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To: Emerson Lattimore, CREO
Cc: Dianne Vaughn, Area Director
Ramona Schuenemyer, Regional Commissioner
Ralph de Juliis, President, AFGE Local 2505
RE: REQUEST FOR EEO COUNSELING
We, the undersigned, request EEO Counseling.
We are all CRs in the Poteau, OK SSA District Office. All of us are GS 11, except for Jerilyn Neal who is a GS – 9.
To the best of my knowledge, the responsible management official is Jack Armstrong who is the GS-13 Poteau, OK SSA District Manager.
We all work at
Social Security Administration
1306 Tarby Rd
Poteau, OK 74953 .
The Administrative phone number is: 918-647-9512.
We would like to participate in EEO Alternate Dispute Resolution.
We want our work environment improved. Those of us who are Title 16 CRs want the overtime that was offered to Jason that was NOT offered to any of us. We want to be treated with respect, professionally and as well as management treats the white men in the office. We are afraid of DM Jack Armstrong. Because of that we were afraid to meet with the Union to discuss these matters on duty time. We met with the Union Saturday, May 31 at the Western Sizzlin’ in Sallisaw. We wish to be reimbursed at our straight time rate for the time we met with the Union and the travel time on May 31. We wish to be reimbursed for mileage, also. We wish compensation for medical treatment caused by the stress and (2) $5000 in compensatory damages.
We wish to be represented. Our representative is:
Ralph de Juliis, Local President, AFGE Local 2505
Our representative is a Social Security Employee.
Our representative works in the Tulsa Social Security Office.
His address is: 4750 South Garnett Road, Tulsa , OK .
His work phone number is: 918-641-2409 ext 2923.
His cell phone number is: 918-781-3096.
We do not wish to remain anonymous.
We have NOT filed grievances or MSPB complaints on any of the matters included herein.
The manager of the Poteau SSA Office has created a hostile work environment for all of us. The hostility is racial (with DM Armstrong using the word “nigger”) and sexist in which the two men in the office are treated so much better than the rest of us.
The staff meeting of Thursday, May 29 was the last straw.
After the transmittal training, DM Armstrong said DIB receipts were up because of the economy and asked if T16 would take 1 more DIB each day. Questions were asked about how walk-ins would be handled. Trina said that the new walk-in system didn’t work. DM Armstrong turned red and became angry. (The new system was DM Armstrong’s idea to replace the walk-in system designed by our MSS David Landeros which we liked and which worked and was based on the walk-ins’ SSN.) DM Armstrong said, “There was no way in hell” that the prior system was fair and publicly blamed the problems with his replacement system on our Development Clerk Loretha Williams. Trina said, “I don’t want to make you mad…” DM Armstrong shouted, “I’m not mad. We’ll go back to the old system. If it doesn’t work, I don’t want to hear one word. Don’t come complaining to me about it.” At that point he stormed out of the room and we observed him entering his office and throwing his tablet into the room.
We cannot stand this angry, abusive, unprofessional behavior from DM Armstrong.
The following is the list of all the other things than have happened in Poteau under DM Armstrong which have contributed to the hostile work environment which we can no longer endure.
Attendance at training for Jeff and Jason is optional.
When Shauna was on maternity leave, Jason was assigned to cover Shauna’s workload which included D8 diaries. Jason didn’t work them. On May 21, 2008, two days after Shauna returned from maternity leave, DM Armstrong asked her status on OLD D8 diaries which Jason hadn’t worked.
Jason leaves for lunch around 11:30 and rarely gets back before 1. He doesn’t have to sign for leave. When we asked about having to sign for leave when coming back late from lunch, DM Armstrong said that he was NOT a clock watcher but after 15 minutes one had to sign for leave and annotate it on the sign in sheet. Furthermore, Jason still rarely comes back from lunch in 45 minutes and doesn’t have to sign for leave.
When Ralph de Juliis and Carol Lewis came to Poteau to talk about the Union, DM Armstrong wanted Amber and Shauna to sign for leave because they had spoken to the Union for 10 minutes longer than their lunch period. When they protested, DM Armstrong asked MSS Landeros how much time they spent with the Union. DM Armstrong was overheard saying that any Poteau employee would NEVER join the union because, “they know it would be disloyal to me.”
During that visit, DM Armstrong was overheard, by the employees telling the guard who asked DM Armstrong where he should bring Union Representatives de Juliis and Lewis, telling the guard, “I don’t give a shit where you put them!”
After another visit by de Juliis and Lewis, DM Armstrong told the staff that the Union was bragging about the increase in Union membership in Poteau. He asked every one if they had joined. Jamie said that she had. He called Jamie into his office and asked if anything was wrong because she was acting differently. She asked him if that was because she joined the Union. She said He asked why she thought Poteau employees were joining the Union and if it was because of the dress code and breaks. He was obviously angry.
The dress code is an issue. We were only allowed to wear blue jeans on moving day and jeans on breast cancer day. He wears jeans and we cannot. When Jodie wore Capri pants and dress sandals, he asked her if she was going to the beach after work. He never asks such inappropriate personal questions to the men.
Jeff and DM Armstrong go out to lunch daily. They never return within the allotted time. One day when they were going out, DM Armstrong was overheard telling Jeff who was leaving work and interviews unattended, “The girls will handle it.”
DM Armstrong has never given an African-American applicant more than a 7 minute interview. There was a picture of the prior Poteau staff. There was an African-American in the staff. DM Armstrong was overheard referring to him as a “nigger.” When receiving calls from one of the PCs, DM Armstrong would ask someone to take the call because he “couldn’t understand that black woman.”
When Jamie and Jody had to drive to an off-site location with DM Armstrong, DM Armstrong said, “I know I’m supposed to ask this, but is Trina’s husband black.” Trina would not tell DM Armstrong she was dating a black man, that she was marrying him nor bring him to the Christmas party because she fears retaliation.
Jason didn’t want to bring in a note for several days of six leave. He brought in a note, came in for a couple of hours, complained and then took more sick leave and drove to the Big 12 championship game in San Antonio the weekend after he took the sick leave on Friday. (He told us).
DM Armstrong gives all us women a hard time for leave. When Debbie’s dad passed away, she called in for leave. DM Armstrong told her that she had a lot of work waiting for her. DM Armstrong was hurtful and rude.
There is disparate treatment in the application of the clean desk policy. DM Armstrong walks past the desks of women saying, “If they were here, they could take care of this.” DM Armstrong told Amber to tell Tina to tell Debbie to clean up her desk, specifically, her child’s baseball schedule. He NEVER says that about the messes on the desk of the men. Jeff and DM Armstrong go to lunch every day. Jeff never clears his desk and DM Armstrong never says anything. DM Armstrong, walking past the desk of MSS Landeros, which has family pictures, was heard saying, “It must be a cultural thing.”
DM Armstrong harasses females when they are on the phone. He asks, “Is that a personal call?” Jeff is always on the phone talking about the new house he is building. DM Armstrong never says anything to him.
A person, we think he was from Brownsville, who was a dark-skinned Hispanic or Native American, was in Poteau to do a security audit. There were problems with the SS-5s and leaving the data room door open. DM Armstrong referred to him as a “prick” in front of us.
Poteau is a horrible place to work. We should not have to endure such comments and epithets. This atmosphere is making us sick. We scatter like roaches when DM Armstrong is on the floor. We become physically ill when we have to see DM Armstrong over anything, including leave approvals.
None of us women take breaks. When we have, DM Armstrong comes in to see what we are doing. If he doesn’t come in, Jeff comes in every 5 minutes to check up on his. The men in the office should NOT be spying on the women.
Here is how bad it is in Poteau. Trina moved to Ft Smith. DM Armstrong told her he would not have hired her if she had been living in Ft Smith when she applied. DM Armstrong does NOT hire African-American or overweight employees; only cute young women. He does not even interview people who living in Ft Smith. Why must we be subject to every one of DM Armstrong’s irrational prejudices?! When Shauna was pregnant, DM Armstrong said to her, “We won’t be able to call you slim in a few months.” Such insensitivity is discriminatory.
A Poteau employee transferred to Ft Smith over the objections of DM Armstrong. She subsequently was paralyzed in a car accident. DM Armstrong said that was just what she deserved for going up against him!
When interviewing one of us, DM Armstrong asked where we went to the same church as Jeff and Tina. He asked another one of us in our application interview if we were planning to have kids. When another one of us was going for fingerprints, he asked if we had tattoos and said I looked like some one who had tattoos.
We are so afraid of having to deal with DM Armstrong. MSS Landeros asked if we wanted our stats. We said yes. He left them in our mail boxes. DM Armstrong stopped it. He told us we had to personally ask him if we wanted them. None of us wanted to go into his office or talk to him. None of us have asked.
We, as a staff, came up with a Christmas party idea. DM Armstrong wasn’t involved in the planning. When told about the plan, his response was “They’re all against me” and he stormed out of the office to cool off. So, we didn’t have a party. Subsequently, we had another party. DM Armstrong totally ruined it for us by his comments that the noises everyone makes after eating such a good meal sounded like people during and after sex.
Another incident of unfairness and discrimination: some of us are now taking two DIBs a day, plus walk-ins, constant status requests from DM Armstrong and all other assignments. Some of us didn’t volunteer. DM Armstrong rewarded the volunteers with NOT having to work their S2 diaries. BUT, no one has been assigned to do those diaries. DM Armstrong said this is a trial that will be stopped if it doesn’t work. We don’t understand how SSA is going to determine it works or doesn’t; but, we know we are going to have an S2 diary mess soon.
We are all afraid of reprisal and retaliation. MSS Landeros sent an email to cluster DM Marshall about Poteau. Marshall came to Poteau to talk to Landeros. She didn’t talk to any of us about the complaints in Landeros’ email. The ONLY thing that happened is that DM Armstrong called MSS Landeros into the office. DM Armstrong was yelling, red as a beet and waving his finger in Landeros’ face until he look out his office window, realized that he hadn’t closed the blinds and we could see everything.
Jason currently has a sweetheart work assignment that was NOT offered to any of us female CRs: he is a floater with no breakdown.
The two new female SRs have to schedule appointments. Jeff does not.
When Shauna returned from maternity leave, Jason was given S2, K6 and K7 diaries. No one else was offered such pabulum workloads.
DM Armstrong asked Tina if Jamie “remarried that goober…That is what Jeff and I call him.” DM Armstrong has no business prying into the lives of the females as he does AND discussing our business and our spouses with Jeff.
Tina requested leave for her husband’s having a “procedure.” DM Armstrong wanted to know what procedure. Tina reluctantly told him and said that her husband didn’t want everyone to know. DM Armstrong told Amber, anyway.
Tina took off one day. DM Armstrong asked the staff why and if she was “off playing” today. Such comments have us all on edge!
DM Armstrong told us we must call in around 8 because he wants to speak personally to us when we are calling in for emergency leave. That violates Article 31 of the AFGE-SSA National Agreement.
Jason doesn’t take 15 minute breaks; he takes several 30 minute smoke breaks a day. DM Armstrong doesn’t monitor his breaks nor does Jeff monitor his breaks.
DM Armstrong is big on making off-hand comments to no one in particular on the office floor about how he wishes things were done, without every saying something is an office policy. We are expected to understand: after what he said to Trina, we know not to move to Ft Smith or to date and marry black men. After he told Jody about her Capri pants, we knew NOT to wear Capri pants.
We are very afraid of reprisal and retaliation. DM Armstrong told us that if we talk about the office and how things are done and “scuttlebutt”, we “just need to remember, I’ll remember at appraisal and award time.”
DM Armstrong says nothing to the men about talking and b.s.’ing; however, when Amber and Tina were talking, DM Armstrong came over and told them they needed to quit. When he realized they were angry, he went to Amber and said in the third person, “I think Amber is mad at Jack.” He then went over and put a smiley face sticker on Tina’s nose.
This is a horrible office in which to work. The office atmosphere is hostile and full of hateful, insensitive comments and discrimination.
Jodie N. Hendricks