To promote the health, safety, and welfare of the Federal Firefighters within the International Association
of Fire Fighters (IAFF).
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Negotiations. Is your contract
not. Most of the agreements
(collective bargaining agreements) have provisions for a rollover (usually in
the Duration Article). This
means that once the original contract period expires the agreement begins an
annual rollover. In such
cases the contract automatically rolls over (continues) unless either party
proposes to renegotiate the agreement. Most
agreements also have specific parameters for when either party can propose to
renegotiate the agreement. These
parameters are usually also contained in the "duration" portion of the
agreement. Usually there
are specific time frames for opening the agreement and proposing to open the
agreement outside of theses time frames violates the agreement. If the employer is telling the union
that the agreement is no longer valid or is outdated carefully review the
parameters of the agreement. Most
likely you will find that the employers allegations are unfounded.
Is your contract outdated? Again, probably not. The Civil Service Act and 5 USC
Chapter 71 set the parameters for bargaining in the federal sector. Federal bargaining parameters are limited in scope when compared to other sectors. Such items as pay and benefits are for
the most part not negotiable. Therefore
many of the items negotiated in federal sector agreements are procedural and
policy matters or matters regarding appropriate arrangements when the employer
is exercising one of their management rights under the Statute, and union
representational rights provided for by the Statute. One of the best signs of an effective working
contract in the federal sector is an agreement that has been in place many
years and worked well for both parties. Federal policies and
procedures rarely change but on occasion there is a need to update some items
in an agreement to ensure they reflect current laws. However, renegotiating an agreement
simply because it was executed many years ago is not necessary. Agreements should be carefully
evaluated to determine if a need exists to renegotiate.
of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in the federal sector can be
impacted by the political environment.
How? Elections determine which
party will be making appointments to federal agencies that have oversight over
negotiation impasses and negotiability appeals processes that can be necessary
to resolve bargaining issues. The
Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) and Federal Service Impasses Panel
(FSIP) are both lead by political appointees.
When these agencies are led by people that have ideologies that are not
unbiased or are more supportive of managements rights we often see our ability
to bargain hampered. I suggest Locals
seriously consider their needs and the possible outcome if they are planning to
renegotiate their CBA in the near future.
You may want to consider delaying any CBA renegotiations unless there is
a dire need until we have time to evaluate the bargaining environment that will
be created over the next year.
The 16th District provides Twitter updates. Any opinions are my own.
IAFF Convention Seattle Washington August 5-10.