A GSA National Council Release 6/4/08 For Information: Charles Paidock, V President
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Management representatives of the General Services Administration (GSA) walked out and abruptly terminated any discussions with the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) on Wednesday, after meeting for less than one (1) day regarding implementing Telework, or work-at-home arrangements for employees nationwide in the agency. The managers, without notice, suddenly stood up and left the room before the Union could present their recommendations regarding the program. The managers simply stated that that they were going to notify the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) for assistance in reaching any agreement on implementing new policies. NFFE is considering filing an Unfair Labor Practice Charge for failure to bargain in good faith on a change in conditions of employment. New telework legislation cleared the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
On April 14, 2008, GSA had announced an updated telework policy to “demonstrate the benefits of telework to the entire federal government.” The outgoing Administrator, Lurita Doan, had said that: ”The telework seeds are taking root across GSA and flourishing.” The designated representatives of employees were concerned, however, that telework had in fact decreased since 2004, from 25.6% of the workforces working at home in some fashion, to a current participation of only 17% of the eligible workforce. The amount of participation in the program also varied significantly from location to location, from a high of 85% in one office in Washington, D.C., to a low of 6% in the midwest. The Union was concerned about disparate treatment of employees across the country in administration of this program, with availability dependant upon for whom or where you worked.
President John M. Hanley, of the nationwide NFFE / GSA Council of Locals, stated that: “We had a list of proposals regarding work-at-home arrangements which we never got to present. They simply didn’t want to listen to any employee concerns regarding alternative work arrangements. GSA presents itself as the lead agency to the public, but it’s a whole different story for those of us who work there.”
Mr. Charles Paidock, from Chicago, IL, who was the Chief Negotiator for employees, added: “The agency wants, it appears, to reward those employees they like, and deny this to anyone who, for whatever reason, they might not like. I don’t think this program should be used as a type of carrot and stick. In terms of personnel policies and practices, this agency has a long way to go, and certainly should not be looked to as any sort of model government agency.”