ENOUGH SAID!

Newsletter of

AFGE LOCAL 2505

Representing SSA Field Office Employees in Oklahoma

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October, 2007 – Volume II, No. 3

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NOTICE:

NOMINATIONS of OFFICERS

You are hereby notified, in compliance with the constitution and by-laws of AFGE Local 2505 that the AFGE Local 2505 Election Committee will be taking nominations for officers at the

Local Meeting on Saturday, November 3, 2007.

The Local Meeting will begin at 11 am. It will be held at 3837 Highpoint Court, Norman, OK 73072).

The Election Committee will take nominations for the office of President, Executive Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer, 1st Vice President and 2nd Vice President.

Nomination may be made at the meeting. Self-nominations are permitted. Nominations do not have to be seconded.

Nominees must accept the nomination. If the nominee is not present at the meeting, a written acceptance must be submitted to the Election Committee prior to the close of the nominating process.

If you will not be able to attend the meeting, and wish to nominate someone or yourself, you may mail in your nominations to Magda Mashburn, Secretary-Treasurer, AFGE Local

2505, 3837 Highpoint Court, Norman, OK 73072.

Candidates nominated by mail must still accept the nomination, either at the meeting or in writing, as explained above.

Qualifications for office are: be a member in good standing of AFGE Local 2505; be a member of AFGE Local 2505 for one year immediately preceding the closing of the nomination process; not be a member of any labor organization not affiliated with the AFL-CIO.

The term of office is 3 years ending with the installation of officers at the regularly scheduled January, 2009 Meeting of AFGE Local 2505 or "at the earliest practicable date after the elections are completed."

For contested positions, the Election Committee will conduct a mail ballot in December, 2007.

Election protests must be made to the local Election Committee prior to, during, or within ten days after the election. The Election Committee shall consider and/or investigate the complaint and attempt to resolve the protest(s) or to render a decision within 15 days after receipt of the complaint. An extension of time up to 30 additional days is permissible for the Election Committee to render a decision, if it notifies the complainant(s) by certified mail of this extension.

Litigation Report

The grievance on 3 hours of use or lose lost because January 2, 2007 was a National Day of Mourning settled 48 hours before the arbitration was set to begin. The details of the settlement remain to be negotiated. The Union will be responsible for ½ of the cost of Arbitrator Wang’s cancellation fee.

The date for the Chickasha TE promotion grievance is November 28. Ralph de Juliis is the Rep; Mitzi Brooks is the TA.

The Union proposed withdrawing the Bartlesville Section 10 Arbitration on improper notification and dues withholding in exchange for SSA waiving timeliness arguments on two Sanctions grievance/arbitrations.

The Local is involved in several employee issues: three concern awards, another on work assignments, another on non selection.

The Local has filed several institutional grievances: how Ada management treats the staff, Ada management’s refusal to meet with two Union officials for a grievance presentation, Ada management’s refusal to set the time for a grievance presentation on a date certain and during core hours, the failure of management to provide justification explanations with awards certificates, the refusal of Enid management to give any SR an award and not telling the Union about the meeting it held with the Enid SRs, and giving numerical element ratings and an overall rating to some employees.

Your End o’ Year Self-Assessment (PACS)

Make sure you and the employees in your office do a self assessment. Try to be reasonably specific about what you did and when: when someone asked for your advice and you showed them how to do it; when you saw that reception was backed up and you helped out without having to be asked, sacrificing your adjudication time; when a caller was distraught and you talked them down off the roof.

Most of those things your supervisor doesn't see. This is your chance to remind him or her!!

You SHOULD have a problem getting it all on a single page. SHAME ON YOU if your self-assessment fits on a single sheet of paper! Call one of the officers if you need help in adjusting the margins to zero and changing the type size to 6 point.

This must be submitted to your supervisor no later than October 10!

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Spotlight on Sick Leave

Scenario: Your leave balances are low, particularly sick leave. You aren’t happy about it, but management is aware that you had surgery recently, or that you have a chronic illness that results in frequent bouts of nausea and vertigo, or you burned through your sick leave using Family Friendly caring for your infant child who was ill for a time. Your leave balance is low, but you know it’s not because you have a hangover every Monday or because you feel "unwell" every Friday that your part-time co-worker isn’t on duty.

Unfortunately, your management staff may have been encouraged by "higher ups" to violate the contract and put you on sick leave restriction—which means management asks you to provide a doctor’s statement every time you take off work. Or perhaps your supervisor threatens to put you on leave restriction if your balances don’t improve.

Article 31, Section 4.B., provides that: "Normally, unless an employee is on sick leave restriction in accordance with this article, he/she will not be required to obtain medical certification for sick leave of 3 consecutive work days or less."

Article 31, Section 4.C. is very clear as to when an employee is placed on sick leave restriction:

C. In individual cases, if there is evidence that an employee’s leave pattern may indicate that an abuse of sick leave exists, the employee shall first be advised by an interview, which shall be recorded in the SF-7B file, of the reasons a medical certificate may be required for each subsequent absence or sick leave. The use of sick leave for scheduled medical appointments caused by recurring and previously documented medical conditions will not be considered a leave pattern that indicates an abuse of sick leave.

If the employee’s leave pattern continues, the employee will be advised in writing as to whether an acceptable medical certificate may be required for each subsequent absence for which sick leave is requested.

The sick leave usage of all employees under sick leave restriction will be reviewed at least every four (4) months and a written decision to continue or lift the restrictions made. If the review shows significant improvement, the supervisor will lift the restriction.

All this language is taken from the contract section regarding Sick Leave. Leave restriction does not apply to annual leave.

As workloads increase and staffing decreases, management is looking under every nook and cranny to push employees to produce more work credit for their office.

It pays to know your Sick Leave Rights!

Is Big Brother Watching?

In the lower right hand corner of your computer screen on the Task Bar, there is a symbol of two computers which is the Local Area Connection icon. The Icon computer screens are often black. The Icon computer screens turn blue when info and your LAN is connecting to the server and mainframe. If another additional, double computer icon appears down there and the screens are red, it means your LAN terminal is being remotely monitored.

State of the Local

In our April ’07 issue, we reported that our membership was 157, with 36 retiree members. We are pleased to report that our current membership, despite retirements, is now 174 with 41 retirees.

In the past year, at least one officer has visited every office in our Local except for Woodward, which is closing this year. We have a rather ambitious plan to visit every office at least twice a year for the next two years. We hope to see you!!

Spotlight on Union Benefits

Local 2505 membership includes a small life insurance policy for our members.

A term life insurance policy that pays double the amount listed below in the event of accidental death or dismemberment. It is underwritten by Aetna.

Individuals cannot obtain this benefit; it is only available to all members of a Local that has elected to provide this benefit to all their members by way of constitutional amendment. Each Local also determines the number of units.

KEY BASIC TERM LIFE FEATURES AND OPTIONS:

Who is eligible?

You are eligible to participate in the Life Insurance and AD&D Plan if you belong to an insured Local, are under the age of 71 and have active duty status. If you do not have active duty status upon joining an insured Local, you will become an eligible member when active duty status is resumed.
What is my coverage?

Age / Coverage

Under 35 $2,200
35-49 $1,700
50-59 $1,200
60-69 $1,000
70+ $1,000

Some locals have increased this base amount, please check with your local Secretary/Treasurer to determine benefits payable.

What is the cost of this benefit?

Your insured local provides this coverage at no cost to you.

Termination of Coverage

Your Life and AD&D insurance will end when one of the following occurs: - you cease to be a member in good standing or the plans are terminated.

Local 2505 membership includes Accident Insurance

Every five minutes, someone in America dies from an accident. The UnionSecure (AD&D) plan creates a safety net for members and their families.

Your AFGE membership entitles you to enroll for no-cost coverage:

· $5,000 of coverage against accidental death from covered motor vehicle/pedestrian accidents, or

· $1,000 of coverage for death due to any other type of accident at home, at work and while commuting or traveling anywhere in the world.

· This benefit is not automatic. Enroll online or download the enrollment PDF form to take advantage of this coverage – at no cost for union members!

Purchase enhanced coverage: For added protection and peace of mind, you may choose to purchase additional accidental death and dismemberment coverage from $50,000 to $150,000 at group rates.

· $50,000 to $150,000 base amount all-cause, 24-hour accidental death and dismemberment benefits.

· If an accidental death* occurs due to injury sustained while riding as a passenger on any common carrier - such as an airplane, train, bus or taxi – your beneficiary would receive triple the amount of your base coverage. For example, if you purchase $150,000 of expanded coverage, your beneficiary would receive $450,000.

· If an accidental death results from a motor vehicle accident or as a pedestrian, your beneficiary would receive double the amount of your base coverage.* For example, if you purchase $100,000 of expanded coverage, your beneficiary would receive $200,000.

· Benefits are paid for loss of limbs, speech, hearing or sight.

· Coverage provided for the member alone or entire family 24-hours-a-day, everywhere.

· Pays in addition to any other insurance you may have.

· No termination age; however, benefit amounts reduce by half at age 70.

*Only one benefit, whichever is the greater, will be paid for any one accident. Death must occur within 365 days of injury.

Additional coverage members can purchase:

· 60-day free trial with a money-back guarantee.

· Guaranteed to be issued – no health questions or medical exam or exclusions based on pre-existing conditions.

· Family Coverage - Entire immediate family can be covered for one price. (May not be available in all states or in all unions)

Who should purchase AD&D coverage?

Any union member who wants coverage that will help pay for the rent or mortgage, food, clothes, transportation, medical bills, school, college and the many day-to-day living expenses a family will have after the member’s death.

Who is eligible for coverage?

· No-cost coverage: Only for union members ages 18 and older.

· Enhanced coverage:

o Union members and spouses or domestic partners ages 18 and older.

o Spouse or domestic partner can purchase coverage separately.

o Spouse or domestic partner and children can be combined into one family policy with member.

o Children to age 19 (24 if full-time student).

· Available in all states and the District of Columbia – not available in Canada or U.S. territories.

Accidental death is covered 365 days from date after the accident that caused fatal injuries. 

How much does it cost?

Monthly Premiums
Coverage $50,000 $100,000 $150,000
Individual (for member or spouse) $4.65 $9.30 $13.95
Family (for member, spouse, domestic partner, children) $6.58 $13.16 $19.74

Access: www.afge.org or www.unionsecure.com or call 1-800-393-0864 for details. Have your Union Membership Number handy!

FLU SHOTS

Article 9, Section 6.A requires SSA to "provide/pay for flu shots, when reasonably available. A reasonable amount of administrative leave will be granted to employees who avail themselves of these services." (emphasis added)

If your office is too small to have flu shots come to you, your office might consider the County Board of Health. Some counties are trying new and innovative services; e.g., Pittsburg County is having a flu shot drive through at the Expo Center.

Even if you are getting your flu shot from your own physician, you are still entitled to a reasonable amount of administrative leave.

Every 5 years, it is a good idea to get the pneumonia vaccine It is often offered when the flu shots are given. SSA does not pay for that. You may wish to inquire as to availability and cost with your flu shot provider.

If you have any questions or issues that are not resolved by talking to your supervisor, give one of your Local officers a call!

Holiday Leave

If you are not happy, please call one of your Local Officers! Remember, you only have 15 days from the point in time your leave is denied to file a grievance.

Now, here is what is supposed to happen: (1) All the employees submit their leave slips for the days before or after the holidays and periods of one week or more. (2) Management decides how it is going to group employees (by unit, by position, etc). (3) Management decides how many people it is willing to let off. (Management doesn’t have to tell you 2 or 3, though they often will because it lessens bad feelings). (4) If there are fewer people requesting than Management is willing to let off, everyone is approved. (5) If there are more people requesting off than Management is willing to let off, the roster provisions in Article 31 apply.

Management is supposed to ask EVERYONE who puts in if they want to exercise their option. Let’s say there are 4 employees who each want off the day after Thanksgiving BUT management is only to let 2 go. Employees # 1 and # 2 exercise their option. Does management still have to ask employees # 3 and # 4. YES!. If # 3 and # 4 do NOT exercise their option, employees # 1 and # 2 do NOT have to exercise their option. The leave roster will NOT rotate in the circumstance.

It can get much more complicated, especially when you add in employees who are not on leave, but instead, have Monday and Friday CWS days, which, you may recall, are moved when the off day falls on a Federal Holiday. There may be additional complications from co-workers who are using religious compensatory time.

One more thing, if you exercise your option and don’t get the time off, you do NOT lose your position on the roster. You have simply forced those higher up on the list than you to exercise their option so you get a chance at time off the next time there is a conflict. Whether or not you move up to the top of the roster, depends on how many people are on the roster ahead of you.

If you have any questions or concerns, the FIRST place to begin is to ask your supervisor to see the roster so you know where you stand!

AFGE Local 2505 General Officers and Contact Information

Ylita Edd – President

ylita.edd@ssa.gov or ronylita@aol.com

Work: 405-605-3001 ext. 3038

Ralph de Juliis - Executive Vice President

ralph.dejuliis@ssa.gov or ralph.de.juliis@sbcglobal.net

Work: 918-641-2409 ext. 2923

Cell: 918-781-3096 or Home: 918-749-2412

Mitzi Brooks – 1st Vice President

mitzi.brooks@ssa.gov

Work: 580-237-1664 ext. 202

Carol A. Lewis - 2nd Vice President

carol.a.lewis@ssa.gov

Work: 918-423-1631 ext. 117

 

 

 

AFGE Local 2505 Newsletter: October ‘07

Ms Magda Mashburn, Secretary-Treasurer

3837 Highpoint Court

Norman, Oklahoma 73072-5023

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meeting Notice

AFGE Local 2505

Saturday,

November 3, 2007

Location: (Magda Mashburn’s home)

3837 Highpoint Court, Norman, OK

Time: 11 AM

Agenda

Call to Order

Secretary’s Report

Treasurer’s Report

Legislative Report

Litigation Report

New Business

Nomination of Officers

Unfinished Business

Adjournment