NWSEO Secures a GS-8 Upgrade for All Field Office ASAs
(November 14, 2010) NWSEO secured an agreement that upgrades to a GS -8 every Administrative Support Assistant at field offices around the country. The GS - 8 upgrade includes approximately one million dollars in extra pay and benefits to the lowest paid NWS employees each and every year from now on. The effective date of the promotion is February 1, 2011. Training for new responsibilities will begin soon.
ASA Lisa Frantz and former ASA Delyne Kirkham were awarded the Kip Robinson Award at the NWSEO Annual Convention in October for their work with NWSEO on the ASA retention issue. This annual NWSEO award is given in recognition of members volunteering their time and talent to make NWSEO a stronger union. The Kip Robinson Award is named after a late lobbyist who worked diligently for NWSEO.
NWSEO has actively pursued this upgrade for ASAs since Frantz and Kirkham brought it to the union’s attention at the 2009 annual convention. “ASAs essentially do the work and have the responsibilities of much higher graded positions such as budgeting and property management,” said Sobien. “The GS-8 upgrade is imperative to retaining quality employees in these positions. This is an NWSEO success that will benefit the ASAs and NWS field offices as a whole.”
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. There is strength in union membership.
NWS Quality of Work Life Team Commends NWSEO Fair Pay efforts for ASAs
(May 7, 2010) The NWS Quality of Work Life Team commends NWSEO on their efforts to secure fair pay for ASAs and acknowledges the difficulty of retaining quality ASAs when other agencies pay more money for similar work. The acknowledgement was written in a letter to the National Labor Council and the Workforce Human Capital Committee of the NWS Corporate Board.
The work of NWSEO and NWS ASAs brought this issue to light. NWSEO sent a request to NOAA Deputy Undersecretary Mary Glackin requesting a review of ASA grades after several conversations with various NOAA and NWS management officials on the subject. “ASAs essentially do the work and have the responsibilities of much higher graded positions such as budgeting and property management, but they are not getting the proper pay because an MIC signs a paper saying the work is correct. Other agencies do not have this inherent unfairness and many NWS ASAs are leaving to work at those agencies,” stated NWSEO President Sobien.
NOAA has been in contact with the NWSEO about doing an informal desk audit to identify the problems. The NWS Quality of Work Life team has offered to assist in the audit. “This audit is a good first step,” stated Sobien. “Hopefully the process can be expedited so we don’t lose any more NWS employees.” The NWSEO submitted the names of several NWSEO brothers and sisters who are ASAs to assist in the audit.
The audit is the result of a grass root effort by NWSEO members who are ASAs. “The ASAs got together and pushed an issue that was not on the radar,” stated Sobien. “At the annual NWSEO convention, the ASAs sent a representative who presented each union officer with a 3-inch thick document that conclusively shows the discrimination. I am very proud of how they organized to push the issue. It is proof of the power employees have when they organize and speak with one voice.”