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    Interested in learning more about the Union and what we are doing for SSA employees? Do you want to support us and be able to participate in our bimonthly Local Business Meetings to hear more about what's up?

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    Select “SSAFO” (field office or TSC) or "SSAOHO” (hearings office) or "SSAFA" (field assessment/OQR), then “L3937” for our Local number.  There are a couple more steps to direct the dues deduction of $19.60 (2023 rate) per pay period from whatever account or card you designate.

    Once you have done that, please come back to our page to register with us . . . THANK YOU!

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  • Sept 2023
    Oct 25, 2023

     AFGE, Local 3937 - Local Business Meeting

    September 13th, 2023

    Conference Call

    Present were:  John Pfannenstein, Laura Novakoski, Adam Neff, Dwaine Holiday, Justin Smith.

    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 5:34pm, chaired by John Pfannenstein, Local President.

    Agenda:

    • Treasurer’s Report
    • Old Business
    • New Business
    • Reports
    • Minutes review

    Treasurer’s Report:

    Our checking and savings accounts have similar or higher balances to the norm, but Jackie is not on today’s call, so we do not have specific figures today.  Our AFGE National contact who is performing the Local’s annual audit has not yet returned a final report, but everything has been turned over to her. 

    Old Business:

    Contract Bargaining -

    Bargaining on the six reopened articles of the Contract concluded in July, and the agreement language for members to review and ratify is being finalized.  We will be emailing the changes to members soon using ssa.gov email, so watch for it. 

    We covered a summary of those articles in our July meeting, and also in a detailed Local President’s email last month. We were able to restore much of the 2012 contract language, such as in Article 3, where management now has to inform the employee at the start of a Weingarten meeting of the subject of the meeting and the right to union representation.   In Article 23, the union has the right to meeting notes and to demand that investigations be conducted timely.  In Article 27, we have expanded Temporary Compassionate Allowance (TCA) rights, and in Article 16 we strengthened training and mentoring for new employees.  Article 29 establishes Union Management Cooperation Councils to give us a joint leadership approach for pre-decisional input, and we will build on this from a list that is already started.  We do not see any reason for members not to ratify these changes, as they are ALL improvements to the current contract.  Remember also, that this is a floor and not a ceiling – nothing precludes either party from reopening additional articles, and the entire contract will be fully reopened to bargaining around October 2029.

    Our Local Facebook page recently posted a great podcast from Edwin Osorio (C220) and Rich Couture (C215), that fully explains the changes.

    New Business:

    Budget -

    A topic on everyone’s mind is the budget.  We continue to hope that the House and Senate will reach agreement on a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government through December, to allow more time for negotiations.  However, if Congress does not pass a CR by the end of September, non-essential employees (e.g. those in regional offices, those who are not front-facing) will be furloughed, and others will be classified as essential to continue working, but still without pay for the time being.  Historically, employees have been offered a letter they can show for bills they cannot pay due to the delayed wages, but there is no guarantee that mortgage holders, utilities, or other companies will accept such a letter or provide any flexibility.

    Separately from any furlough, the Agency has revived discussion of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) called a Save Money Furlough.  It was in effect through 2013 and then expired.  It contained an outline of how to “save money” under a constrained budget situation, where some employees on a rotating basis would not work for part of their scheduled hours or days, and therefore not be paid their full salary either timely or retroactively.  It would function as a temporary layoff and the Union has already put in a bargaining request, just in case the Agency plans to activate this process.  If you can call this a silver lining, the Agency also expects about 5,200 employees to leave the Agency over the next year, and this prediction, if true, could ease the stress on SSA’s budget.

    Reports:

    We wanted to extend a warm welcome to Justin Smith, who has begun an internship with the Local Executive Board.  He has been a CSR in Fairbanks for 3 years, previously worked at TSA and was active with AFGE there as a steward and VP for his Local.  One of his first actions will be to sit down with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), along with the Fairbanks primary rep David Mann, to talk with them about the conditions in the Anchorage FO and determine what might be contributing to the recent loss of staff – about 50% over the last 10 years.  At this time, they are specifically focusing on non-contiguous states like Alaska and Hawaii; who often serve geographically isolated populations who rely on our services.  They and we certainly recognize that offices across SSA have faced similar losses.  Employees are burned out, stressed and definitely not being paid enough to want to stay; many leave for the VA or other agencies with better conditions, or retire.

    Open Floor / Miscellaneous:

    None.

    Minutes Review:

    Dwaine made a motion that we accept the minutes as written and read; Justin seconded. Motion passed.

    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.

    Dwaine moved to adjourn; Laura seconded.  Motion passed.  The meeting ended at 6:15pm.

    Minutes written and submitted by Laura Novakoski, Secretary


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