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.
Donate to the work of NWSEO. Email NWSEO Bookkeeper Emily Roy at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
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.
Form A must be submitted between January 1, 2019 and March 31, 2019 to receive benefits for 2019. Form B must be submitted between January 1, 2019 and March 31, 2019 for reimbursement for the year 2018.
Please meet NWSEO Member and Senior Meteorologist, IMET Alex Hoon of NWS Reno, Nevada. NWSEO congratulates Alex, the recipient of a Silver Medal by the Secretary of Commerce for meritorious service on the Carr Fire in Northern California in 2018.
Where are you from originally?
I am originally from Houston, Texas...born and raised! I went to Texas A&M University and then I was commissioned as an officer in the US Air Force. After several years as a weather officer in the Air Force, I came to the National Weather Service here in Reno, Nevada, and I've been here ever since.
How long have you worked in NWS?
I've been with the NWS for about 13 years, I've done all my NWS time here in Reno, NV as a journeyman and then as a lead forecaster. My family and I fell in love with the western climate, the beautiful mountains, the great outdoors, and the great community here--not to mention we have a great office with awesome coworkers. (More)
Please meet long-time NWSEO Member and Forecaster, George Bancroftof College Park, MD and NWS and the National Centers for Environmental Protection (NCEP) Ocean Prediction Center (OPC). You may have met Mr. Bancroft at one of the conventions. He has attended nearly every one as an active participant and a generous contributor to the NWSEO PAC.
How long have you worked in NWS NCEP?
Since 1995 when the old National Meteorological Center in Camp Springs MD was re-organized into the various Centers and Ocean Prediction Center formed. (More)
(August 27, 2019) Exactly 40 years ago today, our General Counsel Richard Hirn began his legal career as an attorney in the Office of Appeals of the National Labor Relations Board, enforcing working Americans’ collective bargaining rights during the Carter Administration.
He stated, “I am very proud that this was my first job after law school (during which I had the opportunity to work at both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Election Commission. And while at the FEC, I worked on litigation against the National Right to Work Committee with Larry Noble, who eventually became the FEC’s General Counsel).”
Richard started his career with the NWSEO 38 years ago as our General Counsel and became our lobbyist 14 years ago. Richard is one of the pre-eminent Federal sector labor attorneys in the country. We are very lucky to have him representing us.
Congratulations Richard, from the entire NWSEO on your stellar career.
What brought you to AOML and NWSEO?
I am a Miami native. Since my advanced education is in oceanography (his B.A. degree in geology with an oceanography specialty and his M.A. degree in marine geology and geophysics from Columbia University in the City of New York.), AOML is a likely place where I could have a career in my chosen occupation. I have been an FTP employee since March 10, 1974. (More)
Please meet NWSEO Vice Steward and Senior Forecaster, Anita Silverman, of WFO Blacksburg, Virginia.
What brought you to the NWS and NWSEO?
I have had a lifelong fascination with weather. I joined the NWS at National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) as an intern just out of Penn State, then was an intern at Weather Forecast Office Columbia, Missouri, a general forecaster at the Weather Service Forecast Office St. Louis, Missouri, and am currently a senior forecaster at the Weather Forecast Office Blacksburg, VA. (More)
(April 1, 2019) The New York Center Weather Service Unit (ZNY CWSU) is 1 of the 21 CWSUs nationwide that were created in 1978. In 1977, while en-route to Atlanta, an airplane unknowingly flew into a thunderstorm causing a fatal aircraft accident. The following year, as a response to a recommendation by the NTSB, the FAA entered into an Interagency Agreement with the National Weather Service to create CWSUs at each FAA Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC). The goal was to develop rules and procedures for the timely dissemination by air traffic controllers of all available severe weather information. (More)
(March 13, 2019) Meet Jim Lee, NWSEO Central Region Chair and Journeyman Forecaster in WFO Des Moines, IA.
How long have you been working with NWS? What do you do specifically?I joined the NWS at the end of 2002, so it's been 16 years already. I started out as a Meteorologist Intern at WFO Key West, FL and now I am a General Forecaster in WFO Des Moines, IA. I issue forecasts, warnings, advisories and other hazardous weather statements, engage with various partners and the general public to provide IDSS, and perform a variety of other meteorological and observational functions. I am also heavily involved in a number of local, regional, and national teams and projects.
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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.
I hope this message finds you well and holding up under the challenges and stresses of these unprecedented times which the nation and the world have been experiencing. I commend you for continuing to lean forward in providing invaluable and uninterrupted services to our partners and the public, despite the enormous amount of stress we’re all under. I assure you that while you’re fulfilling your duties either from your office or your home, NWSEO continues to work diligently to represent your best interests, address issues and concerns, and correspond frequently with management to try to mitigate the negative impacts on your well-being.
Many of you have inquired about various contingencies for staffing, scheduling, leave, etc. as we struggle to balance our dedication to the agency mission while simultaneously tending to our personal and family needs. Caring for yourselves and your loved ones is of the utmost importance. We also must remember that we’re critical members of an expansive NOAA family. It’s from this family perspective I ask you to also look after the well-being of your coworkers. If you become aware of somebody struggling with the stress and fear resulting from the pandemic, or the financial impacts of the national emergency, or anything else, we urge you to take precious time to consult with them and help out any way you can.(More)
Federal Service Impasses Panel Asserts Jurisdiction over
NWS-NWSEO Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations
(March 24, 2020) The United States Federal Service Impasses Panel (“the Panel”) has notified NWSEO and NWS that it is asserting jurisdiction over the 42 open articles on which NWS claims that an impasse in bargaining exists in the Parties’ successor Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
The Panel directed that the impasse be resolved through written submissions using the following procedure:
1. By Monday, March 30, 2020, each party shall submit to the other its final offer on the issues at impasse and a written statement of position to the Panel.
2. By Friday, April 10, 2020, each party shall submit its written rebuttal statement to the Panel.
3. After considering the entire record, the Panel shall take whatever action it deems appropriate to resolve the dispute, which may include the issuance of a binding decision. The Panel said that in such a case, it was likely to select and impose the entirety of one party’s proposal for a particular article rather than selecting provisions in a piecemeal fashion.
4. The Parties may seek a voluntary settlement at any time prior to the issuance of the Panel’s decision and should immediately notify the Panel of any such agreement.
Due to the short turn around and lack of available resources as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, NWSEO requested NWS join the Union in requesting an extension to the deadlines imposed above.(More)
NWSEO Negotiates and Signs New Addendum for GS5-12 Progression MOU
Employees who Accepted Lower Grade Positions on the GS 5/7/9 Announcements and Served in that Grade for More than One Pay Period to Receive Back Pay
(March 18, 2020) NWSEO has successfully negotiated and signed a new addendum to the GS5-12 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which allows those employees who accept a lower graded position in a GS 5/7/9 bid to be returned to their previous higher pay grade the following pay period. Furthermore, those who have already served in the lower graded position for more than one pay period before being reinstated to their previous grade will receive back pay for all but the initial pay period. We have been informed that back pay requests have already been initiated for these employees.
For those affected, please contact Christy Fox at email@example.com if there are any issues with receiving your back pay.
(March 13, 2020) I recognize the impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic on our employees and their families. This event is evolving rapidly, and we appreciate the agility of our workforce to manage priorities during this time.
In response to the current pandemic, we are postponing the March Madness Membership Drive until further notice. While recruitment is the lifeline of our membership support, our members must focus on the health and safety of themselves and their families.
We have forwarded your concerns posted on the NWSEO Facebook page to NWS management. If there are further concerns, please continue to post your comments on the page and we’ll continue to send the information forward.
We stand in solidarity for the safety of our workers. Our workers are the backbone of our mission. Thank you for your unwavering service in protecting lives and property and please keep safe.(More)
Administration Proposes Large Budget Cuts and Job Elimination
Eliminate 365 Total Positions at the
National Weather Service
Eliminate 20 Positions at Atlantic Oceanographic
& Meteorological Laboratory
(March 4, 2020) The Administration has released its proposed NOAA budget for FY 2021, and it proposes a $75 million reduction in funding for NWS programs and the elimination of 365 positions at the National Weather Service, as well as the jobs of 20 employees at OAR who are also represented by NWSEO. Among the impacts the Administration has identified includes: closing NWS Weather Forecast Offices at night, closing at least one of the nation’s two tsunami warning centers, eliminating tsunami warnings for the Caribbean, and termination of global climate products that are used for pandemic health planning.
The President proposed many of the same personnel and budget cuts in his FY 20 budget, but they were defeated on Capitol Hill through NWSEO’s Lobbying efforts. NWSEO’s lobbyist has already begun personal meetings with appropriators as well as key congressional staffers in order to ensure continued funding for these positions and programs. Several members of Congress have already reached out to NWSEO offering their support in our fight against these excessive and unwise personnel cuts. (More)
(March 3, 2020) After the partial government shutdown ended in January 2019, a NESDIS employee thoroughly checked his Earnings and Leave Statement. He realized he wasn’t getting paid correctly for his overtime worked. He was covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and entitled to true overtime, which is one and half times his pay. However, his SF-50 was erroneously changed in January 2015 which affected his overtime pay rate.
“I was probably trusting that NOAA would never get my paycheck wrong. When the government shutdown happened in January 2019, we didn’t get paid for pay period 1. I started reviewing the details of my paystub more carefully and I learned that my FLSA status had been changed. I had been underpaid thousands of dollars” stated the employee.(More)
March Madness Membership Drive News!
(February 24, 2020) NWSEO and its Recruitment Committee and Membership Director are hosting a membership drive throughout the month of March! Each of you, and the members you recruit, are the lifeblood of our professional organization and makes everything we do on your behalf possible. Keep watching NWSEO Facebook and your email inbox for additional updates during March Madness, including recruiting tips and resources, a summary of incentives available to anyone you recruit to join NWSEO, testimonials, and videos from other members and officers, and "fast breaks" with other information to help you along with great prizes! (Recruitment Resources)
National Weather Service Denies Union Grievance
NWSEO to Arbitrate Disqualification Against Internal MET Applicants
(February 16, 2020) In January, NWSEO filed a grievance on behalf of a GS-11 meteorologist who, after having been selected for a GS-5/7/9 DE/CR vacancy at another WFO, was disqualified by Region management because he was an internal applicant.
NWS denied the grievance on February 13.
In its grievance denial, management did not deny that the internal applicant had been informed by the MIC that he had been her selection, but claimed that the eventual selectee from outside the NWS “was determined to be the best candidate” because “the operational needs of the office could be satisfied with the addition of a new external hire rather than a more experienced internal candidate.” (More)
(February 1, 2020) The week of January 12, 2020, the American Meteorological Society hosted their 100th annual meeting at the Boston Convention and Expo Center, Boston, MA. NWSEO President John Werner, NWSEO Executive Vice President JoAnn Becker, NWSEO Secretary/Treasurer and Eastern Region Chairperson David Solano and NWSEO Headquarters Chairperson Mike Dion attended the meeting alongside many colleagues, educators and scientists of the National Weather Service.
“This was a tremendous conference, many programs, guest speakers from all parts of the agency. We were able to connect with both NWSEO members and non-members at this event,” shared NWSEO Executive Vice President JoAnn Becker.
NWS DAA, Mary Erickson stated, “We reallyvalued the opportunity forNWS and NWSEO leadership to hear from over 100 employees at the NWS Employee Engagement event, and many more throughout the sessions of the AMS. We enjoyed the joint discussions on important topics such as the Future of Forecasting; Belonging, Inclusion and Diversity; and Evolve – the Collaborative Forecast Process.” (More)
(January 31, 2020) Tuesday, March 31, 2020 is the deadline for submitting your forms for the NWSEO negotiated National Weather Service Health Club and Wellness Services Fees Reimbursement Program. Through the program, which is open to all NWS employees, you may receive up to $300 per year as a health club membership dues rebate. The rebate also covers certain weight loss and smoking cessation programs. In order to be eligible for the programs, it is important that the correct forms are submitted to your supervisor before the due dates.(More)
Exciting Challenges and Changes Ahead for the
NWS Water and Water Resources Program
(January 24, 2020) NWSEO President John Werner; NWSEO Secretary/Treasurer and Eastern Region Chairperson David Solano; NWSEO Headquarters Chairperson and acting steward for the National Water Center (NWC) Mike Dion; and NWSEO Southeast River Forecast Center Steward Jeff Dobur were recently invited to visit the National Water Center (NWC), a branch of the NWSEO Headquarters region, on January 7-8, 2020, for meetings with NWC bargaining unit staff and Office of Water Prediction (OWP) leadership.
NWSEO met with OWP Senior Leadership for an informational briefing and discussion focused on current and future water resources modeling and service-related activities within OWP. These activities include the continued development and implementation of the National Water Model and the Hydrologic Ensemble Forecast Service (HEFS), Flood Inundation Mapping, achieving an initial operating capability within the Water Prediction Operations Division (WPOD) at the NWC, and other related efforts within the NWS, NOAA Line Offices and other Federal agencies.
NWSEO Grieves Discrimination against Internal Applicants
for GS 5/7/9 DE/CR Vacancies
(January 10, 2020) On January 6, 2020, NWSEO filed a grievance over the NWS’s disqualification of internal applicants for GS 5/7/9 met DE/CR vacancies. The Union demanded the NWS award one affected bargaining unit member the position and location for which he was initially selected but later disqualified because he was not a new hire. In addition, NWSEO requested that all regions be issued written guidance instructing them not to disqualify internal applicants for GS 5/7/9 DE/CR vacancies.(More)
NWSEO Dues Increase of 72 Cents Per Pay Period
beginning in 2020 Pay Period 1
(December 30, 2019) Active NWSEO membership is the lifeblood of our professional organization. It is through the strength of our members in NWS, NESDIS, AOC, AOML, and NAG that NWSEO has the ability to help save jobs and programs, promote better working conditions, enhance career opportunities, and participate in collective bargaining. Your membership and willingness to be an active member of our professional organization, has certainly helped propel each organization to be world class within the U.S. Federal Government and NOAA. Thank you for your sacrifice and support.
Beginning January 5, 2020, pay period 1, NWSEO dues will be set at one percent (1%) of your salary to a new maximum per pay period amount of $24.06. This new amount reflects a minimal dues increase of just 72 cents per pay period in accordance with the OPM's salary rate increases for the Rest of the U.S. (More)
(December 20, 2019) In August 2019, the NWS broke off negotiations on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with NWSEO and refused our request to remain at the bargaining table, even though we made it clear that we were willing to make further compromises. Yesterday, at the direction of the Department of Commerce, the NWS requested that the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP) resolve the many remaining disputed provisions of the CBA rather than continuing to bargain with NWSEO. (More)
The House Appropriations Committee just released
the final bill for FY 2020
(December 18, 2019) NWS operations, research and facilities will be appropriated $1,065,701,000 - this is $45 million more than last year, and $76 million more than requested by the President’s budget.
Within that number, the Analyze, Forecast and Support Portfolio, from which the majority of positions are funded, was increased to $513,556,000 - which is $8 million more than appropriated last year, and $30 million more than requested by the President’s budget. (More)
(October 25, 2019) December, 2018: At first, I just rolled my eyes. Another government shutdown? More posturing and grand-standing by politicians, that just can’t seem to get their jobs done on time. I had gone through previous shutdowns, most notably the 1995-1996 shutdown, which happened at the same time as my PCS move from one office to another- imagine going into temporary quarters while the rest of government is shut down? I remember having my MIC call to ask if I had to delay my move due to the shutdown. Thankfully, that apparently had already been paid for, and I don’t remember missing a paycheck during that particular shutdown. The 2013 shutdown turned out to be no big deal either, as I recall getting a partial paycheck, but then it was all paid up in the next paycheck. Most of the other shutdowns were too short to have an impact. So, on December 22nd I wasn’t too worried. I figured those politicians would get their shutdown in for spectacular effect, someone would back down right after New Year’s, and then we would be back to business as usual. I was disgusted, but wasn’t too worried, hoping that the politicians remembered the lessons they had learned from previous shut-downs.(More)
Federal Arbitrator rules NWS violated agreement by failing to fill OPL vacancies
(October 21, 2019) On October 10, 2019, Arbitrator Laurence Evans held that the NWS has violated a 2004 staffing agreement with NWSEO by failing to fill over 30 vacant Observation Program Leader (OPL) positions. The 2004 agreement restructured the Hydrometeorological Technician (HMT) and Intern units at Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs), with the NWS agreeing to advertise any vacant position for both HMT and Intern applicants, rather than setting aside a specific number of slots for either category of employee. The NWS also agreed to create a GS-12 OPL position so that HMTs could have advancement opportunities. The agreement provided that when OPLs retire or leave, “the same recruitment process will be conducted.” However, since 2016, the NWS has only filled 14 of 40 OPL positions that have become vacant.(More)
Fellow NWSEO members,
I am excited and humbled to serve as your new NWSEO National President. For those who don’t know me, I have served as the NWSEO Southern Region Chairperson for the last nine years and am truly honored to work with some of the most talented and wonderful people in the world on your behalf. JoAnn Becker is your new NWSEO Executive Vice President. JoAnn has served as the NCEP Regional Chairperson for the last six years. Her wealth of knowledge and experience, as well as her caring and patient nature, will help us ensure that NWSEO remains focused on improving working conditions for the employees and the quality of services that the National Weather Service provides to our nation.(More)
NWSEO membership fuels our professional organization. This year, increasing our membership numbers is critical to NWSEO’s success as we work to protect jobs and fill understaffed offices. NWSEO Membership Director Christy Fox reported that in the past year, 137 employees joined the organization, with many renewing their memberships in support of the important work done by NWSEO. Christy also reported that unfortunately, NWSEO has had 94 membership withdrawals in the past year.
“76% of the losses are due to retirements and promotions out of the bargaining unit,” Christy stated. “Recruitment is ongoing and we should continue to be actively involved from national leadership to regional officers, to local stewards and members from all over the country.”
NWSEO is made up of members from not only the National Weather Service (NWS) but also, Aircraft Operations Center (AOC), National Environmental Satellite, Data, Information Service (NESDIS), Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML), and NOAA Attorney’s Guild (NAG). Membership totals for each agency are included below with the total membership currently at 1620 members.
(October 8, 2019) Congratulations to our newly elected NWSEO National President John Werner and Executive Vice President JoAnn Becker. Due to the National Elections results, the Southern Region and NCEP Region Chairs became vacant. The NWSEO National Council approved Chris Jacobson to become the new Southern Region Chair, with Rob Niemeyer continuing as Southern Region Vice Chair. Former NCEP Region Vice Chair Suru Saha became NCEP Region Chair, and the National Council approved Christa Jacobs to become the new NCEP Region Vice Chair. Congratulations to all. (More)
(August 14, 2019) On June 19, just seven weeks ago, our NWSEO Membership Director reported a record high of 1615 members. Regional Chairs, Stewards and NWSEO Members themselves across the country are setting goals to not only increase membership but to also shift the view of our organization to a more positive, forward leaning, serving union. The past and recent work done on behalf of all bargaining unit employees under the NWSEO umbrella has been instrumental in obtaining new NWSEO members. Even though more members have retired over the summer months, NWSEO continues to grow with recruitment efforts, membership drives and support from across the country. (More)
(August 13, 2019) Congressman Mark Amodei visited the WFO in Elko, Nevada on July 31 at the invitation of the NWSEO. Congressman Amodei has been the United States Representative for Nevada’s second congressional district since 2011 and on the Appropriations Committee. The group discussed a variety of topics critical to NWS employees: the agency mission in general, but he was particularly sympathetic about the brutal staffing shortages and the pay-cap denials for staffing OT. He and his staff spent some time with individual employees affected by the pay caps. The Congressman successfully launched a weather balloon and the local newspaper was there to capture the story. He discussed his ideas for coordinating future wildfire research with core partners, and challenged the employees to come up with other projects. The staff brought up their giant radar holes where they have numerous fires, winter weather, and flash flooding. The Congressman promised to look into adding a radar in central Nevada, cooperating with other entities to fund and maintain it.
Four Congressmen Seek Impoundment Act Ruling
on NWS Vacancies
(August 2, 2019) Four Members of Congress, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), have requested that the Comptroller General initiate a formal inquiry whether the National Weather Service has violated the Impoundment Control Act by its failure to fill hundreds of positions, despite full funding and explicit direction from Congress to do so.
The Impoundment Control Act prohibits the Executive Branch from failing to spend funds that Congress has appropriated for a specific purpose, without first submitting a “rescission” request to Congress and obtaining an affirmative vote from Congress to forgo expenditure of funds. Under the Act, Congress can ask the Comptroller General for a formal ruling whether an agency has violated the Act. If the Comptroller General finds that the Administration should have but failed to submit a “rescission” request to Congress, the agency must expend the funds unless Congress approves the rescission within 45 days. If the agency does not comply, the Act authorizes the Comptroller General to bring suit against agency officials in Federal court to compel them to comply.
Lobbying Efforts of the NWSEO
The House Appropriations Committee has Approved a Substantial Increase in NWS Funding and Rejected all Proposed Personnel Cuts May 29, 2019
(May 29, 2019) The House Appropriations Committee has approved funding of $1,099,549,000 for NWS operations, research and facilities for FY20. This is $110 million more than the President requested, and $79 million more than was appropriated for FY19 – an increase of 7.7%. This funding includes not less than $20 million, and not more than $28 million in funding “to address the backlog in facilities maintenance.”
This increase in funding was due to the lobbying efforts of NWSEO.
The Committee also rejected the Administration’s proposal to cut 355 jobs at the NWS, and once again demanded that the NWS fill all vacancies. From the Committee Report:
“The Committee remains concerned about continuing reports of staffing and management challenges within NWS. NOAA and the Department of Commerce are directed to ensure that NWS fulfills its critical mission to protect the lives and property of our Nation’s citizens, including by filling all vacancies as expeditiously as possible. . . ." (More)
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