AFGE Local 3148 Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a number of questions and answers concerning the AFGE, Local 3148 and your rights as a Union member. We hope we cover many of your basic questions. If you have a question that is not answered here please contact us and we will be more than glad to help you in any way we can.

How are my Union dues spent?

How can I join?

How can I quit?

What are the other benefits of joining?
        Read AFGE Benefits Booklet

When is a bargaining unit employee allowed to ask for a union rep?

How do I file a grievance?

What is LMR and how does it work?

Who should I contact first if I need assistance from the Union?

I'm still on probation, can you help me if I need it?

What are the Vice-Presidents duties?

How are the quarterly rosters made?

What rights do I have if I get hurt on the job?
           Dept. of Labor guidance for on the job injuries

Investigatory Interviews, What rights do I have?
           AFGE Guide to OIG Interviews


What rights do I have under Family Medical Leave Act?

What is TAD?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How are my Union dues spent?                          TOP

Your union dues are spent in a number of different ways including representation during an investigation, negotiation of working conditions, legislative action, training for union representatives and activities in which the union sponsors. Your monthly dues are divided between your local, the AFGE National and the Council of Prison Locals.

 

 

How can I join?                                               TOP

Article 8, section C of the Master Agreement states: "An eligible employee may only initiate an allotment for the payment of Union dues by the local Union submitting a properly completed SF-1187 to the servicing Human Resource Manager (HRM). The HRM shall process the SF-1187 as a routine payroll allotment change unless the HRM questions the accuracy of the information submitted or the eligibility of the employee for dues allotment, in which case the HRM shall meet with the local President to resolve any questions. The Employer will order and maintain a sufficient amount of SF-1187's and SF-1188's for distribution to the Union as needed, upon request." To simplify this somewhat, fill out form SF-1187, have any E-Board member or shop steward, sign it and you're in. It can't get much easier than that. Form SF-1187 is available for download here or on the Union web site forms section.

 

 

How can I quit?                                                  TOP

Article 8, section G of the Master Agreement states: "An employee may terminate a Union dues allotment in accordance with 5 USC 7115(a) by the local Union submitting a properly completed SF-1188 to the Human Resource Office at any time during a forty-five (45) day period following the employee's Union membership anniversary date. A Union official will verify the employee's anniversary date and note it on the SF-1188. The completed form must be received in the Human Resource Office within a forty-five (45) day period following the anniversary date. The request will be processed within two (2) pay periods of receipt. For the purpose of this section, the anniversary date referenced above will be the anniversary date on the AFGE roster. Whenever dues deductions are terminated by the Employer, the Union will be notified of the reasons for such actions." So in other words, fill out form SF-1188, have an E-Board member verify that it is within 45 days following your anniversary date of joining and turn it in to HRM.

 

 

 

When is a bargaining unit employee allowed to ask for a union rep?    TOP

We will assume you are talking about representation during an investigation, as Union Rep's do representations in other matters as well.

To summarize the Master Agreement in Article 6, sections D, F, G, H, I and J, basically anytime an official investigation is authorized by the Warden or higher authority in which you feel may lead to disciplinary action. This also covers any written reports that you may be told to submit. But remember, anytime you are questioned by any management personnel concerning an incident that you feel may lead to disciplinary actions your best choice is to ask for union representation. And this does include probationary employees. Do I have to talk with an investigator if I have asked for a Union representative and they have not yet arrived? The Master Agreement, Section 6, article h states: "If the employee requests a Union representative under Sections f. or g., no further questioning will take place until the representative is present, provided that if the representative is not available within a reasonable period of time, the questioning and/or submission of a written report may proceed without the representative being present. Questioning and/or submission of a written report without a Union representative may go forward only where urgent circumstances could interfere with the safe and orderly running of the institution. Such questioning may proceed only when these urgent circumstances are documented and presented to the employee and/or his representative. Reasonable time is defined as that time necessary for the designated representative from the local Union to travel to the site of the examination. The Union will promptly designate its representative and make reasonable efforts to avoid delay." In other words, no. But ONLY until such time as a union representative arrives. After a union representative arrives you are still bound by policy to cooperate during an SIA investigation. And just to add something, ONLY the union has the right to assign your union representative. Management does not have that right. If you are ever placed into this situation and management attempts to assign you a union rep, they are breaking the Master Agreement, and we need to know about this serious infraction. Also, you are not required to sign any statement that you feel is inaccurate. Take your time and read any statement, or any document for that matter, that is given to you to sign. When you place your signature on any document you are saying that you agree with it's contents. Make absolutely certain that you do actually agree with everything contained in that document. And to help you even further, any time spent in an investigation WILL BE compensated, ie: overtime. See also Weingarten Rights on this page          TOP.

 

 

 

 

 

What is LMR and how does it work?                                    TOP.

LMR= Labor Management Relations , the E-board meets monthly with the AW's, Captain, HRM, and assorted Department heads to discuss issue affecting the prison. Resolving issues at that meeting drastically decreases the amount of ULP's and grievance's, which is a good thing. Also ideas that help everyone are often voiced there. If you have an issue contact any E-board member or send them an e-mail , so the issue can be brought up. It's a good tool and should be used. While every issue cannot be resolved at an LMR meeting but it's a great place to start.

 

 

 

I'm still on probation, can you help me if I need it?                   TOP.

Yes. Article 6 of the Master Agreement says that we can represent you and insure that your rights are maintained just as much as any employee. You are also covered under the rules of the MSPB. (Merit System Promotions Board) Another item well worth considering is that if a probationary employee is fired, they will require union assistance to file a grievance, which is your best channel for reinstatement.

 

 

 

Who should I contact first if I need assistance from the Union?       TOP.

Any union steward , You can find out who is a steward or E-Board member by looking on the Union bulletin board What does the Local President do and what are his duties? Per our by-laws, the local union president is the Chief Executive Officer and basically responsible for all local union activities.

 

 

 

 

How do I file a grievance?                                      TOP

Anyone can file a grievance but only the union can take it to the next level. Exact instructions are in the Master Agreement. However, we suggest you get a trained union representative to help you. Anyone who would like to learn how, see the Chief Steward about becoming a Union steward. The Union will always help a member file.

 

 

What are the Vice-Presidents duties?                   TOP.

The Vice President assists the President in his duties. The Vice President is also the acting President in the Presidents absence.

 

 

 

 

How are the quarterly rosters made?                   TOP.

How a quarterly roster is made is covered in the Master Agreement, Article 18, sections D thru H and basically involves the following steps. Correctional Services A roster committee is formed with Management and union representatives on that committee. a blank roster of the upcoming quarter will be posted at least seven (7) weeks prior to that upcoming quarter. Normally, there will be no changes to the blank roster after it is posted.

You submit your shift request for assignment, shift, and days off, or any combination thereof, up to the day before the roster committee meets. Those who do not submit a preference request will be considered to have no preference. If you submit more than one request, the one with the most recent date will be the one used and requests will be granted in order of seniority.

The roster committee will meet and formulate the roster assignments no later than five (5) weeks prior to the effective date of the quarter change.

The committee's roster will be posted and accessible to all Correctional Services employees no later than the Friday following the roster committee meeting.

Once the completed roster is posted, all Correctional Officers will have one (1) week to submit any complaints or concerns. Correctional Officers will submit their complaints or concerns in writing to the Captain or designee. The employee may also submit a copy to the local President or designee. No later than the following Wednesday, Management and the Union will meet to discuss the complaints or concerns received, and make any adjustments as needed.

The roster is forwarded to the Warden for final approval. The completed roster is posted three (3) weeks prior to the effective date of the quarter change. Departments Outside Correctional Services Roster committees outside the Correctional Services department will be formed to develop a roster unless mutually waived by the department head and the Union. They same basic guidelines as Correctional Services use are used for departments outside Correctional Services unless a different method is agreed upon by the union. These rosters will be posted three (3) weeks prior to implementation. Copies will be given to the local President or designee at the time of posting. Here are some other rights you have concerning shifts and working conditions which are also outlined in the same sections of the Master Agreement. Time Off Between Shifts(Article 18, section h) Ordinarily, the minimum time off between shifts will be seven and one-half (7*) hours, and the minimum elapsed time off on "days off" will be fifty-six (56) hours, except when the employee requests the change. Jury Duty (Article 18, section i) Employees, while serving on federal, state, or local jury duty, shall be considered as being assigned to the day shift with Saturdays and Sundays off until the completion of such duties. The change in work schedule shall be for the weeks during which such duties are performed. Assignment Changes and the Weather (Article 18, section k) If a change in a job assignment involving a change from an inside position to an outside position or vice versa is necessary, and the employee has not been properly advised in advance, and adverse weather or conditions of the assignment warrant, the employee will be given an opportunity to obtain and change into appropriate clothing while on duty status. Other options may be explored, including the assigning of another employee to the position.

 

 

 

 

Workman's Compensation Program                         TOP

If you are hurt on the job you have rights under the Federal Employee's Compensation Act, which is defined in 20 CFR and CA-810. Read here as to what you should do when you get injured on the job. Your basic rights are and responsibilities to remember:

1. Fill out the CA-1, which can be obtained from here, your supervisor or safety. If you are injured and unable to fill out the CA-1, your supervisor is responsible in filling it out and turning it in to Safety and its your responsibility to follow up to review and sign it as early as possible.

2. You have the right to pick your doctor, just be sure it is a licensed medical doctor.

3. It is your responsiblity to get all medical forms mailed, faxed, or electronically sent in. Most medical offices will do this for you, but be sure to follow up on it.

4. OWCP at the Department of labor who handles your claim is slow as pond water, so be patient

5. You have the right and obligation to follow your doctors orders to the letter. This means management has little to say on this and can not harass you in anyway.

Management is entitled to updates, but not every day or every other day by calling you. If you have any questions or concerns, A. Antonio is our Union expert. TOP

 

 

Weingarten Rights                                          TOP

EMPLOYEE'S RIGHT TO UNION REPRESENTATION
The right of employees to have union representation at investigatory interviews was announced by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1975 case (NLRB vs. Weingarten, Inc. 420 U.S. 251, 88 LRRM 2689). These rights have become known as the Weingarten rights. Employees have Weingarten rights only during investigatory interviews.

An investigatory interview occurs when a supervisor questions an employee to obtain information which could be used as a basis for discipline or asks an employee to defend his or her conduct. If an employee has a reasonable belief that discipline or other adverse consequences may result from what he or she says, the employee has the right to request union representation. Management is not required to inform the employee of his/her Weingarten rights; it is the employees responsibility to know and request.

When the employee makes the request for a union representative to be present management has three options:
   (1) it can stop questioning until the representative arrives.
   (2) it can call off the interview or,
   (3) it can tell the employee that it will call off the interview unless the employee voluntarily gives up his/her rights to a union representative (an option the emplovee should always refuse.)

Employers will often assert that the only role of a union representative in an investigatory interview is to observe the discussion. The Supreme Court, however, clearly acknowledges a representative's right to assist and counsel workers during the interview.

The Supreme Court has also ruled that during an investigatory interview management must inform the union representative of the subject of the interrogation. The representative must also be allowed to speak privately with the employee before the interview. During the questioning, the representative can interrupt to clarify a question or to object to confusing or intimidating tactics. While the interview is in progress the representative can not tell the employee what to say but he may advise them on how to answer a question. At the end of the interview the union representative can add information to support the employee's case.

On June 15, 2004, The National Labor Relations Board ruled by a 3-2 vote that employees who work in a nonunionized workplace are not entitled under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act to have a coworker accompany them to an interview with their employer, even if the affected employee reasonably believes that the interview might result in discipline. This decision effectively reversed the July 2000 decision of the Clinton Board that extended Weingarten Rights to nonunion employees.  TOP

"If this discussion could in anyway lead to my being disciplined or terminated or have any effect on my personal working conditions, I respectfully request that my union representative, Officer or steward be present at this meeting Without Union representation, I choose not to participate in this discussion."

Do- invoke the Weingarten rights written above
Do- Request additional time to think things over
Do- contact your union steward for advice
Dont sign any papers or documents on the spot
Dont commit yourself or argue with the agency officials

Additional info regarding guidance for OIG Interviews can be found here.

 

Family and Medical Leave         TOP

Entitlement

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), most Federal employees are entitled to a total of up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for the following purposes:

  • the birth of a son or daughter of the employee and the care of such son or daughter;
  • the placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care;
  • the care of spouse, son, daughter, or parent of the employee who has a serious health condition; or
  • a serious health condition of the employee that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her positions.

Under certain conditions, an employee may use the 12 weeks of FMLA leave intermittently.  An employee may elect to substitute annual leave and/or sick leave, consistent with current laws and OPM's regulations for using annual and sick leave, for any unpaid leave under the FMLA.  (The amount of sick leave that may be used to care for a family member is limited.  See "Sick Leave to Care for a Family Member with a Serious Health Condition")  FMLA leave is in addition to other paid time off available to an employee.

Job Benefits and Protection

  • Upon return from FMLA leave, an employee must be returned to the same position or to an "equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay, status, and other terms and conditions of employment."
  • An employee who takes FMLA leave is entitled to maintain health benefits coverage.  An employee on unpaid FMLA leave may pay the employee share of the premiums on a current basis or pay upon return to work.

Advance Notice and Medical Certification 

  • An employee must provide notice of his or her intent to take family and medical leave not less than 30 days before leave is to begin or, in emergencies, as soon as is practicable.
  • An agency may request medical certification for FMLA leave taken to care for an employee's spouse, son, daughter, or parent who has a serious health condition or for the serious health condition of the employee.

Links

References

Public Law 103-3. February 5, 1999
5 U.S.C. 6381-6387; 5 CFR part 630, subpart L
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What is TAD?                                                             TOP

To provide temporary alternative duty assignments to BOP employees who have incurred job related injuries or illnesses which temporary prevents them from performing their duties.

If the employee is reccommended for TAD assignment, they will receive verbal notification followed by a letter within two business days signed by the supervisor, explaining the assignment. The employer must send a complete copy of any job offer to OWCP when it is sent to the employee.

If the employee does not agree to the TAD assignment, the employee must meet with his or her supervisor to discuss any concerns and objections in writing to the supervisor.

Example of TAD assignments may include assignment to position that does not require interaction with inmates or can include partial less then eight hours week days, during the time the employee is on tad, ample time will be provided for medical and physical therapy appointments .

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