From the Desk of the Chief Steward

Posted by on 22 March, 2017
This post was filed in Chief Steward's Blog and has no comments yet

I want to reassure PASD employees who have been notified by Management that their time and attendance records are being scrutinized and compared to their key cards at the request of the Union that the Union is in no way interested in looking at individual employees’ (bargaining unit employees’ and managers’) T & A records. We have explicitly requested that records be redacted and individual employee privacy protected. The Union has a duty to represent every bargaining unit employee when there is an allegation of the Agency violating one or more employment laws which protect federal employees from arbitrary decisions by the Management. The said records were requested in order to fulfill this statutory duty.

Quote of the Day

Posted by on 6 January, 2017
This post was filed in Chief Steward's Blog, Other and has no comments yet

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it” – Upton Sinclaire

Socialism disguised?

Posted by on 10 March, 2014
This post was filed in President's Blog and has no comments yet

I recently read this description of the economy based on socialist principles: “Resources were directed and allocated by the state, by political and bureaucratic decision making, rather than by the elemental forces of supply and demand…”, and it reminded me of direction and allocation of our travel and training funds at RMAKC. Does this mean that RMA management who has, at times, been militantly anti-union is subscribing to socialist belief in the necessity of central management and control?

Labor-Management Forum This Month – Funds Available for Travel and Training

Posted by on 9 March, 2014
This post was filed in In the News, President's Blog and has 4 comments




At this month’s forum we have found out from the Management that there is money for travel and training (apparently how much money is still a big secret).

We have also learned that PASD Management requested another class in regulation writing (there will be two this summer, one introductory and one advanced), and APDD Management already requested presentation training (to be conducted sometime around the end of March), and Microsoft Project training (time to be determined, if approved).
Employees, especially new hires will have an opportunity to visit insurance companies and spend time with agents.
If you or your functional group needs training (travel being a form of training), this is the time to put together proposals and submit them to your supervisor in writing.
Make sure you state specifically in your request how your proposal relates to RMA’s priorities which were developed at the beginning of the year, and include a cost estimate.

You can also voice your ideas and opinions on how to best utilize these funds here by providing comments on our website, and we will make sure to relate them to the Management in our next forum.

Town Hall Colossal Waste of Time

Posted by on 6 March, 2014
This post was filed in Other, President's Blog and has 128 comments

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for improving communication. But, I have this strange notion that what is being communicated matters. Did we really need a town hall meeting to find out that the Farm Bill passed? Or to learn about the schedule of implementation for SCO and STAX programs? I would be very surprised and a little shocked if there were one RMA employee to whom this was news.
I am still confused about having to be trained in cultural transformation. Are we, as employees, so culturally backward that we need to first be trained on how to change our backward views? Or was the training a demonstration of our leadership’s “successful” efforts to take part in Secretary Vilsack’s initiative to transform the culture in USDA.
The RMA leadership’s self-congratulatory attitude when it comes to its cultural transformation efforts is strangely at odds with employees’ view of their accomplishments. Here are RMA rankings in all leadership categories:
In the category “Effective Leadership: Senior Leaders”, which measures “the level of respect employees have for senior leaders, satisfaction with the amount of information provided by management, and the perception about senior leaders’ honesty, integrity and ability to motivate employees” the Risk Management Agency ranked 202nd out of 299 agencies, 6.7 percent lower than the previous year.
In the category “Effective Leadership: Supervisors” which measures “employees’ opinions about their immediate supervisor’s job performance, how well supervisors give employees the opportunity to demonstrate leadership skills, and the extent to which employees feel supervisors support employee development and provide worthwhile feedback about job performance”, RMA ranked 101st, down 8.10 percent from the previous year.
In the category “Effective Leadership: Empowerment” which measures “the extent to which employees feel empowered with respect to work processes and how satisfied they are with their involvement in decisions that affect their work” RMA ranked 81st, down 2.2 percent from the previous year,
and, in the category “Effective Leadership: Fairness” which measures “the extent to which employees believe disputes are resolved fairly in their work unit, whether employees believe arbitrary action and personal favoritism are tolerated and if employees feel comfortable reporting illegal activity without fear of reprisal” RMA ranked 262nd out of 299 agencies, 5.10 percent lower than the previous year.
If RMA leadership thinks that these employees’ views can be improved by conducting mandatory town hall meetings in which senior leadership recycles old news and management pats itself on the back about the job well done, I have to say, nay, it is a colossal waste of time.

Protected: Labor-Management Forum Update

Posted by on 23 February, 2014
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20 days of paid parental leave sounds like a paltry number compared to the rest of the industrialized world to me, but it is the beginning

Posted by on 12 May, 2013
This post was filed in President's Blog and has 25 comments

Today, on Mother’s Day,  we, mothers are (hopefully) told by our children, by our spouses and partners, (and by all the Mother’s Day marketing promotions) in words and deeds that we are appreciated for all we do and give up through motherhood.

And while the immense  importance and responsibility of child-rearing is thus acknowledged by our families on this day, I cannot help but reflect on the fact that a recognition of an enormous social importance of parenthood in this country lags far behind the rest of the industrial world, and on the role that unions play in promoting and supporting this basic employment benefit  the rest of the world takes for granted.

When it comes to paid parental leave, the United States is among the least generous in the world, ranking down with the handful of countries that don’t offer any paid leave at all, among them Liberia, Suriname and Papua New Guinea.  The Infographic below compares the U.S. to the rest of the world in paid parental leave policies.

Most countries recognize how important it is for mothers to recover from childbirth and for parents to nurture their children during some of their most important developmental stages.

Federal workers are eligible for 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act. However, if an employee wants to receive pay for any portion of their parental leave they must use accrued vacation time or sick days, a difficult task for those who are newly employed or have experienced any health problems in the past.

This outdated policy does not promote a family-friendly environment and stands in stark contrast with the rest of the industrialized world. As the federal government often sets the bar for employee benefits, passage of this bill could inspire other sectors of government and private corporations to offer paid parental leave and bring our country closer to the global standard of paid parental leave.

NFFE-IAM strongly supports the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act,, legislation that will provide four weeks of paid leave to federal employees who adopt, foster or have a child and ease the burden for parents too often forced to choose between their paycheck and their child.