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NWSEO is the only organization with the ability to lobby Congress and the Administration to preserve NWS jobs, promote better working conditions and career promotions for NWS, and participate in collective bargaining.
is the labor organization and professional association that represents
4,000 employees of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
in the U.S. Department of Commerce, including:
The forecasters, technicians and support personnel of the National Weather Service, the nation's official source for the weather forecasts and warnings;
The technicians who track and command the nation's weather satellites from Wallops Island, Virginia and Suitland, Maryland;
The civilian crew of the "Hurricane Hunter" aircraft base in Lakeland, Florida;
The attorneys in NOAA's Office of General Counsel, who are responsible for enforcing laws that protect the nation's environment and natural resources;
The hurricane researchers and other scientists and support personnel at the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Key Biscayne, Florida.
2018 NWSEO 43rd Annual National Convention
Mark your calendar for the 2018 NWSEO National Convention to be held at the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Sunday-Monday, September 30 and October 1, 2018.
The National Convention is the governing body of NWSEO and all members are invited to attend. It is a time to learn in depth about NWSEO’s current work and accomplishments. This is also a great opportunity to network with other professionals throughout the country. Many members return to the event every year.
View photos and information from the 2017 Convention (More)
Review Recruitment Travel Incentives for NWSEO Members (More)
(June 2, 2018) Meet Wayne Weeks, NWSEO member since 1979. After 21 years working rotating shifts in NWS offices from Alaska, to Maine, New Hampshire, Virginia, Kansas City, and Camp Springs, Wayne landed a day job at the marine branch of NWS headquarters in Silver Spring, MD. He has served as a NWSEO Regional Vice Chair, Steward, and Vice Steward. (More)
(March 30, 2018)
Meet Paula Cognitore, NWSEO Vice Steward and Senior Hydrologist at the Southeast River Forecast Center, Peachtree City, GA. Paula, briefly tell us your work title and how you became an employee (and in that role) of the National Weather Service? I am a Senior Hydrologist at the Southeast River Forecast Center. After volunteering at NWS OKX during the summer of '93 I was selected for a COMET project with PSU and the Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center during my Senior Year in the PSU Meteorology Program. This is when I was exposed to the hydrology program within the National Weather Service. (More)
(February 16, 2018) Meet Shawn Weagle, NWSEO Steward and Lead Forecaster at the National Weather Service Portland, Oregon.Shawn, tell us about your work. I've been a lead forecaster at WFO Portland since 2009. I consider myself very lucky to have been hired into the National Weather Service in the first place. I was a contractor for Raytheon and SAIC, testing ASOS sensors in Sterling, VA. After a few years in the Washington DC metro area, I wanted to move somewhere less busy and more scenic. I decided to look for jobs around upstate New York and Vermont, and sure enough there was an intern slot open at WFO Burlington, Vermont. (More)
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Elko Nevada Member and CBA Negotiator Delyne Kirkham
meeting with Senator Heller of Nevada.
NWSEO Cares: Medical Leave Donations
NWSEO Members have always been generous with leave donations for co-workers in need.
If you are able to donate leave time, please complete the Donor Leave Transfer Application and submit it to your ASA. If you would like to learn more about the Leave Transfer Program, including a full list of participants, click here. NWSEO thanks you for your generosity and care!
The Four Winds for 2018 are located on the Member News page.
(May 31, 2017) NWSEO often tackles problems repeatedly from the same managers.Now, a color-coded branch list can be used to identify and inform members of potential problem managers. While circumstances may change over time, the current list highlights areas to warn members of the possible implications to their career and morale if they bid on these offices.
Senate Appropriations Committee Rejects Cuts
to NWS Staffing
(June 15, 2018) Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Committee rejected cuts to NWS staffing proposed by the President in the FY 19 budget request including ITOS, forecasters at WFOs, and tsunami warning centers. The relevant portion of the Senate Appropriations Committee report is included with this newsletter.
NWSEO understands the importance of these positions and locations to the National Weather Service mission and is working hard to protect these jobs. As you may know, the ITO position has been eliminated from the President’s budget every year since FY2013. We will continue to work until we are satisfied that the position is safe every year. (More)
(June 1, 2018) This is a reminder that nominations for Regional Chair, Regional Vice Chair, Steward, Vice Steward, Delegate and Alternate Delegate are due today.
A Recap of NOMINATION PROCEDURES
Branch Steward/Vice Steward Nominations – If you are a member in good standing of a branch, you may nominate yourself or any other member in good standingfrom your local branch for the position of branch steward or vice steward. Nominations must be in writing, dated and signed by the member making the nomination and presented to your local branch Steward and Regional Chair by June 1, 2018.
Regional Officer Nominations – Also due in writing postmarked by June 1, 2018. If you have been a member of NWSEO since September 2017, you may nominate yourself to run as a candidate for any regional office. Regardless of how long you have been a NWSEO member, you may nominate any other union member in your region as a candidate for regional officer, provided that the person you nominate has been a member since September 2017. If you nominate someone for regional chair/vice chair, please contact your nominee to ensure they accept the nomination.
Nominations for Regional Chairperson and Regional Vice Chairperson must be in writing and certified/registered mail postmarked today, June 1, 2018.
Congratulations to Huug van den Dool
Recipient of the 2018 NOAA Distinguished Career Award
(May 25, 2018) NWSEO congratulates Huug van den Dool, the 2018 recipient of the NOAA Distinguished Career Award. This award was presented by RDML Tim Gallaudet, Ph.D., USN Ret. at a ceremony held in Silver Spring, Maryland on May 22. The Distinguished Career Award is designed to recognize long-term achievement in advancing the goals and mission of NOAA.
Dr. Van den Dool is a long-time supporter and current Associate Member of NWSEO. He joined NWSEO in 2012, and served as a member and steward for NWS National Centers for Environmental Protection (NCEP) and Climate Prediction Center (CPC). Dr. Van den Dool is recognized for his work in the development of new prediction techniques forming the basis for, and establishment of, seasonal climate forecasts at the CPC. (More)
House Appropriations Committee Rejects Workforce Cuts
(May 16, 2018 Letter from General Counsel) Moments ago, the House Appropriations Committee released the details of its FY 19 budget for the Department of Commerce. The Committee has rejected all NWS workforce cuts. The report states that the Committee's "The recommendation does not adopt the proposed NWS workforce savings," and that "The Committee expects the National Weather Service to continue to hire in fiscal year 2019, and to have additional FTEs on board by the end of the fiscal year. The Committee expects that budget requests from the National Weather Service include all funds necessary to pay for staff, yet the Committee consistently hears of staffing and management challenges within NWS. (More)
NWSEO Joins Efforts to Block
Federal Employee Benefit Cuts
(May 14, 2018) On May 4, the new Director of the Office of Personnel Management sent legislative proposals to Congress to cut Federal employee retirement benefits by $144 billion over ten years. NWSEO is a member of the Federal Workers Alliance and the Federal-Postal Coalition and has been working through these groups to block those proposals.
The cuts which the Administration has proposed include:
basing annuity calculation on the average of the employee’s highest five salary years instead of an employee’s “high-three.”
Increasing FERS federal employee pension contributions to 7.25%
reducing the cost-of-living adjustments COLAs under CSRS) by one half of one percent and to eliminate COLAs under FERS for current and future retirees.
eliminate the FERS annuity supplement – This proposal and will take away the possibility for many NWS employees to retire before the age of 62. (More)
(April 19, 2018) NWSEO is preparing to mail the 2018 Elections Letter to all of our members this month. If you have moved in the past two years, please send your new home address to NWSEO Membership Director Christy Fox at email@example.com Tuesday, April 24 to ensure that you receive your Elections Letter. (More)
(April 12, 2018) In testimony today before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, the Acting NOAA Administrator defended the Administration’s proposal to eliminate 20% of all the forecasters at the WFOs. Rep. José Serrano (D-NY), the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, asked Admiral Gallaudet whether the Administration’s proposal to cut funding for 248 meteorologists would “create a very real risk of reduced timelines and accuracy in weather forecasting?” Gallaudet praised the work of NWS employees but said:
“We don’t believe that that reduction in the number of positions will introduce significant risk. In fact, there has been three studies on the workforce at the Weather Service and all have concluded that the Weather Service can operate more efficiently. There are just a number of either operating practices – like reducing the number of forecasters on watch or even the hours that any given weather forecast office operates – as well as using automation and improved processing technologies like the one I mentioned in my opening statement – the AWIPS. So technology and better business practices at the Weather Service I think will allow for us to absorb the reduction of people in this budget.” (More)
(April 2, 2018) On March 22nd, the entire Hawaiian and Alaska Congressional delegation sent Commerce Secretary Ross a letter urging him to immediately fill operational vacancies in both states, and to reevaluate plans to close all the Weather Service Offices in Alaska. The Senators and Congresspersons wrote that “the number of operational vacancies in Hawaii is alarming. Of particular concern are the five vacancies at the PTWC.” The letter also complains of the staffing shortage of 20% to 30% at the Alaska WFOs, and objects to the Administration’s proposal to consolidate the two tsunami warning centers. The letter was organized by Senator Hirono of Hawaii in response to NWSEO’s concerns over staffing issues.
(March 20, 2018) NWSEO Membership is bringing back the big red thermometer for our upcoming recruitment drive. Members will be able to view our progress on the NWSEO website and on our private NWSEO Facebook page. There are over 2000 NWS employees who are not yet active, supporting members of NWSEO! We strongly encourage you, as an active member, to invite just one other co-worker to join NWSEO and support the important work of our NWSEO leaders, our General Counsel, our CBA team and our many Regional Chairs and Stewards. We work together to lobby Congress and the Administration, improve the working conditions, participate in collective bargaining, and preserve the jobs of each and every employee of our five bargaining units. We have a minority of members serving a majority of employees! It’s imperative that we create a stronger union. Enrollment Incentive for new members and recruiters(More)
NWSEO: Federal Arbitrator Rules Department of Commerce Illegally Terminated Forecasters' Union Contract
(March 1, 2018) - In the first major labor showdown of the Trump Administration, Labor Arbitrator Laurence Evans today ruled that the U.S. Department of Commerce illegally terminated its collective bargaining agreement with the National Weather Service Employees Organization, the union that represents the forecasters, technicians and other support personnel at NWS offices nationwide. Evans ordered the National Weather Service to rescind the notice of termination it sent to the union in July 2017.
At the arbitration hearing, held last December in Silver Spring, Maryland, the Deputy Director of the National Weather Service testified that the decision to terminate the union’s contract was made in consultation with and received the personal approval of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.(More)
Administration Officially Proposes to
Eliminate 20% of Forecaster Positions
and Reduce Hours of Operations at WFOs
(February 20, 2018) The budget submitted to Congress last week will eliminate funding for 248 forecaster positions at the WFOs. According to the budget justification submitted to Congress by NOAA, this will “allow[ ] for certain offices to reduce operation times.”
Although NWS employees have repeatedly been assured that NWS Evolve was not aimed at reducing staff, NOAA has now told Congress that “[t]his workforce savings is the initial step of implementing OWA recommendations.” The agency also told Congress that it “prefers to reduce positions only through attrition,” but doesn’t promise to do so. (As of February 15, there were 120 forecaster vacancies, according to NWSEO’s count).
According to the Budget Justification, “operation times at various offices will be reduced,” and that this creates a “potential risk to the public and partners,” which they hope to “minimize” by “collaborating[ing] with other NWS offices for met watch and services during off hours.” They claim that this “operational change is similar to the backup practice used today when there is a system or communication failure of an office.” (More)
MIC in Alaska Region WFO Uses Type of Work Schedule as SOLE Reason to Deny Employee Annual Leave Requests and Deny Reinstatement of Resulting Use or Lose Leave
(February 15, 2018) Picture requesting to take your hard-earned annual leave so you can spend time with your family during the holidays, and having it denied, putting you in a “use or lose” leave situation. Since you have denied leave, you request reinstating this “use or lose” leave, and that is also denied. While at the same time, your office’s MIC took 80 hours of her own leave and spent the holidays with her family? Welcome to the reality of WFO Fairbanks, Alaska. (More)
President's Budget will create a "Perfect Storm" for Weather Forecasts and Warnings
Contains 8% cut to National Weather Service funding and elimination of hundreds of forecasters
WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The President's budget acknowledges the importance of NWS to protecting lives and property-
"Advance notice provided by weather forecasts enables the Nation's leaders, decision makers, and media to provide better warnings and advisories to first responders, the public, and businesses. Getting this right reduces the catastrophic loss of human life and property and the damaging effects on the national economy."
Efficient, Effective, Accountable: An American Budget - Fiscal Year 2019, at 30. However, the President's budget proposes a cut of 8% to funding for the National Weather Service next fiscal year, compared to FY 2017 enacted levels ($1,191 million vs. $1,097 million). See Appendix to Budget for Fiscal Year 2019 at 190-92.
These savings will be achieved by cutting 355 additional forecasters and other operational staff beyond the hundreds of operational positions that are already vacant, and closing forecast offices at night and weekends. (More at Media Center)
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