GAO LOCAL 1921 NEGOTIATES FOR ENHANCED CUBICLES

(This posting has been copied almost verbatim from the Local 1921 web site.) In July, GAO will be relocating several employees in the headquarters building, including APSS staff, to make space for new tenants or related to the devolution of knowledge services. GAO’s space Order provides for cubicles for PT II employees, though generally they now have private offices. At the Union’s suggestion, rather than be relocated to stardard cubicles, those employees who are being moved out of private offices will be provided enhanced workspaces that use the cubicle partitions and furniture we already own and add glass panels to the top of the partitions and lockable doors to reduce sound and control access to the office spaces.

Unfortunately, while agreeing to try the enhanced locking cubicles, the agency has denied the ability of nursing mothers to cover the glass partitions during the period of time they are nursing to allow them privacy and the convenience of continuing their work while nursing. The agency feels that using the health unit or one of three currently designated empty offices is sufficient. This is disappointing as the health unit is closed during a significant amount of standard business hours and the three empty offices may be occupied and/or far from the employee’s worksite given the size of the building.

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The Impasses Panel addressed a similar issue recently in EPA, Region 7 and AFGE, 2012 FSIP 079 and wound up imposing an order that took private offices away from bargaining unit attorneys and cut their cubicle space from 96 to to 80 square feet on the grounds that management was willing to limit even its SES executives and Presidential appointees to the ssame area.  However, it required management to build higher walls and provide other noise abatement features.

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FEDSMILL staff has over 40 years of federal sector labor relations experience on the union as well as management side of the table and even some time as a neutral.
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