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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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  • Jan 2024
    Jan 15, 2024

     AFGE, Local 3937 - Local Business Meeting

    January 10th, 2024

    Conference Call

    Present were:  John Pfannenstein, Laura Novakoski, Tonya Boren, Janice Couoh, Denise Lamphere, Michael Welcher, Aaron Carlson, Adam Neff.

    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.


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

    Treasurer’s Report:

    Jackie was not able to join the call today to provide a current balance, but the accounts are at roughly the usual levels. 

    Old Business:


    New Business:

    Martin O’Malley, former governor of Maryland, is now Social Security’s confirmed Commissioner, and we have made the case to him that AFGE and the bargaining unit employees are the best resource this agency has.  He has already reached out to listen to suggestions, and has called for town hall meetings in all ten regions with AFGE on the agenda and providing content.  These channels, along with Union Management Cooperation Councils (UMCCs), give us important direct access to him and to executive staff.  After only a year, however, he could potentially be replaced by the next presidential administration.

    Government Shutdown Updates:

    Congress has reached an agreement on a framework to fund the government after the first tier of the shutdown (1/19/24).  This does not include SSA; we are part of the 2/2/24 deadline.  There is a total agreed amount, with non-Defense getting about $778 billion, but the appropriations committees still need to decide how to allocate to individual agencies.  We’ve lost about 10,000 employees since 2020, and despite some gains from hiring over the past year, about 1/3 of them have already quit.  The approved funding will probably still leave us without the ability to re-fill those positions, upgrade IT and security, and to make good on AFGE’s promises related to revised Contract articles that are tied to having money.  Our agency is not competitive with others, so we are positioned to ask Congress for an additional $20 billion over the next ten years to give our employees and the public what they require and deserve.

    Next month, we are sending four members to attend the annual AFGE Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. to share this message with our elected representatives and staff.  We set up meetings to talk with reps for our districts, on both sides of the aisle, to educate them on what SSA needs and how they can support us.


    We worked with the agency to establish SEACloud, a program in Area 2 to remotely assign staff to Field Offices with backlogs as part of a support cadre.  The selected employees (one from each district) are relieved of their usual duties during the temporary period (up to one year) when they are involved with SEACloud.  There is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to lay out some protections, particularly related to performance evaluations, and to clarify how the program should work fairly.  A similar program is in the works for Area 1, which we hope to finalize soon.  We asked to have WSU and TSC employees eligible for selection but do not have a final answer yet.

    Open Floor / Miscellaneous:

    We talked more about what we hope to accomplish with UMCCs, which includes improvement to our training model, and better pay for the work we do.  The Union cannot directly negotiate over wages, but we can bring funding requests to Congress, and ask for reclassification of our jobs to bump everyone up in grade.  We could explore how the VA was successful in their recent pay increase, we could push for retention bonuses, etc.

    Minutes Review:

    Janice made a motion that we accept the minutes as written and read; Adam 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.

    Laura moved to adjourn; Adam seconded.  Motion passed.  The meeting ended at 6:17pm.

    Minutes written and submitted by Laura Novakoski, Secretary.

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