BARGAINING OVER SEQUESTRATION’S IMPACT
If your union has not demanded to bargain over the impact of the pending sequestration, do not wait much longer. The odds of it happening are so high that the union should put in its demand even if management has not provided specific notice, e.g., who get furloughed, for how long, etc.. Everyone has to decide what proposals to submit in their unit given the particular facts. But here are a few proposal ideas that might be worth considering. Let employees —
- pick the days on which they will serve their furlough time, e.g., the day before or after a holiday.
- serve their furlough times by working a shorter work day rather than taking complete days off,
- swap furlough days,
- serve furlough days for a colleague in addition to their own,
- take many more furlough days than minimally required, especially if they can get substitute work for a short period,
- out of any obligation to meet time deadlines that the furlough will make difficult to meet,
- take some admin time prior to a furlough day to get his/her work in order so that the employee can walk away from it for a few days,
- telework in order to reduce costs to compensate for the lost work time,
- petition to avoid any furlough days if their income level is marginal, e.g., their current income is less than $5,000. above the current federal poverty level for their family,
- change their pension and other deductions,
- borrow from their pension investment funds, or
- propose an alternative to furlough them that saves at least as much money as the furlough.
As for the union, it also needs a few things, such as—
- data on who is furloughed for how many days in order to ensure everyone suffers equally, absent a few exceptions,
- notification of any appeals filed by individual employees to MSPB, EEOC, FLRA or other bodies,
- notice of any resignations, and
- an opportunity to submit and oral and/or written reply for any employees who the agency proposes to furlough for more days than everyone else.