Agency All Hands meeting

NTEU MONDAY MINUTE for the WEEK of SEPTEMBER 28, 2015: NTEU REMARKS AT THE AGENCY ALL HANDS COMMISSION MEETING

This afternoon, the NRC held its 25th Agency All Hands Meeting. At the conclusion of the meeting, Sheryl Burrow, Chapter President, provided comments for the union which follow:

Good afternoon, everyone. I am Sheryl Burrows, President of Chapter 208 of the National Treasury Employees Union or NTEU. NTEU is the exclusive representative of bargaining unit employees here at the NRC. I am joined here today by various members of the NTEU team. This includes members of our executive board, stewards, labor partners, and members of various working groups and committees. I would like to thank all of these employees who work so hard to support the NTEU mission of “dignity and respect for all federal employees.” Their efforts truly make the NRC a better place.

A lot has happened since our last Agency All Staff meeting with the Commission.

Over the spring and summer, NTEU engaged in interest based bargaining which resulted in a revised Collective Bargaining Agreement or CBA. We are in the process of getting the new CBA printed and made available on various web sites. However, we sent a link to the revised articles to the Bargaining Unit in a Union Announcement so you do not have to wait for the entire new CBA publication to take advantage of the new contract, which is currently in effect.

Some of our gains included keeping benefits that we currently enjoy. Management originally proposed to reduce or eliminate some of these such as our one hour gliding.

New gains were also achieved that include a percentage link between non-bargaining unit supervisory performance awards and bargaining unit performance awards, and specified time limits for supervisors to approve leave requests.

New gains include your ability to earn regular and credit hours on Saturdays. These gains also include a “dignity” clause in Article 2 which memorializes NTEU and the agency’s commitment to the NRC Values focusing on the importance of conducting relationships in the workplace in a civil, businesslike manner.

NTEU and the agency also agreed on language and formalized that language in an MOU that implements Phased Retirement which is now available to NRC employees. I am proud to say that the NRC is the first agency to offer this benefit to their employees.

Even with the gains that we made this year, there is no question that these are tough times for federal employees.

There are external factors at play that the NRC may try to manage, but will not be able to control. These include Congressional scrutiny from many representatives which quite often seems to turn our very important safety mission into a budget line, as well as a decline in interest in new nuclear licensing and construction.

The changes that have created the current environment are profound.

In response, the agency has proactively initiated Project Aim 2020. As important, is the agency’s expressed willingness to partner with the union as this initiative is developed and implemented. This is the right thing to do for our bargaining unit employees. Nonetheless, NTEU celebrates this opportunity to engage in partnership.

To clarify the important role that partnership plays, I’d like to point out that NTEU does not have the authority to challenge management decisions; however, NTEU does have the right to challenge the impact and implementation of such decisions. LET ME REPEAT THAT: NTEU HAS THE right to challenge the impact and implementation of such decisions.

Partnering this effort is, in effect, the way to resolve questions and concerns before they become challenges.

The bottom line of Project Aim is to have the right number of employees, in the right positions, with the right skills, doing the right work.

The question is: DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN THE BOTTOM LINE?

You should! And NTEU, as your representative, will work to ensure that you do.

Through partnership, NTEU will strive to ensure that we are involved in the impact and implementation of Project Aim initiatives:

•   Before final decisions are made about the way that you do your work; and

•   Before processes are streamlined or shed.

Through the partnership process, NTEU will continually reiterate that Project Aim must focus on ensuring that three fundamental components are in the forefront of every decision:

First, that you understand your role within your specific organization and how that contributes to the agency’s mission, as well as the specific responsibilities that your work entails;

Second, you have clear processes and procedures in place to help you accomplish your work effectively and efficiently;

And third, that you have the necessary training not only to accomplish the work you do today, BUT ALSO training that provides you with the opportunity to grow.

I implore all bargaining unit employees to take Project Aim very seriously.

Project Aim will affect EVERYTHING that the NRC does including WHAT the NRC does and HOW that work will be assigned.

There are a couple of comments that NTEU has heard from our bargaining unit employees with some regularity. The first is that some supervisors are sending mixed messages about Project Aim. If the agency is going to change, the key players will be your supervisors. Their job is dynamic. NTEU urges the agency’s leaders to ensure that middle and low-level managers have the resources that they will need to do this effectively.

The second comment is that Project Aim is going forward at such a fast pace. There is an old adage that I’m sure resonates with many of us that “Quality never comes with speed.” However, waiting until external events outpace the agency may well result in a lot of damage to our organization.

PLEASE BE ALERT, BE AWARE, and BE ENGAGED.

Now, more than ever, NTEU reminds you that it is your duty to speak up and speak out.

Now, more than ever, NTEU needs your input, feedback, and support as the agency navigates through the difficult times ahead.

 

I want to remind you that if you have questions or concerns, that you can come to the union office in One White Flint North, 1 G22, across from Dawn’s NUREG café, or send us an email at nteu@nrc.gov.

 

Thank you.

 

In Case You Missed It: Please join the Hispanic Employment Program Advisory Committee (HEPAC) in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15th through October 15th). The theme for this year’s dinner is “Escucha Mi Canción (Hear My Song).”

 

The Hispanic Heritage Month dinner will be held on Thursday, October 15, 2015, at Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar (11333 Woodglen Drive, Rockville, MD 20852). A meet-and-greet will begin at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. The cost of the activity is $30.00 per person, which includes non-alcoholic beverages, appetizer, main entrée, dessert, tax, and tip. The introductory remarks will be given by Chairman Stephen G. Burns. The activities will include games and live music. If you would like to attend, purchase a ticket by October 1st from one of the following: John Vera, T-4 D38, 301-415-5790; Luis Betancourt , T-6 J5, 301-415-6146; Carolyn Faría-Ocasio, O-4 H8, 301-415-4050. Contact John Vera to request your ticket for the dinner.  Make checks payable to John Vera. (NOTE: limited spaces available)

 

Someone Said: “The point is not to pay back kindness but to pass it on.” -Julia Alvarez, Dominican-American poet, novelist, and essayist.

 

 

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