Department’s

    Ergonomics Safety Program. The Department agrees

    to the maximum extent possible to provide equipment (chairs,

    tables, workstations, etc.) that meets nationally recognized

    ergonomic design criteria. Before equipment is purchased, to

    the extent possible the vendor should provide training on safe

    and proper operation of the equipment.

    B. The policy of the Department is to provide safe and healthful

    workplaces for all DOL employees. In keeping with the policy,

    the Department acknowledges that there are certain ergonomic

    and environmental factors that can contribute to the

    health and comfort of computer users. These factors involve

    the proper design of workstations and the education of managers,

    supervi¬sors, and employees regarding the ergonomic,

    job design, and organizational solutions to computer problems

    as recommended in various studies published by the National

    Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

    The Department will achieve this policy by:

    1. Acquiring computers and accessory equipment that, to the

    maximum practical extent, provide comfort to the user and

    keyboards, worktables, and chairs that are height adjustable

    and provide proper back support.

    2. Providing for the laying out of workspaces that are properly

    illuminated to reduce glare and ensure visual comfort to

    com¬puter users while providing adequate lighting for traditional

    clerical tasks.

    3. Seeking and acquiring information and technical assistance,

    as needed, from appropriate resources on methods for most

    effectively designing computer workstation layouts.

    4. Educating employees about the proper and safe operation

    of computers, including the value of interspersing prolonged

    104 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    periods of computer use with other work tasks requiring less

    intensive visual concentration.

    Section 10 – Training

    The Department agrees that its occupational safety and health

    program will provide safety and health training. The parties recognize

    that train¬ing of collateral duty safety and health personnel,

    committee members, employees and employee representatives

    shall be conducted in accor¬dance with 29 CFR Sections 1960.58

    and 1960.59. As prescribed in those sections, such training shall

    include:

    • Agency safety and health programs in accordance with DLMS

    4-800

    • Section 19 of the OSH Act

    • Executive Order 12196

    • 29 CFR 1960

    • Agency procedures for reporting evaluation and abatement of

    hazards

    • Agency procedures for reporting and investigating allegations

    of reprisal

    • Recognition of hazardous conditions and environment

    • Identification and use of occupational safety and health standards

    • Other appropriate rules and regulations

    This section does not preclude management from determining any

    other safety and health training as necessary. Regional Safety and

    Health Committees may recommend additional safety and health

    training based on regional training needs. The NCFLL recognizes

    man¬agement’s right to determine who will conduct the training,

    how it will be conducted and when.

    Section 11 – Safety and Health Committees

    A. The Department and the NCFLL mutually agree to continue to

    support certified safety and health committees as specified in

    29 CFR 1960.37. In addition to the Departmental Safety and

    Health Committee, the parties agree there will be safety and

    health committees with coverage for all DOL field locations.

    B. The NCFLL shall retain representation on the Departmental

    Safety and Health Committee. Unless otherwise mutually

    Articles • 105

    agreed to by management and the NCFLL, participation in

    Committee meetings will be via telephone, video conference or

    other technology-based methods. The parties recognize that

    the NCFLL has determined to only attend one meeting of the

    Departmental Safety and Health Committee and restrict official

    time and travel for such attendance to a single trip for each of

    its two representatives. The parties further recognize that the

    NCFLL prefers that there be only a single annual meeting of

    the Departmental Safety and Health Committee as permitted

    by 29 CFR 1960.37(e).

    C. The Department and the NCFLL will establish and maintain

    up to six Regional Safety and Health Committees. The Committees

    will be comprised of three management members and

    three union members. The Committees should meet at least

    quarterly, but may hold additional meetings when necessary.

    Meetings will generally be conducted via telephone, video

    conference, web-based technology or other similar methods.

    The Committees may conduct two of these meetings faceto-

    face. With an effort to minimize travel cost, the parties will

    endeavor to schedule any face-to-face meetings in conjunction

    with Regional Labor Management Relations meetings or other

    scheduled meetings. Official time will be authorized for NCFLL

    Committee members to participate in Regional Safety and

    Health Committee meetings.

    D. A Regional Safety and Health Oversight Board will oversee

    and facilitate communication among the Regional Safety and

    Health Committees. The Oversight Board will be comprised

    of five members, two each from the NCFLL and management

    and one member approved by management and the union.

    The Oversight Board will ensure that the Regional Committees

    are supporting the Department’s Safety and Health Program

    at the Regional level. Oversight Board meetings may be held

    quarterly or more often as needed by telephone, video conference,

    web-based technology or similar methods. Official time

    will be authorized for NCFLL Board members to participate in

    Regional Safety and Health Board meetings.

    E. The Department and the NCFLL will ensure that NCFLL committee

    members are provided with appropriate training to enable

    them to perform their duties as specified by 29 CFR 1960.

    This training will normally be web-based or conducted through

    other technology-based methods. A reasonable amount of

    official time will be granted in order to complete the necessary

    106 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    training.

    F. The parties may by mutual agreement establish or continue

    ad hoc safety and health committees for specific purposes,

    such as training, site committees established by the parties for

    the Office of Workers Compensation Programs field offices, or

    accident review boards at the regional/local level. The parties

    agree that the current committees regarding safety training and

    the New York Pilot Safety and Health Committee will continue

    as ad hoc committees. The continuation or further establishment

    of such committees will only be by mutual agreement.

    G. The Department will share the office inspection data and

    reports with the NCFLL and the Regional Safety and Health

    Committees containing any complaints, deficiencies, and/or

    corrective actions.

    Article 35 – Harasing Conduct and

    Workplace Violence

    Section 1 – General Statement

    The goal of this Article is to support a work environment in which

    violent or potentially violent situations are effectively addressed

    with a focus on prevention by increasing employee understanding

    of the nature of workplace violence, how to respond to it, and how

    to prevent it.

    The Department will promote a safe working environment for

    employees and will work with employees to maintain a working

    environment free from violence, harassment, intimidation, bullying,

    and other disruptive behavior. Violence or threats of violence,

    in all forms, are unacceptable. Intimidating or harassing behavior

    includes threats or other conduct which in any way creates a hostile

    environment, impairs agency operations or frightens, alarms or

    inhibits others.

    The Department of Labor Workplace Violence Program will comply

    with all applicable laws, rules and regulations. Information about

    the Program, including program definitions, rights and responsibilities

    can be found on Labor Net.

    Section 2 – Reporting Workplace Violence Incidents

    A. Any employee who believes that he or she has been the

    subject of an incident of workplace violence should report the

    incident to someone in their supervisory chain or the OASAM

    Articles • 107

    Regional Administrator.

    B. The Department will establish and maintain a central reporting

    procedure for incidents to ensure appropriate follow up and

    tracking.

    C. The NCFLL Executive Committee will be provided notification

    of the initial incident.

    D. No employee shall be subject to retaliation as a result of reporting

    incidents under this Article or for cooperating in an investigation.

    Section 3 – Correcting Conditions

    The Department agrees to promptly take corrective action or otherwise

    address harassing conduct and workplace violence issues.

    A Department of Labor employee who, while in the act of conducting

    the business of the Department, is exposed to any form of

    threats or violence will remove himself/herself from the establishment

    and contact his/her supervisor. If the employee is confronted

    with battery or feels that the situation may digress into physical

    violence, the employee should contact the appropriate law enforcement

    agency that can best respond to the incident (i.e., local law

    enforcement or Federal Protective Service). The Department will

    report incidents of workplace violence as required by law.

    If an employee is the victim of a crime, he/she will not be held

    accountable for any property and /or equipment that is stolen or

    damaged, including the Department’s laptop computers, provided

    that the employee has taken reasonable precautions to secure

    government-issued equipment.

    Section 4 – Training

    The Department will ensure that employees, including supervisors

    and managers, are informed of policies and procedures on identifying,

    preventing, reporting, and addressing harassing conduct and

    workplace violence. Within one year of the date of this agreement

    and annually thereafter, the Department will provide training that

    covers a variety of topics that may include:

    Prevention strategies, responding to threatening situations, reporting

    procedures, risk factors, early recognition of problematic

    behavior, cultural differences, emergency procedures, employee

    assistance programs, and work-related injuries.

    Section 5 – Program Review and Analysis

    108 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    The Department will:

    A. Establish a uniform reporting system for incidents of harassing

    conduct and workplace violence.

    B. Measure the frequency and severity of workplace violence in

    order to determine if prevention programs are having an effect.

    C. Analyze trends in violence-related injuries.

    D. Share workplace violence program information with the NCFLL

    Executive Committee annually in conjunction with a National

    Labor Management Relations Committee meeting.

    Article 36 – Annual Leave

    Section 1 – General

    Annual leave is a right of the employee and not a privilege. Consistent

    with the needs of the Department, annual leave which is requested

    in advance will be approved. It will be the joint responsibility

    of both the employee and supervisor to schedule annual leave.

    Management will act on all requests for annual leave in a timely

    manner, and the approval or denial of such leave will be made as

    soon as possible. Approvals of leave requests in a timely manner

    benefit both employees and management. Leave requests that

    require an expedited response should be given priority attention

    by the supervisor. In the event an employee’s leave is denied, the

    supervisor will give an explanation to the employee for such denial.

    If any employee has a projected use or lose annual leave balance

    after Labor Day, the employee and the supervisor will discuss the

    use of leave to prevent the unintended loss of annual leave at the

    end of the year.

    Section 2 – Consecutive Vacation Time

    For vacation purposes, supervisors will schedule workloads and

    annual leave in a manner which permits each employee, if he/she

    wishes, to take at least two consecutive weeks in each year.

    Section 3 – Resolving Conflict

    In the event of a conflict of annual leave scheduling among employees

    at a given duty station, length of Agency service will govern,

    in the absence of personal hardship.

    Section 4 – Leave Usage Increments

    Annual leave may be used in increments of 15 minutes (1/4 hours).

    Articles • 109

    Section 5 – Restored Leave

    Generally, restored annual leave will be scheduled and used not

    later than the end of the leave year ending two years after the date

    of leave restoration, consistent with 5 CFR 630.

    Section 6 – Advanced Annual Leave

    Approval to use annual leave that an employee has not yet earned

    is at the discretion of the supervisor. The amount of annual leave

    that may be advanced during a leave year is limited to the lesser of

    64 hours or the amount of annual leave an employee would accrue

    in the remainder of the leave year. Requests for advanced annual

    leave for a period in excess of 64 hours, not to exceed the amount

    of annual leave an employee would accrue in the remainder of the

    leave year, may be approved when an employee is confronted with

    an emergency or other exceptional circumstance. However, if an

    employee separates from DOL prior to the end of the leave year,

    he/she will be required to pay back the value of any advanced

    leave for which he/she is indebted as of the date of separation

    Article 37 – Administrati ve Leave

    Section 1 – Definition

    A. Administrative leave is an authorized absence from duty without

    loss of pay or charge against leave which supervisors may

    grant. It may be granted for purposes related to but not part

    of an employee’s regular duties, or for civic duties or activities

    which are deemed to be in the interest or to further a function

    of the Department. Administrative leave can only be granted

    for activities which can be paid for by DOL appropriations

    and which cannot be accomplished outside regular business

    hours. The administration of leave under this article follows the

    guidance provided by 5 CFR 630, DPR 610 (dated January 1,

    2006), and DPR 630 (dated January 30, 2008).

    B. Regular hours are hours in pay status that are paid at the

    employee’s base rate of pay. Pay status hours include hours

    worked and hours of paid absence, that is, annual leave, sick

    leave, compensatory time off, credit hours used, administrative

    leave, and official holidays not worked.

    Section 2 – Registration and Voting

    A. As a general rule, where the polls are not open at least three

    (3) hours before or three (3) hours after an employee’s regular

    110 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    hours of work, the employee may be granted an amount of administrative

    leave to vote in a civil election which will permit the

    employee to report for work up to three (3) hours after the polls

    open or leave work up to three (3) hours before the polls close,

    whichever requires the lesser amount of time off.

    B. Under exceptional circumstances where the general rule does

    not permit sufficient time, an employee may be excused for

    such additional time as may be needed to enable the employee

    to vote, depending upon the particular circumstances in the

    individual case, but not to exceed a full day.

    C. If an employee’s voting place is beyond normal commuting

    distance and vote by absentee ballot is not permitted, the employee

    may be granted sufficient time off in order to be able to

    make the trip to vote. Where more than one (1) day is required

    to make the trip to the voting place, the Department shall

    observe a liberal policy in granting the necessary leave for this

    purpose. Time off in excess of one (1) day shall be charged to

    annual leave or earned credit hours or compensatory time or if

    annual leave is exhausted, then to LWOP.

    D. For employees who vote in jurisdictions which require registration

    in person, time off to register may be granted on substantially

    the same basis as for voting, except that no such

    time shall be granted if registration can be accomplished on a

    non-workday and the place of registration is within reasonable

    one-day round-trip travel distance of the employee’s place of

    residence.

    Section 3 – Inclement Weather or Emergency Conditions

    A. Management may apply administrative leave to tardiness

    which is clearly attributable to extraordinary weather, public

    transportation, or traffic tie-up conditions. In considering requests

    for excused absences, Management shall consider factors

    such as the distance between the employee’s residence

    and place of work, the modes of transportation available to an

    employee, and the efforts made by employees traveling under

    similar circumstances in getting to work on time.

    B. Charges to Leave. A charge to leave as discussed below

    includes charges to annual or sick leave, if appropriate, to

    earned compensatory time, to earned credit hours, or to leave

    without pay. A charge to leave depends upon the employee’s

    duty status at the time an emergency situation occurs.

    Articles • 111

    1. Emergencies that develop during working hours. When

    dismissal is announced because of emergency conditions

    that develop during working hours. The following outlines

    charges to leave that may occur:

    a. If the employee was on duty and was dismissed, the

    employee is not charged leave for the remaining hours

    of the work shift following dismissal.

    b. If the employee was on duty and departed on annual

    leave after receiving official word of dismissal but before

    the time set for dismissal, the employee is charged leave

    from the employee’s departure time until the official dismissal

    time.

    c. If the employee was scheduled to report for duty after

    taking an official period of leave and dismissal is effected

    before the employee reports to work, the employee is

    charged leave until the time set for dismissal.

    d. If the employee was absent on approved leave for the

    balance of or for the entire work shift before official word

    of dismissal was received, the entire absence is charged

    to leave as originally planned and approved.

    2. Emergency situations that develop during non-working

    hours. When emergency situations develop during nonworking

    hours, thereby making it difficult or virtually impossible

    for employees to get to work on time, the Department will

    open as usual or close by administrative order according to

    established procedures. The following outlines charges to

    leave that may occur.

    a. Excused tardiness. Supervisors may excuse tardiness

    without charge to leave when it can be determined that

    the employee made every reasonable effort to get to

    work on time.

    b. Unscheduled leave policy. Employees may use annual

    leave to their credit without having to request advance

    approval or to provide justification for absence in circumstances

    for which an unscheduled leave policy is announced.

    Normal requirements for an employee to notify

    his or her DOL Agency within prescribed time limits are

    suspended.

    3. DOL offices closed by administrative order. Workdays on

    which DOL offices are closed are non-workdays for leave

    112 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    purposes. Employees scheduled to work on those days will

    be excused without charge to leave or loss of pay. Employees

    on previously authorized leave will not be charged leave

    for those days.

    C. In reviewing an employee’s request for excused absence instead

    of charge to leave on the basis that the employee made

    every reasonable effort to get to work on time or at all, the

    supervisor will consider the following:

    1. Distance between the employee’s residence and place of

    work,

    2. Modes of transportation available,

    3. Efforts made by the employee to get to work,

    4. Success of other employees traveling under similar circumstances,

    and

    5. Law enforcement announcements.

    D. Each agency office will contain a section in their local contingency

    plan that provides notification to employees of actions to

    be implemented during inclement weather conditions.

    E. To enhance educating employees on the processes leading to

    dismissal for inclement weather, the Department will provide

    the following:

    1. Periodic Spotlights informing employees of the processes

    for inclement weather dismissal,

    2. Discussion at LMR Meetings on the subject,

    3. Annual all employee E-mail outlining these processes, and

    4. Dismissal procedures will be posted on LaborNet/Region-

    Net.

    Section 4 – Vehicle Breakdown While on Official Business

    When a vehicle used on official Government business breaks

    down or is otherwise inoperative, administrative leave will be

    granted in connection with emergency repairs to the vehicle if the

    breakdown occurs while the employee is in official travel status. In

    such situations, the employee will, as soon as practicable (within

    an hour if possible), provide the supervisor with an estimate of the

    situation and obtain appropriate instructions. Administrative leave

    will be granted upon presentation by the employee to the supervisor

    of a reasonably acceptable explanation and/or documentation

    relating to the emergency.

    Articles • 113

    Section 5 – Blood Donation

    An employee donating blood at an officially authorized blood bank,

    or in emergencies to individuals may be granted sufficient administrative

    leave to donate blood up to four (4) hours on the same

    day on which the donation is made and not more than once in a

    calendar month.

    Section 6 – Participation in Military Funerals

    A. An employee who is a veteran of a war or of a campaign or

    expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized,

    or a member of an honor or ceremonial group of an organization

    of those veterans, may be excused from duty without loss

    of pay or deduction from annual leave up to four (4) hours, to

    enable the employee to participate as an active pallbearer or

    as a member of a firing squad or a guard of honor in a funeral

    ceremony for a member of the armed forces.

    B. An employee will be granted up to eight (8) hours of administrative

    leave to attend the funeral of an immediate relative who

    died as a result of wounds, disease, or injury incurred while

    serving as a member of the armed forces but not in a combat

    zone. (See 5 CFR 630.803 for definitions of “immediate relative”

    and “combat zone” and DPR 630, Subchapter 804(a).)

    C. An employee will be granted administrative leave not to exceed

    three (3) workdays to attend the funeral of an immediate relative

    who died as a result of wounds, disease, or injury incurred

    while serving as a member of the armed forces in a combat

    zone. (See 5 CFR 630)

    Article 38 – Court Leave

    An employee will be authorized absence from work status without

    charge to leave or loss of pay for jury duty, or for attending judicial

    proceedings in a non-official capacity as a witness in which the

    Federal Government or a State or local Government is a party.

    Article 39 – Family Leave

    In recognition of the need for a flexible and compassionate leave

    policy to assist employees to blend their work life and their family

    responsibilities, and to promote a harmonious relationship among

    their needs, Management will consider all reasonable and timely

    requests from employees that meet the criteria established for

    leave as provided for in this section. Further, because we recog114

    • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    nize that balancing home and workplace needs is important to the

    well-being of employees and therefore the productivity of the Department,

    Management and the NCFLL support DOL programs designed

    to assist employees in meeting their family care needs. The

    intent of this section is to encourage the development of innovative

    and cost-effective approaches to providing additional assistance

    in meeting employee family care needs. The Department, to the

    extent permitted by Government rules and regulations and budget,

    will support these programs.

    This section is to be read in tandem with the Family and Medical

    Leave Act (FMLA) and the Federal Employee Family Friendly

    Leave Act (FEFFLA).

    Section 1 – Maternity, Paternity, and Child-Rearing Leave

    A. Sick leave may be used for those periods of absence related

    to incapacitation due to pregnancy and confinement. Annual

    leave or LWOP may be used when sick leave is not sufficient

    to cover this period. Absences which are not medically certified

    as due to incapacitation for the performance of duty may

    not be charged to sick leave; such absences must be charged

    to annual leave, earned credit hours or compensatory time, or

    leave without pay in an order chosen by the employee.

    B. After delivery and recuperation, the employee may desire a

    period of adjustment or need time to make arrangements for

    the care of the child. Such additional leave requirements may

    be taken care of by the use of available approved annual leave

    or leave without pay.

    Section 2 – Family Leave

    A. An employee may be absent on annual leave, sick leave, or

    leave without pay for purposes of aiding, assisting, or caring for

    family members.

    B. An employee requesting extended annual leave or leave

    without pay shall provide Management a reasonable advance

    notice which is commensurate with the extended period of absence.

    All leave will be granted subject to mission requirements

    of the Agency.

    C. In the case of extended periods of absence, Management will

    attempt to return the employee to the same job and location.

    Employees on extended approved absences may be recalled

    subject to the needs of the Agency mission.

    Articles • 115

    D. In an emergency situation, Management will grant the leave

    requested commensurate with the emergency.

    Section 3 – Adoptive Leave

    Annual leave, earned credit hours and compensatory time, leave

    without pay, or sick leave, in accordance with Office of Personnel

    Management (OPM) regulations, can be used by an employee for

    those absences associated with their adoption of children.

    Section 4 – Definition of Family Member for FEFFLA

    For the purposes of FEFFLA, family member means the following

    relatives of the employee:

    A. Spouse, and parents thereof;

    B. Sons and daughters, and spouses thereof;

    C. Parents, and spouses thereof;

    D. Brothers and sisters, and spouses thereof;

    E. Grandparents and grandchildren, and spouses thereof;

    F. Domestic partner and parents thereof, including domestic partners

    of an individual in B through E of this definition; and

    G. Any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association

    with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.

    Section 5 – Definition of Family Member for FMLA

    For the purposes of FMLA, family members are defined in 29 CFR

    825.122 and include:

    A. Spouse;

    B. Yourself;

    C. Parents;

    D. Son or daughter (including step children, adopted children,

    foster children, and legal wards);

    E. Children in loco parentis of the employee;

    F. Certain adult children with physical and/or mental disability or

    incapable of self- care; and

    G. Next of kin, son, daughter or parent of certain covered service

    members and/or active duty members.

    116 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    Article 40 – Sick Leave

    Section 1 – General

    Employees will earn sick leave in accordance with applicable statutes

    and regulations.

    Section 2 – Approval

    A. Earned sick leave will be granted when an employee:

    1. requests advance approval for medical, dental, or optical

    examination or treatment;

    2. is incapacitated for the performance of duties by physical or

    mental illness, injury, pregnancy, or childbirth;

    3. it is required to give care and attendance to a member of

    his/her immediate family afflicted with a contagious disease,

    or would jeopardize the health of others because of

    exposure to a contagious disease. A contagious disease

    is a disease ruled to be subject to a quarantine, requiring

    isolation of the patient, or requiring restriction of movement

    by the patient for a specified period of time as prescribed by

    the local health authorities having jurisdiction.

    4. provides care for a family member who is incapacitated by

    a medical or mental health condition or attends to a family

    member receiving medical, dental, or optical examination or

    treatment;

    5. provides care for a family member with a serious health

    condition;

    6. makes arrangements necessitated by the death of a family

    member or attends the funeral of a family member; or

    7. must be absent from duty for purposes relating to adoption

    of a child, including appointments with adoption agencies,

    social workers, and attorneys; court proceedings; required

    travel; and any other activities necessary to allow the adoption

    to proceed.

    Section 3 – Use of Sick Leave

    A. When an employee in the unit is unable to report for duty

    because of illness or injury, notification must be given to the

    appropriate supervisor as soon as possible, normally no later

    than 10:00 am. If the immediate supervisor is not available

    when the employee calls in to request sick leave, the employee

    Articles • 117

    will leave a message and a phone number where he or she

    may be reached, if necessary. It is the responsibility of the

    employee to keep the supervisor advised if their sick leave will

    extend beyond their original request.

    B. Sick leave may be used in increments of fifteen (15) minutes

    (.25 hours).

    C. A period of absence on sick leave in excess of three (3) consecutive

    calendar days must ordinarily be supported by a medical

    certificate indicating the employee was under a health care

    provider’s care. However, if the circumstances surrounding the

    employee’s absence indicate that the services of a health care

    provider were not available or required, the employee’s written

    statement may be accepted in lieu of a medical certificate.

    D. Upon request and the presentation of a medical certificate, sick

    leave should normally be advanced to permanent employees

    in the bargaining unit, not to exceed thirty (30) calendar days,

    for cases of serious illness or injury and when the employee’s

    absence extends beyond three (3) consecutive days. However,

    no advance sick leave will be made to employees for whom

    future accrual of sick leave is doubtful.

    Section 4 – Charge to Annual Leave

    An approved absence which would otherwise be chargeable to

    sick leave may be charged to annual leave if requested by the

    employee and approved by Management.

    Article 41 – Depa rtment of Labor Regional

    Leave Bank Program

    Section 1 – Purpose

    To establish procedures and requirements for a single Voluntary

    Leave Bank Program (VLBP) for all regions under which the unused

    accrued annual leave of an employee may be contributed to

    a leave bank member who needs such leave because of a medical

    emergency.

    Section 2 – Administration

    The VLBP will be administered in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 63,

    5 CFR 630 (2006) and DPR 630 (October 1, 2005). The Department

    and the NCFLL agree to develop and maintain a VLBP. The

    Regional Leave Bank Program will be administered by a Leave

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    Bank Board. The Leave Bank Board will be comprised of one

    management-designated official, one NCFLL-designated official,

    and one employee mutually agreed to by both management and

    the NCFLL. The Board shall not discriminate in violation of any

    Federal law, including but not limited to Title VII of the Civil Rights

    Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation

    Act of 1973, and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

    Section 3 – Procedures

    A. The Leave Bank Board will have at least one open season

    per year that will last at least thirty calendar days. The Board

    may initiate “emergency” open seasons if it determines that

    available leave is not sufficient to meet the needs of members.

    Employees will be advised annually of the open season.

    B. Employees who join the Leave Bank will have their membership

    automatically rolled over each year and the minimum

    leave donation will be automatically deducted. Employees will

    be given notice of the opportunity to opt out prior to the end of

    the year.

    C. Employee contributions to become a leave bank member for

    a leave year are based upon the employee’s current leave

    category.

    D. When applying to receive leave, employees must submit required

    documentation as stipulated by 5 CFR 630.

    E. The Board shall act on leave bank applications within fourteen

    (14) calendar days of their receipt of the completed form.

    F. A recipient may receive no more than 160 hours of leave from

    the Leave Bank per Bank year. The Board may establish a time

    limit in which leave must be used. Thirty (30) calendar days

    after the end of each open season period, a limit per recipient

    will be established that is equal to one percent of leave in the

    Bank as of that date. In any Bank year, approved recipients

    may be granted total Bank leave up to the lesser of 160 hours

    or the limit so established.

    G. Recipients who need more leave than the established limit may

    apply for and receive additional leave via the Leave Transfer

    program.

    H. Before using any leave from the Leave Bank, an employee is

    required to exhaust any leave received from the Leave Transfer

    Program.

    Articles • 119

    I. The employee is responsible for advising the supervisor of the

    intent to apply for the Leave Bank, completing an application,

    and advising the Board or Department upon termination of the

    need for donated leave.

    J. The employee’s supervisor is responsible for monitoring use of

    donated leave, ensuring that it is used in an appropriate manner,

    denying use of donated leave for other than an acceptable

    use, and advising the Board or Department of any concerns.

    K. The Board, subject to approval of the Director of Human

    Resources, may change the established cap on the number of

    hours recipients may receive from the Leave Bank per Bank

    year.

    Section 4 – Publicity

    The Department, in coordination with the NCFLL, will develop and

    maintain a VLBP handbook; advise employees of the program

    to promote membership, and notify members periodically of the

    Leave Bank status and activities, rules, etc.

    Additional guidance is available in the VLBP handbook which can

    be accessed through LaborNet.

    Article 42 – Volunter Services to Non-Profit

    Organizations

    Department of Labor employees have a history of generously giving

    of their time and talents to make positive contributions to their

    local communities. The NCFLL and the Department of Labor agree

    that providing volunteer service to a community not only helps the

    people of that community but also enhances the mission of helping

    working families. Normally, volunteer service is performed outside

    of work hours. When volunteer service occurs during work hours,

    employees should normally make use of flexible work schedules,

    annual leave or credit time. In limited situations, when the volunteer

    service advances or supports the mission of the Department,

    employees may request a limited amount of administrative leave.

    Requests may only be granted in accordance with OPM regulation

    and guidance and the provisions of this Article.

    A. General: Supervisors may approve administrative leave for

    non-profit volunteer purposes related to but not part of an employee’s

    regular duties, or for civic duties or activities which are

    deemed to be in the interest of, or to further a function of the

    Department. This use of administrative leave may be granted

    120 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    for an employee who agrees to use an equal amount of leave/

    credit time or comp time, in the same pay period, to perform

    these volunteer duties.

    B. Required Criteria: The volunteer activity must meet one or

    more of the following four (4) criteria:

    1. The absence will clearly enhance the professional development

    or skills of the employee in his/her current position.

    2. The absence is brief and is determined to be in the interest

    of the Department.

    3. The absence is officially sponsored or sanctioned by the

    Department.

    4. The absence is directly related to the Department’s mission.

    Examples of mission-related community service may

    include, but are not limited to, volunteer projects organized

    to support the Combined Federal Campaign, Feds Feed

    Families or other community service initiatives sponsored or

    supported by the Department of Labor; Veterans outreach

    programs; and employment-readiness programs. Each DOL

    Agency may establish policy or guidance in determining

    what activities are mission-related.

    C. Volunteer activities performed while on administrative leave:

    Volunteer activities performed while on administrative leave

    shall not create or give the appearance of a conflict of interest

    and shall not be in any way political in nature. Conflict of

    interest laws and related regulations governing outside employment

    for compensation also apply to Federal employees

    who engage in volunteer activities. Hatch Act restrictions apply

    to employees who are on duty, as well as to those on paid or

    unpaid leave.

    D. Request/Approval Procedures: Requests for administrative

    leave must be made in advance and in writing. The request

    must include the name of the organization sponsoring the

    volunteer activity, the location, the date(s), detailed information

    describing the volunteer activity, and which of the required

    criteria contained in Subsection B (above) apply to the activity

    in question. The supervisor should respond promptly, normally

    within one (1) workweek after receipt of the written request.

    Approval of requests is solely at the discretion of management,

    and the provisions of this Article are not subject to grievance

    procedures. The use of administration leave under this Article

    shall be consistent with 5 CFR 630, DPR 610 and DPR 630.

    Articles • 121

    E. Emergency Circumstances: If circumstances preclude an

    advance written request for administrative leave, an employee

    may request annual leave, credit time, leave without pay, or

    compensatory time in accordance with established procedures.

    In order to be considered subsequently for administrative

    leave, the employee must submit the required written request

    promptly after the conclusion of the volunteer activity.

    F. Amount of Leave: The amount of administrative leave approved

    must be reasonable, brief and consistent with the

    Agency’s approved delegations of authority.

    G. No Adverse Consequences: Employees shall not suffer any

    adverse consequences to their performance ratings or other

    working conditions (e.g. workload, promotions, performance

    awards, etc.) as a result of their approved use of administrative

    leave for volunteer purposes.

    Article 43 – Performance Management System

    Section 1 – Coverage

    This Article concerns the impact and implementation of the

    Government-wide regulations on the Performance Management

    System (PMS), and the DOL regulation DPR 430 dated 10/15/08.

    These regulations, as appropriate, apply to employees in the NCFLL

    bargaining unit except as provided herein.

    The Government-wide regulations and the Department’s implementing

    regulation are applicable to employees in the bargaining

    unit, except where non-mandatory provisions of the regulations

    are in conflict with this Article. In such cases, the parties agree that

    Article 43 is controlling.

    Section 2 – Procedures for Developing Elements and Performance

    Standards

    A. Consistent with Management’s right to assign work, the performance

    elements should be consistent with the duties and responsibilities

    contained in an employee’s position description.

    B. In establishing standards, due consideration will be given to

    employee input.

    C. Employees are entitled to an explanation of the rationale for

    their elements and standards.

    D. Due consideration will be given the employee as to the resources

    available and the authority delegated necessary to

    122 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    meet the identified standards and elements.

    Section 3 – Performance Standards

    A performance standard will, to the maximum extent feasible,

    permit the accurate evaluation of job performance on the basis of

    objective criteria related to the job in question for each employee

    or position under the System.

    After receiving proposed elements and standards from the supervisor,

    the employee will have the opportunity to meet and discuss

    these standards with the supervisor, and to provide his or her written

    comments. When a performance standard has more than one

    criterion, employees will be advised as to the relative importance of

    the criteria contained within the standard.

    A performance standard may be in the form of meeting less than

    all the criteria under a performance standard or of meeting all the

    criteria under a performance standard.

    Upon request, supervisors will inform employees orally on what

    is expected in order to exceed a standard. Employees will be

    provided ongoing feedback from their supervisors on their work

    performance.

    Section 4 – Annual Rating of Record

    A. Within thirty (30) calendar days after the end of the rating period,

    each employee shall receive an annual rating of record.

    B. Each Agency will ensure regular performance feedback is

    provided to each employee during the appraisal period. As

    part of this feedback, a progress review must be held at least

    once during the appraisal period, but no later than One Hundred

    Twenty (120) calendar days before the end of the rating

    period. This review will include areas of critical competencies

    requiring improvement and feedback on sustaining positive

    performance. At a minimum, during this progress review,

    employees will be informed orally of their performance relative

    to the elements and standards in their performance plans. The

    employee’s progress review discussion will reflect the necessary

    information needed to assess progress toward attaining a

    career ladder promotion as reflected in Article 20, Section 10.

    The rating official and the employee will certify on the performance

    appraisal form that the progress review was held. The

    Department is committed to recognizing desired performance,

    and to providing opportunities to correct poor performance.

    Articles • 123

    C. The rating official must confer with the reviewing official and

    secure the approval of the reviewing official of the tentative rating

    for the employee before discussing the tentative rating with

    the employee. The supervisor will discuss the rating of record

    with the employee to avoid misunderstandings and possible

    inaccuracies. The rating official will confer with the employee to

    review accomplishments, problems, and general performance

    during the appraisal period and will discuss the tentative

    conclusions regarding the rating with the employee. The employee’s

    performance rating discussion will reflect the necessary

    information needed to assess progress toward attaining a

    career ladder promotion as reflected in Article 20, Section 10.

    The discussion will be face-to-face to the extent practicable but

    may be by telephone.

    D. The employee will have an opportunity to present his/her assessment

    of work accomplishments, as well as time to respond

    in writing to the rating official on the rating. Employees have up

    to fourteen (14) calendar days in which to review, sign, or prepare

    comments to the rater or reviewing official, as appropriate,

    on their ratings. Any written comments will be forwarded to

    the reviewing official(s) along with the tentative rating. After the

    rating has been reviewed and approved, it will be discussed

    with the employee by the rating official if any changes have

    been made in the tentative rating. Such written response is to

    be considered by the rater or reviewing official, as appropriate,

    and attached to the performance appraisal and will be maintained

    in the employee performance file.

    Section 5 – Improving Unsatisfactory Performance

    A. Any employee not meeting the performance standards of one

    or more critical elements will be promptly notified.

    B. Informal efforts by the supervisor will include guidance to the

    employee regarding specific actions which should be taken to

    improve performance.

    Section 6 – Performance Improvement Plan

    A. When informal efforts made by the supervisor do not result in

    improved performance when an employee is failing a standard,

    a Performance Improvement Plan will be developed with

    the participation of the employee. The Plan will be discussed

    between the immediate supervisor and the employee and put

    into writing. This Plan will be geared toward efforts which must

    124 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    be initiated by both employee and immediate supervisor and

    which are designed to result in overall job performance at the

    effective level or above.

    At a minimum, this Plan will include the following:

    1. An explanation of the elements and the related performance

    standards in which the employee’s performance fails to

    meet the standard;

    2. Specific goals in terms of time and results expected for levels

    of progress against each performance standard where

    performance improvement is needed; also, advice about

    what the employee must do to bring his or her performance

    up to the meet level, as well as periodic counseling and

    reassessment by the supervisor during this period; and

    3. Training, if appropriate.

    B. No performance-based action (5 CFR 432) will be proposed

    unless the employee is given at least a 90-day period of time in

    which to correct any deficiencies noted and a detailed explanation

    of the work to be accomplished in the 90-day period to

    correct performance deficiencies. To this end, the Performance

    Improvement Plan will be utilized.

    Section 7 – Special Circumstances

    Performance appraisals must take into account: authorized absences,

    including Union representation, during the course of working

    hours, and factors outside the employee’s control.

    Section 8 – Initiation of a New Appraisal Period

    A. After receiving the tentative elements and standards from the

    supervisor, the employee will have a period not to exceed ten

    working days within which to examine and consider this material

    and to meet with the supervisor to discuss these elements

    and standards. During this period, the employee, upon request,

    will be granted a reasonable amount of official time to consult

    with the Union Steward concerning the elements and performance

    standards.

    B. At a bargaining unit employee’s request, when assigned a new

    supervisor, the new supervisor will discuss the bargaining unit

    employee’s performance plan.

    Articles • 125

    Section 9 – Removal of “Fail” and “Need to Improve” Performance

    Information in Personnel Files

    If, because of performance improvement by the employee during

    the notice period, the employee is not reduced in grade or

    removed, and the employee’s performance continues to be acceptable

    (“Meet”) for one year from the date of the advance notice,

    then any entry or other notation with regard to the “Fail” or “Need

    to Improve” performance for which the action was proposed shall

    be removed from any Agency record relating to the employee.

    Section 10 – Information Sharing

    Management agrees to share Agency prototype elements and

    standards developed at the regional or national level for similar or

    common positions within the bargaining unit with the NCFLL in a

    timely manner.

    The NCFLL will have a minimum of 30 calendar days to submit

    comments on standards before their implementation.

    “Prototype elements and/or standards” are performance elements

    and standards that apply to several positions with similar duties,

    responsibilities, and job requirements. Usually they are developed

    centrally for all positions in a particular mission-critical occupation

    and grade.

    Section 11 – Grievability and Arbitrability of Job Elements and

    Performance Standards

    Performance Standards may only be grieved when they are applied

    in a rating of record.

    Article 44 – Performance Awards

    Section 1 – General

    A. The current rating of record will be used as a basis for decisions

    to grant performance-based awards under the Department’s

    Performance Management System (See DPR 430). In

    addition to performance bonuses based on a rating of record,

    managers and supervisors are encouraged to utilize all award

    categories to reward deserving employee performance in a

    timely manner throughout the rating cycle. Examples of award

    categories are special act or service award, instant good job

    award, time off award, honorary award, and non-monetary

    award. To this end, the parties have agreed that managers can

    utilize the instant good job award to make awards of up to $300

    126 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    net.

    B. Absent budget constraints, Management will fully utilize the

    awards budget to reward deserving employee performance.

    The NCFLL will be notified if an awards budget is not fully utilized.

    C. When Management uses bargaining unit employees’ special

    skills (such as a second language) that are not already included

    in his/her official duties, Management should give consideration

    to rewarding these employees using all available award

    categories.

    Section 2 – Effect of Summary Ratings

    A. An employee who receives a rating of record of Exemplary

    must receive a performance award and/or a Quality Step Increase.

    B. An employee who receives a rating of record of Highly Effective

    should normally receive a performance award.

    C. An employee who receives a rating of record of Effective

    should be considered for and may receive a performance

    award.

    D. If an employee has been promoted within the appraisal year,

    the appropriate manager or supervisor may take this into

    account in determining the amount of the employee’s performance

    award, and/or whether to grant a Quality Step Increase

    for an “Exemplary” rating for that year.

    E. Within each performance award unit, awards granted to employees

    in the same grade with a particular rating should normally

    be more in terms of dollars (including any Quality Step

    Increase) than awards received by employees in the same

    grade with a lower rating.

    F. If an employee does not have a rating of record when performance

    awards are granted, the employee may be granted an

    award when he/she is assigned a rating of record.

    G. Management will consider retroactive awards for employees

    whose ratings change after the distribution of payouts.

    H. It is Management’s intention normally to pay out performance

    awards by the end of the calendar year.

    I. Suggested Amounts of Performance Awards: The following

    amounts are suggested for consideration in determining perforArticles

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    mance awards:

    Rating Suggested Percent of Employees’ Rate of

    Basic Pay

    Exemplary Up to 10%

    Highly Effective Up to 7%

    Effective Up to 4%

    J. The title of the official with the responsibility for managing the

    performance awards budget must appear on the cover of each

    Performance Plan. Employees will be informed of this official at

    the beginning of the annual appraisal period.

    Article 45 – Accepta ble Level of Competence

    for Within-Grade Increase

    Section 1 – General

    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 5335 and 5 CFR 531, an employee is entitled

    to receive a within-grade increase (WIGI) subject to completion of

    the appropriate waiting period and a determination that the employee’s

    work is of an acceptable level of competence (Effective).

    Such determination must be made upon completion of the waiting

    period and in accordance with applicable law and regulation.

    Section 2 – Definition of Acceptable Level of Competence

    For within-grade purposes, acceptable level of competence means

    where performance is at or above the Effective level in the performance

    standards for all elements.

    Section 3 – Procedures

    A. The basis for a determination of acceptable level of competence

    is an employee’s current rating of record.

    B. No within-grade increase will be authorized unless there has

    been an official determination that the employee’s performance

    is at the Effective level or better. Failure to inform an employee

    of a negative official determination is not a basis for changing

    that negative official determination.

    C. Whenever the supervisor determines that the employee’s work

    is not “acceptable,” the supervisor shall follow the provisions of

    Article 43.

    128 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    D. No employee shall receive a negative determination without

    first being provided with an opportunity to improve as provided

    for in Article 43.

    E. If an employee is failing a standard and a Performance Improvement

    Plan is not initiated at least 90 days prior to the end

    of the waiting period, the Performance Improvement Plan will

    extend for the necessary time to provide the full ninety (90)

    calendar days. At the end of the ninety (90) calendar days,

    if the summary performance rating is at least “Effective,” the

    within-grade increase will be granted retroactive to the original

    due date.

    F. After a final determination results in the denial of an employee’s

    within-grade increase, a supervisor may subsequently determine

    that the employee has improved his/her performance

    and has demonstrated a sustained level of performance meeting

    the requirements of an acceptable level of competence.

    When this occurs, the supervisor may prepare a new rating of

    record reflecting the employee’s progress to the Effective level

    and grant the within-grade increase in accordance with 5 CFR

    531.411.

    Section 4 – Negative Determination

    A. When a determination is made that an employee’s work is not

    of an acceptable level of competence (negative determination),

    the employee will be notified in writing as soon as possible

    after completion of the waiting period:

    1. The basis for this negative determination;

    2. The employee’s right to file a written request for reconsideration

    within fifteen (15) calendar days from receipt of the

    official determination;

    3. The name and address of the Management Official who

    will reconsider the official determination and with whom the

    request for reconsideration should be filed (who shall have

    taken no part, formally or informally in the original determination);

    4. The right of the employee to have representation according

    ot terms of the DOL-NCFLL Agreement;

    5. The right of the employee to contest, in writing, the basis for

    the negative determination; and

    6. The right of the employee and his/her representative to

    Articles • 129

    have a reasonable amount of time to submit the request

    B. Grievance

    1. When a request for reconsideration is received, the human

    resources office shall establish an employee reconsideration

    file which shall contain all pertinent documents relating

    to the negative determination, including copies of the written

    determination and the basis thereof, the employee’s written

    request for reconsideration, the report of investigation if an

    investigation was made, the decision of the reconsideration

    official, and any other documents the employee may have

    submitted regarding the determination.

    2. The reconsideration file shall not contain any document that

    has not been made available to the employee and/or his/

    her representative with an opportunity to submit a written

    exception, including any exception the employee may have

    had to the written summary of his/her personal presentation.

    Upon request, a copy of the reconsideration file will be given

    to the employee.

    3. The time limit for submitting a request for reconsideration

    shall be extended when: (1) the employee was not notified

    of the time limit in accordance with Section 4A (2) and was

    not otherwise aware of it, or (2) the employee was prevented

    by circumstances beyond his/her control from requesting

    reconsideration within the time limit.

    4. The Management Official shall reconsider the official determination

    of the supervisor, taking into consideration any

    written response from the employee and/or his/her representative.

    5. The Management Official, after reconsideration, will issue

    a decision in writing on the negative determination, within

    thirty (30) calendar days after receipt of the request for

    reconsideration.

    6. If the decision does not sustain the initial negative determination

    and the WIGI is to be granted, it will be granted

    retroactive to the original due date.

    7. If the decision sustains the initial negative determination, the

    decision letter shall notify the employee of his/her right to

    grieve the decision within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt

    of the letter.

    8. If no timely decision is issued, an employee may file a griev130

    • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    ance within thirty (30) calendar days from the date that the

    decision was due.

    9. A copy of the decision of the Management Official will be

    sent promptly to the Human Resources Office.

    Article 46 – Honor Awards Commite

    Management agrees to recognize a representative designated by

    the NCFLL on the Secretary of Labor’s Honor Awards Committee

    and that this member should meet with the Committee whenever it

    meets to consider award recommendations which involve bargaining

    unit employees. This Committee, as defined in appropriate

    issuances, is responsible to the Secretary for review of award recommendations

    and for evaluating the operation of the Employee

    Recognition Program.

    Article 47 – Reduction in Force or Transfer

    of Function

    Section 1 – General

    A. The Department will adhere to all applicable Government wide

    rules and regulations as well as DPR 351 (Oct. 1, 2007) and

    DPR 330 (Oct. 1, 2007) and the provisions of this Article in the

    administration of reduction in force (RIF) or transfer of function.

    B. This Article governs: (1) transfer of function, and (2) the

    separation, demotion, reassignment requiring displacement of

    another employee, or furlough for more than 30 calendar days

    of bargaining unit employee(s) by reduction in force from their

    respective levels.

    C. The parties agree that RIFs will be handled in accordance with

    5 CFR Part 351. The determination of competitive areas will be

    made in accordance with 5 CFR 351.402. This Article concerns

    the impact and implementation of the Government-wide regulations

    on RIF, which may occur during the life of the Agreement,

    with respect to employees in the NCFLL bargaining unit.

    D. Administrative assignment rights for excepted employees will,

    with respect to positions in the Excepted Service, be administered

    in accordance with 5 CFR 351.705(a)(3).

    Section 2 – Notification

    Articles • 131

    A. Preliminary Notification to NCFLL of RIF or Transfer of Function

    1. When it is anticipated that transfer of function or RIF affecting

    bargaining unit employee(s) will be necessary, the

    NCFLL will be given preliminary notification in writing. This

    notification will be at least one hundred twenty (120) calendar

    days in advance of the anticipated implementation date,

    unless circumstances dictate otherwise, and will include the

    following information:

    a. The reason for the RIF or transfer of function,

    b. The approximate number of employees who may be affected

    initially,

    c. The competitive areas and levels that may be involved

    initially in a reduction in force, and

    d. The anticipated effective date that action will be taken.

    2. At the time the NCFLL receives its preliminary notification of

    an anticipated RIF, the Department will provide the NCFLL

    with a list of all employees covered by the notice whose current

    annual ratings of record are overdue.

    B. Notice to Employees

    1. Affected employees shall be given a written notice no later

    than sixty (60) calendar days prior to the date of the implementation

    of a reduction in force or transfer of function,

    unless circumstances dictate otherwise. When a reduction

    in force is caused by circumstances not reasonably foreseeable,

    the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), at the

    request of the Department, may authorize a notice period of

    less than sixty (60) calendar days but at least thirty (30) full

    calendar days before the effective date of release.

    2. When a general reduction-in-force notice is used, it will be

    supplemented by a specific notice. The Department will

    not release an employee from his or her competitive level

    until at least fifteen (15) calendar days after the employee’s

    receipt of the specific notice.

    3. The notice period begins the day after the employee receives

    the notice.

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    Section 3 – Retention Registers

    A. The NCFLL Executive Council will be provided a copy of the

    annotated retention register(s), to be used to issue the specific

    notices, at least two (2) calendar days before the issuance of

    the initial specific Notices. The NCFLL Executive Council will

    keep all Retention Registers secure and confidential in accordance

    with 5 CFR 293, Personnel Records and DPR 351.

    Amended or revised retention registers will be provided to the

    NCFLL as soon as possible.

    B. The retention register will include: the employee’s tenure

    group, competitive level, and original service computation

    credit date; the ratings of record used to compute credit for

    performance; the amount of credit for performance; and the

    adjusted service computation date.

    C. Employees’ performance ratings of record due before the issuance

    due date of specific RIF notices will be submitted to the

    servicing Human Resources Office in sufficient time for retention

    standing to be determined. The due date would ordinarily

    be no more than fifteen (15) calendar days prior to the issuance

    date of specific notices.

    D. When employees affected by RIF are in the same competitive

    level with the same length of service, as augmented by performance

    credit, and the same subgroup, ties will be broken in the

    following order: (a) total DOL service; then, if necessary, (b) by

    length of service in the DOL Agency; and then, (c) by time the

    current grade level.

    Section 4 – Department of Labor Employee Placement Assistance

    A. It is the policy of the Department to assist employees who are

    adversely affected as the result of government-wide or DOL

    management initiatives, with career transition services and, to

    the extent practicable, consideration and selection priority for

    position(s) within the Department for which they qualify. Priority

    is given only to affected employees and is intended to maximize

    their opportunities to find other employment. To the extent

    feasible, the Department will retrain eligible employees for

    other occupations. Within budget constraints, the Department

    will provide the following programs and services for all DOL

    employees who will or might become “surplus” or “displaced”

    because of management initiatives, such as delayering, reorganization,

    competitive sourcing, transfer of function, or other

    Articles • 133

    workforce restructuring. Placement assistance for either RIF of

    Transfer of Function will be governed by 5 CFR 330, Subpart F,

    and DOL DPR 330.

    B. Within budget constraints, the Department will provide the following

    programs and services for all DOL employees who will

    or might become “displaced” because of management initiatives,

    such as delayering, reorganization, competitive sourcing,

    transfer of function or other workforce restructuring:

    1. Career transition services,

    2. Priority Consideration,

    3. Special selection priority for eligible employees as defined

    in 5 CFR Part 330, Subpart F (Agency Career Transition Assistance

    Plans),

    4. Reemployment priority for eligible employees who receive

    a notice of separation or certificate of expected separation

    under 5 CFR 351, and

    5. Special Selection Priority for positions in Agencies outside

    of DOL when the employee is separated or proposed to be

    separated and meets the eligibility requirements under 5

    CFR, Subpart G, Interagency Career Transition Assistance

    Plan for Displaced Employees.

    C. Career Transition Services within DOL

    1. Eligible employees may be allowed excused absence for

    reasonable periods of time to use services and facilities subject

    to supervisory approval and dependent on the needs of

    the workload and the office in accordance with DPR 630.

    2. The Department offers career transition services for DOL

    employees. These services assist employees in determining

    the context of the employee’s work and career objectives

    and help him/her set realistic career goals.

    3. Employees with disabilities may request reasonable accommodation

    to access career transition services from

    headquarters or field offices as well as remote sites in accordance

    with DLMS-4, Chapter 306, Reasonable Accommodations

    for Employees and Applicants with Disabilities

    and as set forth in DPR 330.

    Section 5 – Re-promotion List

    A. Career, career-conditional, and excepted employees not

    serving under time-limited appointment, will be entered on

    134 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    the re-promotion List and given consideration for re-promotion

    when a vacancy occurs which will be filled by merit

    staffing competitive procedures or an excepted vacancy occurs

    that will be advertised internally. The employee must be

    qualified for the vacancy and it must be in the competitive

    area where the demotion occurred and at the employee’s

    former or an intervening grade.

    B. Eligibility for referral begins on the effective date of the

    downgrade or when the employee’s entitlement under the

    Displaced Employee Program ceases. It extends for a

    period not to exceed two years, or until the employee has

    reached his/her former or retained grade, whichever occurs

    first, unless the employee declines a reasonable offer of a

    position.

    Section 6 – RIF Contract Coverage

    During the term of the Contract, all RIFs will be conducted in accordance

    with this Contract and government-wide regulations. Nothing

    will waive the right of the NCFLL to negotiate on the impact or

    implementation of any individual RIF with respect to matters not

    specifically covered by this Contract.

    Article 48 – Interstation Transfer

    Section 1 – General

    A. Interstation transfer may be used by the Department but will

    not be used or threatened as a form of discipline or reprisal.

    B. An employee whose interstation transfer is directed for reasons

    related to his/her performance may request review of the action

    through the grievance procedure.

    C. Reimbursement for travel and transportation expenses incurred

    in an interstation transfer which is in the interest of the Government

    shall be provided in accordance with applicable laws and

    regulations.

    Section 2 – Procedures

    A. Filling of a Vacancy by Interstation Transfer

    1. Any bargaining unit employee who wants to be transferred

    to another duty station may file a request for transfer with

    the Regional Human Resource Office(s) that services the

    duty station(s) to which the employee wants to be transArticles

    • 135

    ferred. Such a request must include:

    a. The employee’s current Region, Agency, duty station,

    grade, and position; and

    b. The Agency, duty station(s), and position(s) for which the

    employee would like to be considered.

    2. Requests for transfer will be kept on file by the Regional

    Human Resource Office from receipt until the end of the

    current fiscal year.

    3. In the event that Management elects to fill a vacancy by

    transfer, Management will first give consideration to the

    employees who have filed a request for transfer, with the

    Human Resource Office that services the vacant position, in

    accordance with Subsection 1. above.

    B. Selection for Transfer

    Management will consider volunteers from among employees

    for the position to be filled and for which the volunteer is qualified

    and meets any special requirements.

    Section 3 – Return to Previously Abolished Position

    A. Management agrees that where an employee has been transferred

    due to abolishment of his/her position, or the employee

    is transferred from an overstaffed office, and the position is

    reestablished within one year, or Management decides to restaff

    the office from which the employee was transferred, the

    employee(s) will be notified in writing and will be returned to

    that position if the employee applies for the position within thirty

    (30) calendar days of such notification. In instances where no

    PCS monies have been expended, the return right will be a

    three-year period.

    B. If there are two or more applicants for the reestablished position,

    the employee with the greater length of service in the

    Department shall have preference.

    Section 4 – Interstation Transfer for Employee Convenience/Hardship

    Management will consider the request of an employee who, for

    personal convenience, asks to be transferred at his/her own expense

    to fill a vacant position within his/her Agency for which he/

    she is qualified and meets any special requirements.

    In keeping with the Department’s commitment to a Family Friendly

    Workplace, special consideration should be given to an employee

    136 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    who demonstrates a personal hardship.

    Section 5 – Notice to NCFLL

    The designated NCFLL Representative as prescribed in Article 3

    will be notified of all proposed intra-region transfers of bargaining

    unit employees at least two weeks in advance. For inter-region

    transfers, designated representatives in both the gaining and

    losing Regions will be notified. At each National LMR Meeting,

    the Department will provide the NCFLL a list, by OASAM Region,

    containing the number of inter-station transfer requests received

    and the number granted.

    regulations.

    Section 2 – Procedures

    A. Filling of a Vacancy by Interstation Transfer

    1. Any bargaining unit employee who wants to be transferred

    to another duty station may file a request for transfer with

    the Regional Human Resource Office(s) that services the

    duty station(s) to which the employee wants to be transferred.

    Such a request must include:

    a. The employee’s current Region, Agency, duty station,

    grade, and position; and

    b. The Agency, duty station(s), and position(s) for which the

    employee would like to be considered.

    2. Requests for transfer will be kept on file by the Regional

    Human Resource Office from receipt until the end of the

    current fiscal year.

    3. In the event that Management elects to fill a vacancy by

    transfer, Management will first give consideration to the

    employees who have filed a request for transfer, with the

    Human Resource Office that services the vacant position, in

    accordance with Subsection 1. above.

    B. Selection for Transfer

    Management will consider volunteers from among employees

    for the position to be filled and for which the volunteer is qualified

    and meets any special requirements.

    Section 3 – Return to Previously Abolished Position

    A. Management agrees that where an employee has been transferred

    due to abolishment of his/her position, or the employee

    Articles • 137

    is transferred from an overstaffed office, and the position is

    reestablished within one year, or Management decides to restaff

    the office from which the employee was transferred, the

    employee(s) will be notified in writing and will be returned to

    that position if the employee applies for the position within thirty

    (30) calendar days of such notification. In instances where no

    PCS monies have been expended, the return right will be a

    three-year period.

    B. If there are two or more applicants for the reestablished position,

    the employee with the greater length of service in the

    Department shall have preference.

    Section 4 – Interstation Transfer for Employee Convenience/Hardship

    Management will consider the request of an employee who, for

    personal convenience, asks to be transferred at his/her own expense

    to fill a vacant position within his/her Agency for which he/

    she is qualified and meets any special requirements.

    In keeping with the Department’s commitment to a Family Friendly

    Workplace, special consideration should be given to an employee

    who demonstrates a personal hardship.

    Section 5 – Notice to NCFLL

    The designated NCFLL Representative as prescribed in Article 3

    will be notified of all proposed intra-region transfers of bargaining

    unit employees at least two weeks in advance. For inter-region

    transfers, designated representatives in both the gaining and

    losing Regions will be notified. At each National LMR Meeting,

    the Department will provide the NCFLL a list, by OASAM Region,

    containing the number of inter-station transfer requests received

    and the number granted.

    Article 49 – Contracting Out

    Section 1 – General

    A. The Department acknowledges its responsibility to adhere to

    law and applicable Government-wide regulation regarding the

    use of experts, consultants, and contractors’ employees.

    B. Upon request, the Department shall provide a copy of a specific

    contract to the NCFLL within thirty (30) calendar days, with

    proprietary or Privacy Act information redacted.

    C. It is the policy of the Department that a bargaining unit employ138

    • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    ee will be supervised by supervisory personnel of the Department

    and not by personnel of a contractor.

    D. The Department will provide the NCFLL copies of FAIR Act

    inventories for commercial and inherently governmental functions.

    At the request of the Union, Management will meet to

    explain the rationale for the FAIR Act classification decisions.

    Section 2 – A-76 Competitive Sourcing/Commercial Activity Process

    The parties have a mutual interest in ensuring constructive employee

    involvement in implementing the Commercial Activities

    (A-76) studies initiated by the Department. Therefore:

    A. The Department shall notify the Union within seven (7) calendar

    days of its decision to use an A-76 competition to determine

    if government personnel should continue to perform work

    or contract out work that is currently performed by bargaining

    unit employees. The notice shall identify the affected units and

    the functions, positions and grade levels of bargaining unit

    employees affected. The Union shall be notified of all relevant

    data and information as they become available, including

    schedules, milestone charts, invitations for bid or requests for

    proposals, and performance work statements (PWS)/statements

    of work (SOW).

    B. The Union may appoint a bargaining unit employee on each

    PWS and Most Efficient Organization (MEO) Team, consistent

    with the revised OMB Circular A-76 guidelines. An employee

    may serve on the PWS Team or the MEO Team, but not both.

    Members of the PWS and MEO Teams will be provided relevant

    training. Employees selected to serve on the PWS and

    MEO Teams will be allowed a reasonable amount of official

    time and travel in connection with Team activities. It is anticipated

    that training and meetings may be conducted via teleconference.

    C. The organizational entity holding an A-76 competition shall hold

    regular meetings to discuss the status of the competition with

    all affected employees, including bargaining unit employees.

    The NCFLL will be given notice prior to any meetings between

    bargaining unit employees and management with regard to

    A-76 discussions. Every effort will be made to provide notification

    as early as possible.

    D. As information is releasable, management will notify the Union

    of its decision to contract out work that is currently performed

    Articles • 139

    by bargaining unit employees. Such notice will include information

    regarding any feasibility or cost studies that have been

    performed, authorized staffing levels, number of positions and

    vacancies.

    E. Upon receipt of notification of Management’s decision to

    contract out work that is currently performed by bargaining unit

    employees, the Union may request bargaining in accordance

    with Article 4.

    F. Upon request and as allowable by law and regulation, the

    Department will provide the union information on A-76 related

    activities. This includes a copy of the PWS, contract solicitation,

    and documents referenced in the revised OMB Circular

    A-76, including Appendix B, Sections C and D.

    G. Upon request of a specific performance decision favoring the

    agency, the Department will provide the NCFLL a copy of

    the MEO letter of obligation no later than 15 days prior to the

    implementation of the agency MEO.

    Section 3 – Personnel Considerations for Displaced Employees

    A. Displaced employees are those identified for release from their

    competitive level by an Agency, in accordance with 5 CFR Part

    351 and Chapter 35 of Title 5, United States Code, as a direct

    result of a decision to convert to contract (contracting out) the

    Agency’s Most Efficient Organization (MEO), or interagency

    service agreement.

    B. Displaced employees will receive career transition services,

    to include career counseling and training as described in DPR

    330, Recruitment, Selection, and Placement. Provisions contained

    in Article 47 (Reduction in Force) also cover displaced

    employees.

    C. Federal employees displaced by a decision to convert to

    contract or public reimbursable source performance have the

    Right-of-Refusal for jobs for which they are qualified that are

    created by the award of conversion.

    1. A standard clause should be included in A-76 cost comparison

    solicitations notifying potential contractors of this

    requirement (see Federal Acquisition Regulations [FAR]

    52.207-3). The Right-of-First-Refusal is afforded to all

    Federal employees displaced by the decision to convert to

    contract performance.

    2. Human Resource Officers should work with the contracting

    140 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    officer and employees to implement these provisions.

    D. Agencies should exert maximum efforts to find available positions

    for Federal employees displaced by conversion decisions,

    including:

    1. Giving priority consideration for available positions within

    the Agency;

    2. Establishing a Reemployment Priority List and an effective

    placement program;

    3. Paying reasonable costs for training and relocation that

    contribute directly to placement; and

    4. Registration in the Career Transition Assistance Program

    (CTAP) and the Interagency Career Transition Assistance

    Program (ICTAP).

    Article 50 – Technology

    Technology is dramatically impacting work processes throughout

    business and Government nationwide. While innovations in technology

    are occurring so rapidly it is impossible to anticipate them,

    the Department and the NCFLL embrace the opportunities created

    to improve work processes and employee skills. The parties

    recognize that to take advantage of the opportunities technology

    presents, new ways must be found to work together to ensure that

    employees understand new technologies and that they are provided

    the necessary equipment, training, and systems to carry out

    their duties and responsibilities. To that end, the parties are committed

    to exploring ways to share information about new technology,

    while respecting each other’s statutory rights.

    Section 1 – Information Technology Committee

    A. The NCFLL and the Department recognize that it is mutually

    beneficial for employees to understand management plans for

    introducing new technology and to have a forum for the NCFLL

    to discuss issues related to technology. To that end the parties

    establish a joint Information Technology Committee where

    broad Department-wide or cross-Agency technology Issues

    can be discussed.

    B. The Information Technology Committee will meet up to four

    times a year with at least two of the meetings held face-toface.

    The Committee will be made up of at least three Union

    members and three Management members, but there will be

    Articles • 141

    no more than five Union and Management members in attendance.

    Section 2 – Hardware and Software Utilization

    Where available, the Department will provide online access to

    electronic documentation, such as manuals and procedures for the

    equipment, hardware, and software that employees are required

    to utilize. A point-of-contact phone number and e-mail address will

    be provided to employees by their respective Agencies to answer

    questions and trouble shoot computer problems.

    Section 3 – Training on New Technology

    A. The Department commits to ensuring that all employees are

    equipped to perform the duties and responsibilities of their

    positions. Employees interested in increasing their information

    and technology skills are encouraged to pursue additional

    advanced training.

    B. As the Department introduces new technology, appropriate

    training (e.g. on-line instruction, desk-aids, “help lines,” mentors,

    and/or classroom sessions) will be made available to

    employees affected by the introduction of new procedures and

    technology. Additional training will be provided for employees

    who demonstrate difficulty. If individual employees cannot

    adjust to the changes caused by the introduction of new

    technology or if the introduction results in the abolishment of

    some positions and the establishment of others, the Department

    of Labor, consistent with applicable regulations, will make

    every effort to utilize the skills and abilities of those employees

    adversely affected by the changes.

    Section 4 – Pilot Programs

    A. An Agency and the NCFLL may, by mutual agreement, establish

    a joint Information Technology (IT) Task Group comprised

    of three Union and three Management Representatives. The

    IT Task Group will provide a forum for Management to share

    anticipated technology changes and the Union to share and

    discuss concerns and interests of bargaining unit employees

    related to these changes. Each IT Task Group will meet as

    mutually agreed to by the parties. While face-to-face meetings

    may be appropriate in some instances, it is expected that the

    Task Group will maximize use of telephonic and other electronic

    communication to minimize travel costs.

    142 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    B. Any IT Task Group established under this Section will remain in

    operation for a minimum of one year unless the parties mutually

    decide to dissolve it sooner. At the end of the one year

    period, the Task Group may be renewed on an annual basis by

    mutual agreement.

    C. By agreeing to participate in a pilot IT Task Group, the NCFLL

    agrees that it will address its impact and implementation concerns

    in that forum and will not request formal bargaining.

    Section 5 – Identity Theft

    The Department is committed to adhering to government wide

    standards for security of its computer systems and confidential

    data. The Department and the NCFLL recognize that in some

    instances, bargaining unit employees may be required to provide

    confidential information, including their Social Security Number, to

    conduct the government’s business using DOL electronic systems.

    In the event that an employee’s confidential information is compromised

    as a direct result of conducting official business while using

    a DOL computer system, the Department will seek to minimize any

    adverse impact on the affected bargaining unit employee. As such,

    an employee whose identity has been stolen from a DOL system

    may be granted a reasonable amount of time, as well as use of

    DOL equipment and facilities, for the purpose of remedying issues

    directly related to the identity theft.

    Article 51 – Information Sharing –

    Periodic Reports

    The Department shall provide the NCFLL the following information,

    on a periodic basis, in connection with positions in the bargaining

    unit. This information will normally be provided electronically and in

    the timeframes outlined in this Article.

    A. Management will furnish annually to the NCFLL, during the

    month of February, for its internal use only, an electronic

    spreadsheet by OASAM Region, capable of being sorted by

    names, position titles, grades, bargaining unit status, dues

    check-off status, Agency duty station, and local affiliation of all

    employees in the bargaining unit. (Article 1, Section 7)

    B. Management will furnish monthly notification, on a regional

    basis, a list of all new hires into positions within the bargaining

    unit identifying the Agency and location.

    C. Management will furnish monthly to the NCFLL, for its internal

    Articles • 143

    use only, an electronic copy by Region of the names, position

    titles, grades, and duty stations of all employees in the bargaining

    unit appointed, transferred, promoted and separated during

    the preceding month.

    D. Regional OASAM will provide the NCFLL with the inventory

    of space actions on no less than a semi-annual basis, at each

    Regional LMR meeting. The inventory shall include the agency,

    city/state, lease expiration date, considered action, justification,

    estimated timeframe and status of the renovation/move.

    Updates of the inventory will be provided upon request. (Article

    11)

    E. The Department will issue notices at least annually or as

    needed to NCFLL Bargaining Unit Employees concerning the

    availability of EEO Counselor positions. (Article 19, Section

    7D.)

    F. Management will provide the NCFLL copies of Merit Staffing

    tests (electronic, paper, etc.) developed for use in the evaluation

    of candidates. (Article 20, Section 6A.4)

    G. Management will provide a copy of each Certificate from which

    selections may be made to the designated NCFLL Representative

    at the same time it is sent to the selecting official for positions

    in the bargaining unit. (Article 20, Section 6A.6)

    H. Management will notify designated NCFLL Representatives of

    the names of candidates selected for positions within the unit

    by the personnel office processing the personnel action as

    soon as a selection has been made. (Article 20, Section 6B)

    I. Management will notify a designated NCFLL Representative, in

    advance of any scheduled reviews of Regional Human Resources

    Office operations, and provide a sanitized copy of the

    Merit Staffing review within thirty (30) calendar days after the

    review is finalized. (Article 20, Section 7 and Section 7A)

    J. The Department will share with the NCFLL the information

    reported to OPM on the use of Telework on an annual basis.

    (Article 29, Section 11)

    K. The Department will keep the NCFLL advised of the status of

    Departmental Dependent Care Programs. (Article 30, Section

    3)

    L. The Department, in the administration of this program, will collect

    information and share such information with the NCFLL.

    The information will be in regard to matters such as employee

    144 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    participation in connection with their duty station, total family

    income, amount of subsidy, eligibility/ineligibility of applicants,

    and number and age of children coming under the program.

    (Article 30, Section 4 E)

    M. The Department will provide to the individual Local Union

    Treasurer an electronic biweekly Union Roster and Activity

    Report for that local. The reports will include the name and the

    Agency of each member from whose salary dues have been

    withheld and the amount withheld for each person listed. The

    biweekly listing will provide annotated explanations of cases in

    which dues are not withheld (such as no payment, cancellation,

    LWOP, separated, etc.) (Article 10, Section 6)

    N. The Department will submit to the respective NCFLL Officials

    (described in B above) its annual safety and health inspection

    plans at the beginning of each fiscal year. These plans will

    specify the planned dates that each DOL office will be inspected.

    They will also specify if the office will be inspected by

    a safety and health professional sent to the office by OASAM

    and, if not, what alternative method will be used. Changes to

    these plans will be communicated to the affected NCFLL officials

    in a timely manner. (Article 34, Section 7D)

    O. Management agrees to share with the NCFLL Agency prototype

    elements and standards for similar or common positions

    within the bargaining unit. (Article 43, Section 10)

    P. The designated NCFLL Representative as prescribed in Article

    3 will be notified of all proposed intra-region transfers of

    bargaining unit employees at least two weeks in advance. For

    inter-region transfers, designated representatives in both the

    gaining and loosing Regions will be notified. At each National

    LMR Meeting, the Department will provide the NCFLL a list, by

    OASAM Region, containing the number of inter-station transfer

    requests received and the number granted. (Article 48, Section

    5)

    Q. The Department will provide the NCFLL copies of FAIR Act

    inventories for commercial and inherently governmental functions.

    At the request of the Union, Management will meet to explain

    the rationale for FAIR Act classification decisions. (Article

    49)

    R. The Department shall notify the Union within seven (7) calendar

    days of its decision to use A-76 competition to determine

    if government personnel should continue to perform work or

    Articles • 145

    contract out work that is currently performed by bargaining unit

    employees. (Article 49)

    S. Management will advise the NCFLL, within thirty (30) calendar

    days of the Secretary’s determination, of the percentage of

    pay to be used for Performance Management (PMS) bonuses.

    Consistent with the Privacy Act, the NCFLL will be provided,

    within sixty (60) calendar days after the award payouts, an

    annual breakdown of the following PMS information for NCFLL

    bargaining unit employees by agency/sub-agency and region

    (or agency regional equivalent):

    o Total PMS awards payout,

    o Total number of bargaining unit employees,

    o Total number of above receiving PMS awards,

    o Total number receiving awards by grade, and

    o Total number paid by rating level.

    T. Management will share workplace violence program information

    with the NCFLL Executive Committee annually in conjunction

    with the National Labor Relations Committee Meeting.

    (Article 35, Section 5 (4))

    Article 52 – Quality of Service

    The Department is committed to ensuring that bargaining unit

    employees receive high quality and efficient administrative services,

    including employee compensation and benefits and financial

    services. Establishing and maintaining a high standard of quality

    for these services support the overall mission of the Department by

    allowing employees to focus on mission-related work. To that end,

    as the Department evaluates and implements new technology and

    external service providers, every effort will be made to ensure that

    the quality of service meets the needs of Agencies and employees.

    When problems arise with the quality of service, the Department

    will actively pursue timely and satisfactory resolution. The Department

    will keep the NCFLL informed of significant service-related

    issues concerning bargaining unit employees

    Article 53 – Directed Membership and

    Participation in Profesional Associations

    The Department agrees to pay for membership dues in professional

    associations whenever an employee is directed to join such an

    146 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    organization by an appropriate level of Management in connection

    with the performance of his/her official duties. Such memberships

    must be in the name of the Department. The Department also

    agrees to pay the expenses of employees (consistent with budget

    limitations and accounting regulations) selected by an appropriate

    level of Management in advance for attendance at professional

    meetings.

    Article 54 – Management Rights

    Section 1 – General

    A. The Department retains the right to:

    1. Determine the mission, budget, organization, number of employees,

    and internal security practices of the Department.

    2. In accordance with applicable laws:

    a. To hire, assign, direct, layoff, and retain employees in

    the Department, or to suspend, remove, reduce in grade

    or pay, or take other disciplinary action against such

    employees;

    b. To assign work, to make determinations with respect to

    contracting out, and to determine the personnel by which

    Agency operations shall be conducted;

    c. With respect to filling positions, to make selections from

    among properly ranked and certified candidates for promotion

    or from any other appropriate source; and

    d. To take whatever actions may be necessary to carry out

    the mission of the Department.

    B. Nothing in this Section shall preclude the Department and the

    NCFLL from negotiating:

    1. At the election of the Department, on the numbers, types,

    and grades of employees or positions assigned to any organizational

    subdivision, work project, or tour of duty, or on the

    technology, methods, and means of performing work;

    2. The procedures which Management Officials of the Department

    will observe in exercising any authority under this Section;

    or

    3. Appropriate arrangements for employees adversely affected

    by the exercise of any authority under this Section by such

    Management Officials.

    Articles • 147

    Section 2 – Applications

    The requirements of this Article shall apply to all supplemental

    agreements between the NCFLL and the Department.

    Article 55 – Leaves of Absence (Union

    Officials)

    Section 1 – AFGE or AFL-CIO Officer or Representative

    Management agrees to approve leaves of absence for any bargaining

    unit employee who is elected to a position of National

    Officer of the American Federation of Government Employees,

    AFL-CIO or any other AFL-CIO affiliate, for the purpose of serving

    full time in the elected position or who is selected as an AFGE

    National Union Representative or representative of any other AFLCIO

    affiliate.

    Section 2 – Period of Leave of Absence

    Leaves of absence granted under Section 1 of this Article will be

    for a period concurrent with the term of office of the elected Official

    or representative and will be automatically renewed by management

    upon notification in writing from the elected official or representative

    that he/she has been reelected or reselected and wishes

    to continue in a leave of absence status.

    Section 3 – Conditions and Return Rights

    A. The NCFLL agrees that all of the leaves of absence granted

    or approved in accordance with this Article are subject to the

    following conditions in addition to such other conditions as may

    be imposed by law or higher regulation:

    1. Without pay; and

    2. Access to Departmental premises by such employees will

    be in accordance with the terms of this Agreement or Department

    regulations whichever is applicable.

    B. Management, to the extent of its authority, will attempt to accomplish

    the following:

    1. Place an employee returning from leave of absence in the

    position held at the time that the leave of absence began;

    failing this,

    2. An effort will be made to place the employee in a like position

    in the Region; or failing either of the foregoing, and

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    3. The employee will be placed in a like position somewhere in

    the Agency.

    Article 56 – Remployment Opportunities

    After Retirement

    Section 1 – Eligibility

    All employees in the bargaining unit who retire optionally from the

    Department will be considered, upon request, for reemployment.

    Section 2 – Selection and Approval

    A. Eligible retirees will be considered for reemployment in any

    vacant position for which they apply and for which they meet

    the minimum qualification requirements.

    B. If a retired former employee wishes to be considered for reemployment,

    he/she should apply to the personnel office that

    services the Region where he/she wishes to be reemployed.

    Section 3 – Reemployment

    Rights and benefits of reemployed annuitants are outlined on Fact

    Sheet: Reemployed Annuitants, which is available through the

    servicing Human Resource Offices.

    Article 57 – Concerted Activity

    Section 1 – No Strike

    The NCFLL agrees that during the life of this Agreement it will not

    encourage, initiate, participate, or condone any strike, work stoppage,

    or slowdown on the part of a bargaining unit employee or

    group of bargaining unit employees which would harm or adversely

    affect the operations or missions of the Department and that it will

    not condone any such activity by failing to take affirmative action to

    prevent or stop it.

    Section 2 – No Lockout

    Management agrees that it will not lock out any bargaining unit

    employees.

    Article 58 – Copies of Agreement

    Articles • 149

    Section 1 – Copies

    Booklet copies of this Agreement shall be provided by the Department

    to each employee in the unit. The NCFLL shall be furnished a

    reasonable number of copies to meet its needs.

    Section 2 – Expenses

    The expenses for printing and distribution of this Agreement shall

    be borne by the Department.

    Section 3 – Electronic Posting

    The Department will post an electronic copy of the Agreement on

    LaborNet.

    Article 59 – Suplemental Agreements

    Section 1 - Authority of Master Agreement

    The Department and the NCFLL agree that this Agreement is a

    master Agreement and that any supplemental agreements shall

    not delete, modify, or otherwise nullify any provision, policy, or

    procedure in this Agreement; nor shall any provision in a supplemental

    agreement be in conflict with or duplicate any provision of

    this Agreement, statute, or regulation of the Department or higher

    authority. Any supplementary agreements or amendments to this

    Agreement that are entered into by the parties shall become a part

    of and shall terminate at the same time as this Agreement unless

    otherwise expressly agreed to in writing by the parties. While no

    Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) are carried over under this

    Agreement, Article 2, Section 6, Past Practices, applies to mandatory

    working conditions that resulted from such former understandings.

    Prior to filing a grievance, if there is a dispute concerning the existence

    of a past practice in regards to a regional MOU, the matter

    will be referred to the regional labor relations officer and the local

    president for resolution. If the dispute is not resolved, the matter

    will be referred to the Director, Office of Departmental Labor

    Relations and Negotiations (ODLRN), and the NCFLL President for

    resolution. If the dispute concerns the existence of a past practice

    in regards to a national MOU, prior to filing a grievance, the matter

    will be referred to the ODLRN, and the NCFLL President for resolution.

    The National Memoranda of Understanding negotiated during the

    term of this Agreement will be posted on LaborNet.

    150 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    Section 2 – Appropriate Matters for Regional Negotiations

    Matters appropriate for negotiations at the Regional level are those

    within the scope of bargaining under the Statute. These matters do

    not include:

    A. Subject matter already contained in this Agreement;

    B. Interpretation and application of this Agreement; or

    C. Subject matter that has been the subject of bargaining at the

    National level.

    Section 3 – Resolution of Regional Negotiation Disputes

    Disputes between the local parties over whether agreement proposals

    or counter proposals are subject to Regional negotiations

    will be referred to the Department and the NCFLL Executive Committee.

    When a dispute has been submitted to the Department and

    the NCFLL, negotiations will be suspended on the issue pending

    final determination of the dispute. If the Department and NCFLL

    cannot resolve the dispute, either party may submit the matter to

    the appropriate authority in accordance with its rules and regulations.

    Section 4 – Ratification and Approval of Regional Agreements

    All Regional supplemental agreements are subject to ratification by

    the NCFLL and approval by the Department.

    Article 60 – Duration and Termination

    A. This Agreement shall take effect on October 1, 2012, and shall

    remain in effect through September 30, 2018, unless extended

    through mutual agreement. It will remain in effect for yearly periods

    thereafter unless either party serves the other party with

    written notice, any time during the month of June prior to the

    expiration date, of its desire to terminate or modify this Agreement.

    B. Upon receipt by either party of notice from the other party of

    its desire to terminate or modify this Agreement, both parties

    shall meet within thirty (30) calendar days in an effort to reach

    agreement with respect to ground rules for negotiating a new

    Agreement.

    Articles • 151

    Appendix A – Merit System Principles

    § 2301. Merit system principles

    (a) This section shall apply to--

    (1) an Executive agency; and

    (2) the Government Printing Office.

    (b) Federal personnel management should be implemented

    consistent with the following merit system principles:

    (1) Recruitment should be from qualified individuals from

    appropriate sources in an endeavor to achieve a work

    force from all segments of society, and selection and

    advancement should be determined solely on the basis

    of relative ability, knowledge and skills, after fair and

    open competition which assures that all receive equal

    opportunity.

    (2) All employees and applicants for employment should

    receive fair and equitable treatment in all aspects of personnel

    management without regard to political affiliation,

    race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status,

    age, or handicapping condition, and with proper regard

    for their privacy and constitutional rights.

    (3) Equal pay should be provided for work of equal value,

    with appropriate consideration of both national and local

    rates paid by employers in the private sector, and appropriate

    incentives and recognition should be provided for

    excellence in performance.

    (4) All employees should maintain high standards of integrity,

    conduct, and concern for the public interest.

    (5) The Federal work force should be used efficiently and

    effectively.

    (6) Employees should be retained on the basis of adequacy

    of their performance, inadequate performance should

    be corrected, and employees should be separated who

    cannot or will not improve their performance to meet

    required standards.

    (7) Employees should be provided effective education and

    training in cases in which such education and training

    would result in better organizational and individual

    performance.

    152 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    (8) Employees should be--

    (A) protected against arbitrary action, personal favoritism,

    or coercion for partisan political purposes, and

    (B) prohibited from using their official authority or influence

    for the purpose of interfering with or affecting

    the result of an election or a nomination for election.

    (9) Employees should be protected against reprisal for the

    lawful disclosure of information which the employees

    reasonably believe evidences--

    (A) a violation of any law, rule, or regulation, or

    (B) mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse

    of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to

    public health or safety.

    (c) In administering the provisions of this chapter--

    (1) with respect to any agency (as defined in section

    2302(a)(2)(C) of this title), the President shall, pursuant

    to the authority otherwise available under this title, take

    any action including the issuance of rules, regulations, or

    directives; and

    (2) with respect to any entity in the executive branch which

    is not such an agency or part of such an agency, the

    head of such entity shall, pursuant to authority otherwise

    available, take any action, including the issuance

    of rules, regulations, or directives; which is consistent

    with the provisions of this title and which the President or

    the head, as the case may be, determines is necessary

    to ensure that personnel management is based on and

    embodies the merit system principles.

    Appendix B – Prohibited Personel Practices

    § 2302. Prohibited personnel practices

    (a)(1) For the purpose of this title, “prohibited personnel practice”

    means any action described in subsection (b) of this

    section.

    (2) For the purpose of this section--

    (A) “personnel action” means--

    (i) an appointment;

    (ii) a promotion;

    Appendix • 153

    (iii) an action under chapter 75 of this title or other

    disciplinary or corrective action;

    (iv) a detail, transfer, or reassignment;

    (v) a reinstatement;

    (vi) a restoration;

    (vii) a reemployment;

    (viii) a performance evaluation under chapter 43 of

    this title;

    (ix) a decision concerning pay, benefits, or awards

    concerning education or training if the education or

    training may reasonably be expected to lead to an

    appointment, promotion, performance evaluation,

    or other action described in this subparagraph;

    (x) a decision to order psychiatric testing or examination;

    and

    (xi) any other significant change in duties, responsibilities,

    or working conditions;

    with respect to an employee in, or applicant for, a covered

    position in an agency, and in the case of an alleged prohibited

    personnel practice described in subsection (b)(8),

    an employee or applicant for employment in a Government

    corporation as defined in section 9101 of title 31;

    (B) “covered position” means, with respect to any personnel

    action, any position in the competitive service,

    a career appointee position in the Senior Executive

    Service, or a position in the excepted service, but

    does not include any position

    (i) excepted from the competitive service because of

    its confidential, policy-determining, policy-making,

    or policy-advocating character; or

    (ii) excluded from the coverage of this section by the

    President based on a determination by the President

    that it is necessary and warranted by conditions

    of good administration; and

    (C) “agency” means an Executive agency and the Government

    Printing Office, but does not include--

    (i) a Government corporation, except in the case of

    an alleged prohibited personnel practice described

    154 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    under subsection (b)(8);

    (ii) the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence

    Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency,

    the Central Imagery Office, the National Security

    Agency, and, as determined by the President, any

    Executive agency or unit thereof the principal function

    of which is the conduct of foreign intelligence or

    counterintelligence activities; or

    (iii) the General Accounting Office.

    (b) Any employee who has authority to take, direct others to

    take, recommend, or approve any personnel action, shall

    not, with respect to such authority--

    (1) discriminate for or against any employee or applicant for

    employment--

    (A) on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national

    origin, as prohibited under section 717 of the Civil

    Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e-16);

    (B) on the basis of age, as prohibited under sections 12

    and 15 of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act

    of 1967 (29 U.S.C. 631, 633a);

    (C) on the basis of sex, as prohibited under section 6(d)

    of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C.

    206(d));

    (D) on the basis of handicapping condition, as prohibited

    under section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

    (29 U.S.C. 791); or

    (E) on the basis of marital status or political affiliation, as

    prohibited under any law, rule, or regulation;

    (2) solicit or consider any recommendation or statement,

    oral or written, with respect to any individual who requests

    or is under consideration for any personnel action

    except as provided under section 3303(f);

    (3) coerce the political activity of any person (including

    the providing of any political contribution or service), or

    take any action against any employee of applicant for

    employment as a reprisal for the refusal of any person to

    engage in such political activity;

    (4) deceive or willfully obstruct any person with respect to

    such person’s right to compete for employment;

    Appendix • 155

    (5) influence any person to withdraw from competition for

    any position for the purpose of improving or injuring the

    prospects of any other person for employment;

    (6) grant any preference or advantage not authorized by

    law, rule, or regulation to any employee or applicant for

    employment (including defining the scope or manner of

    competition or the requirements for any position) for the

    purpose of improving or injuring the prospects of any

    particular person for employment;

    (7) appoint, employ, promote, advance, or advocate for

    appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement,

    in or to a civilian position any individual who is a

    relative (as defined in section 3110(a)(3) of this title) of

    such employee if such position is in the agency in which

    such employee is serving as a public official (as defined

    in section 3110(a)(2) of this title) or over which such

    employee exercises jurisdiction or control as such an

    official;

    (8) take or fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take, a

    personnel action with respect to any employee or applicant

    for employment because of--

    (A) any disclosure of information by an employee or applicant

    which the employee or applicant reasonably

    believes evidences--

    (i) a violation of any law, rule or regulation, or

    (ii) gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds,

    an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific

    danger to public health or safety, if such disclosure

    is not specifically prohibited by law and if such

    information is not specifically required by Executive

    order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense

    or the conduct of foreign affairs; or

    (B) any disclosure to the Special Counsel, or to the

    Inspector General of an agency or another employee

    designated by the head of the agency to receive such

    disclosures, of information which the employee or

    applicant reasonably believes evidences--

    (i) a violation of any law, rule, or regulation, or

    (ii) gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds,

    an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific

    156 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    danger to public health or safety;

    (9) take or fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take, any

    personnel action against any employee or applicant for

    employment because of--

    (A) the exercise of any appeal, complaint, or grievance

    right granted by any law, rule, or regulation;

    (B) testifying for or otherwise lawfully assisting any

    individual in the exercise of any right referred to in

    subparagraph (A);

    (C) cooperating with or disclosing information to the

    Inspector General of an agency, or the Special Counsel,

    in accordance with applicable provisions of law;

    or

    (D) for refusing to obey an order that would require the

    individual to violate a law.

    (10) discriminate for or against any employee or applicant

    for employment on the basis of conduct which does not

    adversely affect the performance of the employee or applicant

    or the performance of others; except that nothing

    in this paragraph shall prohibit an agency from taking

    into account in determining suitability or fitness any conviction

    of the employee or applicant for any crime under

    the laws of any State, of the District of Columbia, or of

    the United States;

    (A) knowingly take, recommend, or approve any personnel

    action if the taking of such action would violate a

    veterans’ preference requirement; or

    (B) knowingly fail to take, recommend, or approve any

    personnel action if the failure to take such action

    would violate a veterans’ preference requirement; or

    (11) take or fail to take any other personnel action if the taking

    of or failure to take such action violates any law, rule,

    or regulation implementing, or directly concerning, the

    merit system principles contained in section 2301 of this

    title. This subsection shall not be construed to authorize

    the withholding of information from the Congress or the

    taking of any personnel action against an employee who

    discloses information to the Congress.

    (c) The head of each agency shall be responsible for the prevention

    of prohibited personnel practices, for the compliance

    Appendix • 157

    with and enforcement of applicable civil service laws, rules,

    and regulations, and other aspects of personnel management,

    and for ensuring (in consultation with the Office of

    Special Counsel) that agency employees are informed of

    the rights and remedies available to them under this chapter

    and chapter 12 of this title. Any individual to whom the head

    of an agency delegates authority for personnel management,

    or for any aspect thereof, shall be similarly responsible

    within the limits of the delegation.

    (d) This section shall not be construed to extinguish or lessen

    any effort to achieve equal employment opportunity through

    affirmative action or any right or remedy available to any

    employee or applicant for employment in the civil service

    under--

    (1) section 717 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C.

    2000e-16), prohibiting discrimination on the basis of

    race, color, religion, sex, or national origin;

    (2) sections 12 and 15 of the Age Discrimination in Employment

    Act of 1967 (29 U.S.C. 631, 633a), prohibiting

    discrimination on the basis of age;

    (3) under section 6(d) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of

    1938 (29 U.S.C. 206 (d)), prohibiting discrimination on

    the basis of sex;

    (4) section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29

    U.S.C. 791), prohibiting discrimination on the basis of

    handicapping condition; or

    (5) the provisions of any law, rule, or regulation prohibiting

    discrimination on the basis of marital status or

    political affiliation.

    158 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    INDEX

    Acceptable Level of Competence: ............................................................127

    Definition..........................................................................................127

    Procedures ......................................................................................127

    Administrative Leave ...............................................................................109

    Blood Blood Donation ......................................................................113

    Emergency Conditions ....................................................................110

    Inclement Weather ...........................................................................110

    Military Funerals ..............................................................................113

    Registration and Voting ..............................................................109

    Vehicle Breakdown ......................................................................112

    Volunteer Programs ....................................................................109

    Adoptive Leave (see Leave)

    Advanced Leave ...............................................................................109

    Adverse Actions .................................................................................34

    Appeal Rights ....................................................................................33

    Grievance Rights ...............................................................................33

    Representational Rights .....................................................................39

    Agreement ..................................................................................................1

    Coverage of ..........................................................................................2

    Duration ...........................................................................................150

    Governs ..............................................................................................4

    Precedence of Laws and Regulations ................................................49

    Supplemental Agreements ...............................................................149

    Termination ......................................................................................150

    Alternative Dispute Resolution .................................................................51

    Annual Leave ...........................................................................................108

    Advanced Leave Requests ......................................................................109

    Restored Leave .......................................................................................109

    Appropriate Use of Equipment ..................................................................23

    Arbitration .................................................................................................46

    Adverse Actions .......................................................................................34

    Arbitrability Decisions ...............................................................................50

    Authority, Arbitrator .................................................................................49

    Extension of Time Limits ...................................................................50

    Grievability Decisions ........................................................................50

    Official Time ......................................................................................48

    Proceedings ......................................................................................50

    Selection of Arbitrator .......................................................................46

    Stipulation of Facts ............................................................................50

    Technical Assistant ...........................................................................48

    Time Frame ........................................................................................47

    Transcripts .........................................................................................48

    Index • 159

    Witnesses ..........................................................................................49

    Bargaining (See Negotiations)

    Bargaining Unit: ..........................................................................................1

    Coverage .....................................................................................................2

    Exclusions ...........................................................................................2

    Inclusions ............................................................................................2

    Blood Donations ..............................................................................113

    Breaks ................................................................................................77

    Bulletin Boards ..................................................................................21

    Changes to Agreement/Regulations ............................................................4

    Mandated .............................................................................................4

    Proposed by Management ...................................................................5

    Past Practices ......................................................................................6

    Child Care Subsidy ....................................................................................90

    Committees:

    Ad-Hoc Training Committees .............................................................68

    EEO ....................................................................................................53

    Honor Awards Committee ................................................................130

    Information Technology Committee .................................................140

    National Labor-Management Relations Committee ..............................6

    Regional Labor-Management Relations Committee .............................6

    Safety and Health Committees .........................................................104

    Special Emphasis Program Committees ............................................54

    Community Service Opportunities ..........................................................119

    Concerted Activity ...................................................................................148

    Contracting Out ......................................................................................137

    Continuing Education, Equipment and Time for ........................................68

    Court Leave .............................................................................................113

    Dependent Care ......................................................................................114

    Disciplinary Actions Alternative Approaches .............................................31

    Appeals ..............................................................................................33

    Distribution of Union Material ............................................................22

    Dues Withholding ..............................................................................24

    EEO Counselors (See Equal Employment Opportunity )

    Elder Care ...............................................................................................114

    Employee Assistance Program ..................................................................94

    Employees, Right of ...........................................................................94

    Employee Wellness ...................................................................................95

    Biennial Health Exam .........................................................................96

    Fitness Subsidy Programs .................................................................97

    Health Services Program ...................................................................96

    Smoking ............................................................................................98

    Wellness Programs ............................................................................96

    160 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    Equal Employment Opportunity ................................................................52

    Committees .......................................................................................53

    Complaints .........................................................................................55

    Counselors .........................................................................................54

    EEO Plans ..........................................................................................53

    Reasonable Accommodation .............................................................55

    Equal Pay for Equal Work .........................................................................52

    Equipment Provided the Union (See Facilities Provided the Union)

    Facilities (Official Union Use) ....................................................................21

    Family Leave............................................................................................113

    First 40-Hour Tour of Duty ........................................................................72

    Fitness Programs ...............................................................................97

    Flexiplace (see Telework) ..........................................................................81

    Flexitime (see Work Schedules)

    Formal Discussions .....................................................................................1

    Grievance:

    Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) ................................................51

    Arbitrability ........................................................................................50

    Coverage ............................................................................................37

    EEO Complaint, in Relation to ............................................................38

    Employee Grievance ..........................................................................39

    Employee Right to Grieve ..................................................................37

    Exclusion from Coverage ..................................................................37

    Exclusive Procedure ..........................................................................38

    Flexiplace (Telework) ........................................................................81

    Form ..................................................................................................40

    Grievability ........................................................................................46

    Institutional Grievance .......................................................................44

    Merit Staffing Grievance ....................................................................42

    Telework Denials ................................................................................87

    GSA Vehicles .............................................................................................68

    Harassing Conduct .........................................................................106

    Correcting Conditions .....................................................................107

    Program Review ..............................................................................107

    Reporting ........................................................................................106

    Training ...........................................................................................107

    Hardship Transfer ...................................................................................135

    Health Services (see Safety and Health)

    Honor Awards Committee (see Committee)

    Hours of Work ..........................................................................................71

    Identity Theft ...........................................................................................142

    Information Provided Union (see Notification to Union)

    Information Technology (see Technology)

    Index • 161

    Interstation Transfer ................................................................................134

    Job Sharing ...............................................................................................80

    Leave

    Administrative ..................................................................................109

    Adoptive ...........................................................................................115

    Annual .............................................................................................108

    Blood Donation ................................................................................113

    Court ................................................................................................113

    Definition of Family Member ............................................................115

    Emergency Conditions .....................................................................110

    Family .............................................................................................115

    Inclement Weather ...........................................................................110

    Maternity/Paternity ..........................................................................114

    Military Funerals ..............................................................................113

    Regional Leave Bank ........................................................................117

    Restored ..........................................................................................109

    Sick ..................................................................................................116

    Vehicle Breakdown .........................................................................112

    Volunteer Programs .........................................................................119

    Voting/Registration ..........................................................................109

    Leave of Absence (Union Officials) .........................................................147

    Lockout ...................................................................................................148

    Management Rights ................................................................................146

    Mass Transit Subsidy ................................................................................92

    Maternity Leave (see Leave)

    Memoranda of Understanding (MOU’s) ..................................................149

    Merit Staffing ............................................................................................56

    Candidates Selected ...........................................................................60

    Candidates to be Considered .............................................................59

    Certificates .........................................................................................58

    Corrective Actions ..............................................................................63

    Details ................................................................................................57

    Equal Opportunity ..............................................................................59

    Interviewing Candidates .....................................................................60

    MSHA Special Assignments ...............................................................59

    Plan/Procedures ................................................................................56

    Preferential Management Action ........................................................59

    Reevaluations ....................................................................................59

    Repromotions ....................................................................................57

    Reviews of Selecting Official Action ...................................................61

    Temporary Promotion .......................................................................57

    Trainees .............................................................................................58

    Vacancy Announcements ...................................................................58

    162 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    Midterm Negotiations (see Negotiations)

    MSHA Cleanup Time ................................................................................77

    MSHA First 40 ...........................................................................................72

    National Labor-Management Relations Committee .....................................6

    National Union Officials .............................................................................15

    Negotiations

    Midterm ...............................................................................................9

    National ..............................................................................................9

    Regional ............................................................................................10

    Notification to Management ......................................................................15

    Agendum for National/Regional Committee Meetings .........................8

    Changes to Dues Withholding Designations ......................................26

    National Union Officials .....................................................................15

    Regional Officials ...............................................................................15

    Stewards ............................................................................................14

    Notification to Union (see Article 51)

    Nursing Mothers .......................................................................................92

    Official Time ..............................................................................................16

    Arbitration ..........................................................................................16

    Bargaining Unit Employees ................................................................18

    Formal Discussions ...........................................................................17

    Labor Relations Training ....................................................................17

    Midterm Bargaining .............................................................................9

    National LMR Meetings .......................................................................8

    National Union Officials .....................................................................15

    Orientation ...........................................................................................3

    Reasonable Amount of Time ..............................................................18

    Regional LMR Committee Meetings ....................................................7

    Requests/Reporting ...........................................................................19

    Statutory Appeals ..............................................................................17

    Official Travel Labor Relations ...................................................................16

    Arbitration ..........................................................................................20

    Bargaining Unit Employees ................................................................21

    Midterm Bargaining ..........................................................................21

    National LMR Committee Meetings ...................................................21

    Regional LMR Committee Meetings ..................................................21

    Safety and Health Inspections ..........................................................101

    Stewards ............................................................................................14

    Training ..............................................................................................66

    Orientation ..................................................................................................3

    Overtime ...................................................................................................78

    Parking ......................................................................................................92

    Pre-Tax Program ................................................................................93

    Index • 163

    Past Practices .............................................................................................6

    Supplemental Agreements/MOU’s ..........................................................149

    Paternity Leave....................................................................................... 114

    Performance Awards ...............................................................................125

    General ...........................................................................................125

    Information Sharing ........................................................................143

    Summary Ratings, Effect of .............................................................126

    Performance Based Actions .....................................................................30

    Performance Management System .........................................................121

    Annual Rating of Record ..................................................................122

    Appraisal Period, Initiation of ...........................................................124

    Coverage .........................................................................................121

    Grievability/Arbitrability ..................................................................125

    Improving Unsatisfactory Performance .......................................... 123

    Information Sharing .........................................................................125

    Performance Improvement Plan ......................................................123

    Performance Standards .................................................................. 122

    Annual Rating of Record ..................................................................122

    Comment Period ..............................................................................122

    Elements ..........................................................................................121

    Employee Control ...........................................................................121

    Grievability/Arbitrability ...................................................................125

    Procedures for Developing .............................................................121

    Prototype Standards/Elements ........................................................125

    Removal ..........................................................................................125

    Special Circumstances .................................................................... 124

    Personnel Records ....................................................................................64

    Employee Performance Files .............................................................65

    Employee Review of .......................................................................... 66

    Non-Current Material ........................................................................65

    Official Personnel Folders ..................................................................64

    Working Files .....................................................................................65

    Position Classification .............................................................................. 52

    Position Description ................................................................................. 52

    Preamble .......................................................................................................

    Pre-Tax Parking ........................................................................................93

    Privately Owned Vehicles (POVs)...............................................................68

    Professional Associations, Directed Membership and Participation ........145

    Protective Equipment and Clothing .........................................................100

    Reasonable Accommodation .....................................................................55

    Records (see Personnel Records)

    Reduction in Force ..................................................................................130

    Reemployment Opportunities After Retirement ......................................148

    164 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    Regional Labor-Management Relations Committees ..................................6

    Religious Observances .............................................................................79

    Representation, Unit Employees Rights.................................................... 13

    Adverse Actions .................................................................................13

    Disciplinary Actions ...........................................................................13

    Examination of Record (Merit Staffing).............................................61

    Formal Discussions .............................................................................3

    Grievance .............................................................................................3

    Investigatory Interviews .....................................................................14

    Performance Based Actions ...............................................................30

    Rescheduling Authority ......................................................................73

    Safety and Health .....................................................................................98

    AED’s ...............................................................................................100

    Committees .....................................................................................104

    Employee Rights/Responsibilities ......................................................99

    Ergonomic Hazards ..........................................................................103

    Hazardous Materials, Response to ..................................................102

    Inspections ......................................................................................101

    Protective Equipment and Clothing .................................................100

    Vehicles, Safety of ...........................................................................101

    Sick Leave ...............................................................................................116

    Adoptive Leave.................................................................................115

    Death in Family ................................................................................116

    Family Leave ....................................................................................115

    Smoking.....................................................................................................98

    Space Management ...................................................................................28

    Split Shifts ................................................................................................80

    Step Increases.........................................................................................127

    Strike ......................................................................................................148

    Supplemental Agreements ......................................................................149

    Technology ..............................................................................................140

    Committee, Information Technology ...............................................140

    Identity Theft ....................................................................................142

    Telework (Flexiplace) ................................................................................ 81

    Agreement .........................................................................................83

    Dispute Resolution ............................................................................87

    Eligibility ............................................................................................82

    Pay Status ..........................................................................................86

    Purpose .............................................................................................81

    Recall ................................................................................................84

    Termination .......................................................................................85

    Types of Arrangements ......................................................................82

    Time and Attendance System Automated ..................................................75

    Index • 165

    Training .....................................................................................................66

    General ..............................................................................................66

    Labor Relations Training ....................................................................66

    Transfer of Function ................................................................................130

    Transit Subsidy Program .........................................................................92

    Travel, Official (Non-LMR) ........................................................................69

    Administratively Controllable .............................................................70

    Advance Notice .................................................................................71

    Alternative Travel ...............................................................................71

    Compensatory Time ......................................................................... 70

    Non-Duty Hours ............................................................................... 70

    Scheduling ........................................................................................70

    Temporary Duty ................................................................................70

    Vouchers .......................................................................................... 70

    Vehicles ........................................................................................... 70

    Wellness (see Employee Wellness)

    Within-Grade Increase ...........................................................................127

    Work Schedules:

    Changing Work Schedules ................................................................74

    Clean Up Time .................................................................................. 77

    Compensatory Time ...........................................................................79

    Compressed Schedules .....................................................................73

    Core Hours ........................................................................................74

    Coverage of Mission Needs................................................................76

    Credit Hours ......................................................................................74

    Evenings/Nights ................................................................................78

    First Forty .........................................................................................72

    Grievability ........................................................................................78

    Hours of Work ..................................................................................75

    Overtime Hours .................................................................................74

    Part-Time ......................................................................................... 71

    Pay Administration .......................................................................... 76

    Religious Observances ......................................................................79

    Rescheduling Authority .....................................................................73

    Rest Periods .....................................................................................77

    Seniority ...........................................................................................76

    Split Shifts ........................................................................................75

    Standard Day/Week ..........................................................................72

    Timekeeping .....................................................................................75

    Variable Week ................................................................................... 72

    Workplace Violence (see Harassing Conductions…)

    Workweek, Standard .................................................................................72

    166 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    NOTES

    “Only a fol would try to deprive working

    men and working women of the right to join

    the union of their choice.”

    Dwight D. Eisenhower

    Notes • 167

    NOTES

    “A god contract, with a god union, is god

    busines.”

    John Dunlop, Secretary of Labor (1975-1976)

    168 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    NOTES

    “It’s a prety god rule to work with anyone

    who wil work with you.”

    John L. Lewis

    Notes • 169

    NOTES

    “There is no greate r caling than to serve

    your felow man. There is no greate r

    satisfaction than to have done it wel.”

    Philip Murray

    170 • NATIONAL AGREEMENT • U.S. Department of Labor & National Council of Field Labor Locals AFGE, AFL-CIO

    NOTES

    “Labor is prior to, and independent of,

    capital . Capital is only the fruit of labor,

    and could never have existed if labor had

    not first existed. Labor is the superior

    of capital , and deserves much the higher

    consideration .”

    Abraham Lincoln




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