attend the membership meeting on Thursday, January 18, 2018 at NOON in the T111 conference room (or via teleconference) and vote YES on the 2018 budget.
AFGE Local 1273 is proposing a 2018 operating budget that would allow our Officers and Stewards to spend more time doing what our members most want: quality, competent representation of our members and their interests.
This article should not be read while on duty time, as it deals with internal AFGE business.
In recent years the amount of direct member representation has increased by more than 400% while the amount of time allotted to us to perform representational functions has remained stagnant. We have worked with the National VA Council to try and increase the amount of time we are allotted; so far we have not met with success, though a national grievance is still pending on the issue.
In 2017 alone we opened more than 200 cases for representation. Each case requires hours of meetings, phone calls, and research. A single case that proceeds to arbitration could contain more than 2,000 pages. Each page must be read, scanned and filed. Because your local representatives do not want to let down their fellow members we must frequently work on our own time in order to meet deadlines. This means that your local representatives have contributed more than 2,500 hours of their own time to fulfill our representational responsibilities in 2017. This model is not sustainable.
In 2017 Congress passed, and the President signed into law, the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act. While this new law did expand whistleblower protections for VA employees it also did significant harm to employees who face "adverse actions" (removal, suspensions of more than 14 days, demotion, etc.). The Accountability Act made it easier for the VA to fire employees, lowered the threshold for the burden of proof and drastically reduced the amount of time an employee has to respond to proposed adverse actions and file a timely appeal. It also destroyed 40+ years of case law.
The Executive Board for AFGE Local 1273 is requesting a 2018 budget that will allow us to continue providing high-quality service to our members by hiring a part-time office assistant. This would free up time that representatives spend on filing, copying, scanning, scheduling (among a multitude of other administrative tasks) and allow them to spend more time actually working on cases. Please watch the video above and review the budget at this link; most importantly attend the membership meeting on Thursday, January 18, 2018 at NOON in the T111 conference room (or via teleconference) and vote YES on the 2018 budget.