VA / NFFE MASTER AGREEMENT
Department of Veterans Affairs
Department of Veterans Affairs
and the Council of Veterans Administration
Locals, National Federation of Federal Employees
Part A - GS Professional and Nonprofessional Employees
Part B - Title 38 Employees
Washington, D.C. 20420
Department of Veterans Affairs
National Federation of Federal Employees
Pursuant to the policy set forth by the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 regarding Federal Labor-Management Relations, the following Articles of this National Agreement, together with any and all supplemental agreements and/or amendments which may be agreed to at later dates or by the representatives of the parties at the local level, constitute a total agreement by and between the Department of Veterans Affairs, hereinafter frequently referred to as the Employer, and the National Federation of Federal Employees, Council of Consolidated Veterans Administration Locals, hereinafter frequently referred to as the Council, for the employees in the unit described below, hereinafter referred to as the Employees.
This Agreement is entered into pursuant to the Certification of Consolidation of Units, FLRA Case 3-UC-11, dated October 1, 1981.
WHEREAS, the well-being of the employees and efficient administration of the Government are benefited by providing employees an opportunity to participate in the formulation and implementation of personnel policies and practices affecting the conditions of their employment;
WHEREAS, collective bargaining through the Union -
(A) safeguards the public interest,
(B) contributes to the effective conduct of public business,
(C) facilitates and encourages the amicable settlements of disputes between employees and their employers involving conditions of employment;
WHEREAS, the public interest demands the highest standards of employee performance and the continued development and implementation of modern and progressive work practices to facilitate and improve employee performance and the efficient accomplishment of the operations of the Government; and
WHEREAS, this Agreement promotes the ease and efficiency of the Employer's operation;
NOW, THEREFORE, the parties to this Agreement, intending to be bound hereby, agree as follows:
Recognition and Unit Description
Section 1 - Recognition
The Employer recognizes that the National Federation of Federal Employees, Veterans Administration Council is the exclusive representative of all employees in the consolidated units described in FLRA Case No. 3-UC-11.
Section 2 - Units
This agreement is applicable to the Department of Veterans Affairs GS professional and nonprofessional employees covered by the Certification of Consolidation of units in FLRA Case No. 3-UC-11, issued October 1, 1981 (Appendix A). The parties further agree that this Agreement will apply to additional groups of Department of Veterans Affairs employees (other than Physicians, Dentists, Podiatrists, Optometrists, Physician Assistants, Nurses, Nurse Anesthetists and Expanded-Function Dental Auxiliaries) for whom NFFE is certified as exclusive representative into the consolidated unit.
Union Rights and Representation
Section 1 - The Union is the exclusive representative of the employees in the bargaining unit and is entitled to act for and negotiate agreements covering all of the employees in the bargaining unit. Management will not communicate directly with employees regarding changes to conditions of employment for which there is an obligation to bargain.
A. The Employer agrees to respect the rights of the Union and to meet jointly and negotiate with the Union, when requested, regarding formulation and implementation of any new policy or change in existing policy affecting employees or their conditions of employment, except as provided by law.
B. The union, in consonance with its right to represent, has a right to propose new policies, changes in policies, or resolutions to problems in accordance with Article 8, Section 2. This right shall apply at all levels of management within the agency and the labor organization starting with the Steward and first level supervisor. Representation will normally occur at the lowest level at which a matter can be resolved, and the initial point of contact will normally be the lowest management official and Union official having responsibility and authority to act. If either party at the initial contact feels resolution of a matter is outside its jurisdiction, the matter shall be referred immediately to the next higher level.
C. Consistent with law, government-wide regulations and this agreement, the Union has the exclusive right to represent an employee or group of employees in presenting complaints. An employee or group of employees may present a grievance themselves without representation by the Union provided the local is a party to all discussions and the grievance proceeding. The Employer will notify the Local President or designee before such discussions are held. The NFFE shall normally be allowed up to twenty-four (24) hours to provide a representative. The representatives shall be permitted to present the views of the local during the discussions.
D. The Union has the right to have a representative present at all discussions between the Employer and an employee or employees, held in the course of proceedings conducted to resolve complaints or grievances submitted by a member of the Unit. The Employer will notify the Local President or designee before such discussions are held. The NFFE shall normally be allowed up to twenty-four (24) hours to provide a representative. The representative shall be permitted to present the views of the Local during the discussions.
Section 2 - Management agrees to recognize Union representatives including National Federation of Federal Employees VA Council and local union and national office officials. The Council will supply VA Headquarters in writing, and will maintain on a current basis, a list of officers. The Union at the facility level will supply the facility in writing, and will maintain on a current basis, a list of officers and stewards.
A. The Union will be given the opportunity to be represented at any formal discussion between one or more representatives of the Department and one or more employees in the unit or their representatives concerning any grievance or any personnel policy or practices or other general condition of employment.
B. The Union shall be given the opportunity to be represented under 7114(a)(2)(B) at any examination of an employee in the unit by a representative of the Department in connection with an investigation if: (1) the employee reasonably believes that the examination may result in disciplinary action against the employee; and (2) the employee requests representation.
C. The parties agree that mission accomplishment is of primary concern to both, and that improved communication and cooperation between the parties can contribute to the solution of mutual problems, and improved employee relations. Representatives of each party will meet on a regular basis to discuss labor management issues. Such meetings should be held monthly, quarterly, or as local parties agree. Each party shall submit a list of subjects they wish to discuss normally 10 days in advance of the meeting. Summary minutes reflecting items discussed should be prepared unless mutually agreed otherwise. These meetings will be conducted during regular duty hours with Union representatives authorized official time if otherwise in a duty status. Additional arrangements concerning these meetings may be negotiated at the local level.
Section 4 - A union representative wishing to use official time will notify his/her immediate supervisor. Such release will not be arbitrarily withheld. The supervisor must be advised of the general purpose of the request (whether the issue is a grievance, negotiations, investigation of a complaint, EEO, etc.), how the representative may be contacted and the estimated time of return. If the union representative will be delayed beyond the estimated time, he/she will notify the immediate supervisor to request additional needed time. The supervisory will also be notified of the return. If release is not possible at the time requested, due to a work requirement which is pressing, the representative will be released as soon as possible thereafter. If there is an operational necessity that prevents the representative from being released immediately, arrangements will be made for the employee to be released normally within the next tour of duty, or the Union may opt to assign another representative. All grievance time frames and meetings with employees shall be delayed if delay in granting the requested permission to leave causes either to be missed. Union representatives will be allowed a reasonable amount of time to notify the Union when they are assigned to a workplace other than their normally assigned workplace and they need to keep the union informed of their whereabouts.
Section 5 - There shall be no restraint, coercion, or discrimination against any union official because of the performance of duties in consonance with this Agreement and the Statute, or against any employee for filing a complaint or acting as a witness under the Agreement, the Statute, or applicable regulations.
Section 6 - The Department agrees to meet with the VA Council Officers annually to discuss Union views on items of concern and agrees to review those items that cannot be resolved at the meeting.
A. - During years in which the Council does not hold its convention, the parties will meet in Washington. The Council shall request the meeting, with a preliminary agenda, at least four (4) weeks in advance so that arrangements can be made for the Council officers’ absence from their duties. The Department will provide official time, if otherwise in a duty status, and travel and per diem expenses for up to nine (9) Council officers. The meeting will not exceed one day unless through mutual agreement it is extended.
B. During convention years, Management agrees to meet with the Council Officers (up to 9) on the day prior to the beginning of the Council convention. The nine (9) Council officers attending this meeting will be provided official time if otherwise in a duty status, for the day of this meeting.
Other VA employees may attend the meeting but they will not be provided excused absence without charge to leave. This does not preclude approval of time for training under other portions of this contract. Management agrees to make every effort to arrange schedules so as to allow the nine (9) designated Council representatives to take annual leave or leave without pay during the convention and annual meeting years to the extent the workload allows. The nine (9) representatives should notify management sufficiently in advance so that suitable scheduling can be arranged.
A. Internal Union business such as attending local union meetings will be conducted during the non-duty hours of the employees involved.
B. Each local shall be allowed two membership drives not to exceed 15 work days each per calendar year. These membership drives can be conducted at times available to all employees. Requests for the equipment and facilities needed will be directed to the facility director or designee at least ten (10) work days prior to the commencement of the membership drive(s). Details regarding space, equipment, use of facilities, and other related matters are proper subjects for local supplemental negotiations.
Section 8 - The Union shall be entitled to receive, upon request, and to the extent not prohibited by law, data which is normally maintained by management in the regular course of business; which is reasonably available and necessary for full and proper discussion, understanding and negotiation of subjects within the scope of collective bargaining; and which does not constitute guidance, advice, counsel, or training provided for management officials or supervisors relating to collective bargaining.
Section 9 - Official Time
C. Council Vice-Presidents - 20% Official Time
D. Each VHA and AAC/AFC Local is entitled to at least one Union official with no less than 40% official time. Each VBA and NCS Local is entitled to at least one Union official with no less than 25% official time. Where a Local represents more that one administration or facility, a Union representative at each administration or facility is entitled to the designated minimum amount of official time. In the case of integrated facilities, a Union representative at each pre-integrated facility is also entitled to at least the designated minimum amount of official time.
(1) For Locals already above the minimum amount of official time described above, existing Local agreements and past practices regarding official time on the effective date of this Master Agreement shall continue in full force and effect unless and until the Local parties negotiate a change.
(2) The minimum amounts of official time described above are not intended to limit the amount of official time that can be negotiated by the parties locally.
E. Official time other than the above for Local Stewards and Officers is an appropriate subject for Local supplemental bargaining. Local parties are encouraged to reach agreements appropriate to the local circumstances.
A. The designated Union representatives will be placed on duty during negotiations. Such schedule changes may be made without regard to contract provisions on hours of duty. No overtime will be authorized for negotiations. This shall include time to present matters to the Federal Mediation Conciliation Service, the Federal Service Impasses Panel, and the Federal Labor Relations Authority, and the Courts as necessary. Local Union officials and stewards may use reasonable time to prepare for negotiations.
B. The steward or Local official may use reasonable time to receive, investigate, prepare and present employee complaints, grievances or appeals during duty hours. The amount of time allowed will depend on the facts and circumstances of each case -- e.g., number and nature of allegations, number and complexity of supporting specifics, the volume of supporting evidence, and the availability of documents and witnesses.
C. Where travel to another location within the jurisdiction of a Local Union is necessary for representational activities consistent with the provisions of this agreement, and the transportation is otherwise being provided to the location for official business, the Union will be allowed access to the transportation on a space available basis and also authorized official time for travel. Associated travel and per diem to satellite locations is an appropriate subject for local bargaining.
Section 11 - NFFE representatives will be permitted to wear identifying name plates to include name and official capacity, and Union insignia where the wearing of name tags is otherwise permitted.
Section 12 - Union representatives on official time for representational duties will be afforded an area of privacy when meeting with unit employees. The Employer will assist in providing such privacy within or in the close proximity of the employee's work area. Where a union office is provided, confidential employee and representative meetings may be held in the union office.
Section 13 - Authorized Official Time
NFFE Officers and officials, including Stewards, shall be permitted a reasonable amount of official time to represent employees in accordance with this agreement. This official time and any specified time under this agreement can be used for any representational function, including but not limited to, handling complaints, appropriate lobbying functions during Annual Legislative Activities week, preparing reports required under 5 U.S.C 7120, coverage of the Local Union Office, and any other functions addressed in this agreement.
Section 14 - If the Employer has or establishes a task force or work group dealing with conditions of employment affecting bargaining unit employees, the Union will be given the opportunity to designate a representative and negotiate as appropriate. This does not preclude internal management deliberations and communications.
Section 15 - PARTNERSHIP
A. The Union and Employer agree to support the principles of partnership in accordance with Executive Order 12871. The parties must be mutually committed to use the Partnership to ensure a quality work environment and a more efficient accomplishment of the mission of the agency including service to veterans. Partnership committees will be established at appropriate levels to accomplish this goal.
B. The Employer agrees to train all members of the Partnership Council in accordance with interest based procedures, alternate dispute resolution, and any continuing need. Each Partnership Council will determine it’s particular need.
C. All partnerships will make decisions through consensus procedures and will be made up of equal management and Union representatives.
D. All partnership activities and preparations thereof will be conducted
on duty time.
Section 1 - Employees in the unit shall be protected in the exercise of their right, freely and without fear of penalty or reprisal, to form, join, and assist the Union, or to refrain from such activity. This agreement does not prevent any employee, regardless of employee organization membership, from bringing matters of personal concern to the attention of appropriate officials in accordance with applicable laws, regulations or agency policies. Nothing in this agreement shall abrogate any employee's right or require an employee to become or to remain a member of a labor organization except pursuant to a voluntary, written authorization by a member for the payment of dues through payroll deductions. The initiation of a grievance or statutory appeal procedure by an employee will not cause any reflection on his/her standing with his/her supervisor or on his/her loyalty or desirability to the organization.
Section 2 - An employee may be represented by an attorney or other representative other than the Union, of the employee's own choosing, in any appeal action not under the negotiated grievance procedure. The employee may exercise grievance or appeal rights which are established by law, rule, or regulation. Employees who represent themselves will be afforded a reasonable amount of duty time to prepare and file complaints in private.
Section 3 - Employees will be notified of any significant changes in VA regulations or policies that affect their working conditions. Copies of written agreements with the Union negotiated at the local level will be distributed to all affected employees.
Section 4 - Recognizing that significant improvements have been achieved by local officials when they have developed cooperative programs, both parties to this agreement encourage such endeavors which invite employee participation in the pursuit of improvement initiatives. These efforts are not to be construed as a change in the Union's rights as the exclusive representative, nor as revoking existing policies and procedures. Details for these programs are proper subjects for local supplemental negotiations.
Section 5 - Management is obligated to keep employees informed of rules, regulations and policies under which they are obligated to operate. To assist employees in the performance of their work, VA manuals normally will be available to employees during working hours. Details concerning access will be arranged at the local level.
Section 6 - No employee will be discriminated against by either the Employer or the Union because of race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, physical or mental handicap, or lawful political affiliation.
Section 7 - All Department of Veterans Affairs employees deserve to be treated with common courtesy and consideration warranted in an employer-employee relationship by supervisors and management officials.
Section 8 - An employee may request permission to contact a union representative during duty hours on a representational matter but must first inform and receive permission from his/her supervisor. If the employee wishes to be excused to meet with a union representative, the immediate supervisor will be advised of the general purpose of the request and place of the meeting and the estimated time of return. Management recognizes the employee's right to assistance in representation by the union and to discuss any concern with union representatives in private during duty time. If release is not possible at the time requested due to staffing or work requirements, the employee will be released as soon as possible thereafter. If released and the employee will be delayed beyond the estimated time, he/she will notify the immediate supervisor to request additional needed time. The employee will notify the supervisor of his/her return.
Section 9 - The parties support such community and public service activities as the annual Combined Federal Campaign and Savings Bond Drives. It is recognized that employee participation in these activities is strictly voluntary.
Section 10 - Counseling and warning sessions involving unit employees will be conducted privately and in such a manner so as to avoid embarrassment of the employee. Official information pertaining to individual employees shall be maintained in accordance with applicable law and regulation.
Section 11 - Consistent with law and regulation, the Government will provide legal representation for employees against whom suit is brought in a civil or criminal court based upon activities alleged to be within the scope of their official duties and will assume financial liability for all monies awarded to claimants as a result of activities found to be within the scope of such official duties. Upon request, management agrees to provide information and guidance to employees who are considering or making a request for legal representation.
Section 12 - Employees may be authorized the reasonable use of the telephone at the work place for personal calls if it does not adversely affect the performance of official duties by the employee or the employee's organization, if it is of reasonable duration and frequency, and if the call can not be made at another time. The use of the commercial long distance network must not only be consistent with the above criteria but must not result in a charge to the Government.
Section 13 - The Employer shall take such action consistent with law or regulation, as may be required, in order to inform employees of their rights as prescribed in the Statute and this Article.
Section 14 - An employee is accountable only for the performance of assigned duties and compliance with standards of conduct for Federal employees. Within this context, the employer affirms the right of an employee to conduct his or her private life as he or she deems fit. Employees shall have the right to engage in activities of their own choosing, except as prohibited by law, Government-wide or VA regulation, without being required to report to the Employer on such activities.
Section 15 - The Employer shall inform employees of their right to be represented by the NFFE immediately prior to conducting an examination of the employee by a representative of the Employer in connection with an investigation.
Section 16 - Employees will not be precluded from presenting their views to officials of the Executive branch, the Congress, or other appropriate authority, in accordance with applicable laws and government-wide regulations. Interaction with visiting Congressional members or providing testimony at Congressional Hearings is acceptable. With the exception of visiting Congressional members or providing testimony before Congress it is understood this activity will not be on duty time.
Section 17 - Employees have the right to:
E. Be informed of what is expected of them, to whom they are directly responsible and what is expected of them in their work relationships with their fellow employees.
F. Privacy in every way consistent with law, regulations and this Agreement.
Section 18 - Miscellaneous
A. Personnel who work with food or do dirty work or are required to wear uniforms or protective clothing will be allowed reasonable official time for changing, acquiring or returning equipment, cleaning the area and washing up as needed.
B. Consistent with applicable laws, rules and regulations, the Employer agrees to bear the full expense of all special equipment and special clothing the employer requires employees to use in performing their duties.
C. The Employer will not normally conduct a search of an employee's personal effects without permission. In the event of a search, except in emergency situations, the employee may request a NFFE representative to be present.
D. Employees will be permitted to review and be provided a copy of (up to ten pages) of any agency/activity regulation on duty time, and at no cost to the employee.
A. Subject to Section B. of this Article, nothing in this Agreement shall affect the authority of any management official:
(1) To determine the mission, budget, organization, number of employees, and internal security practices of the Agency and
(b) To assign work, to make determinations with respect to contracting out, and to determine the personnel by which Agency operations shall be conducted;
(c) With respect to filling positions, to make selections for appointments from: (i) among properly ranked and certified candidates for promotion; or (ii) any other appropriate source; and (iii) to take whatever actions may be necessary to carry out the Agency mission during emergencies.
B. Nothing in this Article shall preclude the Agency and the Union from negotiating:
(1) On the numbers, types, and grades of employees or positions assigned to any organizational subdivision, work project, or tour of duty, or on the technology, methods, and means of performing work. Bargaining on these matters will be at the election of VA in the event Executive Order 12871 is terminated;
(2) Procedures which management officials of the Agency will observe in exercising any authority under this Article; or
(3) Appropriate arrangements for employees adversely affected by the exercise of any authority under this Article by such management officials.
Voluntary Allotment of Union Dues
Section 1 - Any employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs who is a member of the NFFE and is included in the consolidated bargaining unit covered by this agreement may make a voluntary allotment for the payment of dues to the NFFE.
Section 2 - The individual employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs who is a member of the NFFE and included within an exclusive unit shall obtain his/her SF-1187, "Request and Authorization for Voluntary Allotment of Compensation for Payment of Employee Organization Dues," from NFFE and shall file it with the designated NFFE representative, who will forward it to the human resources management (HRM) office for certification of eligibility for dues withholding and for transmittal to the appropriate payroll office. The allotment shall become effective on the first full pay period following receipt by HRM. The employee shall be instructed by NFFE to complete Part A and B. No other number must appear in the block provided as "Identification Number" except the employee's social security number.
Section 3 - Deductions will be made each pay period by the Department of Veterans Affairs and remittance will be made by one check each pay period to the National Office of NFFE. Remittances shall be accompanied by a listing, in duplicate, one for the National Office and one for the VA Council, for each pay period showing the names of the member employees from whose pay dues were withheld and the amount withheld. The listing will be segregated by individual field stations with a sub-total for each facility. The listing shall include the facility code number for identification purposes. It will be summarized to show the number of members for whom dues were withheld and the total amount withheld. Each list will also include the name of each employee member who previously made an allotment for whom no deductions were made whether due to leave without pay or other cause. If NFFE develops a computerized system for dues withholding, the parties will meet to determine if the VA can furnish dues deduction information in a compatible format.
Section 4 - It is agreed that part A of SF-1187, including the insertion of code numbers of the NFFE and the appropriate Local number, will be executed by the financial officer of the Local to which the employee member belongs or the National Secretary-Treasurer of NFFE. The amount so certified shall be the amount of the regular dues to be withheld from the employee's pay each pay period. Any initiation fees, assessments, back dues, fines or similar charges and fees will be collected by the Union directly from the employee. One standard amount for all employees or different amounts of dues for different employees may be specified. The President or other authorized official of the local union will notify the servicing payroll office in writing prior to the time when the local's dues structure or amount changes. The change shall be effected at the beginning of the first full pay period after notification is given to the servicing payroll office. Such a change may not be effected more than two (2) times in any calendar year.
Section 5 - The payroll office of VA will terminate an allotment:
A. As of the first full pay period following receipt of notice that exclusive recognition has been withdrawn;
B. At the end of the pay period during which an employee member is separated from the Department of Veterans Affairs;
C. At the end of the pay period during which the payroll office receives notice from the NFFE or a Local of the NFFE that the employee member has ceased to be a member in good standing;
D. At the end of the pay period that any employee leaves the unit of exclusive recognition. In the event the Union disagrees that an employee is no longer in the Unit and they file a unit clarification petition the employee's dues will continue to be withheld pending a decision on the petition.
E. Annually on the anniversary date of the employee's authorization (date of SF 1187) or during the ten (10) calendar day period immediately preceding the anniversary date by submitting a SF-1188. Dues revocation may only be received during this 10-day period.
Section 6 - The financial officer of the NFFE Local to which the employee belongs will notify the Department of Veterans Affairs payroll office within five working days after the employee ceases to be a member in good standing of the NFFE. Any written revocation of allotment authorization received by the local to which the employee belongs will be sent within three (3) days after it is received to the appropriate VA payroll office. The VA payroll office will send the local financial officer of NFFE a copy of each written revocation of an authorization which it receives.
Section 7 - Employees on dues withholding, who are reassigned from one VA facility to another, but remain in the consolidated unit of recognition, will continue on dues withholding. Upon arrival at the new facility, the dues withholding will be remitted to the new local at the receiving facility at the rate being withheld at the prior facility until the fiscal office at the new facility receives a notification of a change of rate from the designated union official.
Section 1 - Common Goals
The Employer and the Union recognize the importance of settling disagreements and disputes promptly, fairly, and in an orderly manner that will maintain the self respect of the employee and be consistent with the principles of good management. To accomplish this, every effort will be made to settle grievances expeditiously and at the lowest level of supervision. The Parties encourage development of Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) as a cost effective and timely method of solving grievances. The parties will negotiate ADR procedures locally.
Section 2 - Scope
Grievance means any complaint, by any employee, concerning any matter relating to the employment of the employee; by the Union concerning any matter relating to the employment of any employee; or by any employee, the Union, or the Department concerning the effect or interpretation, or a claim of breach, of a collective bargaining agreement including supplemental agreements; or any claimed violation, misinterpretation, or misapplication of any law, rule, or regulation affecting conditions of employment.
This grievance procedure does not apply to:
a) any claimed violation of 5 USC, Chapter 73, subchapter III, relating to prohibited political activities;
b) retirement, life insurance, or health insurance;
c) a suspension or removal under 5 USC 7532;
d) any examination, certification, or appointment;
e) the classification of any position which does not result in the reduction in grade or pay of an employee;
f) proposed disciplinary/adverse actions;
g) non-selection for promotion from a group of properly ranked and certified candidates, except were discrimination is alleged;
h) those actions under Title 38 which pertain to employees covered by this agreement, such as special advancements for achievement or performance, promotion and appointments.
Employees have the option of raising the following matters under a statutory appeals procedures or the negotiated grievance procedure but not both: adverse actions (5 USC 7512), actions based on unacceptable performance (5 USC 4303), and discrimination (5 USC 2302 (b) (1)). An employee shall be deemed to have exercised his/her option under this section to raise the matter under either a statutory procedure or the negotiated procedure at such time as the employee timely initiates an action under the applicable statutory procedure or timely files a grievance in writing in accordance with the negotiated procedure, whichever event occurs first.
Section 3 - An employee who alleges a prohibited personnel practice under 5 U.S.C. 2302(b)(1) (relating to equal opportunity violations) may either:
(a) File a grievance pursuant to this Article within 45 calendar days following;
(1) The date of the alleged discriminatory incident;
(2) The date upon which the aggrieved became aware of the alleged discriminatory incident or situation; or,
(b) Initiate an action under the EEO complaint procedure by filing a formal complaint of discrimination.
An employee shall be deemed to have exercised his or her option under this section when the employee files a timely written formal appeal under the EEO procedure or files a grievance in writing under the negotiated grievance procedure.
(c) The parties encourage development of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) programs as a cost effective and timely method of resolving difficult issues. Grievances and / or complaints related to equal employment opportunity are among the appropriate subjects for ADR.
Section 4 - The Union has the exclusive right to represent employees in presenting grievances under the negotiated grievance procedure in this agreement. A grievance may be undertaken by the NFFE Veterans Administration Council, by a NFFE Local, by an employee or a group of employees, or by management. Employees in such grievances may be represented by a NFFE Local, the NFFE Council or a NFFE representative. Any employee or group of employees may personally present a grievance and have it adjusted without representation by the Union. The Union will be given an opportunity by Management to be present at all discussions with the employee concerning the grievance. A reasonable amount of time during working hours will be allowed for employees and the union representative to prepare, discuss and present grievances under this procedure. Any such resolution must be consistent with the terms of this agreement and supplemental agreements. In exercising their rights to present a grievance, employees and their representative(s) will be free from restraint, coercion, discrimination or reprisal.
Section 5 - Employees and/or their representative(s) are encouraged
to discuss issues of concern to them informally with their supervisors
at any time. Likewise, employees and/or their representative(s) may request
to talk with other appropriate officials about items of concern without
filing a formal grievance if they choose.
Section 6 - The following procedures are established for the resolution of grievances by an employee or group of employees or a NFFE Local:
A. Step One: The issue shall first be taken up by the grievant (and representative or steward, if he/she elects to have one) with the employee's immediate supervisor or the lowest level management official with authority to render a decision. The Step One grievance will be initiated in writing if not settled informally, with the Service/Division Chief or equivalent within 30 calendar days of the incident that gave rise to the grievance, unless the grievant could not reasonably be expected to be aware of the incident by such time. In that case, the grievance must be initiated within 30 calendar days of the date that the grievant became aware of the incident. A grievance concerning a continuing practice or condition may be initiated at any time. In the case of disciplinary or adverse action, a grievance must be initiated within 30 calendar days of receipt of the written decision from the deciding official. Either party may request that a meeting be held on the matter. If the grievant wishes a meeting, the request will be included in the written grievance. If such a meeting is requested, it will be held prior to the decision and not more than 10 days after the request is received. A decision will be given to the grievant in writing within ten (10) calendar days after presentation of the grievance or after the meeting if one is requested. Every effort shall be made to insure that the decision is clearly communicated and understood. Included with such decision shall be a written statement indicating the grievant's right to submit a grievance to Step Two.
B. Step Two: If the grievant is dissatisfied with the decision given in Step One, the grievant (and/ or his/ her representative) may summit the grievance in writing to the Director of the VA facility where the grievance originated within ten (10) calendar days after receipt of the decision on the Step One grievance. The Director will furnish the employee with a written acknowledgment of receipt. The Director or his/her designee (higher than the deciding official in Step 1, unless there is no higher level official between him/her and the Director) will meet with the aggrieved employee if requested within 10 days after the request is received. A written decision will be given to the grievant within 14 calendar days after management receives the second step grievance or after the meeting is held. Included with such decision shall be the reasons for the decision and a statement indicating the grievants right to request the Union to advance the grievance to arbitration.
C. The parties may mutually agree to refer a grievance to mediation prior to going to arbitration. In such case, the request for mediation must be made to the other party within 10 days of the final decision in Step 2. A joint request to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) or other agreed to source will be made within 7 days of this request if both parties agree to proceed. Mediation should be scheduled as soon as possible, but not later than 15 days after the request unless by mutual agreement. If the attempt at mediation is not successful, the time frame for requesting arbitration will begin the day following the final mediation hearing date. All parties will be on official time during the mediation process.
Section 7 - The parties may mutually agree to extend any time limits of this procedure. If the due date at any stage falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or a Government holiday, the due date shall be the next business day. Management agrees to respond to grievances within the agreed to time period. However, if in any case Management is unable to do so, the grievant will be notified of the reasons for any delay and an extension of time will be requested. The grievant will have the option of proceeding to the next step of the grievance procedure or granting an extension of time. If the next step is arbitration and management does not reasonably justify the delay, the remedy sought shall be immediately granted if the employee has a written acknowledgment of receipt and the remedy is legal and reasonable under the circumstances of the grievance. If the grievant fails to pursue a grievance within the prescribed or extended time limit, the grievance may be considered resolved in the last step unless the grievant is able to reasonably justify his/her failure to meet the time limits.
Section 8 - A grievance may be initiated at step two if the substance of the grievance directly concerns a specific action, directive, or decision made at a higher level than the initial step of the grievance process. In cases where a grievance is initiated at Step Two, the time limits of Step One will apply. If a grievance is against a VA Headquarters official, the grievance may be filed initially at Step 1 with a higher level official designated to act on the grievance and at step 2 with the applicable Under Secretary or Administration Head or designee. Prior to filing a grievance with a Headquarters official the filing party will contact the facility Human Resources Management Officer (HRMO). Within three (3) work days the HRMO will identify, in writing, to the filing party the appropriate VA Headquarters official to whom the grievance should be submitted. The days waiting for a response from the HRMO will not be counted in the 30 day grievance time frame.
Section 9 - For the Veterans Canteen Service (VCS) employees, the appropriate Regional Director or his/her designee, will be the deciding official. For National Cemetery System (NCS) employees, the immediate supervisor will be the appropriate official at Step One; Step Two will be the Cemetery Director or his/her designee. Where the Cemetery Director is the only level of supervision, the time limits of Step One will apply to grievances pursued to the Director, and his/her decision may be pursued to arbitration in accordance with Article 7.
Section 10 - At any step of the negotiated grievance procedure, when any management deciding official designates someone to act on his/her behalf, that designee will have complete authority to render a decision at that step and will render the decision. The designee will never be someone who decided the issue at any previous step.
Section 11 - It is agreed that when a group has an identical grievance, it will be considered in the same manner as an individual complaint of one employee and the decision will be binding on all identical cases.
A. A grievance affecting more than one facility may be brought by the VA Council within 30 calendar days of an incident (or awareness of an incident) which gave rise to the grievance. A grievance concerning a continuing practice or condition may be brought at any time.
B. The appropriate official for these grievances will be the designated representative of VA Headquarters from the appropriate Administrations.
C. The VA Headquarters designee will render a written decision within 30 calendar days of receipt.
Section 13 - VA Headquarters may file a grievance with the President of the NFFE Council. Facility Directors may file a grievance with a local NFFE President. Grievances must be initiated in writing within 30 calendar days of an incident which gave rise to the grievance. A grievance concerning a continuing practice or condition may be brought at any time. The VA Council of Consolidated Locals of NFFE or NFFE Local will have 30 calendar days from receipt of the grievance in which to render a decision in writing.
Section 14 - In the event either party should declare a grievance nongrievable or nonarbitrable, the original grievance shall be considered amended to include this issue. The employer agrees to raise any question of grievability or arbitrability of a grievance no later than the time the Step two decision is given. If arbitration is invoked, all disputes of grievability or arbitrability shall be referred to the arbitrator as a threshold issue in the related grievance.
Section 1 - If the decision on a grievance processed under the negotiated grievance procedure is not satisfactory, the local Union or NFFE VA Council, either as grievant or as representative of the employee grievant(s), or the Department of Veterans Affairs or a Department subordinate unit, as grievant, may refer the issue to arbitration. The notice referring an issue to arbitration must be in writing, signed by the local union president or NFFE VA Council President (for the Union), or signed by a local Department management official or by an appropriate VA Headquarters official (for Management). The notice must be submitted to the other party within thirty (30) calendar days following receipt of the decision by the aggrieved party or within thirty (30) calendar days of the date a decision was due, whichever is earlier. Only the Union or Management may invoke arbitration. No employee may singularly bring a grievance to arbitration without the Union's sanction. Issues which were not brought up during the steps of the grievance procedure will not be brought up at the arbitration.
A. Within seven (7) calendar days from the date of the request for arbitration, the parties shall jointly request the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) to provide a list of five (5) impartial persons qualified to act as arbitrator. If either party refuses to participate in the submission, the other party may make the request. Within fifteen (15) calendar days after receipt of such list the employer and the local union and/or the Council shall meet to select the arbitrator. If the parties cannot agree on an arbitrator from the list, each party shall strike one name in turn from the list. The moving party shall strike the first name. After each party has struck two names from the list, the remaining person shall be the arbitrator. If either party refuses to participate in the selection process, the other party will make a selection of an arbitrator from the list.
B. Following the selection of an arbitrator the moving party will within five (5) calendar days notify the FMCS as to the name of the arbitrator selected. A copy of the notification will be served upon the other party.
A. The arbitrator's fees and expenses shall be proportionally assessed as determined by the arbitrator based upon his/her decision on all the issues. Any extra expense such as transcripts will be paid for by the requesting party unless it is mutually requested.
B. An employee who is found to have been affected by an unjustified or unwarranted personnel action which has resulted in the withdrawal or reduction of all or part of the pay, allowances, or differentials of the employee is entitled, on correction of the personnel action, to receive reasonable attorney fees related to the personnel action, awarded in accordance with standards established under 5 U.S.C. 7701(g).
A. Upon selection of the arbitrator in a particular case, the respective representatives for the parties will communicate with the arbitrator and each other in order to select a mutually agreeable date for the arbitration hearing. The parties will endeavor to schedule the hearing within thirty (30) days after arbitration is invoked. The parties will attempt to jointly submit the issue(s) to the arbitrator. If the parties fail to agree on a joint submission, each shall make a separate submission, and the arbitrator shall determine the issue or issues to be heard. Nothing in this Agreement shall preclude the parties from resolving the grievance during any of these meetings.
B. The parties agree that the primary purpose of this arbitration procedure is to provide a swift and economical method of resolving disputes fairly and equitably. The arbitrator shall have the authority to take steps necessary to see that the purpose is fulfilled.
(1) Any hearing shall be informal;
(2) There shall be no formal evidence rules;
(3) Written transcripts will be made of the arbitration hearing only with the mutual consent of the parties;
(4) The parties may mutually agree to direct the arbitrator to simplify or eliminate a written opinion;
(5) When both parties agree to the facts at issue and agree that a hearing would serve no purpose they will stipulate the facts to the arbitrator with a request for a decision based upon the facts presented.
C. The arbitration hearing or inquiry shall be held on the local Employer's premises, or in Washington, D.C., for cases at the Council level, unless the parties mutually agree to another site, during the regular day shift work hours of the basic work week. The duty status of participants in an arbitration proceeding shall be consistent with the following:
(1) The grievant shall be excused from duty during the arbitration proceeding. If the grievant's tour of duty is other than the regular day shift, the grievant will be temporarily placed on the day shift on the day of the arbitration proceeding. It is understood that workload and staffing needs may not always permit all grievants in a group grievance to attend the arbitration proceeding at one time. In such cases, management, whenever possible, will arrange the schedules of the grievants necessary to attend and properly present the case and will make a reasonable effort to accommodate the equitable rotation of the other grievants;
(2) At least fourteen calendar days prior to the arbitration hearing the parties will exchange their witness lists and inform the other party as to who their representative will be. These lists may not be amended except in the event of unforeseen circumstances such as sudden unavailability of a witness or the identification of other witnesses found to have additional information.
(3) All witnesses necessary at the arbitration will be given excused absence if otherwise in a duty status provided management received at least 14 calendar days notice. In addition, upon at least fourteen calendar days notice, Management will rearrange necessary witnesses' schedules and place them on duty during the arbitration hearing, when the witnesses agree to such changes. Such schedule changes may be made without regard to contract provisions on hours of duty. The release of any witness not originally listed will be dependent on staffing and workload requirements.
Section 5 - The arbitrator will be requested to render his/her decision within thirty (30) days.
Section 6 - The arbitrator shall have authority to resolve any questions of arbitrability and interpret and define explicit terms of this Agreement, Department of Veterans Affairs policy, or controlling law or regulation, as necessary to render a decision. Questions of arbitrability shall be considered threshold issues on which the arbitrator will hear evidence and argument prior to deciding the case on its merits.
Section 7 - In the interest of obtaining prompt decisions on matters appealed to arbitration and to implement financial safeguards, which will limit back-pay awards, the parties will move swiftly in selecting and scheduling an arbitrator so that a decision is received timely. An arbitrator will be required to hold the arbitration hearing and issue a written decision within three (3) months of a party filing for arbitration.
Section 8 - Decisions of arbitrators shall be final and binding subject only to review under the terms of Title VII of the Civil Service Reform Act. Either party may file exceptions to awards of arbitrators to the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) in accordance with FLRA regulations or, where applicable to the U.S. Court of Claims, U.S. Court of Appeals or Merit Systems Protection Board. However, any dispute over the interpretation of an arbitrator's award shall be returned to the arbitrator for settlement, including remanded awards.
Section 1 - This Master Agreement shall constitute the Master Labor Agreement between the parties. To the extent that directives within the discretion of VA management may be in conflict with this agreement, the provisions of the agreement will govern. Provisions of currently existing collective bargaining agreements between the Department and National Federation of Federal Employees locals which are not in specific conflict with the provisions of this agreement shall remain in effect until a local supplement is negotiated.
A. National Level Bargaining
Proposed changes affecting personnel policies, practices or conditions of employment and a copy of any material sent to the National NFFE Office under National Consultation rights will be sent to the Council President. Normally, 30 days will be provided from date of receipt to review and respond. At the option of the Council, they may request to:
(1) Negotiate as appropriate on the material as submitted, leaving additional bargaining to be conducted at the Local level upon request;
(2) Negotiate totally at the Council level with no additional negotiations at the Local level (subject to Agency’s compelling need as determined by the Authority); or
(3) Elect not to negotiate at all.
The Union will not normally refer such proposed changes affecting policies, practices, or conditions of employment for local bargaining on the substance of an issue. However, there may be instances where local bargaining is necessary and appropriate.
Where the Union elects (1) or (3) above, a copy of the material will be provided the affected locals for bargaining as appropriate.
The Council may initiate midterm bargaining over issues not in conflict with the Master Agreement. When the Council bargains on behalf of all the locals the parties will make a good faith effort to reach agreement by conducting telephone negotiations, scheduled in advance.
Negotiations under this section will normally commence within 10 workdays after the parties designated representative receive counter-proposals. Telephone negotiations shall normally be on consecutive work days until the negotiations are concluded. If the parties are unable to reach agreement, face to face negotiations will be set at a mutually agreed upon date in Washington.
B. Local level Bargaining
(1) Local Management will submit, in writing, proposed changes which are initiated at or below the facility level or under Section A above, affecting personnel policies, practices or conditions of employment not in conflict with the Master Agreement or the local supplemental agreement, to the Local Union President or his/her designee prior to implementation. Under ordinary circumstances, the Local Union shall be given 15 calendar days to request negotiations or to agree to the changes. Upon timely request by the Union, bargaining will normally commence within ten (10) calendar days, unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties. Written counter proposals will be submitted at least 5 days prior to negotiations, unless otherwise mutually agreed. The parties may mutually agree to modify the time frame. If the Union does not request bargaining within the time limit, the Employer may implement the proposed change(s).
(2) The Union may initiate local mid-term bargaining over issues not in conflict with the master agreement or the local supplemental agreement only if the local parties have negotiated a supplemental agreement under this master agreement. In such cases, the employer shall have 15 calendar days from the date of receipt of Union initiated proposed changes to conditions of employment to request negotiations. Written counter proposals will be submitted at least 5 days prior to negotiations, to the Union. Bargaining will normally commence within 10 calendar days, unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties.
(3) New or changed policy proposals which are agreed to in bargaining shall be initialed prior to issuance by the Local’s representative and the Employer designee for the respective organizations.
C. The Union will be provided official time, per diem and travel for Union negotiators up to the number of representatives Management designates for the bargaining, but not less than two.
Section 3 - In the event the parties cannot agree on a negotiable matter and an impasse is reached, either or both parties may seek the services of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
Section 4 - The parties recognize that the interest of both Management and the Union can be effectively served if many issues of local concern are reserved for supplemental agreement negotiations between each facility and the local Union. Hence, the parties agree that supplemental agreements subordinate to this Master Agreement may be negotiated between the local parties. Such agreements may cover all negotiable matters regarding conditions of employment insofar as they do not conflict with the terms of this Master Agreement, law or Government-wide regulations. One supplemental agreement may be negotiated at each Local during the term of this Agreement. Such supplemental agreement will pertain only to the local parties where the agreement was negotiated. Supplemental agreements must be approved or disapproved by VA Headquarters within 30 calendar days after execution. If no action is taken within the 30 days, the agreement shall become effective on the 31st day subject to the provisions of the Master Agreement, law, and Government-wide regulations. Any disapproval must be consistent with 5 U.S.C. 7114(c). If the agreement is disapproved in whole or in part, it shall be returned to the local parties, along with an explanation for the action. If a disagreement arises concerning whether a supplemental proposal is negotiable, management will upon written request, provide the Union with its reason, in writing, for its determination and the Union may file a negotiability appeal to the FLRA or the applicable Court of jurisdiction. If a disagreement arises concerning whether a supplemental agreement conflicts with the Master Agreement, the issue may be presented to an arbitrator in accordance with Article 7, Arbitration.
Section 5 - Past practices shall not be abridged as a result of not being enumerated in this
Use of Official Facilities and Services
Section 1 - Management recognizes the value of a constructive labor management relationship and the need for the locals to have use of adequate office space. Where space is presently being provided to a NFFE local it will continue. Where space is not presently being provided or is inadequate, the Local may present proposals concerning office space in negotiations for a supplemental agreement. Each local facility Director will place a high priority on the availability of a suitable office for the Locals to conduct their business. Management will provide at a minimum the following equipment: two locking file cabinets, a desk or table, seating for four, and a telephone line with FTS. Where space limitations are so restrictive as to preclude the above, the matter will be resolved through local supplemental negotiations.
The Employer agrees to give each local access to a word processor, printer and the facility electronic mail (E-mail), including FORUM where it is available at the facility. FORUM access will be limited to one user profile, which may be the Local President or designee. Use of E-mail may not be scurrilous, libelous, or in violation of national security. Also, the union acknowledges that such use is not confidential and privacy is not insured. Union officials are authorized to use the system(s) for labor-management relations matters. Inappropriate use, including compromise of assigned access codes may result in individual termination of access.
The following conditions will apply to the use of space and equipment:
A. If the space/and or equipment is required for immediate needs of the facility, management will give the Union a reasonable advance notice (normally at least 60 days) and bargain with the Union over alternative arrangements.
B. Such use will not injure the space and equipment in question.
C. That the space and equipment will be subject to the facility's sanitation and safety
D. Conference rooms will be made available when requested in advance.
E. The local agrees that the space and equipment will be used only for Local or Council
union business and will ensure that the office is not used by employees for other purposes.
F. At the facility where the Council President is located an additional desk, chair, locking file cabinet and telephone line with FTS will be provided. Such arrangements will ensure privacy.
Section 2 - The Union at the Local level, or the Council, will be authorized the use of copying machines, word processors, fax machines, or typewriters at reasonable times when this equipment is not being used for normal business. Their use will be limited to communications that are of mutual benefit, such as those necessary for grievance processing or communications between the Union and management. This does not prohibit the Union from being authorized the use of surplus equipment or negotiating locally for additional access to equipment, including computers.
Section 3 - Current reference and regulatory materials such as the FPM, VA regulations, VA policies and any locally established policies affecting unit employees will be made available during normal office hours upon request. Access during evening and night shifts is an appropriate subject for local negotiations.
Section 4 - Local union officials may use the facility telephone service for local intra-facility labor-management activities so long as it does not interfere with the primary official business of the facility. Council Officers and the local union presidents or their designees may use FTS for necessary communications in handling the resolution of issues that arise between the union and management. Calls are not authorized for issues that should normally be resolved at the local level but rather for complex issues or issues having multi-facility implications. Each Union official will be responsible to ensure the use of the system is not abused and that there is no interference with official activities. The Union official will use the FTS System in a reasonable, prudent and cost conscious manner. FTS will not be used for internal-union business or personal calls.
Section 5 - Any local that has not been provided a copy of MP-5, Part I, (and, where appropriate, Part II as it pertains to bargaining unit employees) will be furnished one at their request. A Council Officer will be provided a copy of MP-5, Parts I and II upon request if not working in a facility where regulations are available. Copies for individual locals will be ordered by the field station and the local will be responsible for its assembly and upkeep. Supplements and changes to these manuals will be provided when received.
Section 6 - The Local, the Council, and its representatives may use the internal messenger system for regular representational communications (e.g., grievance correspondence or letters and memoranda to Management).
Section 7 - Management agrees to arrange for printing of this agreement. New employees covered by this agreement will during in-processing be offered a printed copy and advised where a copy may be reviewed electronically if available. Current bargaining unit employees will not receive a copy of the agreement from the facility and will be advised that it will be available at the local union office or by electronic review. The NFFE VA Council will receive 50 copies of the agreement. Each local will receive an initial distribution of copies equal to 50% of the bargaining unit employees. Each local will also receive one computer disc containing the agreement in ASCII. The agreement will be made accessible through existing electronic networks including VA World or successor.
Section 8 - At each facility where there are employees covered by this Agreement, the Union will be provided bulletin boards and/or official bulletin board space in areas normally used for communicating with bargaining unit employees. Details for the use and/or numbers of bulletin boards and/or board space will be negotiated at the individual facility level in supplemental bargaining. However, on each bulletin board as provided by local negotiations a minimal space equivalent to two 8 1/2" by 11" sheets of paper will be reserved for union use. In addition, one bulletin board limited to Union use will be provided near the entrance to the Local Union Office. Consistent with fire and safety regulations, it will be glass enclosed and lockable with key. This language is not intended to supersede any existing usage of other types of bulletin or billboards that exceeds the above requirements. The material posted must be clearly identified as that of the Union and must not be scurrilous or libelous.
Section 9 - Management will provide timely written notice to the local Union of employees entering or leaving bargaining unit positions.
Awards and Suggestion Programs
Section 1 - Management at each facility is responsible for administering a progressive and sound incentive awards and suggestion program in accordance with OPM and VA regulations. Special Contribution and Suggestion Awards will be granted as fairly and equitably as possible in accordance with VA policy. Local facilities which establish or operate incentive awards programs not covered by VA regulations shall bargain as appropriate, over the implementation of such programs.
Section 2 - The facilities will provide information to all employees so that they understand the general criteria for Special Contribution Awards, and the benefits to be derived from the Suggestion Program. The Employer agrees to make suggestion forms accessible to the employees in the Unit.
Section 3 - The Employer and the Union support and encourage all employees to participate in the Suggestion Program. It is agreed that every reasonable effort will be made to process suggestions in an expeditious manner. Normally, suggestions should be processed within sixty (60) days. Exceptions to this time frame may be required because of special situations such as a test period, referral to other outside authority for approval or review or development of an instruction. The Employer will provide an employee whose suggestion is not adopted or awarded a copy of the written evaluation at the time the decision is made. It is agreed that an employee who encounters unreasonable delays in receiving a final determination of the adoption or rejection of a suggestion should refer the matter to his/her immediate supervisor, who in turn makes a reasonable effort to resolve the problem. The Incentive Awards Officer will be available to assist in these matters.
Section 4 - The Employer and the Union will encourage employees to discuss prospective suggestions with their immediate supervisor, who will aid them in ensuring that the suggestion is sufficiently described for evaluation.
Section 5 - An evaluator may discuss a suggestion with the suggestor if he/she believes doing so will aid him/her in the evaluation process.
Section 6 - Suggestions requiring approval by a VA Headquarters organization, by their nature, are more complex with far ranging implications. VA agrees to evaluate suggestions of this nature in a expeditious manner.
[Not Applicable to Individuals Appointed Under 38 U.S.C. 7401(3) and Individuals Appointed Under 38 U.S.C. 7405 to Occupations Listed in 7401(3)]
Section 1 - Purpose
Merit Principles indicate that selection and advancement should be determined on the basis of knowledges, skills, abilities, and other characteristics which assures all receive equal opportunity. The purpose of these placement procedures is to locate the best qualified candidates for vacant positions in the bargaining unit.
Section 2 - The provisions of this Article apply to those positions within the bargaining unit only and are intended to ensure that the Merit Principles are followed when filling vacancies. Competitive merit promotion procedures apply to the following personnel actions:
A. The filling of vacancies by temporary promotion or detail to higher graded positions or those with higher known promotion potential for more than 60 days;
B. The selection for training which will prepare an employee for advancement and is required by the qualification standard for promotion;
C. The reinstatement of an employee, including those made from reemployment priority lists, to a permanent or temporary position at a higher grade or with higher known promotion potential than the last grade held in a non-temporary position in the competitive service;
D. The reassignment or change to a lower grade position which has greater known promotion potential than the position currently held by an employee (except as permitted by reduction-in-force regulations);
E. Promotion of an employee by transfer from another Federal agency.
Section 3 - Personnel actions not covered by the competitive procedures of this Article include:
A. Promotions resulting from upgrading positions due to administrative corrections on a deficient classification determination, classification appeals, issuance of a new or revised classification standard, or accretion of additional duties and responsibilities;
B. Actions in reductions-in-force which are technically promotions because of pay fixing policies;
C. Temporary promotions of 60 days or less;
D. Promotions to a higher grade when the employee was appointed or selected pursuant to competitive promotion procedures for a position with clear, documented potential to a higher grade;
E. Position change from a position with known promotion potential to another position with no higher known promotion potential or with no known promotion potential;
F. Promotion of employees referred for priority consideration because of a previous loss of proper consideration;
G. Repromotion to grades from which demoted without personnel cause, and up to grade previously held on a permanent basis (intervening grades) from which an employee was demoted without cause;
H. Permanent promotion of an employee competitively selected for temporary promotion, provided the initial announcement stated that it may be made permanent;
I. Reinstatement from a reemployment priority list to a position not at a higher grade and with no higher known potential than the former employee's last non-temporary position in the competitive service;
J. Consideration or selection of a person entitled to a higher order of consideration by law, Government-wide regulation, or this agreement (such as restoration after military service, placement in lieu of disability retirement, return to duty after leave without pay);
K. Appointments of:
(1) Disabled veterans under 5 C.F.R. 315.604
(2) Disabled veterans under 5 C.F.R. 315.707
(3) Cooperative education students (FPM 308)
(4) Veterans Readjustment Appointments (VRA) under 5 C.F.R. Part 307.
(5) Severely handicapped appointments under 5 C.F.R. 213.3102(u) and (t).
(6) Schedule A & B Excepted Appointments.
L. Selection of a Federal employee within reach on an OPM register for a higher graded position. It is understood that VA employees may have themselves placed on OPM registers in accordance with applicable procedures.
M. All details (except those to positions with higher known promotion potential for more than 60 days), unless management exercises the option to use competitive procedures.
Section 4 - The areas where vacancy announcements are made will be defined in accordance with Department policies.
A. The parties recognize that positions may be filled from any appropriate source, including reassignment, appointment, reemployment, reinstatement, demotion or merit promotion. Vacancy announcements will be posted on the facility bulletin boards. Management recognizes the need to inform all employees of vacancy announcements and will take reasonable steps to ensure that those announcements are not altered, defaced, or covered. Details concerning the posting/distribution of vacancy announcements may be negotiated at the individual facility level; except that actions excluded by Section 3 of this Article are exempt from the posting requirements. A copy of each vacancy announcement will be sent to the Local Union. Announcements shall be open for 15 work days from the date they are posted. An extension of the closing date shall be executed by an amendment to the announcement. All vacancy announcements will contain the following information:
(1) Title, series and grade of the position, and the announcement number;
(2) Geographic and organizational location;
(3) Summary statement of the principal duties and responsibilities;
(4) Summary of OPM or VA qualification requirements;
(5) Selective placement factors, if any, expressed in terms of knowledges, skills, abilities and other characteristics required to qualify for the position;
(6) Where additional information may be obtained;
(7) Where applications (VA Form 5-4078] should be sent and what they should include;
(8) Opening and closing dates;
(9) The known promotion potential of the position(s), if any;
(10) A statement on equal employment opportunity;
(11) A list of the rating factors, (knowledges, skills, abilities and other characteristics), or job elements used in evaluating candidates;
(12) The area of promotion consideration;
(13) Any written test requirements by statutes.
Note 1: Employees on official absence for seven (7) calendar days or more who desire consideration for vacancies advertised in their absence are responsible for identifying such positions by grade on a DATED written request submitted to the designated human resources management (HRM) office if they wish their names to be submitted for them. The HRM office is responsible for including these requests with all applicants for the position(s) involved. Official absences include detail, training, and leave.
Note 2: Open continuous announcements are designed to provide the needed flexibility to effectively recruit eligible candidates for entry level positions, positions in which there is frequent turnover, and shortage categories or other hard-to-fill vacancies. Such announcements may provide some of the above information by referring applicants to the servicing HRM office.
B. VA Form 5-4078 or other written application received in the HRM office prior to the closing date will be considered as an appropriate application. Management shall consider only those applications received prior to the closing date of the announcement, except that employees on approved absence during the entire announcement period may submit a late application so long as they are able to provide any necessary information in time for that information to be processed and presented to the promotion panel, (or to the selecting official when the candidates are not ranked and rated), along with that of all other applicants.
C. Applicants are responsible for providing full and complete information as to their qualifications for the vacancy. Failure to furnish this information within identified time limits may result in disqualification. When available, the Official Personnel Folder (OPF) will be used in making the initial qualification determination. SF-171 or OF 6-12, supplemental qualification and supplemental experience statements will be used in addition to the OPF, or in lieu of the OPF when it is not available.
D. Announcements shall be canceled by placing (stamping) the word "canceled" on the initial announcements as a means of notifying applicants. The Local will be informed of all cancellations of said announcements in writing. Upon request, the Local will be provided the reason in writing.
E. Multiple Grades and/or Multiple Vacancies:
(1) Multiple Grades: When an announcement is issued for multiple grade levels, candidates will be evaluated and ranked, if appropriate, for each grade level for which they applied and are qualified. Separate certifications of best qualified candidates for each grade level, if available, will be referred for selection consideration. When multiple grades are posted, the selecting official may consider the candidates referred on those certificates prior to filling the position.
(2) Multiple Vacancies: Two or more vacancies may be filled from the same announcement for a period of up to 90 days without reannouncing the vacancy if they are identical with respect to the series, title, grade(s), minimum qualification requirements and selective placement factors and rating factors (KSAOs).
Section 6 - Evaluation (Rating and Ranking) Panel
A. Qualified promotion candidates will be rated and ranked by a promotion panel except when ten (10) or fewer qualified promotion candidates are available. In instances where ten or fewer candidates are qualified, all will be referred to the selecting official. An asterisk will denote bargaining unit employees referred on merit promotion certificates. The asterisk will denote that bargaining unit employees will receive first consideration. This does not preclude the selection of any candidate on the certificate or a candidate from any other appropriate source.
B. When rating and ranking is necessary, qualified candidates will be evaluated using a rating guide developed in accordance with Appendix A., MP-5, Part I, Chapter 335. VA Form 5-4676a, "Employee Supplemental Qualification Statement," will, when available, be one of the primary sources to be used to evaluate the qualifications of the candidates. Candidates' Official Personnel Folders and SF-171s or OF 6-12s will also be used, if available. All relevant information available on each qualified candidate, taken as a whole, will be evaluated against each rating factor or job element, as appropriate, to determine the amount of credit to be granted.
A. If the selecting official interviews one candidate from a certificate, then all candidates on the certificate must be interviewed if reasonably available. Telephone interviews may be conducted if a candidate is not available for a personal interview.
B. Nonselected candidates will be notified in writing, as soon as practicable. All such notices will be dispatched at approximately the same time. At the employee's request, the reasons for nonselection will be provided by the selecting official in writing. Management will make promotions effective at the start of the first pay period following approval. When applicable policies, regulations or directives preclude this, the action will be made effective at the beginning of the first pay period that such restrictions no longer apply. The selecting official will promptly forward his/her selection to the HRM office. HRM will promptly process that action to avoid any unnecessary delay in effecting the promotion.
C. It is agreed that it would be of benefit for employees to be informed of vacancy announcements at other VA facilities that are received at their facility. Details for employee access to these announcements may be negotiated at the local level.
Section 8 - Promotion Records - Temporary record of each promotion action, sufficient to allow reconstruction of the action, including documentation of how each candidate was rated and ranked, will be maintained for no less than 2 years. This record, properly sanitized consistent with the Privacy Act, may be reviewed by nonselected employees and/or their representatives. If a grievance is filed, the grievant or their representative will be furnished sanitized copies of these documents upon written request.
Section 9 - A detail is the temporary assignment of an employee to a different position for a specified period, with the employee returning to their regular duties at the end of the detail. Details will be made in accordance with applicable regulations.
A. An employee detailed to higher grade bargaining unit positions or to a position with a special salary rate for more than 15 consecutive work days must be temporarily promoted or have his/her pay adjusted if he/she meets basic qualifications. The temporary promotion will be made effective at the beginning of the first pay period following the 15th day. When it is known in advance of the detail that the detail to a higher grade is expected to last more than 15 consecutive work days, a temporary promotion will be made effective at the beginning of the detail.
B. Documentation - Details of 15 consecutive days or more will be reported on VA Form 5-4652, "Request for Personnel Action," and placed in the employees Personnel Folder.
Safety and Health
Section 1 - The parties agree that safety is of prime consideration in the accomplishment of the Department's mission and commit themselves to establishing and maintaining safe working conditions. The Department of Veterans Affairs is committed to maintaining a safety program that meets the requirements of applicable statutes and Government-wide regulations.
Section 2 - Safety and health matters are appropriate subjects for the annual labor-management committee meetings addressed in Article 2. At such meetings the VA Headquarters designated agency safety and health officer (or designee) shall be a participant if safety and health matters are discussed. Each local shall have at least one union representative on any local safety and health committee that considers safety and health issues for employees in the unit. Such representative will be allowed to participate in committee meetings on official time if otherwise in a duty status. Where no committees are established, Management agrees to meet with the Union upon request to discuss safety and health matters. Such meetings will include the Safety Officer and other management officials concerned with the matter. NFFE members of the committee will receive training in their duties and will have access to Agency information necessary in the performance of their duties.
Section 3 - Local union officials will be allowed access to any information pertinent to unit employees’ safety that is available at the facility and which is releasable under applicable laws and Government-wide regulations.
Section 4 - Where a Director of a VA facility chooses to participate in Field Federal Safety and Health Councils at a facility where NFFE holds exclusive recognition, NFFE will be allowed to provide a representative consistent with subpart K of 29 C.F.R. Part 1960.
Section 5 - A local union representative shall be given the opportunity to accompany the Regional Safety and Fire Protection Engineer during the annual physical inspection of any workplace as well as the official who conducts an inspection in response to a report made by a bargaining unit employee or the Union of any unsafe or unhealthful condition. The union representative shall also be given the opportunity to accompany an OSHA inspector at any time the inspector conducts an inspection of the workplace of any unit employees. Copies of inspection reports will be furnished to the Union.
Section 6 - Management shall acquire and maintain approved personal protective equipment, safety equipment and other devices as necessary to provide protection of employees from hazardous conditions during performance of their official duties. In addition, if there is serious concern for an employee’s safety and VA police are available, the employee will, upon request, be provided an escort on VA premises. If asbestos is found within a working area, management will negotiate with the union as appropriate, if requested.
Section 7 - The Employer agrees to provide adequate lighting, heating, and ventilation in work areas. Where permitted by local policy, employees will be allowed to bring in space heaters, heating pads, portable electric fans and similar items where inadequate or unreasonably uncomfortable conditions exist until the conditions have been corrected. In extreme conditions, consideration will be given to excusing employees without charge to leave. If a decision is made not to excuse employees, supervisors will be liberal in granting employee requests for leave. The Employer agrees that in extreme conditions, employee performance may be adversely affected.
Section 8 -
A. The Employer shall encourage employees to work safely and to report any observed unsafe or unhealthy conditions to the employee's immediate supervisor. Stewards and other representatives of the Union, in the course of performing their normally assigned responsibilities, are encouraged to observe and report unsafe practices, equipment and conditions which may represent health or safety hazards. The Employer assures there will be no restraint or reprisal as a result of an employee's reporting an unsafe practice or condition.
B. Employees will report abuse, attacks and/or assaults on the part of patients/customers upon other patients/customers, visitors and staff. Upon request, Management agrees to meet with employees and/or Union representatives to discuss the above patient/customer misconduct and recommend remedial or corrective action.
Section 9 - Management agrees to assure prompt response to employee reports of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions and will require an inspection within 24 hours for employee reports of imminent danger conditions, or within 3 workdays for potentially serious safety and health conditions. If any inspection is made, the union will be informed and given an opportunity to be present and participate during the inspection. After an abatement of any area the union shall be given an opportunity to be present at the final inspection before the acceptance of the area for employee occupancy. However, an inspection may not be necessary if, through normal management action and with prompt notification to employees and safety and health committees, the hazardous condition(s) identified can be abated immediately. Any employee, or representative of employees, who believes that an unsafe or unhealthful working condition exists in any workplace where such employee is employed, is encouraged to report the unsafe condition to his/her supervisor and shall have the right to make a report of the unsafe or unhealthful working condition to the appropriate Agency safety and health inspector and/or OSHA and request an inspection of such workplace for this purpose.
Section 10 - Management agrees to ensure prompt abatement of unhealthful and unsafe working conditions. Once it has been determined that an unsafe or unhealthful working condition exists, a notice will be posted in accordance with 29 C.F.R. 1960. Whenever the facility cannot abate an unsafe or unhealthful working condition within 30 calendar days, it shall prepare an abatement plan with the cooperation of the facility's Safety and Health official or a designee and the Safety and Health Committee. The safety officer who prepares the abatement plan will forward a copy of the plan to the Safety and Health Committee. If there is no committee, the plan will be sent to the Union. Such plan shall contain a proposed time table for abatement and a summary of steps being taken in the interim to protect employees from being injured as a result of the unsafe or unhealthful working condition. All unit employees subject to the hazard shall be advised of the interim measures in effect and shall be kept informed of subsequent progress on the abatement plan. Prior to the establishment of the abatement plan, the facility Safety and Health official will request that the supervisor take interim steps for the protection of the employees. The supervisor shall comply with this request.
Section 11 - The term "imminent danger" means any conditions or practices in any workplace which are such that a danger exists which could reasonably be expected to cause death or serious physical harm immediately or before the imminence of such danger can be eliminated through normal procedures. In the case of imminent danger situations, employees shall make reports by the most expeditious means available. The employee has the right to decline to perform his or her assigned tasks because of a reasonable belief that under the circumstances, the task poses an imminent risk of death or serious bodily harm coupled with a reasonable belief that there is insufficient time to effectively seek corrective action through normal hazard reporting and abatement procedures. However, in these instances, the employee must report the situation to his/her supervisor or the next higher level supervisor who is immediately available. If the supervisor believes the condition or corrected condition does not pose an immediate danger, then the supervisor shall request an inspection by the appropriate safety officer as well as contact the designated union representative. A union representative shall be afforded the opportunity to be present at the time inspection is made. If the Safety Officer decides the condition does not pose an immediate danger, the instruction to return to work shall be in writing and contain a statement declaring the area or assignment to be safe. Any refusal to perform such assignment after the Safety Officer’s decision or written instruction to return to work might be cause for discipline. However, continued refusal by the employee at this point would be justified if there was a reasonable basis for the employee to believe the immediate danger still exists. It is also understood that at any time the management official finds there is an immediate danger, the employee will not be obligated to return to the assignment until the imminent danger is removed. Any refusal to perform such assignment after the safety officer’s decision or written instruction to return to work might be cause for discipline.
Section 12 - Employees must report any and all job-related injuries to their supervisor. The supervisor will take appropriate action to insure that:
A. The employee has the opportunity to report to the facility health unit or his/her personal physician for treatment and to complete necessary reports, etc.
B. The human resources management (HRM) office is promptly notified to insure timely processing of necessary reports and employee claims. Management agrees that the HRM office shall provide assistance to employees in preparing necessary forms and documents, and, if appropriate to submit them to the Office of Workers Compensation Program (OWCP), and also shall inform employees of their rights under the Federal Employees Compensation Act. Management agrees to provide employees with assistance in all phases of claims processing, including follow-up contacts with OWCP on the employee's behalf. When Management determines that employees are temporarily unable to perform their regular duties due to injury or occupational illness, but may be capable of returning to or remaining in a duty status, Management will make a good faith effort to locate a work assignment compatible with the employee's physical condition before sending the employee home. This good faith effort shall include an examination as to whether the employee's regular duties may be temporarily tailored to meet the situation.
Section 13 - The Employer agrees to maintain an employee occupational health program and to provide the following services:
A. Emergency diagnosis and initial treatment of injury or illness that becomes necessary during working hours and that is within the competency of the professional staff and facilities of the health service unit. If the illness or injury is job-related and if the health service unit is unable to provide the level of medical services necessary, the employee will be transported to the nearest appropriate medical facility at no charge to the employee to the extent permissible by law and current regulations.
B. Provisions for special health examination for specific categories of employees whose work environment presents peculiar health hazards.
C. Subject to availability of resources and staff, individual facilities may provide diagnosis and/or screening tests and health educational programs for unit employees as a health service.
D. Referral, upon request of the employee, to private physicians, dentists, and other community health resources. An employee will normally be expected to notify his/her supervisor of his intention to seek medical treatment in a health unit.
E. Management will make reasonable efforts to provide and/or make available appropriate stress management training for unit employees. Participation in such training will be excused with no charge to leave if otherwise in a duty status.
Section 14 - In the interest of the safety of employees, when requested, the Employer agrees to provide assistance, when available, to employees who are requested to move any furnishings such as desks, filing cabinets, etc. When such assistance is not immediately available, Management will normally wait a reasonable time before making the move in order to see if assistance becomes available.
Section 15 - The Union may request official time and tuition expenses for a Council representative to attend an annual OSHA sponsored training course. If the course offers a benefit to VA, the individual will be nominated by VA for the course and tuition and official time will be provided.
Section 16 - Communicable Diseases
A. Management recognizes its responsibilities to identify areas that may pose a hazard from highly communicable diseases. Areas that may contain highly communicable diseases will be identified along with appropriate information regarding protective measures needed. Employees will receive instructions on procedures for cleaning areas that have been identified as containing highly communicable diseases. Materials needed to clean or sanitize a room or a person will be made available to employees. This includes providing a sufficient number of proper fitting latex gloves, or comparable, that provide appropriate protection and assure safe use. The term comparable is not intended to reflect a lower level protection. Technology/material may change during the life of the contract. Unpowdered gloves will also be provided as needed.
B. The parties understand that HIV is not recognized as a highly communicable disease but that it could be life threatening if proper procedures were not followed. Facilities and employees will follow all applicable regulations and guidelines relating to the prevention of transmission of blood borne pathogens in the health care setting, commonly known as universal blood and body fluid precautions or "universal precautions." This includes having an approved HIV germicidal available for immediate use as established by CDC.
C. Employees will not be required to take leave after exposure to contagious diseases such as measles, unless they are considered "susceptible" after appropriate medical screening by the health service unit. The Agency, at the local level, will furnish the Local Union with a list of contagious diseases.
The parties recognize VA's every day efficiency is enhanced through a dependable and reliable workforce which is characterized by employees scheduling leave in advance (but for unforeseen illnesses and emergencies), reporting to work timely, and remaining on duty during the full period of their tours unless in an approved leave status. Local parties are encouraged to develop programs which foster these characteristics.
Section 1 - Annual Leave
Annual leave shall be earned in accordance with appropriate statutes and regulations. The Agency shall allow each employee to schedule annual leave as he or she requests, subject to approval by the appropriate official based on workload and staffing needs. Approving officials must give appropriate consideration to employees with emergency situations. The amount of leave for an emergency will not be arbitrarily assigned but will depend upon the appropriateness of the situation. Annual leave will be administered in accordance with Department regulations and other applicable laws and regulations, and the following:
A. Employees are encouraged to take two consecutive weeks annual leave for vacation purposes each year, proved that the employee's accrual leave rate and workload within the organization permits.
B. Normally, the employee will submit a scheduled leave request (to the immediate supervisor) between November 1 and December 31 of each year. Management will approve/disapprove the request in writing prior to February 1 of the next year. If the employee does not receive a response prior to February 1 of that year, the requested time is considered approved.
C. When making a routine request for annual leave the employee need not state the reason for the request. When leave is approved in advance for extended periods, such approved leave will be honored where staffing needs permit. When situations arise where previously approved leave must be canceled, the employee will be given a written statement why the leave was canceled and will be permitted to reschedule the leave as soon as staffing needs permit, and consideration will be given to that employee in accordance with the priority list prescribed in Section G of this Article.
D. Employees will normally be informed whether leave is approved or disapproved at the time it is requested. When a decision cannot be given immediately, it will be given as soon as possible after the request has been made, and normally not later than 24 hours. Upon request, employees will be furnished the reasons for disapproval in writing.
E. Where unforeseen emergencies arise and the employee requests annual leave, employees must contact their supervisor or designated alternate thereof, either personally or by phone, to request leave as soon as possible, but not later than two hours after the beginning of the regular work shift. If the employee is unable to call the employer due to unusual circumstances, a family member or other responsible person may call for the employee. This requirement may be waived because of special or unusual circumstances that preclude such notification.
F. Any employee in a use or lose status must be given consideration for their leave to be used by the end of the leave year, in accordance with the priority list contained in Section G. Management agrees to assist employees in scheduling use or lose leave. Such assistance will include a written notice to employees on or before June 1, of each year. Such notice will advise employees of the importance of requesting an adequate amount of leave to avoid the loss of leave. If the Employer prevents an employee from using previously scheduled and approved leave at the end of the year, that leave will be reinstated to be used in accordance with applicable regulations.
G. If there is a conflict in scheduling leave or when there is a mission need to cancel already approved leave which cannot be resolved by the individuals involved, the following priority list will be used:
Priority 1 - Two (2) weeks annual leave as stated in A., above, and holidays, scheduled in accordance with B., above.
(a) Employees who were employed at the local facility for the previous calendar year;
(b) Employees who did not have that time scheduled during the previous year;
(c) Employees who have not had a choice from the same group of Holidays that year;
(d) Service computation date (SCD); and
(e) Employees who have already incurred a substantial financial expenditure for use of that time period (after the leave has already been scheduled).
Priority 2 - Other scheduled leave:
(a) Employees who have already incurred a substantial financial expenditure for use of that time period (after the time has already been scheduled);
(c) Date of request;
(d) Employees who have use or lose leave; and
(e) Service computation date.
Once an employee's vacation time has been scheduled, he or she will normally be permitted to change his/her selection only if workload permits and no other employee's choice is disturbed, or if another employee agrees to trade.
H. Any management directed movement of an employee from one work location to another will not normally result in loss of an employee's use of approved leave.
I. In areas where 24 hour, 7 day per week staffing is necessary, Management agrees to make a good faith effort to honor an employee's request for two scheduled days off before and after a vacation period.
Section 2 - Holidays
A. Holidays for VA employees will be those established by Statute or Executive Order.
B. Management acknowledges that more liberal annual leave approval may be appropriate on days before and after holidays.
C. Employees will normally be permitted to incorporate both Christmas and New Years Day in their vacation plans. When there is a conflict between employees, preference will be given the employee who has not been granted those holidays in the previous year. If the conflict can not be resolved by the previous years schedule, it will be resolved by service computation date, with the most senior receiving priority.
D. In areas where 24 hour, 7 day a week staff is necessary, holidays shall be divided into three groups as follows:
Group 1: Martin Luther King's Birthday, presidents Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day;
Group 2: Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day
Group 3: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Years Day
The scheduling of holidays off (or days observed as holidays) within each of the individual groups listed above shall be equitably distributed consistent with the provisions of Section 1.(B). of this Article. Management shall strive to allow the maximum number of employees off on holidays as staffing and workload requirements permit.
E. Requests for holidays off in connection with annual leave will be considered as exercising an option for the holiday. Employees shall notify their supervisors of their preference of holidays in the following manner:
Group 1. Normally requests are to be submitted at least 6 weeks before any given holiday.
Group 2 and 3: Requests for these holidays are to be normally submitted at the time that annual leave is requested for prime vacation time but not later than six weeks before the holiday.
Employees will be promptly notified of the decision on their requests.
F. If a supervisor determines that not all employees who have indicated a preference for a given holiday can be excused on that holiday, the conflict between employees shall be resolved by using the priority list in Section 1G. of this Article.
Section 3 - Sick Leave
A. Sick leave shall be granted to employees upon request of the employee or his/her family member for any of the following reasons:
(1) When the employee is incapacitated for the performance of duty because of sickness, injury, or pregnancy and confinement;
(2) For medical, dental, or optical examination or treatment;
(3) When a member of the employee's immediate family is afflicted with contagious disease and requires the personal care and attendance of the employee;
(4) When, through exposure to contagious disease, the presence of the employee at the place of duty would jeopardize the health of others; or
(5) To participate in substance abuse treatment programs or counseling that would not be covered by authorized absence.
B. Application for leave and a medical certificate or equivalent will not be required for a sick leave period of three consecutive work days or less unless an employee is suspected of sick leave abuse. Normally employees will be advised in advance in writing of such requirement. All written notices shall explain in detail why the requirement has been established and what actions must be taken in order to get it removed. In all cases, the written notice shall be reviewed with the employee no later than 6 months afterward. If no sick leave misuse is shown during the six month period, the requirement shall be removed, and the notice removed from all records. If the notice is continued, the employee will be notified in writing of the reason for the continuance. Use of all available leave or absence on approved leave on many occasions does not in itself constitute misuse of sick leave.
C. Employees on sick leave for more than 3 consecutive work days or on leave restriction must furnish satisfactory evidence of their need for sick leave within a reasonable time after returning to duty. When a medical certificate is not furnished due to a shortage of physicians, remoteness of locality, or because the nature of illness did not require a physician's services, or other valid reason, the employee's signed statement of reasons why other supporting evidence is not furnished will normally be accepted in lieu of a medical certification. However, if an employee is on leave restriction, management may require a physician's statement for every use of sick leave.
D. It is the responsibility of an employee who is incapacitated for duty to report or to have some responsible person report his or her illness as soon as possible to the supervisor, or designee. This must be accomplished no later than two hours after the employee is scheduled to report for duty unless there are mitigating circumstances. An employee who expects to be absent more than one day shall inform the supervisor of the approximate date of return to duty, if possible. If he or she does so, daily reports will not be required. An employee will not routinely be required to reveal the nature of illness as a condition for approval. Failure to furnish the nature of illness will not, in itself, serve as a basis for disapproval.
Section 4 - Maternity/Paternity Leave
Sick leave, annual leave, or leave without pay may be granted as appropriate to any employee who is pregnant, during delivery, confinement, and for care of the infant. Annual leave or leave without pay may be granted to male employees in order to aid or assist in care of his minor children or the mother of the newborn child in relation to confinement for maternity reasons. Sick leave, annual leave, or leave without pay, as appropriate, also may be granted to any employee when adopting a child.
Section 5 - Military Leave
A. Employees will be granted military leave in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 6323, and MP-5, Part I, Chapter 630, or MP-5, Part II, Chapter 7, as applicable. Employees will be provided advice on leave benefits by the human resources management office upon request.
(2) Provide evidence of the requirement (written orders or confirmation of orders by the individual's military commander).
(3) Request military leave, annual leave, or leave without pay as appropriate, using standard form 71, Application for Authorized Leave, or electronic procedures.
(4) Furnish a certification of completion of training or active service from the military commander or superior upon returning to his or her civilian position.
C. Employees will be granted military leave, annual leave or leave without
pay for all required military time, including drill weekends. Requests
to perform active or inactive duty for training that is in addition to
required military duty will not be viewed as requiring automatic approval,
but will be considered on a case by case basis.
Section 6 - Administrative Leave or Excused Absence
Consistent with Agency policy, management officials may grant absences from duty without charge to leave. The following gives some of the activities for which excused absences will normally be authorized. This is not an all inclusive list. MP-5, Part I, Chapter 630 spells out other instances when excused absence may be authorized. Administrative leave is treated as time worked for all purposes, except that the employee is excused from his regular assigned duties.
A. Infrequent or brief periods of absence or tardiness of less than one hour due to circumstances beyond the employee's control;
B. Employees who give blood without compensation may be excused without charge to leave for any portion of the day blood is donated, for travel to the donation site, donation and recovery. Normally this will not exceed 4 hours unless travel time is required.
C. For registering to vote and/or voting in governmental elections. When the polls are not open at least three hours either before or after an employee's regular hours of work, he or she may be granted an amount of excused absence to vote which will permit the employee to report for work 3 hours after the polls open or to leave work 3 hours before the polls close, whichever requires the lesser amount of time off.
D. Fulfillment of administrative responsibilities in connection with a nonlocal transfer;
E. Time spent in approved training;
F. Non-duty status when allowing the employee to continue working would be dangerous to life or property, or otherwise inconsistent with the fulfillment of the agency mission;
G. Severe weather and emergency situations;
H. Emergency treatment due to an on-the-job injury;
I. Jury duty;
J. As a witness in the employee's official capacity as a Federal employee, serving as a witness in behalf of the Employer or the United States in compliance with applicable regulations;
K. Court leave.
L. When an employee requires emergency treatment due to an on the job
injury, the employee will remain in pay status until released from the
emergency room or until the end of the scheduled shift.
Section 7 - Leave Without Pay
Employees who do not have leave to their credit and wish to take leave for emergencies or other necessities may be granted leave without pay (LWOP) upon request. Employees may also be granted leave without pay upon request if they have leave to their credit but choose not to take it. Leave without pay may be granted on an extended basis for educational purposes, while awaiting action on a disability retirement or OWCP claim, and may be granted while serving as an officer or representative of NFFE or the NFFE Council of consolidated VA locals when involved in matters other than those covered by official time. Requests will be considered on an individual basis. Leave without pay may be granted for other reasons consistent with Department policy. The Employer will notify each employee of the effect that taking a period of extended leave without pay (more than 30 days) would have upon his/her employment status and benefits. This will be done prior to the time the leave is scheduled to commence and is actually taken, when the leave is requested in advance.
Section 8 - Disabled Veterans
When a disabled Veteran employee presents a statement from a medical authority that treatment is required, annual leave or sick leave will be granted, if available; otherwise, leave without pay will be granted. The granting of such leave is mandatory provided that the Veteran gives prior notice of definite days and hours of absence for medical treatment.
Section 9 - Family Friendly Leave
Employees may use the provisions of the Federal Employees Family Friendly Leave Act which expands the use of sick leave by permitting most employees to use a total of up to 104 hours of sick leave each leave year (or, in the case of part-time employee with an uncommon tour of duty, the number of hours of sick leave normally accrued during a leave year) for the following:
(1) To provide care for a family member as a result of a physical or mental illness, injury, pregnancy, childbirth; or for a medical, dental, or optical examination or treatment; or
(2) Make arrangements necessitated by the death of a family member or attend the funeral of a family member.
Under this act all covered full-time employees will be able to use a total of up to 40 hours (5 workdays) of sick leave each year for family care or bereavement purposes. In addition, a covered full-time employee who maintains a balance of at least 80 hours of sick leave will be able to use an additional 64 hours (8 workdays) of sick leave per year for these purposes. This brings the total amount of sick leave available for family care and bereavement purposes to a maximum of 104 hours (13 workdays) per year for employees who satisfy this condition. This act includes the broader definition of "family member" that is used in the Federal leave sharing program.
Pay, Leave Statements and Per Diem
Section 1 - The Department will assist any employee who does not receive a paycheck in a timely fashion. The Department will initiate immediate action, in accordance with U.S. Treasury and VA regulations, to secure a pay check for employees whose paycheck does not arrive timely, including requesting a duplicate check if the regular pay check is more than 3 days late. The parties agree whenever the Agency's error results in a failure of an employee to receive full salary payment on time, the Agency will take immediate action to expedite payment to the employee. This might include payment from petty cash, duplicate check, partial check, etc., to the extent that may be authorized.
Section 2 - Pay Check and Leave and Earnings Statements
The parties recognize that it is the employee's responsibility to timely make arrangements for delivery of the employee's pay check.
A. Employees are encouraged to have their paychecks delivered by Direct Deposit(DD) or Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) to a financial institute of their choice. This will be the norm. Where an employee does not elect either of these methods of payment, the pay check and Earnings and Leave Statement will be delivered as outlined in B., below.
(1) Normally pay checks will be available for pick up at the agent cashier during normal duty hours. Earnings and Leave Statements will be delivered to employees at their worksite or duty station during the employee's duty hours.
(2) If the employee is not at the duty station, pay checks and Earnings and Leave Statements will be secured and made available to the employee upon return, or, upon timely notice mailed to an address designated by the employee.
(3) Employees will receive pay checks and Earnings and Leave Statements on payday or as soon as received thereafter. Earnings and Leave Statements will be distributed to each employee in a manner to insure security and confidentiality. This will normally be by hand delivery.
(4) The above procedures will be communicated to each new employee as soon as possible and not later than 30 days after being employed. All employees on board will be advised of these procedures within 30 days of the facility's receipt of this agreement.
Section 3 - Per Diem
Under normal conditions, Management will plan trip assignments far enough in advance so that if an employee needs a per diem advance, sufficient time will be available to request and receive the advance to use on the assigned trip. It is understood that employees who are considered frequent travelers may be issued a credit card for Government employees, and will be required to follow the provisions governing its use. Each employee will be told the per diem rates applicable to their trip as soon as Management ascertains which rates apply. Employees will be reimbursed for expenses involved in official business in accordance with regulations. If an employee is not notified of travel in time to receive an advance from the normal financial source, a cash advance of funds will be granted to the extent permissible by appropriate regulations. If the employee has paid travel expenses out of pocket and has not received reimbursement within 30 calendar days after submitting a properly completed travel voucher, Management will initiate a follow-up with the appropriate fiscal authority in an effort to secure payment. Employees who are required to use their automobile for the performance of official duties will be reimbursed for mileage and parking expenses in accordance with applicable laws and VA regulations.
Performance Appraisal System
Section 1 - Purpose
The parties to this agreement each recognize that high level performance by the Department’s employees is essential to the efficient operation of the Department and is necessary for the achievement of its goals and programs. The purpose of this article is to set forth a fair and equitable procedure to be utilized by supervisors when informing employees of their performance. The Department’s employee performance appraisal system will be administered in accordance with the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 4301 et seq. and 5 CFR, Part 430 as amended and in accordance with the VA Performance Appraisal Program outlined in VA handbook, 5430.1 as supplemented by this agreement.
Section 2 - Policy
A new department wide performance appraisal program established two levels of performance, successful (pass) and unacceptable (fail), effective April 1, 1997. Employees will continue to be covered under their current performance plan until performance plans are issued under the appraisal program. For RIF purposes, employees within the same competitive area should have the same number of ratings under the new program to adjust for possible variations in appraisal cycles.
Section 3 - Performance Plan
Employees and their Union representatives will be involved in the development of performance plans, including establishment and changes in performance standards and elements. Any newly established standards and critical elements must be established and communicated to the employee within 90 days of the implementation of the new two tier system. A copy of any draft performance standards will be provided to the affected employee(s) and the Local Union, and each will be provided up to ten (10) workdays to provide comments. When requested, management and the employee(s) will meet to discuss the draft and review any responses/comments received prior to issuing final standards. If the standards are not changed the Union Local and the affected employees will be given a response in writing. Supervisors will meet with affected employee(s) to promote a common understanding of what is required for satisfactory performance and how employees may exceed the standards prior to implementation. Although performance standards may be modified during the appraisal cycle such changes will be kept to a minimum. The reasons for such changes will be explained to the affected employees at the time the proposed changes are distributed. Employees who enter unit positions or are promoted, demoted, or reassigned to a different unit position should have their new performance standards communicated to them as soon as possible, but normally no later that 30 days after assuming the duties of the new position. In addition to the above, any employee who has been detailed for the purposes of working official duty time for partnership and or union positions, i.e.: Local Presidents on permanent official time will be assigned a presumptory rating of successful for reduction in force purposes (RIF).
Section 4 - Performance Standards
To the extent feasible, each employee’s standard will permit the accurate evaluation of job performance on the basis of objective criteria related to the employee’s job. Performance standards will be defined at the successful (pass) level for each critical element to be used in the summary rating of each employee. Additional elements may be included in performance plans but may not be included in the summary rating.
A performance standard is an expression of the performance requirements that must be met to be appraised at the met (pass) level. A performance standard may include quality, quantity, timeliness or manner of performance, but in any case must be measurable.
Section 5 - Performance Rating Procedures
The evaluation of employees shall be objective to the extent possible.
A. In the interest of providing for objectivity in an appraisal, an employee should have been working under the supervisory and performance plan for at least ninety days. When this is not the case, the rating will be deferred until these time frames are met. Ratings will not be deferred on employees who are detailed to work partnership or union duties positions on a full time basis.
B. The rating official shall be a supervisor/management official who has direct knowledge about the employee’s performance and the type of work performed, and has had access to all the employee’s performance records.
C. The rater will discuss the employee’s job performance in private surroundings where available on a continuing basis, but at least twice in conjunction with the appraisal cycle prior to the final rating. The review shall be documented on the appraisal form.
D. If the rater has identified shortcommings in the employee’s performance the employee shall be notified when the problem is perceived. Where performance is less than satisfactory, the rater will suggest ways for the employee to improve his/her work in order to more satisfactorily perform duties at expected levels.
E. Employees will be rated annually through March 31 unless another rating cycle is mutually agreed to. Employees will be afforded ten workdays to submit a self-assessment providing information related to their performance during the appraisal period. The rater will consider all information such as assignments of any duration, abnormal work situations and factors beyond the employee’s control. Any discussions held with employees at this time concerning their performance will be conducted in private surroundings where available.
F. Raters are required to assist employees whose performance is less than successful (pass). A memorandum will be prepared for employees whose performance is less than successful (pass), explaining how their performance is less than successful, what specific assistance will be provided to assist them in improving their performance and that they have at least 90 days to improve their performance to the successful (pass) level. If the level is brought up to the pass level during the PIP that level must be maintained for at least a year. Normally, management is not obligated to provide more than two PIPs in one year. If an employee does not improve the level to pass during the PIP, a performance-based adverse action or other alternative action may be proposed by management.
G. Within 30 days after the end of the appraisal period, a written rating of record shall be prepared and given to each employee.
H. On the performance plan, feedback from customers, peers, and other appropriate sources may be used but must be substantiated as valid.
Action Based on Unacceptable Performance
Section 1 - Performance based actions do not apply to -
A. the reduction in grade or removal of an employee in the competitive service who is serving a probationary or trial period under an initial appointment or who has not completed 1 year of current continuous employment or
B. The reduction in grade or removal of an employee in the excepted service who has not completed 1 year of current continuous employment in the same or similar position.
A. Prior to proposing an action under this Section based on unacceptable performance a formal 90 day or longer opportunity to improve period shall be given to the employee. Such notice shall specify what the employee must do to bring performance to a successful level during the opportunity period and what assistance will be offered to the employee in this effort.
B. If at the end of an opportunity period the individual is performing at a successful level, he/she must maintain this level for one year from the beginning date of the opportunity period. Failure to do so may result in a proposal to demote or remove without benefit of another opportunity period. If the performance during the opportunity period increases to a successful level, the employee will upon request be notified in writing that improvement has occurred.
C. An employee whose reduction in grade or removal is proposed is entitled to;
1. Thirty (30) days advance written notice which identifies:
(a.) Specific instances of unacceptable performance by the employee on which the proposed action is based;
(b.) The critical element(s) of the employee’s position involved in each instance of unacceptable performance.
2. Representation by NFFE representative(s) or other representative;
3. A reasonable time to answer orally and in writing (not less that 14 days); and
4. A written decision which;
(a.) Specifies the instances of unacceptable performance by the employee on which the reduction in grade or removal is based; and
(b.) Unless proposed by the head of the Department has been concurred in by an employee who is in a higher position than the employee who proposed the action;
(c.) Specifies the employee’s appeal right; and
(d.) Will be delivered at least five calendar days prior to the effective date of the action.
Disciplinary and Adverse Actions
(Not arising out of or involving a question of professional conduct or competence.)
A. Management agrees that action taken against unit employees will be taken for just cause, consistent with applicable laws, and be fair and equitable. The parties agree that the concept of progressive discipline, designed primarily to correct and improve employee behavior, rather than to punish, will usually be followed. A more serious penalty than the least available may be taken whenever required by law or regulations, or required to correct the attitude or conduct of the employee. Usually progressively more severe penalties will be administered before removal is initiated unless the offense is so serious that removal is justified. Employees will not be subjected to arbitrary or unreasonable acts by supervising personnel.
B. Alternative Discipline (AD)
The parties recognize that traditional discipline may not be indicated in all cases. In many situations, AD techniques may provide a more constructive approach to positively influencing future behavior. In these cases the local parties are encouraged to consider using such techniques.
Section 2 - Preliminary Investigations
In every case to determine what action is warranted, inquiry will be made into the incident or situation, as soon as possible. Ordinarily this inquiry will be made by the appropriate line supervisor. However, as appropriate, it may be necessary for other management officials to make the preliminary inquiry. The employee who is alleged to have committed the offense and any other persons who may have pertinent information about the case will be questioned, and signed statements ordinarily will be obtained. Information will be developed impartially, and reasonable effort will be made to reconcile conflicting statements by developing additional evidence. In all cases, the information obtained will be documented. Written material such as supervisory notes may be used to support an action detrimental to an employee if such material has been shown to the employee in a timely manner after the occurrence of the act and a copy provided to the employee upon request. The Union shall be given the opportunity to be represented at any examination of a unit employee by a management official in any investigation which may result in disciplinary or adverse action being taken against the employee and the employee requests representation.
Section 3 -
For the purpose of this Article disciplinary actions are taken to correct misconduct and to enforce prescribed rules of behavior. Discipline will be promptly administered based upon the circumstances and complexity of each case. It includes admonishments, reprimands, and suspensions of 14 days or less. Adverse actions are a removal, separation for disability, suspension for more than 14 days, furlough for 30 days (22 non-continuous days) or less, or reduction in grade or pay effected by management for either disciplinary or non-disciplinary reasons, except for those which are excluded by law or regulation (see 5 CFR, pt. 752). The following definitions apply:
A. Disciplinary Actions
(1) Admonishment. A written statement of censure given to an employee for a minor act or misconduct.
(2) Reprimand. A written statement of censure given to an employee for repeated or more severe misconduct.
(3) Suspension of less than 15 calendar days. A suspension of 14 calendar days or less is an enforced temporary non-pay status and absence from duty. Such action is given for serious misconduct. It may also be given for continued or repeated acts of misconduct of a less serious nature.
B. Adverse Actions
Normally admonishments will be retained for six months to one year. Normally reprimands will be retained for one to two years. However, in cases of patient abuse, disciplinary actions may be retained in the OPF for as long as the individual is employed by VA. In extraordinary circumstances, the time frames may be shortened or lengthened by the issuing official. The employee may, after 6 months, make a written request to the issuing official that the admonishment be withdrawn. The employee may, after one year make a written request to the issuing official that the reprimand be withdrawn. The removal of these actions depends upon the employee’s record being clean during the time of retention and the seriousness of the offense. Except in the case of disparate treatment, the decision to remove disciplinary actions is excluded from the provisions of Article 6. Suspensions which are more than 4 years old will be examined closely to determine their appropriateness in support of further disciplinary/adverse actions.
Section 5 - Procedures
A. Letters of Admonishment or Reprimand: An admonishment or reprimand will be in the form of an official letter to the employee describing the action taken and why it was taken, including the policy, regulation, or law violated. It will advise the employee that a copy of a disciplinary action and any written explanation or comments regarding the disciplinary action will be placed in the employee’s Official Personnel Folder (OPF). The disciplinary action will contain a statement advising the employee of the right to appeal the action under the negotiated grievance procedure (Article 6) and will inform the employee of the withdrawal provisions. The employee will also be informed that he/she may discuss the matter with their supervisor.
B. Suspension of 14 Days or Less and Adverse Actions:
(1) Prior to taking suspensions of 14 days or less and adverse actions, employees will be given advance written notice of the action proposed. The advance notice period for an adverse action will be not less than 30 calendar days unless there is reasonable cause to believe the employee has committed a crime for which a sentence of imprisonment may be imposed. In these instances the advance notice may be limited to 7 days. All advance notices of proposed action will contain, at a minimum, the following information: (See MP-5, Part I, chapter 752 for additional information)
(a) The nature of the action proposed.
(b) The specific charges upon which the proposed action is based, including names, dates, places, and other data sufficient to enable the employee to fully understand the charges and to respond to them.
(c) Any specific law, regulation, policy, procedure, practice or other specific instruction that has been violated as it pertains to the charge(s).
(d) The right to review the material relied upon to support the reasons for the proposed action, including any prior applicable discipline or adverse actions.
(e) The right to reply orally or in writing, or both orally and in writing, and to submit affidavits and other documentary evidence in support of the reply.
(f) The right to a reasonable amount of time to submit the reply. The employee will have 7 days to respond on a proposed disciplinary` action and 14 days to respond on a proposed adverse action.
(2) The employee will be given a written decision as soon as possible after his or her reply has been fully considered or after the expiration of the time allowed for reply should the employee not reply. Time limits for the employee’s response may be extended upon request. After carefully considering the evidence and the employee’s response, if any, including any mitigating factors, the deciding official shall make a timely decision. Such decision may not be more severe than that which was proposed.
(3) The decision letter shall contain, at a minimum, the following information: (See MP-5, Part I, Chapter 752 for additional information).
Employee Assistance Program
Section 1 - General
The Department shall maintain an effective employee assistance program meeting the requirements of applicable laws, regulations and guidelines found in Public Law 91-616, Public Law 92-255, and 5 C.F.R. Part 792. Locally, the Union and the Employer shall discuss and negotiate consistent with the law and VA policy any proposed changes or recommendations relative to the program for employees with medical/behavioral problems. The parties at the local level may negotiate local procedures for cooperation in carrying out the intent of this policy. Union members involved in representation pursuant to this Article shall be considered to be on official duty. Employee participation in the program shall be voluntary.
Section 2 - Policy
A. The Employer recognizes alcoholism, other drug or chemical dependencies, and mental illness as illnesses. Employees who have these illnesses will receive the same careful consideration and respect as employees who have any other illness. The Employer will respect an individual's right to privacy.
B. It is the basic function of a supervisor to identify poor job performance and to take corrective action. The Employer recognizes, however, that supervisors may not have the professional qualifications to diagnose such problems as alcoholism, drug dependency, or mental illness.
C. Diagnosis and/or treatment should be accomplished by referral of employees to professional treatment and assistance sources.
D. The parties agree that confidential handling of problems under this program is essential.
Section 3 - Responsibilities and Guidelines
The following program provisions will apply:
A. A supervisor shall immediately refer to the program any employee who acknowledges having a medical or behavioral problem either of his or her own or of a family member which is affecting the employee's performance or conduct. If the supervisor reasonably suspects that the employee has a problem in this area, he or she should refer the employee's name to the program advisor. Once a supervisor makes a referral, the supervisor will follow up with the program advisor in order to keep abreast of available information regarding the employee's progress.
B. Employees may voluntarily seek assistance under the program.
C. A coordinator or counselor will be made available upon request within a reasonable time period to employees at all locations.
D. Participation in the program shall not jeopardize an employee's job security or his/her opportunity for promotion.
E. Sick leave, annual leave, or leave without pay will be granted for treatment or counseling sessions consistent with practices for other illnesses or circumstances.
F. The coordinator shall maintain an up-to-date listing of community facilities for treatment of medical/behavioral problems. The listing shall include the cost of such services and eligibility requirements.
G. If an employee wants to be accompanied by any individual (such as
union representative, family member, clergyman) at the initial discussion
with a program counselor, the additional person may attend.
Section 4 - Confidentiality
The confidential nature of medical records of employees with medical/behavioral problems shall be maintained. Neither counselor nor any management official shall reveal the name of a person voluntarily seeking assistance without the employee's written consent.
Section 5 - Publicity
Management is committed to providing an effective Employee Assistance Program that instills confidence in the employees that rehabilitation is available and that positive efforts will be made to return the employee to full performance. Management will provide reasonable publicity about the Employee Assistance Program aimed at enhancing employee understanding of the program. Management shall post its written policy on the Employee Assistance Program, news about the program, and assurances of confidentiality for participants on official bulletin boards.
Section 6 - The Union may have a representative at any training program provided for unit employees concerning the Employee Assistance Program. The union representative will be provided official time if otherwise in a duty status for such attendance. At the option of Management, union officials may be invited to management training on the program. If Management elects not to invite union officials, Management agrees to provide the Union with a briefing of the training conducted.
Equal Employment Opportunity and Upward Mobility
Section 1 - The parties agree that they are mutually committed to the principle of equal opportunity in employment or conditions of employment for all persons. They further agree that discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or non-disqualifying handicap shall be prohibited. Management agrees to promote the full realization of equal employment opportunity through a positive and continuing effort.
Section 2 - Management agrees to maintain a sufficient number of EEO counselors who are properly trained, available and accessible to all employees. All counselors will be specifically informed of the unit employee's right to file a grievance under the negotiated grievance procedure or file an EEO complaint. The Union at each facility may recommend employees for EEO counselor positions. Such employees will be given consideration based solely on their ability to perform the EEO counselor functions.
Section 3 - An employee may have a representative of his/her choice at any stage in the processing of an EEO complaint, except that only a Union representative may represent the employee under the grievance procedure in Article 6. Where the employee chooses to proceed through the EEO procedure, his/her designation of a representative shall be in writing. In cases where the representation of a complainant or agency would conflict with the official or collateral duties of the representative, the Commission or the agency may, after giving the representative an opportunity to respond, disqualify the representative. For example, an employee may not serve as an EEO counselor, investigator, or EEO specialist and be a Union or personal representative on the same case. Such would be considered a conflict of interest. A Union Representative will be provided information necessary to properly represent the employee, in accordance with law, regulation and this agreement.
Section 4 - The parties recognize that the goal of the upward mobility program is to provide opportunities for employees to advance so as to perform at their highest potential consistent with the needs of VA. Subject to these needs and available resources, Management agrees to evaluate situations where vacancies can be filled at lower grade trainee levels. When positions are identified, the positions will be announced at grade levels below the target level and employees' performance potential for the target grade will be considered as a primary evaluation factor in the rating and ranking process. Employees selected for such positions will be provided specialized training geared to assist them in reaching satisfactory performance in the target position. Employees may seek guidance from their supervisor or the human resources management office if they are interested in learning about career opportunities.
Section 5 - Any employee engaging in discriminatory practices against other employees shall be subject to prompt disciplinary action.
Section 6 - The Union at the local level will be allowed at least one member on local EEO committees.
Section 7 - The Employer agrees to allow the Union an opportunity to review and comment on the Department facility Affirmative Employment Plan. The Union will also be given an opportunity to review and comment on a Federal Employment Opportunity Recruitment Program plan prior to its implementation.
[Not Applicable To Individuals Appointed Under 38 U.S.C. 7401(3) And Individuals Appointed Under 38 U.S.C. 7405 to Occupations Listed in 7401(3)]
Section 1 - Each unit employee is entitled to a complete and accurate position/job description which shall be reviewed annually by the employee and management. Duties and responsibilities which may have an impact on the series, grade level or performance standards of the position shall be promptly incorporated in the position/job description to insure that the accuracy of the classification is maintained. The term "performs other duties as assigned" as used in position/job descriptions means duties related to the basic job. This phrase will not be used to regularly assign work to an employee which is not reasonably related to the basic position/job description. This provision in no way precludes management from including additional though unrelated duties in the position description nor does it prevent management from assigning duties to employees.
Section 2 - The Union will be provided a copy of new or revised position descriptions upon written request. Upon request, the Union may review the material utilized to arrive at the assigned title, series and grade.
Section 3 - Management agrees to provide the Local Union with copies of any new classification standards for bargaining unit positions, and when requested, copies of any position classification audits performed on unit positions resulting in a change of series and/or grade.
Section 4 - Any employee in the unit who feels that he/she is performing duties outside the scope of the position/job description or that his/her position is inaccurately described or classified, may request, through the immediate supervisor, that the position be reviewed. In conducting such reviews, the reviewer will consider the employee's written or oral comments. The employee, if he/she so chooses, may be assisted or represented by a local union representative. If the employee, or the employee's union representative, is not satisfied with the accuracy of the position/job description after discussion with the supervisor, they may present their views to the HRM official responsible for the classification. That person will look into the position and advise the employee, or his/her representative, of the findings. If the employee is not satisfied with the results of such a review, he/she shall be furnished, in writing, information on appeal rights and procedures, upon request. An employee who files a classification or job grading appeal to the Department shall have their appeal decided within 60 days from the date of Department receipt of the employee's completed statement. Employees or their representative will be provided, upon request, a copy of the classification or job grading appeal file.
Workweeks, Hours of Work and Flexitime
To the extent practicable, alternative work schedules may be established at the local level in accordance with applicable law and regulations and subject to the following conditions:
(A) Flexible work schedules consisting of flexitour and modified flexitour as described in MP-5, Part I, Chapter 610, Section B, Change 3, September 8, 1993.
(B) Compressed work schedules as described in MP-5, Part I, Chapter 610, Section B, Change 3, September 8, 1993.
(C) Provisions of this Article are not intended to negate any compressed workweek/flexitime schedules now in effect. Their continuance will be decided at the local level. When local management makes a determination to implement, change or terminate a compressed workweek/flexitime schedule, the Union will be notified and upon request, negotiations will take place as permitted by law and regulation.
(D) All employees enrolled in educational courses may request an exception
to work schedules and tours of duty.
Section 2 - Religious Observances
In accordance with law and regulations, an employee whose personal religious beliefs require that he/she be absent from work during his/her scheduled work period may request, subject to the approval of the overtime approving officials, to engage in overtime work for time lost, and be granted (in lieu of overtime pay) compensatory time for the hours missed for religious observance.
Section 3 - Rest Break
Each employee is authorized one fifteen (15) minute rest break within each four hour work period including overtime. Where possible, employees shall be allowed to take the rest break away from the immediate worksite. It is agreed that the rest periods may not be continuations of the lunch period and they may not be granted immediately after the beginning of the work shift or immediately prior to quitting time, nor shall they be accumulated. Although there may be rare occasions when employees may not be able to exercise this right, it will not be arbitrarily withheld.
A. Employees whose regularly scheduled shift includes a 30 minute non-paid lunch period may normally leave their worksites during their lunch breaks. Where employees are required to work all or part of their scheduled lunch period, they shall receive overtime or compensatory time for such time worked.
B. Employees whose regularly scheduled shift of 8 hours or more does not include a non-paid meal period and work load permits, the employee will be afforded the opportunity to eat at some time during this tour.
Section 1 - Employee's will receive overtime or compensatory time in accordance with applicable laws and regulations for work performed after the employee's normal daily or weekly tour.
A. Overtime is creditable in increments of fifteen minutes. Any period of eight minutes or more is creditable as a fifteen minute increment and any period of less than eight minutes is disregarded.
B. Consistent with law and government wide regulation, employees covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) may elect to receive overtime pay or compensatory time for directed overtime. Employees covered by FLSA may be asked by VA to perform overtime work for compensatory time. Exempt employees whose rate of basic pay is at or below the maximum rate of GS-10 may elect to receive compensatory time instead of overtime pay. Exempt employees whose rate of basic pay exceeds the maximum for GS-10 may be directed to complete overtime work and receive compensatory time. Employee elections for compensatory time will be in writing.
C. Consistent with law and government-wide regulations employees covered by Federal Wage System (FWS), whether FLSA exempt or FLSA nonexempt, are eligible for compensatory time. Compensatory time must be requested by the employee.
Section 2 - The method of scheduling overtime will be subject to negotiations in local supplemental agreements. Overtime will be administered in a fair and equitable manner.
Section 3 - Records showing the overtime distribution shall be maintained. The employer will make available to the local union, upon request, available records of overtime assignment of unit employees.
A. An employee who is officially scheduled to be on-call outside the employee's regular duty hours shall receive 10 percent of the employees applicable overtime rate for on-call duty. While in an on-call status, an employee shall be available for prompt return to duty to perform service.
B. An employee who is called back to work while in an on-call status will be paid a minimum of two hours overtime. On-call shall be suspended during the actual period of overtime duty; when released from overtime duty the employee shall return to the remaining scheduled on-call duty, if any, and receive on-call pay accordingly. When the period of call-back overtime merges with the employee's regular tour of duty, two hours minimum overtime pay does not apply.
C. On-call employees shall be compensated if called in for duty. Employees may be temporarily removed from on-call status in advance of being called in by contacting management for appropriate arrangements.
D. When on-call is mandated for a particular occupation and/or unit, Management agrees to solicit volunteers for on-call status. When sufficient qualified volunteers are not available, on-call duty status will be scheduled in a fair and equitable manner among qualified employees.
Reduction in Force and Reorganization
Section 1 - The Department and NFFE jointly recognize the desirability of maintaining the stability of employment for employees.
Section 2 - The Employer agrees to notify the Council President at least 120 days prior to the effective date of any reduction in force, reorganization, transfer of function or change in duty station involving one NFFE bargaining unit which may result in separation of 50 or more employees, or more than one NFFE bargaining unit which may result in separation of 100 or more employees. In all cases the local union will be notified in writing of a proposed reduction in force, reorganization, transfer of function or change of duty station at least 60 days prior to the effective date. At that time, Management will advise the local union of the reasons for the reduction in force, reorganization, transfer of function, or change of duty station, the number, title, series and grades of positions which they expect to be abolished, and the measures which management proposes to take to reduce the adverse impact on employees. The above notices to the Union will be done before any notification is given to employees. Notice to employees shall comply with the requirements of 5 C.F.R. Part 351, MP-5, Part I, Chapter 351, any other written VA policies and this agreement, and shall include information regarding the employee's rights of appeal.
Section 3 - Management will give employees a 60 day specific written notice before the effective date of release except if the reduction in force is caused by circumstances not reasonably foreseeable; then VA, with approval of the Office of Personnel Management, may shorten the notice period to a period of not less than 30 full days before the effective date of the release.
Section 4 - Management recognizes that it has an obligation, consistent with the Statute, to negotiate with the union, if requested, on any reduction in force or reorganization prior to implementation.
Section 5 - The Union and Management will jointly encourage each employee to see that his/her personnel file and SF-171, Optional Form (OF) 612 resume or other reasonable facsimiles are up to date as soon as the reduction in force, reorganization, transfer of function or change of duty station as listed in Section 2 is announced. Management will add to the personnel file appropriate changes or amendments requested by the employee. The personnel file, with appropriate qualification documents will be used as needed to match employees with vacancies.
Section 6 - Although management is not obligated to fill vacancies in a reduction in force or reorganization,
A. To the extent possible, necessary and continuing vacancies will be used to provide placement opportunities for employees who will be adversely affected by a reduction in force or reorganization. When management chooses to offer vacancies, qualifications may be waived in accordance with applicable regulations. The five-grades or grade-levels restriction for 30% or more compensably disabled veterans does not apply to vacancies used to afford assignment rights. Therefore, the vacancies offered under this provision must not be more than three grades or grade levels below the positions held by released employees.
Section 7 - All actions involving reduction in force shall be administered in accordance with 5 C.F.R. Part 351, MP-5, Part I, Chapter 351 and other written Department of Veterans Affairs policies and this agreement.
Section 1 - In the event career or career-conditional unit employees are being separated as a result of a reduction-in-force, transfer of function or change in duty station, facility management will establish a program of outplacement assistance consistent with the requirements of 5 CFR, and MP-5, Part I, Chapters 330 and 351 and the VA Career Transition Assistance Plan where applicable. The primary aim of the program will be to find continuing Federal employment for affected employees.
Section 2 - The Union and Management will jointly encourage each employee to see that his/her personnel file and SF-171, Optional Form (OF) 612, resume or reasonable facsimile are up-to-date as soon as the RIF, transfer of function, change in duty station or reorganization is announced. Management will add to the personnel file appropriate changes or amendments requested by the employee. The personnel file, the SF-171, OF 612, resume or reasonable facsimile will be used as needed to match employees with vacancies.
Section 3 - The Human Resources Management office will review the folders of employees being separated to identify the specific grades and series of positions for which the employees qualify, and determine the interest of employees in order to develop the best opportunities for continued employment. The Union, with the employee's permission, may review the above mentioned files.
Section 4 - An eligible employee may participate in the program unless he/she accepts or declines a reasonable offer of a non-temporary position for which the rate of basic pay is equal to or higher than the rate to which the employee is entitled under pay retention.
Contracting Out Work
Section 1 - Periodic briefings will be held with NFFE officials at the local and national levels for the purpose of providing the Union with information concerning any VA decisions that may impact on unit employees in implementing OMB Circular A-76.
Section 2 - Management agrees to furnish the Union at the local level with copies of the schedules pertaining to reviews of commercial/industrial activities performed by unit employees at the facility level. In addition, Management will provide the NFFE Council President prior to publication with a copy of any review schedule for more than one facility when NFFE units are affected. All such review schedules will be published.
Section 3 - The Union may request in writing copies of any relevant and pertinent data in connection with the implementation of OMB Circular. A-76. After review of any such written request, VA will provide the Union, to the extent not prohibited by law, data which is reasonably available and necessary for full and proper discussion, understanding and negotiation of subjects within the scope of collective bargaining.
Section 4 - The Union at the local level will be notified when OMB Circular A-76 bids pertaining to work performed by unit employees are solicited. Further, they will be notified of the bid opening time and location so they may attend.
Section 5 - Employees who are displaced due to the contracting out of their jobs will be given the first opportunity to fill employment openings created by the contractor. This applies only to job openings for which such displaced employees are qualified and does not apply when such employees would otherwise be prohibited from such employment by the Government post employment conflict of interest standards. All contractors shall be informed of the requirement before they enter the contract.
Section 6 - After the proposed cost comparison decision has been announced, copies of documentation, such as "Cost Studies," shall be made available to the Union upon request.
Section 7 - If Management makes a decision to contract out the work of bargaining unit positions and bargaining unit employees are affected, then Management will advise the Union at the local level of this decision as soon as possible in order to provide the local union the opportunity to request negotiations over the impact and implementation of this decision.
Section 1 - Although it is expected that employees are qualified to perform the duties of their positions as a prerequisite to employment, the parties recognize the possible need for additional training, retraining or continuing education to maintain the competence of the workplace. Management will remind employees, at least annually of the availability of training, and the nomination procedure.
Section 2 - Management is responsible for ensuring that employees receive sufficient training for the purpose of performing the duties of their positions. Supervisors are responsible for assessing the training needs of employees in their respective work units, but employees may bring to the attention of the supervisor any perceived training needs relating to their work assignments.
Section 3 - Once job-related training needs are determined to
exist, appropriate methods for meeting those needs within available resources
will be the responsibility of Management. Training may be conducted "on-the-job"
or through formal training courses.
A. When training is required by VA for the primary purpose of improving employee skills, knowledges and abilities needed to perform competently in his/her current position and the required training is scheduled during work hours a reasonable effort will be made so that the employee may be granted excused absence to attend.
B. When the primary objective of the training is improvement of general skills, knowledges and abilities or career growth, the employee may request a work schedule adjustment to accommodate the education or training program.
C. For employees who are required to obtain continuing education in order to maintain their state board certification, Management will make a reasonable effort to approve requests for authorized absence if the course is not offered at any time other than the employee's regularly scheduled duty hours. Management agrees to consider requests for payment of training expenses of any unit employee who is required by Federal or state regulations to complete certain job related courses in order to maintain proficiency or certification.
Section 5 - Evidence of completed training furnished by the employee will be recorded in the employee's Official Personnel Folder.
Section 6 - VA agrees to extend consideration to the reimbursement of expenses incurred by an employee in attendance at work-related courses on his/her own time. Such consideration will be subject to the availability of funds and the priorities of training needs. Partial or full reimbursement if approved, will be in accordance with existing policies and regulations. Subject to the approval of local management, employees who are enrolled in such courses may use items such as calculators and typewriters, at mutually agreeable times for such course work, during their non-duty hours.
Section 7 - Notice of training, seminars, workshops, etc., will be given a reasonable time in advance.
Section 8 - Reference material related to the performance of the duties of an employee's position will be maintained in a location reasonably accessible to the employee.
Section 9 - The local union shall be allowed membership on all training committees established at the facility level which develop training plans covering unit employees and/or consider requests for unit employee training.
Section 10 - Consistent with budget and staffing restrictions, management agrees to make every effort to provide training to any unit employee whose position is adversely affected by reorganization or changes in mission, budget or technology, in order to assist in the placement of the employee in existing or projected vacancies.
Section 11 - To assure that the requirements of the law will be effectively implemented, Management will provide appropriate training and information to unit employees on the performance appraisal process.
Labor-Management Relations Training
A. Official time will be granted to Union officials for the purpose of attending Union sponsored training and other training sessions which pertain to labor relations, and are of mutual benefit to both parties (e.g. contract administration, grievance handling and information relating to labor relations laws, regulations and procedures, Agency policy, working conditions, work schedules, performance ratings, employee grievance procedures, pay, adverse action appeals and negotiated agreements) and where the individuals can be spared. The employee’s request for official time should include a specific agenda of the scheduled LMR training, and should be submitted as soon as practical, but normally not later than two weeks prior to the training session.
B. The amount and use of official time for labor-management relations training, other than joint labor-management relations training , is an appropriate subject for local negotiations. Training which relates to internal Union business will not be conducted or attended on official time
C. Scheduling arrangements for the use of official time for training will be determined locally, consistent with the needs of the service.
D. Costs (except for salary otherwise payable) and arrangements for the training will be the responsibility of the Union.
Section 2 - Joint employer/union sponsored training sessions are often desirable to enhance local relationships. The establishment of such sessions is a proper subject for local consideration at any time it is mutually agreed to be of benefit.
Section 3 - The employer and the NFFE encourage the local parties to conduct joint informative sessions relative to the administration of this Agreement.
Orientation of New Employees
Section 1 - During initial processing, all unit employees will be informed by the Employer that NFFE is the exclusive representative of employees in the unit. Each new unit employee will be offered a copy of this agreement from the Employer, as well as a copy of any supplemental agreement between VA and the NFFE local at the employing facility. Employees will be informed where the agreement is electronically available. The Employer shall also provide each new unit employee the most current list of the officers and representatives of the local union.
Section 2 - A representative of the local union shall be afforded a period of time, to be mutually agreed upon at the local level, to speak to all new unit employees at scheduled group orientation sessions and to provide such employees with an introduction to the role of the Union. The union representative may not solicit membership during this presentation.
Section 3 - The Employer shall furnish the President of the local union, on a monthly basis, the following information regarding all new employees who are members of the bargaining unit:
(a) Full name;
(b) Position title and grade;
(c) Organizational assignment;
(d) Date of entrance on duty.
Probationary/Trial Period Employees
Section 1 - The parties agree that the probationary/trial period is a highly significant step in the examining process which provides the final and indispensable test, that of actual performance on the job of an individual's fitness for permanent Federal service.
Section 2 - Within one week of entrance on duty, a probationary/trial period employee will be informed by Management of the duties of the position, the training which will be made available, the rate of progression, if appropriate, and what will generally be expected of the employee.
Section 3 - Management will periodically review the employee's performance during the probationary/trial period and shall inform the employee of any shortcomings, deficiencies in performance, or instances of misconduct perceived by the supervisor. Although persons selected for employment are presumed to possess the skills and character traits necessary for satisfactory performance as a permanent employee, during the initial period of employment supervisors and human resources management officials must make a sincere effort to orient new employees and provide essential training in the new work situation.
Section 4 - Probationary/trial period employees shall be given a full and fair opportunity to demonstrate their fitness for permanent Federal employment. When it is determined that a probationary/trial period employee has failed to demonstrate their fitness for continued Federal employment after having been provided such an opportunity, action may be initiated by Management to separate the employee during the probationary/trial period. Such action may be based on deficiencies in work performance, lack of aptitude or cooperativeness, misconduct, or undesirable suitability characteristics evidenced by activities either during or outside official working hours.
Section 5 - When Management makes a decision to separate an employee during his/her trial period, the employee will be provided a written notice which summarizes the reasons for the Management determination. Normally a notice of separation will be given to the employee ten calendar days prior to the effective date of separation unless the circumstances indicate that a shorter notice period would be appropriate.
Section 1 - Sexual harassment is a form of workplace misconduct which undermines the integrity of the employment relationship. All employees must be allowed to work in an environment free from unsolicited and unwelcome sexual overtures. Sexual harassment debilitates morale and interferes in the work productivity of its victims and co-workers; it requires immediate and sensitive action by those to whom the problem is made known.
Section 2 - Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
A. submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment, or
B. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or
C. such conduct has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
Section 3 - Each facility required to submit affirmative employment program plans will include as part of that plan an outline of reasonable action for the prevention of sexual harassment. A copy of the plan will be reasonably available and accessible for review by employees.
Section 4 - An employee may grieve an incident of sexual harassment or file a complaint of discrimination regardless of whether the incident results in the loss of an economic or employment benefit.
Section 1 - The parties agree that the issue of child care shall be the subject of local bargaining and that a good faith effort to establish child care centers will be made where surveys show that a need exists and that it is economically feasible.
Section 2 - At stations where child care facilities are not currently available, the facility will work with the union to determine need via a survey every two years and shall determine the options available. Where economically feasible, the facility may consider establishing a child care center or may consider making available child care service with a facility close to the work station. Fees and costs will be established locally by the child care center provider; however if possible the fees and costs negotiated with the provider should be based on factors such as number of children to be cared for, cost of care provider and teachers, overhead expenses (land, building, supplies, etc.). Hours of operation will be determined by the operator of the child care center, but where possible should be negotiated to be flexible enough to meet as broad a need as economically feasible.
Section 3 - Where child care services are available, efforts will be made to develop an agreement with the provider which will allow for payroll withholding for child care costs of VA employees.
Section 1 - Where employees are not being charged for parking that is available at the time this Agreement becomes effective, no charge will be initiated for the duration of this Agreement, unless required by law. The parties agree that secure, adequate and accessible parking for employees helps better serve customer needs and should be a consideration in local arrangements.
Section 2 - The parties agree that certain aspects of parking are appropriate for local supplemental negotiations.
Section 1 - The employer agrees to take appropriate action to assure that facility restrooms used by unit employees are maintained in a sanitary manner.
Section 2 - The employer agrees that employees may have personal items that are in good taste in or on their desk as long as space required for needed manuals, files, forms and supplies is not sacrificed. Desks may be subject to inspections for safety, sanitation and security reasons. VA is not responsible for the loss of or damage to personal items.
Section 3 - Each local facility Director will make a reasonable effort to provide, within available space and resources, suitable lounge and eating facilities in close proximity to employee's worksites. Employees using these facilities will be responsible for policing and maintaining proper sanitary conditions. Details on the use of these facilities will be resolved at the individual facility level.
Section 4 - The Employer will maintain an Official Personnel Folder (OPF) on each employee. An employee may review his/her OPF upon request. A designated representative must have the employee's written authorization to review the folder if not accompanied by the employee. Management may require that a management official or designee be present when the OPF is being reviewed. A copy of any document in the folder will be provided to the employee upon request if permissible by law and regulation. If any document which is, or may be considered to be derogatory to an employee (e.g., a memo for record, warning letter, etc.) is placed in an employee's personnel folder, the employee will be provided a copy at the time the document is included in the OPF. In this regard, an employee may make a written rebuttal to any such document in his/her personnel folder and have it placed in the folder. Copies of employee grievances shall not be filed in an Official Personnel Folder. Neither shall proposed notices and decision letters on suspensions and adverse actions be filed in an OPF. In no case will an employee be denied access to a record which is personally identifiable to him/her, where the law provides for access; however, it is recognized that the process for review of records may be governed by laws, rules, regulations and/or policy. An employee's representative must be designated in writing, by the employee, in order for the representative to review an employee's Official Personnel Folder. Requests for review or copies of documents by the Union in a representational status will be subject to applicable laws and regulations. All information received by the Union in this capacity is considered confidential and will be treated accordingly.
Section 5 - The use of volunteers will be in accordance with applicable law.
Section 6 - Personnel required to wear police uniforms or scrub uniforms will be provided with separate dressing facilities. Due to space problems, the specifics of dressing facilities will be an appropriate subject for local supplemental contract negotiations.
Section 7 - Pay VA
Neither party waives any rights to negotiations on appropriate matters which may be affected by Pay VA. The Employer agrees to negotiate as appropriate on Pay VA after completion of the task force and any related tests/pilots.
Section 8 - Flexiplace
Flexiplace will be administered in accordance with law, government wide regulations and the negotiated VA Policy in VA Directive 5368 and VA Handbook 5368.
A. The above cited flexiplace policy provides employees with the opportunity to perform their work at locations other than the traditional office settings. It may include home-based telecommuting, community-based telecenters, mobile/vertical offices, and U.S. General Stores. Participation in a flexiplace assignment either at work or at a telecenter is voluntary.
B. Participation in a flexiplace arrangement is not an employee right; however, whenever appropriate, management may consider establishing flexiplace arrangements to meet its needs as well as those of employees. Flexiplace benefits both the Department and employees by providing an alternative work situation which may improve services to the Veterans, improve productivity, keep recruits and retain personnel, and improve the quality of life of participants.
C. VA Directive 5368 and VA Handbook 5368 more fully cites the criteria and conditions for the use of flexiplace. The Directive and handbook will be made available during normal office hours upon request and will be provided to each Local at the facility.
Section 1 - This agreement shall become effective on the date of approval by the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs or his/her designee on the 31st day following the date on which the agreement is executed, which ever occurs first.
Section 2 - The parties agree that after this agreement is approved and the July 1994 Agreement between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Federation of Federal Employees VA Council covering Title 38 employees is amended to modify the Duration Article, the two agreements will be consolidated (as separate parts of one agreement).
Section 3 - After the consolidated agreement has been in effect for 18 months each of the parties may propose to reopen up to a total of 5 articles. In order to reopen the agreement the party wishing to reopen the agreement will serve the other party with a written notice of its desire to amend or modify the agreement.
Although the two agreements will be consolidated there will be no merger of language and each part will continue to apply to only the employees covered by it.
Section 4 - This agreement shall remain in effect for a period of three (3) years, and will automatically renew itself for three year intervals, unless either party serves the other party with a written notice of its desire to amend or modify or negotiate the agreement. Such notice must be given no less than 60 or more than 105 calendar days prior to any expiration date. If such notice is given and negotiations are not completed by the expiration date, this agreement will be extended until the changes have been negotiated and approved.
INCLUDED: All non-professional GS employees of the Veterans Administration Regional Office, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
EXCLUDED: All professional employees, management officials, employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity, student aides, Wage Grade employees, supervisors and guards as defined in Executive Order 11491.
INCLUDED: All non-professional employees of the Veterans Administration Medical Center Wood, Wisconsin.
EXCLUDED: Professionals, confidential management officials, supervisors, wage grade, non-appropriated fund employees, employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity.
INCLUDED: All non-supervisory, non-professional employees of the Veterans Administration in Indianapolis Regional Office.
EXCLUDED: All professional employees, management officials, supervisors, guards and employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity.
INCLUDED: All non-professional General Schedule employees of the VA Regional Office, Montgomery, Alabama.
EXCLUDED: All professional employees, management officials, confidential employees, supervisors, employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity.
INCLUDED: All non-professional employees of the VA Regional Office, Little Rock, AR.
EXCLUDED: Professional employees, management officials, supervisors, and employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity.
INCLUDED: All General Schedule (GS) and Wage Grade (WG) employees,
including Canteen Service employees, employed at the Fort Miley Veterans
Administration Hospital, San Francisco, California.
EXCLUDED: All professional employees, management officials, temporary Wage Grade employees whose appointments are made by Agency delegated authority not to exceed 700 hours, employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than purely clerical capacity, supervisors, and guards as defined in the Order.
INCLUDED: All non-professional General Schedule employees under the jurisdiction of the VA Regional Office, Atlanta, Georgia
EXCLUDED: All professional employees, supervisors, management officials and employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity.
INCLUDED: All non-professional employees of the VA Hospital, Walla Walla, Washington.
EXCLUDED: Management officials, supervisors, temporary employees, and employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity.
INCLUDED: All regularly scheduled full and part-time employees, including guards, employed by the Fargo Veterans Administration Center and Canteen, Fargo, North Dakota
EXCLUDED: Management and supervisory personnel (supervisors are defined as those officially journalized or recorded in personnel records as supervisors. Leaders are not considered supervisors), registered nurses, personnel employees except those engaged in purely clerical work, guards, trainees, intermittent part-time employees, personnel appointed on a temporary basis (90 days or less), and all professional employees (which include nurse anestheists).
INCLUDED: All non-professional Wage Grade, General Schedule employees and Canteen Service employees at the VA Hospital, Castle Point, NY.
EXCLUDED: Management officials, supervisors, employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity and professional employees.
INCLUDED: All GS firefighters of the VA Hospital, Northport, New York.
EXCLUDED: Management officials, supervisory employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity.
INCLUDED: All hospital police of the VA Medical Center, Northport,
EXCLUDED: All other non-professional employees, professional employees, registered nurses, firefighters, employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity, management officials and supervisors, as defined in Executive Order 11491 as amended.
INCLUDED: All non-professional employees of the Veterans Administration Regional Office in Columbia, South Carolina.
EXCLUDED: All professional employees, management officials, employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity, and guards and supervisors as defined in Executive Order 11491.
INCLUDED: All non-supervisory, non-professional employees of the Veterans Administration Regional Office, Roanoke, Virginia.
EXCLUDED: All professionals, supervisors, managerial executives, those engaged in civilian personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity, and guards.
INCLUDED: All non-supervisory, non-managerial, non-professional, full-time and regularly scheduled part-time general schedule employees of the VA Hospital, Long Beach, California.
EXCLUDED: Management officials, supervisors, employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity, and professional employees.
INCLUDED: All non-professional employees, both permanent and temporary, employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Jackson, Mississippi and Department of the Veterans Affairs Veterans Benefits Administration.
EXCLUDED: All professional employees, all management officials, employees engaged in personnel work other than a purely clerical capacity, and guards and supervisors as defined in Executive Order 11491, as amended, and all non-supervisory, wage board employees and building management division, engineering division, supply division, dietetic service and canteen service.
INCLUDED: All Police Officers of the Veterans Affairs Hospital, Jackson, Mississippi.
EXCLUDED: All other non-professional employees, all professional
employees, Wage-Grade employees, supervisors, management officials, and
employees described in 5 U.S.C. 7112(b)(2), (3), (4), (6) and (7).
INCLUDED: All employees employed by the Veterans Administration at its Data Processing Center and Finance Center located at Austin, Texas.
EXCLUDED: All professional employees, management officials, supervisors, and employees described in 5 U.S.C. 7112 (b) (2), (3), (4), (6) and (7).
INCLUDED: All employees employed by the Veterans Administration at its Data Transmission system location Austin, Texas.
EXLUDED: All Professional employees, management officials, supervisors, and employees described in 5 U.S. C. 7112(b)(2), (3), (4), (6) and (7).
INCLUDED: All employees employed at the Amarillo, VA Hospital, Amarillo, Texas.
EXCLUDED: Professional employees, management officials, employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity, and supervisors as defined in Executive Order 11491 as amended.
INCLUDED: All full-time and part-time employees of the Veterans Administration Hospital, Miles City, Montana, including the employees of the Veterans Canteen Service located at this hospital.
EXCLUDED: Any managerial executive, any employee engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity, supervisors, professionals, and temporary time-limited and WOC employees.
INCLUDED: All regular full-time and part-time General Schedule and Wage Grade employees of the Veterans Administration Hospital, East Orange, New Jersey, and the out-patient clinic, Newark, New Jersey, including the Canteen Service employees.
EXCLUDED: Professional employees, employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity, management officials and supervisors and guards as defined in the Order.
INCLUDED: All non-professional General Scheduled and Wage Grade employees of the VA Hospital and Canteen employees, Miami, Florida.
EXCLUDED: All professionals, management officials, supervisors,
confidential employees, and employees engaged in Federal personnel work
in other than a purely clerical capacity.
INCLUDED: All regular work-force non-professional employees of the Regional Office Veterans Administration, Houston, Texas.
EXCLUDED: All employees of the Director's Office, employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity, supervisors as defined in Section 2(c) of the Executive Order 11491, VA management officials, all employees serving under temporary limited appointments of one year or less and CETA enrollees.
INCLUDED: All non-professional non-supervisory employees of the Ft. Blis National Cemetery, Ft. Bliss, Texas.
EXCLUDED: Management officials, supervisors, and employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity.
INCLUDED: All employees employed by the Veterans Administration Regional Office, Louisville, Kentucky.
EXCLUDED: Management officials, professional employees, employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity, and supervisors and guards as defined in the Order.
INCLUDED: Non-professional employees of the U.S. Veterans Administration Hospital, Spokane, Washington.
EXCLUDED: Professional employees, managers, supervisors as defined in the Order, persons engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity.
INCLUDED: All employees of the Veterans Canteen Service at the Veterans Administration Hospital, Spokane, Washington.
EXCLUDED: Management officials, supervisors, and employees described in 5 U.S.C. 7112(b)(2), (3), (4), (6) and (7).
INCLUDED: All non-professional employees of the Veterans Administration Regional office, Portland, Oregon.
EXCLUDED: All professional employees, management officials; supervisors;
and employees described in 5 U.S.C 7112(b)(2), (3), (4), (6) and (7).
INCLUDED: All nonprofessional General Schedule (GS) employees employed at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Clement J. Zablocki Medical Center, VA Fox Valley Satellite Outpatient Clinic, Appleton, Wisconsin.
EXCLUDED: All professional employees, management officials, supervisors, and employees described in 5 U.S.C. 7112 (b)(2), (3), (4), (6) and (7).
INCLUDED: All full-time nonprofessional employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Income Verification Match Center, Atlanta, Georgia.
EXCLUDED: All professional employees, supervisors, management officials, confidential employees and employees as described in 5 U.S.C. 7112 (b)(2), (3), (4), (6) and (7).
INCLUDED: All nonprofessional employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Centers, Fargo, North Dakota and Minot, North Dakota.
EXCLUDED: All professional employees; management officials; supervisors, and employees described in 5 U.S.C. 7112(b)(2), (3), (4), (6) and (7).
INCLUDED: All professional employees of the Veterans Administration Regional Office, Cleveland, Ohio.
EXCLUDED: Management officials, non-professional employees, employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity, and supervisors and guards as defined in the Order.
INCLUDED All non-supervisory professional employees of the Veterans Administration in Indianapolis Regional Office.
EXCLUDED: All non-professional employees, management officials, supervisors, guards and employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity.
INCLUDED: All professional General Schedule employees of the VA Regional Office, Montgomery, Alabama.
EXCLUDED: All non-professional employees, management officials, confidential employees, supervisors, employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity.
INCLUDED: All professional General Schedule employees under the jurisdiction of the VA Regional Office, Atlanta, Georgia.
EXCLUDED: All non-professional employees, supervisors, management and employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity.
INCLUDED: Non-supervisory professional employees of the Fargo VA Center and Canteen, Fargo, North Dakota.
EXCLUDED: Management and supervisory personnel (supervisors are defined as those officially journalized or recorded in personnel records as supervisors. Leaders are not considered supervisors), Registered Nurses (Nurse anesthethists are not excluded), Personnel employees except those engaged in purely clerical work, Guards, Trainees, Intermittent part-time employees, and personnel appointed on temporary basis (90 days or less).
INCLUDED: All full-time and regular part-time non-supervisory professional employees employed at the Veterans Administration Hospital, Castle Point, New York.
EXCLUDED: Employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity, management officials, guards and supervisors as defined in Executive Order and all other employees.
INCLUDED: All professional employees of the Veterans Administration Regional Office in Columbia, South Carolina.
EXCLUDED: All non-professional employees, management officials employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity, and guards and supervisors as defined in Executive Order 11491.
INCLUDED: All professional employees, both permanent and temporary,
employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Jackson,
Mississippi and the Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office, Jackson,
EXCLUDED: All non-professional employees, management officials, employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity, and guards and supervisors as defined in Executive Order 11491, as amended, and all non-supervisory, wage board employees and building management division, supply division, dietetic service and canteen service.
INCLUDED: All professional employees of Veterans Administration Hospital and out-patient clinic, East Orange, New Jersey.
EXCLUDED: Director, managerial officials, supervisory, personnel officials except those of purely clerical position, guards and non-professional employees.
INCLUDED: All non-supervisory professional employees, and Department of Medicine and Surgery professional employees, employed at the Veterans Administration Center, Wadsworth, Kansas.
EXCLUDED: All managerial officials, supervisors, employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity, guards, and non-professional employees.
INCLUDED: All non-supervisory professional employees located at the Veterans Administration Center, Martinsburg, West Virginia.
EXCLUDED: Managerial officials, supervisors, units of General Schedule and wage grade employees currently under exclusive recognition, nurses, employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity, guards.
INCLUDED: All professional employees of the VA Hospital, New Orleans, LA.
EXCLUDED: Doctors in training programs, all non-professional employees, management officials, supervisors employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity.
INCLUDED: Professional employees of the U.S. Veterans Administration Hospital, Spokane, Washington.
EXCLUDED: Non-professional employees, managers, supervisors as defined in the Order, persons engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity.
INCLUDED: All Title 5 professional employees of the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Decatur, Georgia.
EXCLUDED: All nonprofessional employees, temporary employees, management officials, supervisors and employees described in 5 U.S.C. 7112 (b)(2), (3), (4), (6) and (7).
INCLUDED: All Title 5 professional employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Miles City, Montana.
EXCLUDED: All nonprofessional employees; management officials; supervisors and employees described in 5 U.S.C. 7112 (b)(2), (3), (4), (6) and (7).
INCLUDED: All Pharmacists of the Regional Consolidated Mail Out Patient Pharmacy, Leavenworth, Kansas.
EXCLUDED: All other professional employees; nonprofessional employees management officials; supervisors; and employees described in 5 U.S.C. 7112 (b)(2), (3), (4), (6) and (7).
INCLUDED: All professional employees employed by the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Shreveport, Louisiana.
EXCLUDED: All nonprofessional employees, management officials, supervisors, professional employees appointed under intermittent, part-time, temporary or term appointments; Dental and Physician Residents; Professional Nurses; Professional employees whose duty station is at a Community Based outpatient clinic or Veterans Outreach Center, and employees described in 5 U.S.C. 7112 (b)(2), (3), (4), (6) and (7).
INCLUDED: All professional employees located at the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Walla Walla, Washington.
EXCLUDED: All nonprofessional employees and employees described
in 5 U.S.C. 7112 (b)(2), (3), (4), (6) and (7).
VA / NFFE MASTER AGREEMENT