Your true source for negotiation updates:
From bargaining unit employees for bargaining unit employees.
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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 Meterological Laboratory in Key Biscayne, Florida.
(November 27, 2017) Meet Jerry Steiger, MOBEU Meteorological Technician for the National Weather Service Alaska Region. Jerry, tell us about your work. I accepted this job 2 ½ years ago after the Alaska region eliminated my previous position as the Meteorologist in Charge of the Weather Service Office in Nome, AK. I really like working in rural Alaska, thus the reason to take this position as a MOBEU and fill in for any of the 10 WSO’s throughout Alaska. (More)
(October 11, 2017) “Slicing through the eyewall of a hurricane, buffeted by howling winds, blinding rain and violent updrafts and downdrafts before entering the relative calm of the storm’s eye, repeating the often grueling experience again and again during the course of an 8 -10 hour mission.” I first read this online (www.omao.noaa.gov) before touring with NWSEO AOC Steward at their new, spacious location in Lakeland, FL. This is the world of Todd Richards, and Aircraft Operations Center employees, Captain Hann and so many we had the opportunity to meet. We thought this was great timing to write NWSEO’s first “Member Spotlight,” showcasing the work, dedication and talent of a member, inspiring others and connecting all of our union members. (More)
Your Local Forecast The Only Union Produced Weather Forecast
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!
Four Winds for 2016 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.
OPM FURLOUGH GUIDANCE
Please find OPM’s current furlough guidance at this website link along with other relevant information related to a lapse in appropriations and furlough:
The shutdown furlough guidance is quite comprehensive so I encourage you to review. A few of the questions that may be of interest are:
Question B5, page 2, addresses employee notification of their status. Since each situation will very, this is left up to agencies.
Question D1, page 6, addresses pay for excepted employees who perform work during a shutdown.
Question D3, page 6, addresses pay for employees for hours worked prior to a lapse in appropriations.
Question F1, page 8, addresses paid time off (e.g. annual leave, sick leave, etc.) during a shutdown.
Questions F2, 2a, 2b and 7 may also be instructive.
Question P2 and 2a, page 26, address how employees can receive furlough notices.
Question P9 addresses employees on travel during a lapse in appropriations. (More)
NWSEO Negotiated Health Club and Wellness Services Fees Reimbursement Program
Forms should be submitted by Wednesday, February 28, 2018
(January 12, 2018) Wednesday, February 28 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 before the due dates.
Form A must be submitted between January 1, 2018 and February 28, 2018 to receive benefits for 2018. Form B must be submitted between January 1, 2018 and February 28, 2018 for reimbursement for the year 2017.
(November 20, 2017) According to information provided to NWSEO in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the National Weather Service failed to spend $57,144,743 of the amount it was appropriated for fiscal year 2017, despite the fact that there were well over 600 vacant positions by the end of the fiscal year. $25 million of this amount remains available for the NWS to spend in the current fiscal year (in addition to the sums appropriated under the current continuing resolution) and $32 million remains available for the NWS to spend until September 30, 2018. The amount of remaining funds appropriated by Congress for various “programs, projects and activities” varies from “PPA” to “PPA.” However, under Section 505 of the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Act, these amounts can be transferred by the agency from one program to another with 15 days notification to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. At the end of FY 17, $11 million remained in the account “Analyze, Forecast and Support,” and $7 million remained in the account “Observations,” which are the two PPAs from which most employees’ salaries are paid.
The NWS also has ended the previous four fiscal years with substantial unspent carry-over funds despite a growing vacancy rate: FY 2016 -$66.6 million; FY 2015 - $52.5 million; FY 2014 - $125.3 million; FY 2013 - $144.3 million.
NWSEO Member Blitz Days
Membership Rewards for New Members and Current Members
(November 16, 2017) NWSEO is growing even stronger thanks to our dedicated members and the information they share about the work of our professional organization. Across the country, our members are uniting together to write their and NWS Regional Directors, Senators, and Representatives; interviewing with local media, sharing their story of severe staffing shortages with barely enough personnel on station to provide the basic weather services, watches and warnings.
Because of your membership support, earlier this fall, over 120 jobs and the important work of ITO's, Climate Prediction Center (CPC) and Tsunami Warning Center employees were saved by the legislative efforts of NWSEO and General Counsel. And, NWSEO is 100 percent committed to developing, negotiating, and eventually ratifying a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which promotes better working conditions, career promotions for NWS employees, and participation in collective bargaining. Our CBA Negotiation Team could not be effective at what they do without your membership support.
Additional NWSEO perks such as the NWSEO negotiated $300 Health and Wellness benefit for all NWS employees and the members’ onlyHotelStorm website offering up to 60 percent off hotel rates are a few of the benefits members recognize as the work of our professional organization.
We are Thankful for You!
With the holidays rapidly approaching, we would like to not only recognize you, but say, “THANKS,” for all you do in your work and on behalf of NWSEO. NWSEO is offering membership rewards during our “Member Blitz Days”November 16th thru December 31st for all members. (More)
Has NWS Management Affirmed a
Key NWSEO Concern regarding Evolve??
Management CBA Negotiating Team Hints
NWS Operations May No Longer Be 365X24X7,
Even in Hazardous Weather Conditions!
(November 15, 2017) During the ongoing Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations dealing with hazardous weather conditions, the NWS Chief Negotiator presented to the NWSEO CBA negotiating team a thought provoking and somewhat unnerving counter proposal out of nowhere. "Where determined by management, NWS operations must continue around the clock, seven (7) days a week despite adverse weather conditions.”
What does this term “Where determined by management” mean? Does it mean that under Evolve, NWS is planning to part time Weather Forecast Offices?? Does it mean some offices won't be operating 24x7, under expected or even unexpected hazardous weather?? Is this a primary reason why the NWS is not rushing to fill the nearly 700 vacancies by inserting such language into the CBA?? Or is there some other reason??
This four-word phrase was added to existing contract language which has ensured stable, continuous operations since the CBA was last negotiated in 2001. When the NWSEO team asked why this needs to be changed after the last 16 years, the NWS Chief Negotiator said, “I’m sure this is clear to you.” Is it clear to you, too?? You decide.
The NWSEO negotiating team is 100% Committed to ALL WFOs remaining 365X24X7 and reject any notion of Part-Timing WFOs at the discretion of Management.
(October 31, 2017) In a recent Washington Post article, "Down hundreds of staff, ‘Weather Service teetering on the brink of failure,’ labor union says" (October 26, 2017), the NWS claimed that there were only 226 vacancies and that Congress had appropriated funds for only 4453 positions.
On November 14, 2016 NWSEO filed a Freedom of Information Act request with NOAA which asked for "the total number of vacancies; the number of employees on board; and the FY 16 authorized and appropriated levels" for each NOAA line office. Attached is a copy of NOAA's February 28, 2017 official response. According to the chart provided, as of November 1, 2016 there were 5048 total authorized and appropriated positions in the NWS (including 174 reimbursable from other agencies, like the FAA). Out of that number, there were 643 total vacancies. Other documents received by the NWSEO show there has been approximately another 60 vacancies in bargaining unit positions alone since November 2016.
The FOIA response is attached within this Four Winds member newsletter. (More)
After the onslaught of devastating hurricanes and wildfires, the United States is enduring one of its most costly years for extreme weather. A near-record $16 billion weather disasters have ravaged the nation. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service workforce is spread razor thin, with hundreds of vacant forecast positions.
The National Weather Service Employees Organization, its labor union, said the lack of staff is taking a toll on forecasting operations and that the agency is “for the first time in its history teetering on the brink of failure.” Managers are being forced to scale back certain operations, and staff are stressed and overworked.
“It’s gotten so bad that we’re not going to be able to provide service that two years ago we were able to provide to public, emergency managers and media,” said Dan Sobien, the president of the union. “We’ve never been in that position before.” (More)
NWS Adopts Policy of Degradation of Services
for the First Time Since Before the Modernization
ERH Announces Elimination of Forecast and Public Service Shifts Due to Escalating Vacancy Rates
(October 23, 2017). The National Weather Service, an agency that has faithfully served the Nation and Public for nearly 150 years, for the first time in its history is close to teetering on the brink of failure. For the past several years, the NWS Leadership has been incapable of placing their budget priorities correctly, spending money on Management conferences and blended models rather than on filling the nearly 700 vacant forecast positions. In fact, the NWS Nationwide has not had full staffing levels for at least seven years. As vacancies continued to increase, the NWS Director in Eastern Region Headquarters (ERH) announced that at three (3) Weather Forecast Offices (Raleigh, NC, Burlington, VT, and Binghamton NY) he is ordering his managers to reduce the number of forecast shifts due to the large number of vacancies. Also, there have been reports that some local managers across the country have proposed the elimination of the Public Service Forecast desk and other shifts again, due to vacancies. The NWS Roadmap to expand and provide Impact Decision Support Services to CORE CUSTOMERS, like Emergency Managers, State and Local Governments has been effectively torn up with no chance of success.
Meanwhile, employees have been working almost daily, with longer shifts and a greater number of overtime hours, which has brought on unsafe and unhealthy working conditions.
“NWSEO stewards and members across the country are screaming enough is enough!” stated NWSEO National President Dan Sobien. Members are writing letters and reaching out to their NWS Regional Directors, Senators, and Representatives interviewing with local media, sharing their story of severe staffing shortages with barely enough personnel on station to provide the basic weather services, watches and warnings. (More)
NWSEO Opposes Trump's Nomination
for Barry Myers as NOAA Administrator
We are writing to express our opposition to the nomination of Mr. Barry Myers, an attorney and CEO of AccuWeather, Inc., as NOAA Administrator. As you know, this position has traditionally been filled by a pre-eminent scientist, and by that standard alone, Mr. Myers is wholly unqualified for the job.
In addition to his lack of scientific qualifications and his absence of any background in oceans, research, fisheries, environmental satellites, which constitute a majority of NOAA's programs and budget Mr. Myers' nomination would present a host of conflicts of interests. As NOAA Administrator, hew would be in a postiion to fundamentally alter the nature of weather services that NOAA provides the nation to the benfit of his family-owned business.