AFGE Local 1812

I Can’t Explain

In late November, Agency managers under IBB Director Richard Lobo’s and VOA Director David Ensor’s names issued a statement that, among other things, implied that Agency management was looking out for its non-U.S. citizen employees.

However, actions speak louder than words. AFGE Local 1812 has been in Contract negotiations for almost two years and among the proposals the Union put forward were provisions to provide non-U.S. citizen employees the ability to contest adverse actions to a third party. All the Union’s proposals regarding non-US citizen employees were uniformly rejected by management negotiators without offering any alternatives.

Union Local President Tim Shamble sent a letter to both Director Lobo and Director Ensor for an explanation of why the actions of their representatives at the bargaining table were diametrically opposed with their email message to all employees.

AFGE Local 1812 is still waiting for a response. Sometimes silence speaks volumes.   

Here is the text of that letter:

Dear Directors Lobo and Ensor:

On November 21st and again on November 28th you released an email to all Agency employees that contained the following statement:

"Recognizing the unique and essential role of non-US citizens in producing high-quality programs, VOA has over the years developed and maintained employment policies for noncitizens that, to the extent practicable, parallel those of U.S. citizens."

AFGE Local 1812 finds no fault with that goal and has made several proposals during the current round of negotiations that would enshrine employment policies for non-citizens that parallel those of U.S. citizens to the extent practicable in the current Negotiated Labor-Management Agreement.  It is with great regret that proposals from the Union have not been accepted, nor has the management bargaining team submitted a counter-proposal that would give these employees paralell rights.

For instance, management representatives have refused to provide non-U.S. citizens the right to have a disciplinary case heard ultimately by a third party whose decision would be final (for example, in an arbitration).

AFGE Local 1812 counts many non-citizens as dues-paying members and many others as strong supporters and they continually ask us to level the playing field when it comes to policies governing their employment.

Please respond by Wednesday, December 5, 2012, to this discrepancy - between your statement and the actions from the management negotiating team led by April Cabral and Paul Vali to our proposals regarding the treatment of non-citizens.  Frankly, we are puzzled by your stated goals compared to your representatives' actions.

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