Did you know? when you are ordered to write a memorandum or report by a Supervisor you are entilteld to a Union Rep if you feel that it could lead to disciplinary action. The Union recomends that you include the Garrity Preamble in any statement given in this situation. CLICK HEREto read more.

Did ya know? Article 6 Section (h) of the Master Agreement states " If the employee requests a Union Representative under Sections f. or g., no further questioning will take place until a representative is present."

Reading and understanding the Master Agreement will help you identify when or if management is violating policy. If you are not sure contact a Union Representative for help.

Did you know? Management cannot vacate a post unless it's an emergency?

Did you know? Staff or no longer required to report traffic citations/fines of any amount and that no misconduct investigation can be conducted for such fines?
Click HERE to read more.

Did ya know? If compensatory time off is not requested or taken within the established time limits, the employee must be paid for overtime work at the overtime rate in effect for the work period in which it was earned under this subpart. (e) the dollar value of compensatory time off when liquidated, or for the purpose of applying pay limitations, is the amount of overtime pay the employee otherwise would have received for the hours of the pay period during which compensatory time off was earned by performing overtime work. An Agency may not require an employee to forfeit compensatory time off earned under 5 CFR 551.531 in lieu of FLSA overtime pay under any circumstances.

Did ya know? If the Agency takes actions that are disciplinary in nature they may meet the elements required to invoke administrative double jeopardy?
Click Here to read more.

Did ya know? The Agency is handing out sick leave abuse letters again? If you are a recipient of one please notify your union representative as soon as possible.

Article 20 of the Master Agreement states " When the decision to require or continue to require a medical certificate is discussed with the employee, the employer will notify and give the Union the opportunity to be present."

Union Questions

How can I join?
Article 8, section C of the Master Agreement states: "An eligible employee may only initiate an allotment for the payment of Union dues by the local Union submitting a properly completed SF-1187 to the servicing Human Resource Manager (HRM). The HRM shall process the SF-1187 as a routine payroll allotment change unless the HRM questions the accuracy of the information submitted or the eligibility of the employee for dues allotment, in which case the HRM shall meet with the local President to resolve any questions. The Employer will order and maintain a sufficient amount of SF-1187's and SF-1188's for distribution to the Union as needed, upon request." To simplify this somewhat, fill out form SF-1187, have any E-Board member sign it and you’re in. It can't get much easier than that. Form SF-1187 is available for download by
 Clicking HERE.

When are elections held?
Per the Local 1637 by-laws elections will be held every 2 years in November. The next election will be in November, 2017.

When is a bargaining unit employee allowed to ask for a union rep?   We will assume you are talking about representation during an investigation, as Union Rep's do representations in other matters as well. To summarize the Master Agreement in Article 6, sections D, F, G, H, I and J, basically anytime an official investigation is authorized by the Warden or higher authority in which you feel may lead to disciplinary action. This also covers any written reports that you may be told to submit. But remember, anytime you are questioned by any management personnel concerning an incident that you feel may lead to disciplinary actions your best choice is to ask for union representation. And this does include probationary employees.  

Do I have to talk with an investigator if I have asked for a Union representative and they have not yet arrived?  
The Master Agreement, Section 6, article h states: "If the employee requests a Union representative under Sections f. or g., no further questioning will take place until the representative is present, provided that if the representative is not available within a reasonable period of time, the questioning and/or submission of a written report may proceed without the representative being present. Questioning and/or submission of a written report without a Union representative may go forward only where urgent circumstances could interfere with the safe and orderly running of the institution. Such questioning may proceed only when these urgent circumstances are documented and presented to the employee and/or his representative. Reasonable time is defined as that time necessary for the designated representative from the local Union to travel to the site of the examination. The Union will promptly designate its representative and make reasonable efforts to avoid delay." In other words, no. But ONLY until such time as a union representative arrives. After a union representative arrives you are still bound by policy to cooperate during an investigation. And just to add something, ONLY the union has the right to assign your union representative. Management does not have that right. If you are ever placed into this situation and management attempts to assign you a union rep, they are breaking the Master Agreement, and we need to know about this serious infraction. Also, you may not be required to sign any statement that you feel is inaccurate. Take your time and read any statement, or any document for that matter, that is given to you to sign. When you place your signature on any document you are saying that you agree with its contents. Make absolutely certain that you do actually agree with everything contained in that document. And to help you even further, any time spent in an investigation WILL BE compensated, i.e.: overtime.

What's the difference between a performance and code of conduct issue?
Management has this line so bent it’s not funny. What it should be is if you’re doing your job and you do it incorrectly, then it is a performance issue. (Broken policy or inability to do the job properly) Code of conduct is that list of things that they go over every year at ART. For example, improper conduct with inmates, failure to pay just debts, etc. If you break a code of conduct issue, and that list covers a lot of different area, and if they are really out to get you, they can bend the list to make it fit your situation. (Yes it’s sad) The bottom line is if they decide to make it a performance issue your probably better off. You can get a million M/S's and still be working here. Now, which way management goes with a charge can be quite frustrating and seemingly non-standardized from one event to the next.  

How do I file a grievance?  
Anyone can file a grievance but only the union can take it to the next level. Exact instructions are in the Master Agreement. However, we suggest you get a trained union representative to help you. Anyone who would like to learn how or join the team , see President Neely about becoming a Union steward. The Union will always help a member file. The problem is normally no one wants to put their name on the dotted line. And if every grievance comes from the E-Board we look weak as a union and it makes your elected officials of the union a bigger target.

What is LMR and how does it work?
LMR = Labor Management Relations and your E-board meets monthly with the AW's, Captain, Camp Admin, HRM, and assorted Department heads to discuss issue affecting the prison. Resolving issues at that meeting drastically decreases the amount of ULP's and grievances, which is a good thing. Also ideas that help everyone are often voiced there. If you have an issue, contact any E-board member or send them an e-mail so the issue can be brought up. It's a good tool and should be used. While every issue cannot be resolved at an LMR meeting but it's a great place to start.  

I'm still on probation; can you help me if I need it?
Yes. Article 6 of the Master Agreement says that we can represent you and insure that your rights are maintained just as much as any employee. You are also covered under the rules of the MSPB. (Merit System Promotions Board) Another item well worth considering is that if a probationary employee is fired, they will require union assistance to file a grievance, which is your best channel for reinstatement.

Who should I contact first if I need assistance from the Union?
Any Union Steward or E-Board member. And you can find out who is a steward or E-Board member by looking on the Union bulletin board which is located in the Front Lobby next to the Lock shop or by looking at our 
Contact Us page.

What does the Local President do and what are his duties?
Per our by-laws, the local union president is the Chief Executive Officer and basically responsible for all local union activities.

What are the Vice-Presidents duties?
The Vice Presidents assist the President in carrying out his/her duties. The 1st Vice President also is acting president in the absence of the president.

Did you know?  Program Statement 1210.24 (Office Of Internal Affairs) states: "The subject of the allegation or complaint must not be questioned or interviewed prior to OIG clearance and OIA's approval. This is to ensure against procedural error and safeguard the rights of the subject."

Did you know? Article 20 of the Master Agreement states "Employees will not be required to furnish a medical slip to substantiate sick leave of (3) three days or less." "However, in cases of questionable sick leave usage of any length, the employee will be given advance notice, in writing, that all future absences due to illness must be substantiated  by a medical certificate. This requirement will be reviewed every (3) three months by the employer and the determination of weather to continue will be forwarded to the employee in writing.

Did ya know? Generally, agencies do not have the authority to conduct mandatory alcohol testing. Although some agencies may have the equipment and trained personnel to administer an alcohol test, such a test would be voluntary.  Most alcohol testing would probably be conducted with an evidentiary breath testing device. (EBT), commonly referred to as a Breathalyzer. While there are other methods of testing for alcohol, including blood or saliva test, an EBT is the predominant method because it is less invasive and is already in use by law enforcement personnel. Law enforcement personnel on Federal property may administer alcohol test to drivers when there is an accident or reasonable cause to do such testing. However, cause for such testing must be based on a violation of motor vehicle and traffic rules and not mandatory testing by the agency.
The Department Of Transportation (DOT) has issued rules regarding alcohol testing for certain groups of employees such as those required to possess a Commercial Drivers License, and certain employees in aviation related positions. These rules call for mandatory alcohol testing, using EBT's of applicants for identified positions and in cases of reasonable suspicion of alcohol use, and for random testing of employees in these positions. Any agencies conducting this type of testing will have a specific program spelled out in an agency policy.  
An agency may conduct voluntary alcohol testing. An example of this might be an instance where you think that an employee is intoxicated but the employee denies it. In this instance, an alcohol test may be given at the employees request or with the employees permission. If intoxication is indicated by the test, the agency may use it as a basis for some type of administrative action, such as sending the employee home, or taking disciplinary action. An agency may not take disciplinary action solely because an employee declines to undergo a voluntary alcohol test.

AFGE Local 1637                                              FCI Seagoville/SCRO