ENOUGH SAID!

Newsletter of

AFGE LOCAL 2505

Representing SSA Field Office Employees in Oklahoma

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April, 2007

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State of the Local

Several changes were approved to the Constitution and By-laws of our Local last year.

The Local Executive Board now consists of the President, Executive Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer and 2 Vice Presidents. Local Representatives, Alternate Local Representatives and Health and Safety Representatives are now appointed by the Local President.

The competition among members to become their office’s Local Representative, Alternative Local Representative or Health and Safety Representative has been intense and fierce! (Well, not really). If you are interested, don’t be shy! Let us know! We are really very interesting folks and very easy to get along with, if we do say so ourselves!

By the way, Elections for the Local’s Executive Board will be at the end of this year. Formal notice will come from the Election Committee. If you would be interested in serving on the Election Committee (candidates and current officers are excluded), please let us know!

The Local has been very busy during the past several months with representation.

Last year, the Local successfully arbitrated the removal of a probationary CR in the McAlester District Office. Only a surfeit of modesty and the length of the decision (37 pages) prevent us from attaching the decision of Arbitrator Patrick Halter to this newsletter. If you are interested in reading the decision, please contact the Union’s representative in that case, EVP Ralph de Juliis, or the Union’s Technical Assistant in that case, 2nd VP Carol A. Lewis.

They also successfully arbitrated a two-day Systems Sanctions Suspension imposed on a Muskogee CR. Again, at 32 pages in length, we will not attach a copy of Arbitrator Bankston’s decision. You may contact either EVP de Juliis or VP Lewis for a copy. We have it on good authority that they will get you a copy within 24 hours of your request. We guess they are really pleased with themselves and the outcomes!!

Currently, the Local has withdrawn one Union-management grievance over an office refusing to process an employee grievance and has proposed a settlement of another Union-Management grievance over incorrect and untimely dues withholding. The Local has invoked arbitration on a reprimand. The Local is awaiting the step 3 grievance decision on another reprimand and a grievance over SSA’s refusal to restore 3 hours of lost, use-or-lose annual leave. The Local has one complaint pending with the Office of Special Counsel.

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The Local represented an employee who filed a grievance on SSA’s denial of his/her request for outside employment. Though SSA denied, the grievance, they granted the relief, which was to allow the employee to work at the firm which they initially would not allow. The question became for the Local: Can we take YES for an answer. For at least one of our more litigious officers, it was a very painful and difficult decision to take yes for an answer. Some of us just like to fight and are really good at it.

Some offices in Oklahoma are having two members of management at employee’s initial and mid-term PACS discussions. Our own Executive Vice President is the Union’s Technical Assistant on the Council 220 Grievance / arbitration on that issue. If you have a story to tell about such a 2-on-1 PACS discussion that left you confused, intimidated, totally bewildered and/or if management said things like the Union couldn’t be present, couldn’t help you or do anything, please contact EVP Ralph de Juliis. The Union might call you as a witness! (Contact information for all our officers at the end of this newsletter).

We have heard from many employees in several different offices about too much work, too few people, unfair and inequitable distribution of work assignments, incredible pressure to work lists, etc.

The Local has only filed one grievance on such issues. We found that the manager had not been aware of the employee dissatisfaction. The manager agreed to multiple unit meetings, gripe sessions, training and rotation. Since then, when we get such complaints we have visited the offices, talked to the managers and employees. If the situations were not resolved, no one has told us (and asked us to represent them in a grievance or EEO complaint). So, we think we are doing a good job; and, if you have a problem, give us a call!

Saturday Credit Hours are now at management’s discretion (or indiscretion, as the case may be) in the new contract. That does NOT mean they are totally out of the question. One of our officers is representing an employee in an EEO complaint over management out-right banning Saturday Credit Hours. Like so many things, if there is the will, there is the way, since Saturday Credit Hours are at Local Management’s discretion. So, if you are denied a request to earn credit hours on Saturday, you need to let us know!

The Local has had a few complaints from employees who leave late because they are finishing up work. When they put down the time they actually leave (always less than 15 minutes after when their tour ended), management is not adding up the minutes weekly and paying them overtime. See Article 10, Hours of Work, Flextime, Alternate Work Arrangements and Credit Hours, Section 3. General Overtime Provisions. B: "…At the end of the workweek, any increments of 7 minutes or fewer will be rounded down and any increments of 8 minute or more will be rounded up to the next 15 minute increment." If this happens to you, you need to contact us. We’ve tried unsuccessfully to address this; however, despite repeated complaints and drafting grievances for employees, no one has actually filed a grievance.

One of the changes in the current contract is that the Union agreed it would NOT represent employees in EEO complaints. That means that Local 2505 as the Union cannot be your representative in EEO Counseling or Formal EEO Complaints. That doesn’t mean we are going to leave you high and dry. When employees have come to us with EEO issues, one of our officers has served as the employee’s personal representative.

We have grown to 155 members, of which 36 are retirees. The Local pays for Union membership of our retirees; so, Retirees: Please be sure to let us know if you move! A reminder to our active members: when you change your name and/or move, having Local management notify RPO of the changes or making them yourself on-line at Employee Express does NOT notify the Local. We find out about it when mail is returned. Please don’t forget to let us know when your name and / or address changes!

While on the subject of changes, at last year’s AFGE National Convention, AFGE raised per capita (i.e., how much it charges each Local for each member). The last time our Local raised our members’ dues was in 2003. National per capita is now $18.55 per member per month. The per capita charged by AFGE Council 220 (Field Offices) is $1.00 per member per month. The per capita charged by the AFGE Council 220 Dallas Regional Council is $.60 per month. Our constitution sets our members’ due at 150% of all of our per capita obligations. Therefore, our Local’s dues will now be $13.95 per pay period.

 

Now that Spring Break is over, it’s time to start thinking about Summer Vacation!

With your Union membership, you can get special prices for prepaid tickets to these theme parks:

Adventure Island (FL)

Disneyland Resort (CA)

Busch Gardens (FL) (VA)

Knott's Berry Farm (CA)

LEGOLand California

Medieval Times (NJ)

SeaWorld (CA) (FL) (TX)

Sesame Place (PA)

Universal Studios (FL) (CA)

Colonial Williamsburg (VA)

Day Go Cards: All Across the USA, Boston, Los Angels, Oahu (HI), Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco

All Across the USA: 2 Day Go USA Card

Castles N’ Coasters (AZ)

Celebration City (MO)

Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier (CA)

Silver Dollar City (MO)

Soak City Water Parks (CA)

Water Country USA (VA)

White Water (MO)

If you and your family are planning to get away to any of the above vacation destinations, you need to get your prepaid tickets early! For pre-purchase discounted passes call 1-800-565-3712, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST.  Reference Member ID: 744387769

AFGE members can also take advantage of discounted world-class travel opportunities and the vacation choices span the globe. The AFGE Union Plus Worldwide Vacation Tours has also teamed up with GoAhead Vacations, a leading global travel company with more than 100 offices in 43 countries. Interested in visiting England, Italy or beyond? Union Plus Vacation Tours offers AFGE members adventurers endless possibilities.

Take $100 off the vacation of a lifetime, wherever you choose to go - Europe, Asia, Africa or Central America. Call 1-800-590-1104 Use Promotion Code UP147 when booking your tour.

In July of 2005, Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) launched the first new American-flagged deep seas cruise ship in 50 years. This new ship, The Pride of America, will feature a crew of some 800 union members. And NLC offers AFGE members a special discount from 5% to 30% off their published fares.

NCL is on of the major cruise operators for the North American Market. The company is based in Miami, Florida and originates cruises out of several US cities:

Boston

New York

Philadelphia

Charleston

Miami

New Orleans

Houston

Los Angeles

San Francisco

Seattle

Vancouver

Honolulu

Kahului, Hawaii.

NCL operates three cruise lines -- Norwegian Cruise Lines, NCL America and Orient Lines – that offer cruises worldwide, including Hawaii, New England, the Caribbean, Mexican Rivera, Alaska, South America and Antarctica.

NCL features "Freestyle Cruising" which offers diverse and exciting restaurants, a more relaxed dress code and more things to see and do.

A minimum 5% discount off any published fare the member is eligible for. This is applied on top of any other discounts – for example: senior discount, frequent cruiser or state resident.

Additional special promotions with savings up to 30% off special sailing

Because of its US-flagged status, NCL America's ships offer itineraries in Hawaii that no other cruise line can. Sailing exclusively within the Hawaii islands, without having to sail to a foreign port, gives you more port time in Hawaii to explore everything these islands have to offer.

Talk to a cruise specialist by calling 866-867-0593 or for more information on-line, go to:

http://www.afge.org/Index.cfm?Page=MemberBenefits&FuseAction=Category&CategoryID=50 or http://unionplus.org or http://www.workingadvantage.com/

Meeting Notice

AFGE Local 2505

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Place: 125 West Lake, Medicine Park, OK

Time: 11:00 A.M.

Agenda (before lunch)

Call to Order

Secretary’s Report

Treasurer’s Report

Legislative Report

Litigation Report

New Business

Unfinished Business

Adjourn

Medicine Park is about 6 miles west of 44, off of 49, just north of Lawton. It is on the northern border of Ft. Sill. There are many bed and breakfasts in the area because of its proximity to the nature reserve / wildlife refuge. Before and after the meeting, members and their families may enjoy watching buffalo roam in a natural, unspoiled prairie habitat and admire the wild flowers. Members can: visit the Holy City, drive up Mount Scott for the awesome view of the surrounding area. Enjoy the ducks and geese on Medicine Creek. There are also several nice lakes in the surrounding area and lots of hiking trails.

The Local will provide lunch. RSVP PLEASE so we know for how many members, spouses, children, etc., we need to provide lunch and beverages after the meeting ends (approximately 12:30 P.M)!!

AFGE Local 2505 General Officers and Contact Information

Ylita Edd – President

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

Work Phone: 405-605-3001 ext. 3038

c/o Social Security Administration

2615 Villa Prom – Oklahoma City, OK 73107

Ralph de Juliis – Executive Vice President

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

Work Phone: 918-641-2409 ext. 2923

Cell Phone: 918-781-3096

Home Phone: 918-749-2412

c/o Social Security Administration

4750 So Garnett Road - Tulsa, OK 74146-5233

Michelle Schmidt – Secretary-Treasurer

michelle.schmidt@ssa.gov

Work Phone: 580-237-1162 ext. 207

c/o Social Security Administration

2202 North Van Buren - Enid, OK 73703

Mitzi Brooks – 1st Vice President

mitzi.brooks@ssa.gov

Work Phone: 580-237-1664 ext. 202

c/o Social Security Administration

2202 North Van Buren - Enid, OK 73703

Carol Lewis- 2nd Vice President

carol.a.lewis@ssa.gov

Work Phone: 918-423-1631 ext. 117

c/o Social Security Administration

902 South George Nigh - McAlester, OK 74501