AFGE, Local 3937 - Local Business Meeting
July 14, 2021
Present were: John Pfannenstein, 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 5:35pm, chaired by John Pfannenstein, Local President.
We currently have $99,944 in checking and $102,104 in savings.
Our first and most exciting new business is to share that President Biden has terminated the employment of both Commissioner Saul (who was fired after refusing to resign) and Deputy Commissioner Black (who did agree to resign when asked). He appointed Kilolo Kijakazi as Acting Commissioner, who previously served as Deputy Commissioner for Retirement and Disability Policy; and Scott Frey as Deputy Commissioner, who previously served as the Commissioner’s Chief of Staff. Kijakazi was a former fellow of the Urban Institute, working on racial and labor equality, and is already aligned with Biden’s focus on creating a social safety net. AFGE Council 220 President Ralph de Juliius has already requested a meeting with her, to which she agreed. We are excited to see how the relationship between SSA and our unions improve based on this change. The Supreme Court and the Department of Justice have both opined that it is unconstitutional for a sitting President to be unable to terminate the head of an agency, either for cause or without cause. Saul allegedly attempted to log-in on Monday, and of course his systems access had been shut off, as is usual for any terminated employee.
On August 16th, several members of our board will travel to Omaha, Nebraska to attend District 11 and District 8 training sessions. They will focus on Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) issues and will be able to return with that additional knowledge to apply to current and future EEO cases for our Local. We want to be able to provide the strongest possible protection for our members and to better facilitate hearings.
We voted to pay a small annual dues ($100) to the Washington Fair Trade Coalition. Our Local has a longstanding affiliation with this organization, whose efforts are aligned with our desire to fight privatization or outsourcing. We look forward to any collaborations we can create towards our shared goals.
We have begun using an online platform called Broadstripes, a program supported by AFGE National that will enable us to stay engaged with our membership, inform them of current topics and about meetings like tonight’s. We would very much like to connect with the employees we represent, as challenging as that has been during the pandemic and due to our large geographic area. There are issues that we may not broach using Agency equipment on duty time, so using an off-SSA channel will allow us much greater reach and contact to both educate employees and learn about their interests and concerns that we can address and resolve.
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; Steffen seconded. Motion passed.
Andrew moved to adjourn; Jackie seconded. Motion passed.
Minutes written and submitted by Laura Novakoski, Secretary.