AFGE, Local 3937 - Local Business Meeting
January 20, 2021
Present were: John Pfannenstein, Nicole Duncan, Laura Novakoski, Steffen Pleiness, Andrew Seger and Jackie Walton. The meeting was held via Zoom conference call with dial-in information posted to the Members section of our Local website.
The meeting was called to order at 5:40pm, chaired by John Pfannenstein, Local President.
We currently have $59,410 in checking and $102,079 in savings. We are current on all bills and dues, including some that are only billed annually. We are continuing to defer the Local audit that normally would have been done last year; we were just preparing for the audit committee to meet with the Treasurer when the pandemic shutdowns began in spring 2020, and it is not yet safe to get together to review the necessary documents and books.
Today was the inauguration of the new President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris, who were sworn into office to begin their term. From the first day we have already seen some changes. Scott Frey, on the transition team, has been appointed Chief of Staff to work with Commissioner Andrew Saul (he was formerly Counsel to the President for AFSCME). We hope that his labor-friendly views will help to either pressure Mr. Saul into providing employees with a more friendly environment, or to resign and allow President Biden to appoint someone more sympathetic to our views and needs. This is going to truly benefit employees, the Agency and the unions that represent our employees – after four years of turmoil and utter disregard for the value of our work and for our employees who carry out the Agency’s mission, we are relieved and optimistic to usher in a new period which will strengthen our workers and our ability to serve the public.
Rich Couture, AFGE C215 President, told us that Mr. Biden will soon be reviewing the three Executive Orders (EO) that were aimed at federal workers and unions – they drastically capped our Official Time to represent employees, eased the way to termination by eliminating the Performance Assistance plan (PA) and shortened the Opportunity to Perform Successfully (OPS) period, while adding language that they have no obligation to help a struggling employee to improve before showing them the door. We expect them to be repealed partially or fully. We also hope to revisit and be able to rebargain our 2019 contract, which contains much of the hostile spirit of these EOs and was not negotiated in good faith. We will share more with you all as we learn it.
The AFGE Legislative Conference will be held next month on the usual schedule, but in an unusual fashion – most meetings and workshops will be held via Zoom (virtually), and so our delegates will not travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with our congressional representatives personally. AFGE is still very engaged in communicating our goals for the upcoming year, to include employee protections against COVID-19 (such as the successful pivot to telework for which we pushed in 2020), expanding telework, reopening contract bargaining, and as always, securing appropriate Agency funding and pay increases for the workforce. One of our delegates and our Local President Emeritus, Steve Kofahl, is registered to attend and we plan to invite him as a special guest to the Local Business Meeting in March for a report on how he feels that it went. If there is insufficient opportunity for us to lobby at the conference, we will also be sending legislators an informational email to bring them up to date on our desires for legislative actions and to oust the current head of the Agency, Commissioner Saul.
You can stay informed about topics like these and much more by going to www.afge.org to sign up for Action Alerts to be sent via text or email so that you are informed of current legislative and political events – please do so on your personal computer or phone, not on duty time or on Agency equipment.
Jackie made a motion that we accept the minutes as written and read; Nicole seconded. Motion passed.
Jackie moved to adjourn; Laura seconded. Motion passed.
Minutes written and submitted by Laura Novakoski, Secretary.