Collective Bargaining Agreement
between the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health Research Triangle Park, North Carolina & Local 2923 American Federation of Government Employees AFL-CIO
The effective date of this Agreement is May 15, 1990
- ARTICLE I: Purpose
- ARTICLE II: Parties to the Agreement and Definition of Unit
- ARTICLE III: Labor-Management Cooperation
- ARTICLE IV: Management Rights
- ARTICLE V: Employee's Rights
- ARTICLE VI: Union Representation
- ARTICLE VII: Facilities and Services
- ARTICLE VIII: Leave
- ARTICLE IX: Equal Employment Opportunity
- ARTICLE X: Hours of Work
- ARTICLE XI: Overtime
- ARTICLE XII: Reduction-in-Force, Transfer of Function and Reorganization
- ARTICLE XIII: Adverse Working and/or Weather Procedures
- ARTICLE XIV: Position Classification
- ARTICLE XV: Health and Safety
- ARTICLE XVI: Communications
- ARTICLE XVII: Contracting-Out
- ARTICLE XVIII: Training and Career Development
- ARTICLE XIX: Travel
- ARTICLE XX: Light Duty
- ARTICLE XXI: Official Time
- ARTICLE XXII: Performance Appraisal
- ARTICLE XXIII: Grievance Procedure
- ARTICLE XXIV: Arbitration
- ARTICLE XXV: Temporary Employees, Probationary Employees, and other Appointments
- ARTICLE XXVI: Research Programs and Demonstration Projects
- ARTICLE XXVII: Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Mental Health
- ARTICLE XXVIII [as revised by MOU, May 12, 2004]: Parking
- ARTICLE XXIX: Dues Withholding
- ARTICLE XXX: Duration and Changes
- ARTICLE XXXI: Records
WHEREAS the Congress of the United States has declared that the public interest requires high standards of employee performance and the continual development and implementation of modern and progressive work practices to facilitate improved employee performance and efficiency; and,
WHEREAS the well-being of the employees and efficient administration of the Government are benefited by providing employees an opportunity to participate in the formulation and implementation of personnel policies and practices affecting the conditions of their employment; and
WHEREAS the participation of employees should be improved through the maintenance of constructive and cooperative relationship between labor organizations and management officials; and
WHEREAS the Parties affirm that cooperative relations can be mutually beneficial if the Parties concerned are willing to pursue legitimate goals through a rational and constructive process.
NOW, THEREFORE, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, hereinafter known as the Employer and Local 2923 of the American Federation of Government Employees, hereinafter known as the Union enter into this Agreement which shall constitute the negotiated Agreement between the Employer and the Union.
ARTICLE I: Purpose
It is the intent and purpose of both parties to this AGREEMENT to:
- enhance the efficient administration of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the major role it plays in the advancement of biomedical research and the fundamental well being and health of the nation's citizenry;
- promote fair and reasonable working conditions; promote improved programs designed to aid employees in achieving their acknowledged and recognized objectives;
- promote the highest degree of morale and responsibility in the Unit;
- adjust promptly all differences arising between the parties related to matters covered by this Labor Management Agreement;
- promote systematic cooperation between the Employer and the Employees in the Bargaining Unit and provide a safe and healthful work environment.
ARTICLE II: Parties to the Agreement and Definition of Unit
Local 2923 was certified as the exclusive representative of the employees in the unit defined below by the Atlanta Area Administrator, LMSA, on August 31, 1971, Case No. 403094 (RO), the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Department of Health and Human Services Research Triangle Park North Carolina (hereinafter referred to as the Employer) and Local 2923 American Federation of Government Employees. AFL-CIO (hereinafter referred to as the Union). Bargaining Unit Employee(s) hereinafter will be referred to as Employee(s).
The unit to which this Agreement applies, as defined in the Certificate of representation consists of:
- Included: all General Schedule and Wage Grade non-professional employees employed at and by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
- Excluded: all professional employees, management officials, temporary employees, employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity, and supervisors and guards as defined in Executive Order 11491.
ARTICLE III: Labor-Management Cooperation
In the administration of all matters covered by the agreement, the parties and employees are governed by existing and future laws and regulations of appropriate authorities, including policies set forth in the Federal Personnel Manual, by published agency policies and regulations in existence at the time the agreement was approved, and by subsequent agency policies and regulations required by law or by the regulations or appropriate authorities, or authorized by the terms of a controlling agreement at a higher agency level. This shall also apply to all supplemental, implementing and subsidiary written agreements which are mutually agreed upon by both parties.
The Employer agrees that prior to making changes on personnel policies and practices or matters affecting conditions of employment in the unit, the Employer will provide the Union with a copy of the proposed change and provide for discussion between the Parties. The Union may, within 15 calendar days of receipt of the proposed change, request to negotiate or may furnish written proposals thereto or request discussion regarding those matters submitted by the Employer. The Employer agrees to give full consideration to views expressed by the Union. An exception to these factors may be emergency situations that are beyond the control of the Employer.
It is recognized that during the life of this agreement, changes in law, regulations of appropriate authority, or decisions of appropriate authority may necessitate changes in personnel policies, practices, or other matters affecting working conditions. If the changes leave the employer no discretion in the matter, the Union will be informed of the impending change. When the law or regulations leave administrative discretion to the Employer in the implementation of the required changes, the Union will be given the opportunity to meet and confer over such implementation.
The Employer and the Union both agree to establish a joint labor-management committee. It will meet not less than once each quarter during the months of March, June, September and December at a convenient location agreed upon by the Parties. Agenda items will be exchanged by both Parties through the Associate Director for Management, Research Triangle Park, five working days in advance of each meeting.
The Parties shall meet at reasonable times to discuss in good faith matters of concern to either of the Parties. This Committee will discuss such matters as: the correction of conditions making for grievances; the encouragement of good human relations; the promotion of education and training; Equal Employment Opportunity matters, etc. However it is agreed that individual grievances will not be taken up during these Committee meetings.
Union and Employer representatives attending these meetings will be kept to a reasonable number, not to exceed five for either Party, consistent with the subjects to be discussed. Union representatives who are employees will be allowed to attend without charge to leave.
The Union agrees to cooperate with the Employer in voluntary charity drives and to lend its support to these worthy causes. In conducting these drives, the Parties will be guided by appropriate regulations which provide that no coercion or reprisals will be tolerated. Confidential gifts may be made by placing contributions in sealed, unmarked envelopes. It is further agreed that there will be no disclosure of contributors and the amount of their contributions other than that required for the conduct of the program.
The Employer agrees to furnish, without charge, pertinent and necessary information requested by the Union to properly represent employees provided that said requests are reasonable and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
The Employer will inform each unit employee of the Union's exclusive recognition and provide him/her with a copy of the negotiated agreement. The Union will be informed when orientation sessions of new employees are scheduled and may address such sessions. The Union recognizes that when it addresses these orientation sessions it cannot directly solicit for Union membership. The Union may distribute promotional literature at these orientations sessions.
ARTICLE IV: Management Rights
Subject to Section 2 of this Article, nothing in this Chapter shall affect the authority of any management official of any agency:
- to determine the mission, budget, organization, number of employees, and internal security practices of the agency, and
- in accordance with applicable laws,
- to hire, assign, direct, layoff, and retain employees in the agency, or to suspend, remove, reduce in grade or pay, or take other disciplinary action against such employees;
- to assign work, to make determinations with respect to contracting out, and to determine the personnel by which agency operations shall be conducted;
- with respect to filling positions, to make selections for appointments from -
- among properly ranked and certified candidates for promotion; or
- any other appropriate source; and
- to take whatever actions may be necessary to carry out the agency mission during emergencies.
Nothing in this Article shall preclude any agency and any labor organization from negotiating -
- at the election of the agency, on the numbers, types, and grades of employees or positions assigned to any organizational subdivision,
- work project, or tour of duty, or on the technology, methods, and means of performing work;
- procedures which management officials of the agency will observe in exercising any authority under this section; or
- appropriate arrangements for employees adversely affected by the exercise of any authority under this section by such management officials.
ARTICLE V: Employee's Rights
Each employee shall have the right to form, join, or assist any labor organization or to refrain from any such activity, freely and without fear of penalty or reprisal, and each employee shall be protected in the exercise of such right. Except as otherwise provided by law such right includes the right:
- to act for a labor organization in the capacity of a representative and the right, in that capacity, to present the view of the labor organization to heads of agencies and other officials of the Executive Branch of the Government, the Congress, or other appropriate authorities, and
- to engage in collective bargaining with respect to conditions of employment through representatives chosen by employees.
Except as provided by law, regulation, or published policy of the Office of Personnel Management and the Agency, employees are not accountable to the Employer in the conduct of their private lives.
Outside employment maybe appropriate when it will not adversely affect performance of an employee's official duties and will not reflect discredit on the Government or the Employer. Employees shall not engage in outside employment or other outside activities not compatible with the full and proper discharge of their duties and responsibilities as a Government employee. Incompatible activities include, but are not limited to, outside employment which impairs an employee's mental or physical capacity to perform his or her Government duties and responsibilities in an acceptable manner and outside work or activity that takes the employee's time and attention during working hours. In all cases of outside employment the individual Employee shall be bound by DHHS Regulations.
Employees have a right to contact Union Representatives during working hours to discuss conditions of employment. Employees will advise their supervisor of their wish to see a Union Representative and will mutually agree to an acceptable time before meeting with the Union Representative and leaving the work site.
It is recognized that all Employees are expected to promptly pay all just financial obligations. A just financial obligation is an obligation which the Employee acknowledges or which has been reduced to a judgment. In the event of a dispute between an Employee and a private individual or a firm with respect to an alleged debt or financial obligation, where the debt is not acknowledged by the Employee or reduced to a judgment, the Employer will neither act as an arbitrator nor will the Employer take any action against the Employee which is directly related to the debt. It is further recognized that failure to pay just debts reflects improperly on the Agency.
It is recognized that government employees have a particular responsibility to meet their financial obligations to the Government. The Employer will take appropriate action in accordance with existing rules and regulations to see that employees meet their obligations. Action taken in accordance with appropriate rules and regulations shall not be grieved under the negotiated grievance procedure.
Nothing in this agreement requires employees to become or remain members of a labor organization, or to pay money to the organization except pursuant to a voluntary, written authorization by a member for the payment of dues through payroll deductions.
The employer will make every reasonable effort to have payroll errors corrected promptly. The employer will explain to an affected employee the circumstances of any overpayment and will assist the employee in the completion of the request for waiver of claim for overpayment when such action is appropriate under applicable regulations.
Employees have the right to examine their Official Personnel Folder except for such documents prohibited to be shown by regulations. In the event other personnel files are maintained on an employee, such files will be made available to them for inspection upon request. Employees will be afforded the opportunity to place in their Official Personnel Folder any statement they wish to make with regard to unfavorable information contained in these records in accordance with OPM regulations.
Employees shall be protected against reprisal of any nature for the disclosure of information not prohibited by law or by Executive Order which the employee reasonably believes evidences a violation of law, regulation or rule, or evidences mismanagement, waste of funds, and abuse of authority or a danger to public or employee health or safety.
When the Employer determines that a verbal counseling is necessary, the counseling will be accomplished during a private interview with the concerned employee and the appropriate supervisor. Should the employee request a Union representative, no further action will be taken until the employee's Union's representative is present. The employee will be granted up to three (3) workdays to obtain representation. If there is to be more than one management official involved in a counseling session with the employee, the employee will be so notified in advance and the employee may have a union representative at the session.
The written counseling will be accomplished in the same manner as specified above except that a written statement will be given to the employee. The employee will be given a copy of such written reports of counseling. Counseling shall be reasonable, fair, and used constructively to encourage an employee's improvement in areas of conduct and performance.
ARTICLE VI: Union Representation
The Union will notify the Employer of the designated Union official to receive official information from the Employer concerning changes in conditions of employment. The Union will designate, and the Employer will recognize a Chief Steward and such additional stewards as the Union deems necessary up to a ratio of 1 steward for each 20 employees in the Unit.
Should it be necessary for a Union Steward to leave his or her work area, they will first secure the permission of their supervisor to leave their duty post and will secure the permission of the supervisor of the employee involved if the presence of that employee is required. Permission will be granted by the supervisors except where an immediate granting of time off would seriously affect the work of the unit. In such cases, the supervisor will arrange for time off as the work load permits. The Union steward and the employee involved will personally report their return to work to their supervisor.
Necessary and reasonable time during work hours will be granted to designated Union representatives and aggrieved employees for attendance at all hearings and meetings with management officials. Necessary and reasonable time will also be allowed for designated representatives to meet with employees to receive, prepare for, and present grievances and other appropriate matters.
Consistent with their responsibilities as Government Employees and consistent with the terms and conditions of this Agreement, the Steward may receive but shall not solicit complaints and grievances of Employees during official working hours of the Employees involved; may represent the Union in meetings with Management officials for the purpose of soliciting information and or presenting Union views; and, may serve as an Employee's representative when requested by the Employee. In those instances where the Union officer or Steward is representing the Union in a meeting with the Employer, he or she must have full authority to express the Union's position. The steward shall represent Employees only within their defined area of responsibility and shall meet only with Management official with responsibility in that assigned area of the Institute. Union officials or Stewards who meet with Management officials to present views regarding matters covered by this Agreement or other matters relating to working conditions, must do so only in their official capacity. The only exception will be when a Union official or Steward meets with their supervisor or other Management official to present or pursue a matter relating to their own employment or working conditions.
There shall be no restraint, interference, coercion or discrimination against a Union representative because of the performance of his or her Union duties.
The Union shall be given the opportunity to be represented at formal discussions between management and Employees concerning grievances, personnel policies and practices or other matters affecting conditions of employment.
The Employer agrees to inform the Union in writing prior to placing Union Officers and/or Stewards on details away from their normal work areas except in cases of emergency when time will not permit.
Up to 280 hours of administrative leave may be granted annually to NIEHS employees who are Union Officers or Stewards for the purpose of receiving training which is mutually beneficial to both Parties in the area of Union-Management cooperation. These hours will be granted subject to the paramount mission needs of the Institute. The 280 hours shall be used as follows: up to 80 hours for the Chief Steward, up to 80 hours for a Union Officer, and the balance of 120 hours distributed among the other Stewards providing that no single individual shall be allocated more than 40 hours.
At the request of the local Union, National Officials of the American Federation of Government Employees or a non-employee officer of the local, shall be authorized to enter the Institute. The Union will be responsible for verbally notifying the Associate Director for Management, or his designee, prior to their arrival if at all possible. If prior notification is not possible, the Associate Director for Management or his designee, should be notified at the time of their arrival. If the officials wish to visit the work areas, the Associate Director for Management, or their designee, will coordinate the request with the appropriate Institute staff to determine if such a visit is possible and convenient, before granting permission to make such a visitation. These National officials of the AFGE may participate in meetings between the Union and Management; however, they are precluded from transacting any internal Union business with any NIEHS employee during the Employee's normal work hours.
ARTICLE VII: Facilities and Services
During the first month of each fiscal year, the Employer will furnish the Union with a list of names, position titles, grades, and organizational locations of all Unit Employees.
The Employer will provide the Union with the routine monthly report on gains and losses prepared by the Personnel Office.
On a space available basis, the employer agrees to make space available to the Union, upon request, for meetings and other appropriate activities. The Employer agrees to provide office space and a telephone to the Union. The Union shall be responsible for the suitable use and care of the space.
Official publications of the Union may be distributed by Union representatives during the non-duty time of the Employees who are distributing or receiving the materials.
The Employer agrees to make available a reasonable amount of bulletin board space for use by the Union. In concert with its internal operations, it shall be the responsibility of the Union to currently maintain the information on bulletin boards in a neat and orderly manner.
When printed, the NIEHS telephone directory will contain the name, position within the union, location and telephone number of elected Union officers and stewards.
ARTICLE VIII: Leave
Annual leave is a benefit provided by law. In so far as possible, leave should be scheduled and approved in advance. Employees requesting annual leave may, but are not normally required to provide the supervisor or leave approving official with an explanation of the purposes for which leave is requested. However, in the event of leave conflicts within the work unit, Employees should provide the supervisor with an explanation as requested. Reasonable request for annual leave will be granted. Supervisors should insure that annual leave is scheduled for use so as to prevent any unintended loss of annual leave at the end of the leave year. It is recognized that supervisors may approve or disapprove requests for annual leave. The reasons for disapproving annual leave must be given to the employee if requested.
The Employer agrees to notify all Unit Employees by memorandum no later than October 15 of each year that employees must submit leave requests by the date set in the regulations in order to avoid forfeiture of use/lose leave. If scheduled leave is canceled by the Employer, and an Employee will exceed his or her annual leave ceiling, the Employee should request reinstatement of the annual leave that would be lost.
Annual leave will be granted on an equitable basis and the employer will make a reasonable attempt to satisfy the leave requests of employees. Every effort will be made to accommodate Employees who desire leave on religious holidays and to attend funerals.
It is recognized that Title IV of the Federal Employees Flexible and Compressed Work Schedule Act of 1978 allows an Employee to work compensatory overtime, subject to supervisory approval, for the purpose of taking time off without charge to leave when personal religious beliefs require that the Employee abstain from work during certain periods of the workday or workweek.
It is recognized by the Employer and the Union that all employees have the responsibility for promptly and accurately reporting absences chargeable to annual leave to their timekeeper.
Annual leave, if available and appropriate, will be granted to employees when they are unable to report for duty due to an emergency, provided that the appropriate supervisor is notified as soon as practicable, preferably before, but normally within two hours after the beginning of the employee's work day. In these situations, the employee shall inform the supervisor of the reason for the leave request.
In accordance with applicable regulations, advanced annual leave may be granted to an employee to the extent that the leave will accrue to the employee during the remainder of the current leave year or appointment term.
Consistent with applicable regulations the supervisor may excuse tardiness of less than sixty minutes when in his or her opinion excused tardiness is appropriate. If annual leave is charged, the employee will not be required to perform duty until leave time charged has expired.
The accumulation of annual leave or lack of thereof, will not be a factor in any formal promotion action.
When an employee requests annual leave of forty (40) hours or more, in conjunction with scheduled days off at the beginning and end of the leave period, management/supervisors will not change that employee's scheduled days off except to meet required mission needs which were not foreseen when the leave was approved.
The agency recognizes the needs of employees to plan vacation and personal time off. Therefore, the agency will not cancel leave which has been approved in advance except to meet consistent operational demands.
- Section 1
The Union and the Employer recognize the insurance value of sick leave and the desirability of conserving such leave so it will be available to employees in the case of extended illness or injury. Employees shall accrue sick leave in accordance with statutes and regulations.
- Section 2
Sick leave, if accrued shall be granted to employees when they are incapacitated for the performance of their duties for reasons of sickness, injury, or other reasons as provided for by OPM and DHHS regulations. Employees not reporting for work for reasons as stated above shall furnish notice to their supervisor by telephone or other means as soon as possible; usually not later than two hours after the beginning of the scheduled work shift.
- Section 3
Sick leave, if accrued, shall also be granted for medical, dental, or optical examination or treatment, or for securing diagnostic examination for x-rays. Sick leave for these purposes shall be requested in advance and shall be limited to that which is necessary for the specific request.
- Section 4
In accordance with applicable regulations, Employees shall not normally be required to furnish a medical certificate to substantiate a request for sick leave for absences of three consecutive work days or less, due to illness, injury or other matters appropriate for charge to sick leave. In cases where the nature of the illness was such that an Employee did not need to see a medical practitioner, and the Employee has not been given a letter of requirement, the Employee's written statement concerning illness will be acceptable.
- Section 5
Letters of requirement may be issued to Employees who, because of individual sick leave records, are suspected of abuse of sick leave privileges. Such letters must state specifically that the Employee is suspected of abuse of sick leave and give reasons in detail of why the letter is necessary. Employees who have been issued a letter of requirement may be required to furnish a medical certification for all periods of sick leave. Letter of requirement will be reviewed by the issuing officer at six (6) month intervals from the date of issue. If sufficient improvement in the sick leave record is shown, the letter of requirement will be withdrawn. The Employee will be notified in writing of the determination at each six (6) month review.
- Section 6
It is recognized by the Employer and the Union that all employees have the responsibility for promptly and accurately reporting absences chargeable to sick leave to their timekeeper.
- Section 7
In cases of serious illness or disability employees may be advanced sick leave within the limits of applicable rules and regulations, provided that there is a reasonable expectation that they will be able to return to duty.
- Section 8
It is agreed that time spent by employees in obtaining treatment at the appropriate health unit will not be charged to sick leave. Should an employee be sent home by his/her supervisor on the recommendation of the health unit or other medical authority, sick leave will be charged beginning at the time the employee leaves the health unit or work place. Should an employee be disabled because of traumatic injury in the work place or an alleged disability as a result of work place conditions, leave and other benefits will be handled in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
- Section 9
If an employee furnishes administratively acceptable evidence showing that the employee's absence was necessary to care for a member of his/her immediate family who has a contagious disease subject to quarantine, and which would endanger the health of others with whom the employee works, sick leave will be granted in accordance with OPM and DHHS regulations.
- Section 10
An employee who expects to be absent more than one day will inform the supervisor of his/her expected date of return to duty and notify the supervisor of any change. In the case of extended illness daily reports will not required, however, the employee should report their status to their supervisor at appropriate intervals consist with the nature of their illness.
- Section 1
Appropriate leave may be granted to cover a period of absence for maternity reasons. Sick leave, if available, will be granted for the period of incapacitation due to pregnancy. The Employee may request and be granted annual leave or leave without pay instead of sick leave for the period of incapacitation.
- Section 2
No arbitrary cut-off date requiring an Employee to cease work or prevent an Employee from returning to work will be established. If leave dates are established they must be based on the capability of the Employee to perform the duties of the job after a determination by appropriate medical authority. The Employer may establish, with the Employee, a firm date for the leave to begin and end.
- Section 3
A male Employee may request annual leave or leave without pay for up to 30 calendar days for purposes of aiding, assisting, or caring for the mother of minor children while the mother is incapacitated for maternity reasons.
- Section 1
All Employees who volunteer as blood donors, without compensation, may be authorized up to four (4) hours of excused absence for recuperation following the blood donation. The four (4) hour period includes the time required to travel to and from the local blood center to give blood. The excused absence is to be taken on the day the blood is donated and immediately following the donation. Supervisors may ask for evidence of each donation. In the event blood cannot be donated, the employee is required to immediately return to work.
- Section 2
In the event an employee is summoned for jury duty or as a witness in [sic] behalf of the Government, the employee shall be excused for such duties and compensated in accordance with current regulations.
- Section 3
Employees are encouraged to exercise their right and privilege as Americans to vote in all national, state, and local municipal elections or referenda Administrative leave will be granted to employees if they request it for the purpose of voting in these elections or referenda in accordance with the following:
- Employees shall be granted excused time to vote which will permit them to report for work within three hours after the polls open or close, whichever requires the least time off.
- In individual cases where polls are an unusual distance, employees may request in writing a greater amount of excused time. Each request shall state fully the reasons for additional time needed. Leave approving officials will approve the additional time if it is determined to be reasonable.
- Voting arrangements requiring excused time off will be made with the Employee's immediate supervisor prior to Election Day to prevent undue interruption to work operations.
- Section 4
For Employees that vote in jurisdictions which require registration in person, excused time to register will be granted on the same basis as for voting.
Leave Without Pay
- Section 1
Employees may be granted leave without pay provided the provisions of applicable laws and regulations are met. Such leaves of absence without pay shall not exceed one year.
- Section 2
The Employer recognizes that Employees may be elected or appointed as delegates to a Union convention or other such function which necessitates an absence. The Employer will authorize leave without pay for such Employees subject to the reasonable requirements of the Employer.
- Section 3
Employees accepting full time positions as Union Representatives may be granted leave without pay for one (1) year and consideration will be given for a one year extension.
ARTICLE IX: Equal Employment Opportunity
The Employer agrees to provide equal opportunity for all employees and to assure that no one is discriminated against because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliations, marital status, physical handicap, age, or membership in labor organization.
The Parties agree that they have responsibility for promoting full realization of equal employment opportunity through a positive program developed in accordance with appropriate directives, regulations, and law. The Union agrees to become a positive force in this endeavor.
It is agreed that the Employer will apply affirmative action principles set out in law, regulation and/or Executive Order. If, in the opinion of the Union, a pattern of discrimination exists, the Union may bring the situation to the Employer's attention. Nothing in this ARTICLE shall preclude or conflict with the right of an employee to file an individual complaint.
The Union shall have a representative on the NIEHS EEO Advisory Committee.
The Union recognizes and agrees that the responsibility for counseling employees or groups of employees alleging discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin or handicap rests with the NIEHS counselors.
Affirmative Action Program Plans. Prior to submitting local affirmative action plan to EEOC, local management will consult or negotiate, as appropriate, with the Union.
Complaints. Any employee who wishes to file or has filed an EEO complaint shall be free from coercion, interference, dissuasion and reprisal. EEO counselors will fully advise employees who seek their assistance of the procedures involved in processing an EEO complaint under applicable laws and regulations. The EEO counselor will also advise the complainant of his/her right to file a grievance under the negotiated grievance procedure. Upon request, the Agency agrees to provide the Union existing, available statistics concerning discrimination complaints filed by employees, in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
ARTICLE X: Hours of Work
The Employer and the Union agree that the administrative workweek shall be 7 consecutive days, Sunday through Saturday.
The basic workweek will consist of five days, normally Monday through Friday, and the 2 days outside the basic workweek shall be consecutive unless otherwise requested by the employee. The workweek day will normally consist of eight and one-half hours including a half hour unpaid lunch period. Two fifteen minute rest periods may be observed unless unusual workload conditions will not permit. Normally, the rest periods will be granted during the middle of the first and last half of each basic work day. A ten minute work break each hour will be allowed for employees who work at a video display terminal for more than 60 consecutive minutes at a time.
If Congress makes changes in the law concerning the hours of work of Federal Employees, allowing changes in the number of days a week worked or number of hours a day to be worked, the Employer agrees to negotiate such changes prior to implementation.
The Employer and the Union recognize the need to alter work schedules to meet workload demands within various units. The employer reserves the right to assign employees to work schedules outside the basic workweek in order to meet special requirements of the Institute.
Employees shall be included in a compressed work week schedule under Title 5, Chapter 61, Subchapter II, to the extent negotiated by the Parties.
The employer will consider a request to reschedule the customary workweek to allow employees to take courses at nearby colleges, universities, or other educational institutions when consistent with applicable laws, rules, regulations and in consideration of the overall mission needs of the Institute.
ARTICLE XI: Overtime
In accordance with applicable regulations, overtime work means work in excess of 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in an administrative workweek that is:
- officially ordered or approved, and
- performed by an employee.
Generally, hours worked include all time an employee is required to be on duty or at prescribed work place, and all time during which he or she is suffered or permitted to work for the Employer. Overtime work performed shall be credited and paid for in minimum periods of 15 minutes or multiples thereof.
The Employer agrees that, in ordinary circumstances, overtime work shall be equitably distributed among Employees in a particular work section
- who are engaged in the needed trades or occupations, and
- who are qualified to perform the required work.
In this regard, overtime work shall not be assigned to Employees as a reward or penalty. Employees on detail outside their normal work section will not be precluded from volunteering for overtime work, consistent with the requirements of the detail. Similarly, Employees attending training programs outside their normal work section will not be precluded from volunteering for overtime work, consistent with the requirements of the training program.
In the assignment of planned overtime, the Employer agrees to provide the employee(s) with advance notice. Any employee designated to work overtime on days outside his/her basic workweek will be notified no later than the start of his/her scheduled lunch period on the next-to the last day of the basic workweek. When work is to be performed on a holiday, every effort will be made by the supervisor to provide at least two working days advance notice to the employees affected. Management has the right to assign overtime without prior notice during emergency situations.
An Employee called back for unscheduled overtime duty, whether on a workday or a non-workday, will be paid for a minimum of two (2) full hours. Employee will be paid at overtime or holiday rate, whichever is applicable.
In accordance with established regulations, the opportunity to work overtime shall not be denied to an Employee solely for the reasons that short periods of annual or sick leave have been granted on the same day.
An employee called into work unscheduled overtime shall be promptly excused at such time as it is determined that his/her emergency tasks are completed.
The parties agree that employees may be required to accept assignment to overtime work.
ARTICLE XII: Reduction-in-Force, Transfer of Function and Reorganization
The Employer and the Union jointly recognize the desirability of maintaining employment stability. Both also recognize that occasions may arise where adjustments of the work force may be necessary; i.e., transfer of function, reorganization.
Reduction-in-force is the procedure for the release of employees from their competitive level by separation, demotion, furlough for more than thirty (30) days, or reassignment requiring displacement of another employee, when lack of work or funds, reorganization, reclassification due to changes in duties, or the need to place a person exercising reemployment or restoration rights requires the employer to release the employee.
For reduction-in-force purposes, transfer of function is the transfer of the performance of a continuing function from one competitive area and its addition to one or more other competitive areas, except when the function involved is virtually identical to functions already being performed in the other competitive area(s) effected; or, the movement of the competitive area in which the function is performed to another commuting area.
For reduction-in-force purposes, reorganization is the planned elimination, addition, or redistribution of functions or duties in an organization.
Prior to the official notification of employees, and at the earliest possible date, the Union will be informed of any pending, or proposed reduction-in-force. This notice, in writing, will include the reasons for reduction-in-force, the approximate number and types of initial positions affected, where possible, other positions that will be affected, the approximate date of the action, and an invitation to the Union to a meeting conducted by the Employer to explain the reduction-in-force procedure and answer any questions.
The Employer will attempt to minimize adverse actions by using attrition to accomplish necessary reductions. All reductions will comply with applicable laws and regulations.
The Employer agrees to provide affected employees as much notice as practicable up to ninety (90) days but in no case will such notice be less than thirty (30) calendar days. All such notices shall contain the information required by the Office of Personnel Management regulations. When a general notice is issued to employees, a specific notice will be given the employee not less than ten (10) calendar days preceding the effective date of the reduction.
Employees may appeal their specific notice of reduction-in-force in accordance with the negotiated grievance procedure contained in this Agreement.
Employees receiving a reduction-in-force notice have the right to review retention lists pertaining to all positions for which they are qualified. This includes the retention register for their competitive level and those for other positions for which they believe they are qualified, down to and including those in the same or equivalent grade as the position offered by the Employer. It is understood that this does not affect management's right of assignment. If separation occurs, this includes all positions equal to or below the grade level of their current position. Affected employees shall have the right to the assistance of the Union when receiving such lists or records.
The competitive area for reduction-in-force purposes shall be the NIEHS components located within the Research Triangle Area. Within this area, competitive levels shall consist of all the positions in a competitive area that are in the same grade or classification series and that are similar enough in duties, qualification requirements, pay schedules, and working conditions so that the incumbent of one position can successfully perform the critical elements of any other position in the level upon assignment to it, without any loss of productivity beyond that normally expected in the orientation of any new but fully qualified employee. This determination is made on the basis that the jobs are so similar that the agency may readily assign an employee in one position to any of the other positions in the competitive level without changing the terms of the employee's appointment and without unduly interrupting the agency's work program.
Affected employees shall have a minimum of five (5) days in which to accept or reject a specific notice (an offer of another position). Failure of employees to respond within the time limits will be considered a rejection of the offer.
In the event career or career conditional employees are separated by reduction-in-force, the Employer will establish a reemployment priority list in accordance with governing regulations and will give preference for reemployment to the extent that all governing regulations require. The Employer will provide affected employees information regarding reemployment possibilities in other government agencies, retirement. severance pay, and other benefits available to them.
Transfer of functions
- Section 13
The Employer will:
- inform Employees as fully and as soon as practicable of plans for the transfer of functions and the governing regulations:
- notify the Employees in writing of the proposed action in sufficient time so that the Employee will be able to consider the action and give a reasonable answer. Where the transfer of function is to another commuting area, whenever possible the Employee shall have no less than thirty (30) days to accept or reject the position offered;
- make reasonable effort to place affected Employees in vacant budgeted positions for which they qualify;
- assist and counsel affected Employees in seeking placement opportunities with other Federal Agencies or elsewhere in the immediate area;
- counsel Employees on individual rights relating to such matters as retirement and severance pay; and
- place the name of each individual employee who so wishes on a list for consideration for those vacancies for which he/she is qualified so that priority consideration will be given in the appointment process.
The Employer will meet with the union to discuss transfer of function, either by the Employer or any other government entity, when such transfer of function has been determined to any degree of certainty.
- Section 15
The employer shall notify the Union President or his/her designee of proposed reorganizations as far in advance as possible, but no later than fifteen (15) days prior to implementation. The Employer will consider proposals from the Union to correct any adverse effects on Employees which the Union may anticipate as resulting from the reorganization. Efforts will be made to prevent correctable adverse effects and the Union will be notified of decisions made by the Employer on their proposal.
ARTICLE XIII: Adverse Working and/or Weather Procedures
The parties recognize that there are certain circumstances that may call for the Employer
- to release the employees after beginning of the workday,
- to delay opening of the facility on a workday, and
- not to open the facilities on a workday.
Inside Temperature and Ventilation. The parties agree that malfunctioning or inadequate cooling, heating, or ventilating equipment, particularly when combined with outside temperatures, can create abnormal working conditions which might warrant adjustments in work schedules or workday as outlined above. In these situations, management recognizes its responsibility to give prompt attention to the problems and to take corrective actions so as to minimize any discomfort that may result for employees. Management further recognizes its responsibility to minimize the adverse effect on employees by utilizing fans or other ventilating devices, supplemental heaters, and opening doors and windows should that be necessary. Management also recognizes that in extreme situations where the conditions are apt to persist for extended periods of time and where substantial inconvenience and employee discomfort could result it has a responsibility to take other actions. These include but are not limited to temporarily assigning employees to other work areas within the Institute or to release employees on administrative leave or otherwise alter the workday or work schedule. The Union shall be responsible for bringing any matters covered under this Section to the attention of the appropriate supervisor or other management officials in the Institute when in their opinion such conditions may adversely affect employees.
Inclement Weather. The parties recognize that occasionally snow, ice accumulation, or other weather conditions may necessitate an alteration in the workday for employees.
- The parties recognize the benefit of establishing a systematic plan for decision making in regard to inclement weather and the notification of that decision to its employees. They also recognize the need for NIEHS to have a plan for determining when it is appropriate to delay opening of facilities, to close for the day, or to dismiss employees early because of adverse weather conditions.
- The parties agree that management officials are responsible for consulting among themselves and with appropriate safety authority, (i.e., Highway Patrol, Dept. of Transportation, National Weather Service) to determine when weather or other environmental conditions require employees not to be present at their work place for safety reasons. Further, they agree that the policy shall apply to all but essential employees. Essential employees shall be designated in writing.
- When adverse weather or environmental conditions arise prior to working hours, radio and television stations will be notified to announce that NIEHS employees or all Federal Employees in the RTP are not to report to work until a specific time (delayed opening) or that NIEHS employees or all Federal Employees in the RTP are not to report for work that day (closure). Information pertaining to early dismissal will come directly from the employer. Information on late opening or all day closures will be made available through the following media:
Radio Chapel Hill Durham Raleigh WCHL WDNC WPFT WUNC WDUR WKIX WTRG WRAL WQDR WLLE W-LITE Television WPTF (Ch 28) WTVD (Ch 11) WRAL (Ch 5)
- The parties agree that a plan shall be developed which will address the identification and work assignments of essential employees when inclement weather conditions exist or are expected. This plan will consist of the following:
- Management, with input from the Union, will identify and establish priority work assignments necessary for safe access to NIEHS facilities; the protection of government property; and, on-going research activities.
- Management, with input from the Union, will identify those employees which are necessary to accomplish that work which is identified in 1. above.
- Management, with input from the Union, will address health and safety considerations for the essential employees which will include adequate rest periods, utilization of machinery when suitable, etc.
- Management will, with input from the Union, undertake to utilize contractual employees when possible, cost and other factors considered.
- The plan will be issued not less than one month before the beginning of the inclement weather season.
Leave and Pay in Times of Adverse Weather Conditions:
Employees' absences under this policy will be treated as follows:
- Early Dismissal. Whether an employee is to be charged leave for the period of absence depends upon the duty status of an employee at the time of dismissal.
- If an employee was on duty, the period of absence is excused with no charge to leave.
- If an employee was on approved leave for the entire day, the period of absence is chargeable to the appropriate leave (annual. sick leave, LWOP)
- If an employee was on duty and departed on approved leave after official notification of dismissal but before the actual time of dismissal, leave is charged only until the time of early dismissal due to adverse weather conditions.
- If an employee was on duty but departed on approved leave before receipt of the official notification of dismissal the entire absence is charged to appropriate leave.
- Facilities Closed or Late Opening
- When the facilities are closed for an entire day, employees scheduled to be on duty will be placed on administrative leave.
- When the facilities are closed for an entire day, employees scheduled to be on approved leave will be charged that leave.
- When the facilities-are opened late employees in an approved leave status will be charged leave for the entire period of the absence.
- Tardiness or Failure to Report. When the facilities are open and employees are tardy to work due to snow, ice, or other weather conditions, they may request that their tardiness, up to one hour, be excused. The determination to grant or deny such a request will be made by the supervisor based on its merits.
ARTICLE XIV: Position Classification
The Employer will provide every employee with an accurate description of his/her principal duties, responsibilities and supervisory controls. Position descriptions frequently cover mixes of duties and responsibilities. When changes in the duties, responsibilities, or supervisory controls so warrant, the position description will be amended or rewritten.
An employee shall first discuss his/her position description with the supervisor if there is a question of whether the position is adequately described or properly classified. If, after discussions with the supervisor, the employee still feels the position may be improperly classified he/she may also discuss the proper classification of the position with the appropriate Personnel Specialist.
Employees may request a representative of their choosing to be present during these discussions. After such discussions, including review of appropriate classification standards, the Employee may request an on site audit of the position by the Personnel Specialist if the Employee's questions are unresolved.
An employee not satisfied with the result of an audit under Section 2 may appeal the classification of the position to the Agency or to the Office of Personnel Management as provided for in applicable regulations. A decision by the Office of Personnel Management is binding on the employee as well as the employer.
If the Employee and the supervisor agree that the position description is incorrect, the supervisor shall take timely action to correct the position description for submission to the Personnel Office.
The parties agree that an Employee may be required to perform duties which are incidental to the principal duties and responsibilities of the position as well as duties which may be required in situations of emergency. When the phrase "and other related duties" or similar phrases are included in a position description the Employer agrees that it will not be used routinely as a basis for assigning duties to an Employee which are unrelated to his/her principal duties.
When a special classification survey of a group of positions is to be conducted, the Employer will notify the Union at least two weeks in advance, when possible.
Details are occasionally required to meet the temporary needs of the NIEHS work program when necessary services cannot be obtained by other desirable or practicable means. The Employer will attempt to keep details within the shortest practicable time limits and assure that the details do not compromise the open-competitive principle of the merit system or the principles of job evaluation. Except for brief periods, employees will not be detailed to perform work of a higher grade level without promotion, unless there are compelling reasons for so doing. Normally, the Employee shall be given a temporary promotion instead. If a detail is made to a higher grade position for more than 90 days or to a position with known promotional potential, it must be made under competitive procedures. Should the requirements of the Employer necessitate an Employee's being detailed to a lower-level position, this will in no way adversely affect the Employee's salary, classification, or job standing.
Employees detailed to another position shall be given a position description or brief description of duties if such assignment exceeds thirty (30) calendar days. Details in excess of 30 calendar days shall be reported on Standard Form 52, 'Request for Personnel Action," and maintained as a permanent record in the Official Personnel Folder. For details to higher graded positions of ten or more consecutive workdays but less than thirty calendar days, the Employer shall provide Employees with a memorandum.
The Employer agrees to furnish the employee advance notice of proposed adverse personnel actions resulting from classification decisions. The Employer further agrees to discuss such actions with the employee, his steward or other appropriate designated representative and the employee will be advised in writing of his appeal rights.
Employees who appeal, and their representatives, are assured freedom from restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal, and reasonable amount of official time to present the appeal.
ARTICLE XV: Health and Safety
The Employer agrees to make every reasonable effort to provide a safe and healthful work environment for all employees in accordance with applicable laws and regulations relating to the safety and health of its employees. All employees, supervisors, and management officials are responsible for promptly reporting all observed unsafe conditions and to make every reasonable effort to correct them.
The Employer agrees to compile and maintain records of all work-related accidents as required by law, regulation or other government wide policies.
The parties agree that they have a mutual responsibility to see that employees adhere to established safety policies and procedures and to utilize appropriate safely apparel and apparatus that is required in the safe discharge of their responsibilities as employees.
There will continue to be a Safety Committee at NIEHS. The Union will appoint three members, in writing, to serve on the Safety Committee. Some of the functions of this Committee shall be:
- to meet at least quarterly for the purpose of inspecting facilities and recommending measures for the elimination or control of conditions hazardous to the health and safety of the Employees;
- to inspect all newly installed machinery and major jobs or operations to see that no Employee is allowed to work on any machine or job until he/she has been adequately instructed as to the health hazards and/or the safe and proper method of operation.
In case of accidents, the Safety Committee in conjunction with the Health and Safety Branch will immediately investigate the situation and try to determine the cause and the cause and extent of the accident. A copy of the report should remain on file and a copy sent to the Union President.
After an Employee reports an accident to the Employer, the Employer will notify that Employee as soon as possible, of all their entitlements under the Federal Employee's Compensation Act.
Protective devices, when necessary and required, shall be furnished by the Employer and shall by used by the employees. It is, however, recognized that employees may elect to choose their own protective devices at their own expense, subject to the approval of the employer and the NIEHS Safety Branch.
The Employer agrees to supply and maintain fire protection systems in accordance with local and state fire protection requirements. All employees are responsible for assuring that fire protection equipment is not tampered with and that clothing, lunch boxes, or other foreign material are kept away from the fire protection equipment.
An employee or group of Employees will not be required to work under conditions which are unsafe or unhealthy (i.e. poses imminent danger) beyond those inherent hazards which cannot be eliminated by standard safety practices and procedures.
When an Employee has a reasonable belief that he or she is subject to working conditions so severe that exposure to such conditions could be detrimental to health or safety, he or she will report the circumstances to his/her supervisor. The Supervisor, after consulting with the NIEHS Safety Office and the Union President (or designee), will determine what action is appropriate under the circumstances. An Employee may decline to perform his/her assigned task because of a reasonable belief that the task poses a risk of death or serious bodily harm. The Employee will contrive to make himself/herself available for work under other conditions until the hazardous situation is abated.
Any grievance arising under this Section may be pursued through the negotiated grievance procedure. An Employee's "reasonable belief" as that term is used in this Section will be determined not by a probe of the Employee's subjective motivation of feelings, but by an assessment of the external evidence and circumstances which were present in the situation.
A safety inspection of NIEHS facilities will be conducted at least annually and will include attendant operations, structures, grounds, machinery, and equipment.
ARTICLE XVI: Communications
The Employer agrees that the AFGE Health Benefits brochure will be distributed to Employees on an equal basis with other health plans. Further, the Employer agrees to provide AFGE Health Benefits Brochure to any employee who wants a copy. The Union will provide the Employer with the brochures.
The Employer agrees to provide a copy of this Agreement to each Employee on duty as of the date of this Agreement; and to all Employees entering on duty after the date of this Agreement.
The Employer agrees to print this Agreement after final approval and in a reasonable amount of time.
The Employer will inform each new Employee of the Union's exclusive recognition. The supervisor or their designee will introduce the Employee to the appropriate Steward within ten (10) working days. Where circumstances won't permit, the supervisor will arrange a meeting as soon as possible but no later than thirty (30) calendar days.
ARTICLE XVII: Contracting-Out
The Employer agrees to consult openly and fully with the Union regarding any review of a function for contracting out within the bargaining unit. The Employer agrees to comply with applicable rules and regulations regarding contracting out.
If unit work is contracted out and unit employees are displaced, the Employer will make every reasonable and credible effort to minimize the impact on employees. The Employer shall consider retention of permanent employees through analysis of attrition patterns before the restricting of new hires.
The Employer will make every reasonable effort to retrain affected career employees, if necessary, when they are reassigned as a result of contracting out.
Periodic briefings will be held between the Employer and the Union to provide the Union with appropriate information pursuant to 0MB circular A-76 on decisions affecting unit employees.
When requested and available, the Employer will provide the Union with appropriate information concerning all cost studies which may include but is not limited to the following:
- the invitation for bids (IFB) or request for proposal (RFP)
- abstract of bids
- correspondence from higher authority directing the cost study
- correspondence from the Department of Labor regarding certification of a wage rate
- the performance work statement
- all changes, to the performance work statement
- all bidder questions and activity answers related to the performance work statement.
The Employer and the Union recognize the "right of first refusal" required by 0MB circular A-76, which provides that the contractor will grant those Federal Employees displaced by direct result of such contract the right of first refusal of employment openings created by the contractor. This applies only to job openings for which such displaced employees are qualified, and does not apply when such employees would otherwise be prohibited from such employment by the Government post-employment conflict of interest standards. Refusing the right of first refusal because of displacement due to contracting out shall not deny a unit employee of any rights he/she might otherwise have under applicable RIF procedures in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, including the employee's entitlement to severance pay.
ARTICLE XVIII: Training and Career Development
The Employer and the Union agree that employee training and development is of mutual benefit to both parties and to the employees of the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences. It will be the policy of the Employer, within available resources and consistent with Employer needs, to utilize to the fullest extent the present skills of the employees by all practical means, including the restructuring of jobs where feasible, and to provide the maximum opportunity to employees to enhance their job related skills through on-the-job training, work study programs, and other means so that they may perform at the highest potential and advance in accordance with their capabilities.
The Employer and the Union recognize that each employee is responsible for applying reasonable time and initiative in increasing their potential through self-development and training. Employees are encouraged to take advantage of employer-supported training and other educational opportunities that could enhance their efficiency on the job and provide skills needed for advancement.
The Employer agrees that the nomination and selection of Employees to participate in training and career development programs and courses shall be nondiscriminatory and made without regard to sex, race, religion, national origin, age, color, or handicap, keeping in mind the principles of Equal Opportunity Employment.
The Employer and the Union recognize that training is not only a benefit but an activity that has direct bearing and impact on the employees' current duties and responsibilities. Consequently, it shall be the responsibility of all employees to discuss training opportunities with and make requests for training courses through their immediate supervisor. When requested the employer agrees to consider all such requests and approve them when possible. Reasons for non-selection for training will be provided when requested by the employee.
The Employer, where feasible, agrees to make available to Employees such in-house and off-the-job training opportunities as may be consistent with the needs and requirements of the Institute. The Employer will give consideration to the establishment of programs that increase the opportunity for employees at all grade levels to participate in educational programs.
Career development for the individual employee shall be encouraged by the Employer by providing opportunities to develop a personal plan for career development. This plan may be developed by the employee, supervisor, and those counseling services which the employee has available. This plan will. if possible, include a target position to be sought. As one means of providing developmental experiences, employees under this plan may be placed on detail to learn new skills. Details of this nature are to be in conformance with applicable laws.
The Employer, in accordance with the OPM regulations, agrees to pay all allowable expenses associated with approved training requests, consistent with available resources.
The Employer and the Union agree to promote programs of remedial training and career counseling of employees. Approved training activities will be permitted to take place on site during normal work hours.
ARTICLE XIX: Travel
To the maximum extent practicable, the Employer shall schedule the time to be spent by an employee in a travel status away from his/her official duty station within the regularly scheduled workweek of the employee. Thus, insofar as is practical, Employees shall perform travel during official duty hours. Each time an employee is required to travel during non-duty hours and the employee cannot be paid overtime, the official authorized to sign travel orders shall upon request, furnish a statement of the reasons for ordering the travel.
Travel will be paid for and administered by the Employer in accordance with applicable statutes and regulations. In this regard, it is also understood that non-exempt employees in a travel status will be entitled to premium pay in conformance with the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Additionally, employees will not be required to travel without receiving a signed travel authorization except in emergencies when it is impossible to initiate the authorization in advance.
Prior to the date of departure, employees will be afforded an opportunity for a travel advance. When short notice travel is ordered, the traveler may request an advance from the Agent Cashier.
When justified, the Employer agrees to approve, on a case by case basis, employee requests for approval of travel on an actual subsistence expense basis; justification for such approval exists when the subsistence expenses are considerably higher than the authorized per diem rate.
In an emergency situation, if an employee cannot visit an appropriate staff member of the Personnel Office, EEO Counselor of Officer, Guidance Counselor, Union Official, Training Officer, Health or Safety Official, or other appropriate official because of the lack private conveyance, the Employer will make such arrangements as are appropriate to accommodate the situation.
ARTICLE XX: Light Duty
Consistent with the mission of the Employer and depending upon the work that the employee is capable of performing, the Employer will consider the temporary assignment of an injured or otherwise incapacitated employee to light duty. The employee will furnish a physician's certificate describing the work the employee can perform and stating the expected duration of the injury or temporary incapacitation.
ARTICLE XXI: Official Time
Any employee representing an exclusive representative in the negotiation of a collective bargaining agreement under this chapter shall be authorized official time for such purposes including attendance at impasse proceeding during the time the Employees otherwise would be in a duty status. The number of Employees for whom official time is authorized under this Section shall not exceed the number of individuals designated as representing the Agency for such purposes.
Any activities performed by any Employee relating to the internal business of a labor organization (including the solicitation of membership, elections of labor organization officials, attendance at conferences and committees, and collection of dues) shall be performed during the time the Employee is in non-duty status.
Union representatives shall be granted official time to represent employees. Official time shall be that which the parties agree is reasonable and necessary.
ARTICLE XXII: Performance Appraisal
Where required by regulation or policy, all employees will be evaluated on an annual basis under a performance evaluation system that includes performance standards and critical elements of performance. Such standards and critical elements shall be directly related to the employee's official position description. The job performance of employees will be evaluated accurately and objectively. Performance standards and elements will be applied to employees in a manner that will be fair, reasonable, equitable and job related. The results of performance appraisals may be used in part as a basis for other personnel management actions including training, promotions, rewards, reassignments, reductions-in-grade, retaining and removing employees.
Preferably at the beginning of the appraisal period but normally not later than 30 days afterwards, employees shall be given a copy of their position description. The employer shall discuss such standards and critical and non critical elements with employees.
Critical element(s), non-critical elements and performance standards will be established, in writing, for each position at the beginning of each appraisal period or within 30 days from the appointment of new hires. They will be consistent with the duties and responsibilities covered in each employee's position description. This does not preclude modifications to or additions to the performance plan during the appraisal period. The employee will not be rated against these modifications or additions for a reasonable period of time, which will be dependent upon the degree of modifications or the nature of the addition. The immediate supervisor will clarify, explain, or answer any questions or concerns the employee may have regarding the critical elements, non-critical elements or performance standards of his/her position. Employees will be given the opportunity to participate in the establishment of performance standards. The Union, acting as the exclusive spokesperson of unit employees, will be given an opportunity to present its views and recommendations regarding the performance standards when requested by the employee(s).
- An employee's performance rating will be the result of application of standards of performance to the employee's performance on critical and non-critical elements of the employee's position. The employee will be rated only on these elements.
- The rating of elements will include designation of various levels of achievement applied to each element identified on the rating form. Upon completion of the appraisal of each element, an overall rating of total performance will be designated in accordance with existing DHHS policy: Each employee will be given a copy of the rating and any written documentation.
- Employees will normally be rated for the appraisal period ending on December 31. The rating normally will be completed within sixty (60) calendar days of the December 31st date. An employee must be on a performance plan for a minimum of 120 days before receiving a rating.
Procedures for Applying the Performance Appraisal System
At the beginning of each performance appraisal period, supervisors will provide each employee with a copy of his or her performance plan. Supervisors will explain the plans to employees and answer any questions they may have.
- Supervisors will discuss employees' performance with them so that they will know the degree to which they are meeting or failing to meet performance standards. Employees should be commended for good work and where improvement is necessary. This will be done on occasions as they arise in the course of day-to-day activities.
- As least one appraisal conference will take place during the appraisal period, separate and distinct from the annual rating process, normally about midway through the appraisal period. Where necessary, supervisors will make suggestions on how an employee's performance on the appraisal form can be improved. The supervisor who conducted the conference will provide on the appraisal form a summary of the conference which will include any suggestions or plans that were discussed with the employee for the purpose of improving deficiencies in his/her performance. The employee will be furnished a copy of the summary. Employees will be provided training and/or counseling designed to correct performance deficiencies.
- When the annual appraisal rating is issued by the immediate supervisor, a conference will be held. A supervisor's evaluation shall make allowances for job related factors beyond the control of the employee which may have caused him/her not to have achieved a specific level of achievement.
- Prior to proposing a formal action to remove or demote an employee for unacceptable performance under 5 U.S.C. 43, the employee will be placed on a performance plan of specific duration, but no less than a 60 day period. This plan may include provisions for such things as training, counseling, coaching, setting short-term specific job assignments and goals, regularly scheduled supervisory conferences, etc.
- If action for unacceptable performance is necessary, prior to proposing the removal or demotion of the employee, management will consider a reassignment which could be offered to the employee and for which the employee meets the qualification requirements and could perform with a minimum of training.
- When management proposes an action to demote or remove an employee, a 30-day advance written notice of proposed action will be given to the employee. This will include the specific reasons for the proposed action. The employee shall receive a copy of the notice and, upon request, a copy of the evidence file. The employee will be granted 14 calendar days to respond to the notice. Extensions will be considered.
- A final decision to take an action under this Section shall not be effective until after the end of the advance written notice period. Employees will be advised of their appeal and representation rights.
ARTICLE XXIII: Grievance Procedure
The Employer and the Union recognize the importance of settling disagreements and disputes promptly, fairly, and in an orderly manner that will maintain the self-respect of Employees and be consistent with the principles of good management. To accomplish this, every effort will be made to settle grievances expeditiously and at the lowest level of supervision where a decision can be made. Employees will be unimpeded and free from restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal for seeking adjudication of their grievances. In as much as dissatisfactions and disagreements arise occasionally in the work place, the filing of a grievance shall not be construed as reflecting unfavorably on an employee's good standing, his/her performance, loyalty, or desirability to the organization. The purpose of this ARTICLE is to provide a mutually acceptable method for prompt and equitable settlement of grievances.
Scope: A grievance means any complaint:
- by any employee concerning any matter relating to the employment of the employee;
- by the Union concerning any matter relating to the employment of any Employee;
- by an Employer or the Union, concerning:
- The effect or interpretation or a claim of breach , of this collective bargaining agreement.
- any claimed violation, misinterpretation, of any law, rule, or regulation affecting conditions of employment
- Exclusions. Complaints about the following matters are not considered grievances for the purpose of this agreement and are specifically excluded from this grievance procedure:
- claimed violations of Subchapter III of Chapter 13 of Public Law 95-454 (relating to prohibited political activities);
- retirement, life insurance, or health insurance;
- suspension or removal under 5 USC, Section 7532 (concerning national security);
- any examination, certification, or appointment; and
- the classification of any position which does not result in reduction in grade or pay of an employee.
Appeal and Grievance Option. This negotiated procedure shall be the exclusive procedure available to the parties and employees in the unit for resolving grievances. An aggrieved employee affected by discrimination, a removal or reduction in grade based on unacceptable performance, or adverse action under Section 7512 of the Civil Service Reform Act, however, may at his/her option raise the matter under either a statutory appellate procedure or the negotiated grievance procedure, but not both. Any employee may present a grievance in his/her own behalf. Reasonable time will be granted to an employee for this purpose. However, the Union retains the right to be present during the grievance proceedings. An employee shall be deemed to have exercised his/her option under this Section only when the employee timely files a notice of appeal under the applicable appellate procedure or timely files a grievance in writing under the negotiated grievance procedure, whichever occurs first.
Question of grievability. In the event either party should declare a grievance non-arbitrable, the original grievance shall be considered amended to include -this issue. All disputes of grievability or arbitrability shall be referred to arbitration as a threshold issue in the related grievance.
Reasonable time during working hours will be allowed for aggrieved Employees and the Union representatives to discuss and prepare for grievances including meetings with Employer officials.
Any time limits stipulated in the following procedure may be extended for stated periods of time by mutual agreement of the Parties. Such agreements will be in writing.
- Step 1: Any complaint which involves an adverse action, a removal or reduction in grade based on unacceptable performance or matter involving discrimination shall first be taken up in writing by the concerned Employee and the Union with the appropriate Employer representative within five (5) working days of the final notice of action.
The Employer will have five (5) working days in which to answer the complaint in writing.
- Step 2: If the matter is not satisfactorily settled in Step 1, the Union can invoke arbitration within twenty (20) days of receipt of the Employer's decision at Step 1.
- Step 1: Any grievance except as provided in Section 8, shall first be taken up orally or in writing by the concerned Employee or appropriate steward with the immediate supervisor in an attempt to settle the matter. In presenting the grievance, the grievant(s) shall state that the first step of this procedure is being invoked, the AGREEMENT provisions which he/she/they claim are being violated, and the specific relief requested. Grievances must be presented within 15 calendar days from the date the Employee or Union became aware of the incident leading to the grievance. The employee(s) may present a grievance directly to the Employer for adjustment consistent with the terms of this Agreement. However, the Union shall be afforded the opportunity to have an observer present at the settlement. The supervisor shall give the decision either orally or in writing within five (5) working days. The decision will include the name of the management official designated to receive Step 2 complaints.
- Step 2: If the matter is not satisfactorily settled following the initial discussions in Step 1, the Union representative may, within five (5) working days, submit the matter in writing to the designated management official. The management official or their designee will meet with the Union representative within (5) five working days, submit the matter in writing to the designated management official. The management official or their designee may meet with the Union representative and aggrieved Employee(s) before rendering a decision. The written decision shall be rendered within ten (10) working days after receipt of the grievance. The decision will include the name of the management official designated to receive Step 3 complaints.
- Step 3: If the grievance is not satisfactorily settled following the initial discussions in Step 2, the Union representative may, within five (5) working days, submit the matter in writing to the designated management official. The management official or their designee may meet with the Union representative and aggrieved Employee(s) before rendering a decision. The written decision shall be rendered within ten (10) working days after receipt of the grievance.
- Step 4: If the grievance is not satisfactorily settled as Step 3, the Union or the Employer, may refer the matter to arbitration.
- Step 1: Grievances which may impact on more than one Employee in a Program area shall be submitted in writing by the Local President (or their designee) directly to the Institute's Associate Director for Management (or their designee). The Associate Director for Management (or their designee) and the Local President (or their designee) will meet within 5 working days after receipt of the grievance to discuss the grievance. The Associate Director for Management (or their designee) shall give the Local President (or their designee) a written answer within 10 working days after the meeting. The decision will include instructions for appeal to the Director.
- Step 2: If the grievance is not satisfactorily settled in Step I, the Union President (or their designee) may, within five (5) working days, submit the matter, in writing to the Institute Director. The Director (or their designee) shall meet with the Union President (or their designee) prior to rendering a decision. The Director shall render a written decision within ten (10) working days. If the grievance is not settled by this method, the Employer and/or the Union may refer the matter to arbitration.
ARTICLE XXIV: Arbitration
In the event the Employer and the Union fail to settle any grievance under the negotiated grievance procedure (set forth in ARTICLE XXIII above), such grievance, upon written notice by either the Employer or the Union within 15 calendar days after issuance of the final decision shall be submitted to arbitration. Arbitration may be invoked only by the Employer or by the Union.
Within 5 working days from the dale of the request for arbitration either party shall request the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to provide a list of 5 impartial persons qualified to act as arbitrators. The parties shall meet within 5 working days after receipt of such list. If they can't mutually agree upon one of the listed arbitrators, then the Employer and the Union will each strike one arbitrator's name from the list of 5 and will then repeat this procedure until one person remains who shall be the duly selected arbitrator. In the event the remaining name is mutually unacceptable to the parties, a new list may be jointly requested from the FMCS, and names struck as above.
The arbitrator shall have the authority to interpret and apply the provisions of this agreement. The arbitrator shall not have the authority to change, alter, amend, modify, add to or delete from the Agreement; such right is the sole prerogative of the contracting parties.
The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service shall be empowered to make a direct designation of an arbitrator to hear the case in the event that either party refuses to participate in the selection of the arbitrator.
If the parties fail to agree on a joint submission of the issue for arbitration, each shall submit a separate submission of the issue and the arbitrator shall determine the issue or issues to be heard.
The arbitrator's fee and the expense of the arbitration, if any shall be borne equally by the Employer and the Union. The arbitration hearing will be held, if possible, on the Employer's premises during the regular work day. All NIEHS employees participating in the hearing shall be in duty status for the time required in the hearing.
A transcript of the arbitration hearing will be required if either party individually or if the parties mutually request one. If mutually agreed the parties will share the cost. If unilaterally requested, the requesting party shall pay the full costs of the transcript.
The arbitrator will be requested to render his decision to the parties as quickly as possible, but in no event later than 30 days after conclusion of the hearing unless the parties mutually agree to extend the time limit.
The arbitrator's award shall be binding on the parties, except that either party to this agreement may file exceptions to the arbitrator's award with the Federal Labor Relations Authority under regulations prescribed by the Authority.
Absent a negative arbitrator's decision upon the arbitrability of a grievance, the arbitrator shall hear arguments regarding both the arbitrability and the merits of the case at the same hearing. However, the parties may mutually agree otherwise in instances such as highly complex cases which could involve several days of hearings.
The arbitrator has full authority to award attorney fees in accordance with the provisions to Title VII, Public Law 95-454, Civil Service Reform Act.
ARTICLE XXV: Temporary Employees, Probationary Employees, and other Appointments
Section 1: Temporary Employees.
- The provisions of this Agreement except where excluded by law or regulations are applicable to temporary employees whose appointments are for more than 90 days and who are reasonable expected to remain on the rolls for a majority of the year. The provisions do not apply to temporary employees on excepted appointments.
Section 2: Probationary Employees.
- Consistent with regulation and Departmental policy, the Employer agrees to provide probationary employees an opportunity to demonstrate their fitness or qualifications for continued Federal employment.
- Before separation of probationary employees for performance or conduct, the Employer agrees to follow the existing regulations and Departmental policy with regard to notification and counseling of employees prior to termination. Specifically, the Employer agrees to:
- advise the employees of their deficiencies in work performance or in conduct sufficiently in advance of the decision to terminate so as to allow the employees reasonable time to improve;
- normally give these employees at least two (2) weeks' advance written notice of the decision.
Other Appointments. Part-Time Permanent Employment. The Parties recognize that personal circumstances may arise which preclude a permanent employee from continuing to work a full-time schedule. The Employer agrees to consider a permanent employee's request for a part-time assignment. The parties agree that failure to assign a permanent full-time employee to a permanent part-time schedule is not a matter covered under the grievance procedure.
ARTICLE XXVI: Research Programs and Demonstration Projects
For the purposes of this contract, 'research program' means a planned study of the manner in which public management policies and systems are operating, the effect of those policies and systems, the possibilities for change, and comparisons among policies and systems.
'Demonstration project' means a project conducted by the Office of Personnel Management, or under its supervision, to determine whether a specified change in personnel management policies or procedures would result in improved Federal personnel management. These are statutory definitions.
The parties agree that the Union will be provided an opportunity to comment to higher level authorities on proposed research programs or demonstration projects when appropriate.
Any evaluation report handled pursuant to the Civil Service Reform Act, or similar reports under other authority, shall clearly reflect the position, input, and conclusions of both the Union and the Employer.
The parties agree that the Union shall have access to summarized data or other such information, the release of which would not be precluded by law or regulation.
It is agreed that no employee's career, pay, rights or benefits shall be adversely affected as a result of their participation in any research or demonstration project.
Any research or demonstration project may not amend or waive any provision of this Agreement, except by mutual written consent of the parties.
ARTICLE XXVII: Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Mental Health
The Employer and the Union agree to promote programs for troubled individuals including alcoholism, drug abuse, emotional illness, and other personal problems that may affect job performance and to make employees and supervisors aware of the Programs.
The Union agrees to cooperate fully with the Employer in an attempt to rehabilitate affected employees who accept assistance made available under the provisions of the Programs.
The Union and the Employer recognize that these Programs are designed to deal forthrightly with the problem at an early stage when the situation is more likely to be correctable. If an employee requests assistance under the Program, the responsible supervisory official must weigh this fact in determining appropriate disciplinary and adverse action, if such action becomes necessary.
Employees undergoing a prescribed program of treatments will be granted appropriate leave for this purpose on the same basis as any other illness when absence from work is necessary.
No employee will have their job security jeopardized by the request for assistance because of alcoholism, drug abuse or mental health condition.
A designated Union representative will be invited to attend seminars, workshops, conferences, or training sessions designed to acquaint employees with these Programs and its operation.
The Employer will, at least annually, make employees aware of the Employee Assistance Program and available services provided by the Employer.
It is agreed that before the Employer implements any type of drug-setting program, the Union will be notified. If the Union requests negotiation, drug testing will not begin until negotiations are completed.
ARTICLE XXVIII [as revised by MOU, May 12, 2004]: Parking
Parking in all parking lots will be on a first come first serve basis except for Lot B, which is reserved by NIEHS management for various purposes as follows:
- Handicapped: Handicapped parking places will be provided in sufficient numbers and placements that are most convenient to the work site, in full accordance with state and local laws.
- Director reserved spaces: The Director may designate up to fourteen (14) reserved parking spaces for program officials.
- Union: Four reserved parking spaces.
- Other Reserved Spaces: The remainder of the lot will continue to be set aside for such purposes as visitors; government vehicles, service vehicles, security, carpools, and/or other special needs.
Parking shall be restricted to spaces designated by parking lines except for special purpose vehicles such a motorcycles, etc. when special areas are set aside or permission is otherwise secured.
ARTICLE XXIX: Dues Withholding
- Employees may have their dues withheld through payroll deductions. Dues withholding is to be voluntary on the part of the individual Employee. The Union will undertake to inform members of the voluntary nature of dues withholding and of the conditions governing a member's cancellation of dues withholding.
- Any member of the Union who is in good standing and who is currently employed on a regularly scheduled tour of duty may authorize dues withholding at any time during the life of this Agreement provided that his/her regular bi-weekly salary is sufficient to cover the amount of the deduction.
The Union agrees to inform Management of changes in the following:
- The title and address of the Union Treasurer responsible for certifying on each Employee's authorization form the amount of dues to be withheld.
- The title and address of the Union Treasurer to whom remittances are to be made, and,
- The remittance checks should be made out to Local 2923, AFGE, AFL-CIO.
- All authorizations must be made on Standard Form 1187, Request and Authorization for a Voluntary Allotment of compensation for Payment of Employee Organization Dues. The Union is responsible for purchasing this form, distributing is to its members, and instructing its members in its use.
- The Union Treasurer is responsible for certifying on each member's authorization form the amount of dues to be withheld each pay period prior to forwarding the form to the Personnel Office.
- Deductions will be made beginning with the first full pay period after the form is received in the Personnel Office and the necessary data has been accepted into the TDCS. The Personnel Office will promptly process all requests. Deductions will continue to be made in each subsequent pay period until terminated as provided in this Article.
- Members may revoke their authorization by sending written notice or Standard Form 1188 (Revocation of Voluntary Authorization for Allotment of Compensation for Payment of Employee Organization Dues) to the Personnel Office. Revocations should be submitted in duplicate. Revocations will not become effective until the beginning of the first pay period which starts after the first anniversary of the allotment and after September 1, in subsequent years, provided that the revocation has been received in the Payroll Office by that date.
- Any Employee who is reassigned or promoted to a position outside the Bargaining Unit shall cease to be eligible for dues withholding. Deductions will be terminated at the beginning of the pay period in which the action become [sic] effective. The affected Employees will be provided with the following notice:
Notice of Termination of Dues Withholding.
Regulations governing dues withholding to a labor organization require that dues withholding be automatically canceled whenever an Employee is reassigned or promoted to a position outside the Bargaining Unit. You were recently subject to a reassignment or promotion which will automatically terminate your dues withholding. The final dues withholding will be made for the last pay period in your old position. If you have any questions regarding the termination of your dues withholding, you may wish to contact AFGE Local 2923.
- The Union Treasurer will notify the Personnel Office when a member who has authorized dues withholding and is currently employed is expelled or ceases to be in good standing. Deductions in this situation will be stopped at the beginning of the first full pay period after the notice is received.
In the event of a change in the regular dues of the Union, the deduction from the salaries of those members who have previously authorized dues withholding for the Union will be adjusted upon certification of the dues change by the Union to the Personnel Office. This change will be made beginning with the first full pay period which starts after the certification is received by the DHHS Payroll Office.
- The Payroll Office will arrange for a check to be sent to the Union Treasurer after each pay period for the remittance of dues withheld.
- The Payroll Office will provide to the Union Treasurer a bi-weekly listing of the name of each member from whose salary dues have been withheld and the amount withheld for each person listed. The bi-weekly listing will provide annotated explanations of cases in which dues are not withheld. Personnel will also send copies of revocation notices to the Union Treasurer as they are received.
- There will be no cost to the Union for dues deductions.
This ARTICLE will remain in effect after the termination of this Agreement and until completion of negotiations or until thirty (30) calendar days beyond the completion of any third party procedure thereunder. The parties to the Agreement may mutually agree in writing to extend this ARTICLE at any time.
ARTICLE XXX: Duration and Changes
This Agreement shall remain in full force and effect for a period for three (3) years after its approval. It shall be automatically renewed for equivalent period unless (1) either party gives to the other party notice of its intention to terminate or renegotiate this Agreement no less than ninety (90) nor more than more one hundred and twenty (120) calendar days prior to its terminal date, or (2) at any time it is determined the Union no longer is entitled to exclusive recognition for the Unit. Negotiations shall begin as agreed to by the parties in their pre-negotiation agreement.
In the event it is found that sections of this Agreement are defective or unworkable, this Agreement may be opened for amendment provided that any request for amendment for these reasons is submitted in writing and is accompanied by a summary of the basis for the request, and provided further that both Parties consent to the opening of the Agreement for the purpose requested. A written notice of desire to alter and amend by renegotiation shall not have the effect of terminating this Agreement.
The Agreement entered into between the Employer and the Union, prior to becoming effective, is subject to the approval of the appropriate official in the Department of Health and Human Services. The effective date of this Agreement will be the date of approval by the appropriate official within the Department of Health and Human Services.
ARTICLE XXXI: Records
Union officials and representatives who are employees of NIEHS will maintain a complete and accurate record of their representation time on a monthly basis. On the first workday of each month the individual, union official, or representative will provide to their immediate supervisor a report detailing their representation activities for the previous month. The report should include a daily activity log including the time the individual left their work area, the time they returned to their work area, place visited, and a general description of the problem being considered and dealt with as part of their representative duties. The employee will be required to sign the report and certify the following: The information presented on this report reflects all the representation time for the month of _____________ 20___.
This page is prepared by the NIEHS Office of Management.