• May 22, 2024
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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?

    Go to https://join.afge.org/ to sign up with eDues.  You will be joining the roughly 500 members of our Local in SSA Region 10 who support us and who believe that what AFGE does is important.

    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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  • Nov 2023
    Dec 07, 2023

     AFGE, Local 3937 - Local Business Meeting

    November 15th, 2023

    Conference Call

    Present were:  John Pfannenstein, Laura Novakoski, John Chastek, Tonya Boren, Aaron Carlson, Denise Lamphere, Julie Flaming 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 5:34pm, chaired by John Pfannenstein, Local President.

    Agenda:

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

    Old Business:

    None.

    New Business:

    Government Shutdown Updates -

    The House has passed another Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund government on a 2-tiered approach; one to expire 1/19/24 and one to expire 2/2/24.  The second is the one that appears to cover SSA.  House Speaker Mike Johnson has put together an omnibus budget that he may move by the end of this year; it would presumably not include the previously announced 30% slashed SSA budget cuts, though we also wouldn’t see the increase we’d like to see for hiring, IT, security, and service improvements.  This CR now goes to the Senate and then to the President. We have not heard that he’s intending to veto it, so we may have skirted the danger for now. 

    If we do face a shutdown, we have obtained a clarification of the 2021 MOU so that it better aligns with OPM’s advice about the default or presumed status for employees who need short time periods off work during a shutdown.  It would be furlough, rather than paid leave, and governed by Article 31 (depending on the need and the reason for absence, leave should generally be approved but may not necessarily be approved).  OLMER and SSA should be sending out updated guidance, and we notified our reps by email last month.

    Reports:

    C220 Caucus – Boston MA

    Council 220 is the portion of AFGE that represents the field components (Field Offices, Teleservice Centers, and Workload Support Units).  Laura, Jackie and John went to a national 3-day C220 caucus last week in Boston and provided a report today summarizing what was covered and how it went.  The caucus included all AFGE Regional Vice Presidents (RVPs) for Social Security’s ten regions, and all C220 Executive Committee board members; guests and other non-voting parties were able to listen and participate in the gallery.  We spoke with DCO Michelle King in person, sharing our concerns about morale, retention, workloads, and hopefully we have opened lines of communications.  We currently have about 17% more people needing SSA’s services than we had 10 years ago, while at the same time being at a 25-year low for staffing.  The recently proposed Union Management Cooperation Council meetings should help by providing a forum for ongoing meetings throughout the year with SSA leadership.  AFGE President Everett Kelley is also advocating for us with the Biden administration and in Congress.  We met virtually with Rosa DeLauro and John Larson, who are respectively ranking members of the House Appropriations Committee, and the House Ways and Means Committee, Social Security Subcommittee.

    At the caucus, we passed a motion to formalize the committee that advocates specifically for WSU employees.  John had hoped to create a WSU VP position on the Council, but that action would require a C220 constitutional amendment, so it could not be done at this meeting.  These employees deserve a more specific channel and voice on the Council; he will be able to put forth this motion at next year’s annual AFGE convention.  There is already a TSC VP on C220, who fields inquiries and concerns from WSU employees also, because they’re usually housed in the same facilities as TSRs; however, they have a much different job and work volume (almost exclusively iClaims, totaling millions of claims per year that the FOs do not have to adjudicate). 

    The Council budget segment of last week’s caucus included funds for organizing to gain new members, and to activate and energize current members.  There was a wide-ranging discussion about how to best handle representative training over the next year.  We debated the effectiveness of providing virtual vs in-person vs hybrid training, and the costs Locals would incur with each model.  For our region, bringing all participating reps into one location for training would be costly, though we have done so from time to time in the past.  However, considering the large area our Local covers (four states) and the costs of travel, lodging and per diem for such events, we are also looking into IT and other ideas to continue improving our long-distance training options. 

    Treasurer’s Report:

    Jackie’s report (presented on her behalf by Laura) shows that the checking account has $88,283 and the savings account has $177,277.  We found out that C220 will pay a significant amount of the travel costs the Local incurred to attend the recent C220 caucus, which is appreciated and will decrease our own costs.  Our accountant filed the IRS 990 (the second form that was due this year) with the DOL.  AFGE is still working on our audit, with Jackie’s assistance, and it looks to be close to being done.  She joined us later in the meeting and confirmed the report.

    Budget 2024:

    Jackie recommends that we roll over the same budget amounts that we used last year, and finds that we are within bounds on all categories and it is sustainable considering dues income.  She will be able to confirm and reconcile this when she closes out 2023 in QuickBooks in January.  She presented the outline below, and briefly explained each category and what type of expenses and activities they comprise.

    We are in an election cycle, and the Legislative Conference is presumably still on track to happen in February – so we wanted to move a bit more to the Legislative/Political category.  John discussed why and how this is crucial for our employees and what we have been able to accomplish with our meetings with lawmakers in past years; we have not gone to the conference for at least a couple years, since before the pandemic.  Laura made a motion to approve the Local’s budget as shown below for 2024; Tonya seconded.  Motion passed.

                                                    2023 Allocation          2024 Allocation

    General Overhead                   $10,000                      $10,000

    Union Administration             $30,000                      $30,000

    Representation                                    $35,000                      $35,000

    Legislative/Political               $7,000                        $12,000

    Officer                                    $20,000                      $15,000

    Employee                                $500                           $500

    Contributions/Gifts                 $1,000                        $1,000

    Total                                       $103,500                    $103,500

    Open Floor / Miscellaneous:

    None.

    Minutes Review:

    Jackie made a motion that we accept the minutes as written and read; Aaron 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.

    Jackie moved to adjourn; Denise seconded.  Motion passed.  The meeting ended at 6:25pm.

    Minutes written and submitted by Laura Novakoski, Secretary.


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