Ibidun Roberts: That`s right. It is the master contract, the locals get certain arrangements to negotiate on the ground. But it is for the general concepts on which we agree at the national level. Tom Temin: Give us an idea of the situation in which the whole treaty is in terms of the timing and expiration of the existing treaty. VA management and AFGE began negotiations in May 2019 for a new collective agreement, but the Agency twice declared a deadlock in October and December of that year. On December 19, 2019, the VA asked the Federal Services Impasse Panel to intervene, a situation that has been going on ever since. Tom Temin: Okay, and before I go into some of those details, I mentioned about a quarter of a million, I think there are 270,000 employees on the National Council goes to AFGE. Is there an agreement for everyone in the Council? Tom Temin: And the executive orders of the Trump administration cover a lot of territories, and what can we reasonably expect from an answer, would you want to see in an agreement in terms of official time and all the other provisions? Some of the bargaining positions set by the VA stem from the requirements set out by three executive orders signed by President Donald Trump in May 2018: reduce the official time for union representatives, remove union representatives from agency offices and renegotiate collective agreements to meet those priorities. NVAC submitted an application to the Federal Labor Relations Authority, the parent authority of the FSIP, to stay the decision until the pending appeals concerning several articles of the agreement and the constitutionality of the appointment of FSIP members are clarified. The body removed several articles from the agreement and removed others, said Ibidun Roberts, who represents NVAC. Ibidun Roberts: So what we`re looking for in the treaty is really the procedures, right? You can`t negotiate the law itself. Congress has deemed this law appropriate, so we can only carry out the procedure. For example, the law reduced the time it takes employees to take action to 15 days.
Therefore, as soon as the VA submits a deportation proposal to a staff member, it has seven days to respond to this proposal. And then, within a fortnight, eight days after its response, the VA must make a decision. This really reduces the time that the union can look for evidence to help and actually give the answer to that employee. To meet with the employee, gather evidence and formulate a response. It`s really too insensible. And if you add that the union is not in the facility now, I`m sure we`ll get there, it makes it a lot harder to meet an employee to meet a move, a big upheaval in their lives. That is what we want to see in the agreement. We want the procedures to allow workers to meet with the union, give them time to do so and allow the employee to participate when that meeting is scheduled for response, instead of management setting their own appointment, which could be the next day or two days later, if the employee may not have had the opportunity to do so yet. to formulate his answer. So we want to have formal procedures in the agreement. However, a VA spokesperson told the Federal Times that the changes they want to implement are aimed at improving care: « Whether by condemning the MISSION Act or denouncing the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, AFGE has fought hard for the status quo and opposed attempts to improve VA`s work for veterans and their families.
Unsurprisingly, AFGE took the same approach by refusing to accept the improvement of the common sense of its collective agreement. VA`s proposals on collective bargaining are designed to ensure that Veterans are at the forefront of everything we do, and we look forward to working with AFGE to achieve this goal. Collective bargaining between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the American Federation of Government Workers has stalled for more than a year, and the COVID-19 pandemic, which has closed parts of the country and increased workload and risks to health care professionals, has stalled