October "Third Thursday" Brown Bag Lunch; Thursday, October 18, 2018

Dear Colleague,

If you are a WASO employee and are not a supervisor, a management official, or a "confidential" employee, this message is for you.  If you are a supervisor, a management official, or a confidential employee or you don't work in WASO, we share the following information with you as a matter of courtesy.

We cordially invite you as a WASO staff person to join your fellow employees at the monthly NTEU Monthly Brown Bag Lunch for October 2018.  

What: NTEU-sponsored lunchtime presentations regarding the following topics:
*    Preparing for Your 2018 Performance Appraisal and Your FY 2019 Performance Plan -- Myths and Tips
*    The Department's New Performance Management System - It Does Not Automatically Apply to WASO Staff Members
*    Consequences of a Supervisor's Failure to Comply with Performance Management Timeliness Requirements
*    Issues Raised by Meeting Attendees
*    Administrative Leave for Voting -- How It Applies to You
*    Hatch Act (Political Action) vs. Legislative Action --  What You Can and Cannot Do
*    Labor Management Relations Committee (LMRC) Meeting Results
*    Using Chat Status in Bison Connect to Monitor Teleworking Employees  -- The Union's Viewpoint
*    Main Interior Building (MIB) News
*    Much more

When: Thursday, October 18,  2018

            Noon, Eastern Daylight Savings Time. 

Where: North Penthouse, Large Conference Room,  Main Interior Building. NOTE THE ROOM LOCATION. 

The North Penthouse is a very elegant space. It is worthwhile seeing.  You can get to the North Penthouse via the dedicated elevator near the 7500 West hallway on the 7th floor, close to the E Street side of MIB. You can also get there via the 7500 West wing stairs.  Look for the NTEU signs.  In our last few meetings, the room has been on the cool side.  We have asked for an improvement in the temperature, but you should come prepared for a cool temperature nonetheless.
If you are planning to participate in October's Third Thursday Brown Bag Lunch by telephone, here is the information that you need to know.

Call in: 877-958-6756
Passcode: 8296505

We have heard that several WASO staff members, especially in Colorado, are not receiving these messages. That means that they are not on the WASO All Employees email list.  It also means that they are not receiving important information from sources other than your Union.  While we are working on this problem, please share this notice with any employees in your office who might not be receiving the information.  If you are not receiving Union notices, please let us know so that we can get your contact information added to the WASO All Employee email list while we are working on a systemic solution.

One of the factors in having a successful meeting is how well folks who call in can hear what we say.  If you do call in, after the meeting please let us know if you can't clearly hear the speakers.

Since we last met, your Chapter 296 leaders have been very busy on your behalf.  We have learned a lot, we have represented your interests in several settings, and we have a lot to report to you on a wide range of issues.  This is true every month. 

We will continue our approach of asking meeting attendees for their questions and concerns in the middle of the meeting rather than saving that for the end of the meeting.  Please think about what issues or topics you would like to discuss or learn about.  All of us would like to hear what the hot topics are in your office/facility.  Are there things that the Union could do to make your participation in the Union easier?

Our talented Union Field Representative and labor lawyer extraordinaire Sarah Riger plans to attend the Third Thursday Brown Bag Lunch. Please give her a warm welcome when you see her.  If you would like some private time with an experienced labor lawyer, please contact Sarah via email (sarah.riger@nteu.org) to arrange a time to meet with her either face-to-face or by telephone.  If you live in the West, you have an additional option.  Arathi Premkumar is a talented labor lawyer based in Colorado. She and Sarah make a formidable team of legal guides for our Union Chapter.  Therefore, if you are duty stationed in the West and if you would like some private time with an experienced labor lawyer, please contact Arathi via email (arathi.premkumar@nteu.org) to arrange a time to meet with her either face-to-face or by telephone.

The performance appraisal season has begun.  We want you to be prepared.  Despite the clear language in Article 36 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), there are still a lot of myths in some parts of WASO concerning what is allowable or not as a part of the annual performance appraisal.  We will get you ready to deal with questions such as the following.  Can the rating be based on anything that is not in the Performance Plan?  Can the Performance Plan be adjusted at the time of the appraisal?  We will also share tips to make your appraisal go more smoothly.

In many parts of WASO, supervisors will combine the FY 2018 Performance Appraisal with the development of the FY 2019 Performance Plan.  For the FY 2019 Performance Plan, the complicating factor is the Department of the Interior's freshly-issued Performance Management System.  This new system does not apply automatically in its entirety to WASO staff members.  At the meeting, we will explain what the previous sentence means and the Union's role in working out the details.  One thing that is clear is that the new Performance Management System does not apply to the FY 2018 Performance Appraisal.  We will explain why that is so.

Failure to receive a timely Performance Appraisal has many negative consequences for the employee.  One of those consequences has to do with eligibility for performance awards.  We will let you know what you can do to help move the process along.  We are working with Labor Relations on a joint communique to provide to supervisors guidance on the consequences on the failure to meet performance management deadlines.  We will tell you about these efforts.

Immediately before the Brown Bag Lunch, our monthly Labor Management Relations Committee (LMRC) meeting takes place.  We will let you know the results of the meeting.

On September 7, 2018, Management issued a memorandum titled "Understanding "Use or Lose" Leave and Leave Restoration."  Although the intent is good, some elements of the message are incorrect and misleading. We will let you know the status of correcting the errors.

As the election season heats up, we want to remind you what the Hatch Act prohibits.  We will also explain that Hatch Act prohibitions have little to do with contacting Congress regarding legislative issues.

Under certain circumstances, Administrative Leave is available to enable employees to vote.  At the meeting, we will elaborate on what circumstances qualify an employee to take advantage of this Administrative Leave.

In certain parts of WASO, a few supervisors are using "chat" status on Bison Connect to monitor teleworking employees.  We will explain why the Union thinks that this is a bad idea and what the Union plans to do about the problem

The Office of Facilities and Administrative Services (OFAS) is the Departmental Office that administers the Main Interior Building (MIB).  On Wednesday, October 17th, OFAS will hold one of its periodic "Customer Communication Forums."  At this Forum, OFAS will share news and address questions and concerns that Forum attendees raise.  At least one Union representative will attend on your behalf.  At the brown bag lunch, we will share what we have learned from the Forum.

If there is time, we will provide updates on other topics.  As always, we will provide plenty of time for both 1) your questions and answers and 2) your comments and suggestions.

Because this meeting is designed for WASO staff only, we will monitor the call-ins.

All WASO staff members are welcome!  Please join us.  Bring a friend or listen in with one!  Enjoy lunch with your co-workers while you learn the latest news from Chapter 296.

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