AFGE Local 1034

AFGE Local 1034 Newsletter


Union Update 12-18-2015:

Wanted to give all of you an end of the year update on a few things to catch you up and let you know what is coming in the new  year.

I have been speaking for some time now about staff safety and how along with the mandate of vests and adding pepper spray that we would keep fighting to make it law that we carry pepper spray so it isn't taken away from us after the pilot program is over. Since the death of officer Eric Williams in USP Canaan, his parents have worked tirelessly alongside the Union on our behalf to get this put into law to hopefully help avoid another needless death of one of our brothers or sisters by the hands of an inmate. FYI: This particular inmate was at Pollock just a couple of months prior to killing Eric Williams. Within the last week the Senate has passed the Correctional Officer's Safety ACT bill. If the House passes this bill as well it will put into law that all staff at High and Medium Security federal prisons can carry pepper spray. Hopefully along with this legislation we can move to get 2 officers in the housing units at USP's and other high security prisons whenever the inmates are out of their cells. This will be a great victory for all of us at Pollock and across the BOP. Our hard work on all of these things are beginning to show off and definitely making our staff more safe.

We will be getting a 1% raise this year as we have the past 2 years.

Locally this year has been very very busy for the Union. One of our busiest since the last 7 years I have been president. We have had an unprecedented amout of arbitrations this year averaging 2 a month and have had 2 in one week a few months ago. The Portal arbitration still has one more session in January then the arbitration phase will be completed. I would give it about 6 months from there for the arbitrator to issue her ruling and award.

We are still accepting the Evaluation Consent forms Until Dec. 31, if you are interested in being involved in that grievance. The forms will then be turned over to the arbitrator for her ruling and award.

Along with these huge issues, that affect every bargaining unit staff member at Pollock, we have been in negotiations separately with management dealing with our local supplemental agreement. This agreement will affect all bargaining unit staff members at FCC Pollock as well. It has been a lengthy process but we will see it to the end and continue to negotiate this until it is completed. We don't want to miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to get the best we can for you through these negotiations.

Throughout the year, we have received favorable rulings from the FLRA and arbitrators that have forced management to negotiate with the Union on issues the agency previously had refused to negotiate.  We have completed some of these negotiations to include Unit Team. Now they are able to bid on their posts unlike before when they were told where to work as management saw fit.

Early next year we will simultaneously be negotiating the LSA, the Food Service mandatory overtime agreement and their schedule. These negotiations came up next due to a ULP we filed on management for refusing to negotiate. We have now come to an agreement where management has conceded to negotiate with the Union. One of our goals is to have all of the remaining schedules negotiated for those departments that do not have a negotiated schedule yet.

Most of you should have received information about a dues increase from the national AFGE office. This year we attended the National AFGE convention knowing that AFGE would be attempting to raise our dues as they always do. We locally never agree with a dues increase and have fought it off for years now. At the convention  we attended the work committees and general session to fight for no dues increase again. We soon found out we were facing a hard run for over an $8.00 per month proposed increase that was being pushed forward through constitutional and by-law changes. To keep it simple, we were able to get it down to .55c per pay period per member. A huge victory! We locally are not asking for more money but we must meet the requirements of our By-Laws dealing with a national dues increase. Our local by-Laws dictate that we have to raise our dues to the equivalent of AFGE. This takes our dues from $19.75 to  $20.30 per pay-period effective pay period one 2016. The increase adds $14.30 per year, per member.

I was going to try to cover the entire year of what we had been involved in, negotiated, settled, arbitrated, back pay we have won, discipline cases we've won etc. but there are way too many to discuss and address in a simple letter. We have helped so many staff that it is hard for all of us to keep up with. Thankfully I can say we don't miss much. We have evolved into a pretty well oiled machine but we are not perfect, especially me. If you find one of us are not representing you as you see fit, don't stop there. There are 7 E-Board members who are very well trained and will help me make sure we don't miss anything when it comes to representing you and will help me ensure we do what is best for our local. Hopefully we can get a Steward Training class scheduled soon.

All of this information and everything else is covered continually in our Union meetings at the first Tuesday of every month. From the attendance of our meetings it is apparent that the majority is satisfied with the direction the Union is going and we really appreciate the huge support we get. We all hope you have a happy holiday season. Be safe and as always if you need something just call one of us or stop by the Union Office.

Brian K. Richmond

President, AFGE Local 1034