Dear NWSEO brothers and sisters,
As we take a moment to reflect on this past year, truly a year of disbelief, I’ve considered our top milestones in 2020.
NWSEO COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENTS
This has been a record year for contract negotiations. First, the NESDIS Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) was ratified by the NESDIS union members and signed by the parties. This is a big accomplishment for Chairman Hugh Sharkey, Aaron Savage, Jake Cherrix, Stan Abney, Zach Dornhagen and Arla Tillman.
Next, the contracts for the NOAA Attorneys Guild (NAG), Aircraft Operations Center (AOC) and Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) were opened for renegotiation.
Last, the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP) took jurisdiction over the NWS contract negotiations and adjudicated the 29 contract articles in dispute. The NWS contract ratification vote on the imposed contract was conducted electronically, with the NWS NWSEO members overwhelmingly rejecting the contract by a vote of 91% to 9%.
A new dispute arose when NWSEO requested the parties return to the table to renegotiate the NWS contract. Management would only negotiate over the four articles agreed upon prior to the FSIP taking jurisdiction and NWSEO demanded to negotiate the contract in its entirety. The matter was taken to arbitration. Arbitrator Greenburg ruled NWS breached negotiations ground rules and ordered NWS back to the bargaining table to renegotiate over 17 articles. The arbitrator however, ruled the NWS is not obligated to renegotiate provisions imposed by the FSIP. NWSEO is appealing this portion of the ruling. In the meantime, NWS management must maintain the status quo by honoring the 2001 CBA.
OUR FIRST VIRTUAL NATIONAL CONVENTION
The 2020 NWSEO National Convention was a successful virtual one-day event. Over 150 members registered for this event. NWSEO President Werner, NWSEO Executive Vice President JoAnn Becker and NWSEO Secretary-Treasurer Chris Jacobson facilitated informative sessions, reports, and new business. NWSEO awarded the prestigious 2020 Kip Robinson Award to Karleisa Rogacheski.
The 2021 NWSEO National Convention is scheduled in person (fingers crossed) for October 18-19, 2021 at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, NV. Look for information on steward training in the upcoming 2021 Notice of Convention.
STRONG MEMBERSHIP PERSISTS DESPITE COVID, RETIREMENTS, PROMOTIONS & SEPARATIONS
NWSEO welcomed 122 new and renewed members during 2020. From our larger bargaining units, Central Region leads in total number of new members with 24, followed by Eastern Region with 21 new members for the year. NWSEO members from the agencies (NWS, NAG, AOML, AOC and NESDIS) have invited and encouraged growth of our union and together, current NWSEO membership is now at 1,591 members.
NEW NWSEO WEBSITE
2020 saw the launch of a much needed new and improved NWSEO.org website. Our website is an important resource for employees, media contacts, elected representatives, and the public. The new NWSEO.org has been a challenging effort due to the massive content of the former website, which contained over 1,000 pages of important information. We continue to work to improve this new website for our members. New features were added to the website to improve the user experience including:
- Mobile/tablet device friendly site
- Search feature to make it easier to locate important information
- Subscription service for website updates
- Improved NWSEO store
- Password-protected section for NWSEO Officers
IMPROVED MEMBER ENGAGEMENT
Member feedback is valued and important, and we have taken several opportunities to survey our membership on important issues in 2020. We reached out to HMTs about the OPL dispute to gain their feedback. We surveyed members for their feedback on the new NWSEO website, convention location and various work/life issues. We will continue using surveys to collect feedback from members in 2021. Please help us gather your input by responding to our surveys and ensure your voice is heard.
RECRUITMENT INCENTIVE REMINDERS
NWSEO CONVENTION TRAVEL INCENTIVE. Any NWSEO member who recruits two or more new members to join NWSEO using the Membership Form 1187 for payroll deduction (not by credit card) from August 1, 2019 to July 31, 2021, NWSEO will provide reasonable airfare, 3 nights lodging, and approved group meals for the 2021 NWSEO Convention at the Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV on October 18-19, 2021. The name of the recruiter must be on the submitted Form 1187 in order for them to receive recruitment credit.
NEW HIRE ENROLLMENT INCENTIVE. NWSEO offers a New Hire enrollment incentive through December 31, 2022. Any newly hired employee (NWS, NESDIS, AOC, AOML, NAG) who joins NWSEO by Form 1187 (payroll deduction) within nine months of their start date, or during a New Employee course or its equivalent, will receive a $300 dues rebate via check mailed to the new member’s home address within 7 business days.
MEMBER REWARDS FOR BOTH NEW & LONG-TIME MEMBERS. Any NWSEO member who recruits a fellow non-member to join NWSEO by Form 1187, will receive a NWSEO t-shirt and a $50 gift card (of their choice). The new member will receive a $100 dues rebate mailed to his/her home address within 7 business days and a $50 gift card (of their choice). This enrollment incentive expires December 31, 2022.
CHEERS TO 2021
With the challenging 2020 year behind us, let’s push forward with hope, courage and renewed vigor to make 2021 the best year ever for NWSEO members. It’s through your talents, efforts, and dedication that the bargaining units NWSEO represents are so widely trusted and respected by our partners, peers, Congress and the public. Wishing you and yours all the best for a safe, healthy, and prosperous New Year!
President, National Weather Service Employees Organization
(November 30, 2020) Due to the requests of many members, NWSEO has extended the NWSEO Membership Drive “Turkey Throwdown,” through Tuesday, December 15th. November has been an incredibly busy time for so many in different areas of the country, not only due to COVID-19 concerns but also because of the Presidential election and the holiday season. “This recruitment drive has been much more about outreach, staying connected, and checking in on our colleagues during this pandemic. We should continue to reach out to our members and show that we care,” said NWSEO Membership Director Christy Fox
The current NWSEO Membership is 1,597.
The Top Recruiter for the Turkey Throwdown who recruits three or more new members by payroll deduction (Form 1187), will receive a $200 cash rebate check, a gift BOX from the Membership Director AND be eligible to win a paid trip for you and another NWSEO Member to attend the 2021 NWSEO National Convention at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada to include reasonable airfare*, 3-nights lodging, and approved group meals. The Winner of the Turkey Throwdown will be announced on December 16, 2020.
*In order for airfare to be reimbursed, you must be able to provide documentation that it is the lowest available rate, purchased at least 21 days before the convention, unless approved otherwise. Printed copies of airfares from Expedia or other travel sites may serve as documentation.
To help in your recruitment efforts, a “Recruitment Room” has been created on our website at https://nwseo.org/recruitment-room/. We welcome your input and suggestions to this section of resources.
Be sure to submit the Membership Form(s) 1187 (no social security nor timekeeper numbers are needed) directly to NWSEO Membership Director Christy Fox. Scan/email the membership form to firstname.lastname@example.org; or fax to (202) 600-2145. You can also text a readable image to (202) 907-3036.
(November 28, 2020) In August, NWSEO’s membership rejected the proposed NWS-NWSEO collective bargaining agreement by a nine-to-one vote. After the vote, the NWS protested the fact that the entire agreement was submitted to the membership for ratification. According to the NWS, the union’s membership only had a right to vote to approve the four articles of the agreement to which the parties had agreed before the NWS prematurely declared impasse, and not the 13 articles to which they agreed during bargaining that occurred after impasse was declared, nor the 29 articles that were imposed by the Federal Service Impasses Panel.
When the NWS refused to return to the bargaining table to renegotiate anything other than the initial four articles to which the parties had initially agreed, the union asked a Federal labor arbitrator, Keith Greenberg, to resolve the dispute over whether the union had a right to ratify and renegotiate the entire agreement.
On November 27, Arbitrator Greenberg issued his decision. In summary, he held that:
- The union had the right to ratify the entire CBA, including the Panel imposed provisions;
- NWSEO has a right to renegotiate all 17 articles to which the parties voluntarily agreed, and not just the four articles to which they agreed before the NWS declared impasse;
- NWS could elect, but was not required to, renegotiate the 29 articles imposed by the FSIP;
- The NWS violated the parties’ ground rules by refusing to give NWSEO a copy of the entire agreement, including FSIP imposed provisions, for the ratification vote, and by failing to conduct an editorial review of the final agreement with the union before the ratification vote.
As a remedy, he ordered that the union has a choice:
- either the union can now demand that the NWS return to the table over the 17 articles that were not part of the Panel’s final decision, or
- the union can demand that the NWS provide a final version of the agreement, conduct an editorial review, and then allow NWSEO to conduct another ratification vote on that edited version of the final agreement, and return to the bargaining table over the 17 articles if it fails ratification again.
NWSEO disagrees with the Arbitrator’s decision that the NWS does not have an obligation to renegotiate the provisions imposed by the FSIP - it contradicts his decision that the membership had a right to ratify the entire agreement, including the FSIP imposed provisions. NWSEO will be filing an appeal of that part of his decision with the Federal Labor Relations Authority. Such appeals usually take a year before they are resolved.
In the meantime, the union now has a right to renegotiate the 17 articles to which the parties had agreed on their own, and to seek a better deal for the members on the subjects they cover, which include:
Parties and Purposes of the Agreement
Recognition and Unit Designation
Reduction in Force
Laws and Regulations
Rights of Employees
Rights of the Union
Equal Employment Opportunity
Rights of Management
Surveys and Questionnaires
It is unknown how long this negotiation process may take, and it may involve another trip to mediation and to the Federal Service Impasses Panel if the parties are unable to come to an agreement on these articles. Impasse proceedings usually take four to six months. The members will then have another opportunity to vote on whether to ratify the new agreement.
In addition, the union has a suit pending in Federal court in Washington, DC challenging the legality of the FSIP decision imposing the 29 articles. This suit alleges that the FSIP’s decision is illegal because the individuals appointed to the Panel by President Trump were not confirmed by the Senate. The suit also alleges that the FSIP did not have jurisdiction over the NWS-NWSEO bargaining dispute because the parties were not really at impasse in their negotiations- as evidenced by the fact that the parties continued bargaining after the FSIP accepted the case and actually came to agreement on 13 additional articles.
In light of the length of time it will take to renegotiate at least the 17 articles as ordered by Arbitrator Greenberg, the union’s appeal of that portion of his decision concerning whether the NWS must also renegotiate those provisions imposed by the FSIP, and the union’s lawsuit challenging the legality of the FSIP’s decision, it is unlikely that there will be a new NWS-NWSEO collective bargaining agreement anytime in the foreseeable future. In the meantime, as a result of this summer’s Court of Appeals decision in NWSEO v. FLRA, the NWS must continue to honor the 2001 collective bargaining agreement.
No one cares more for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
employees than NOAA employees.
No one works harder for NOAA employees than NOAA employees.
We are NOAA employees. We are NWSEO.
(November 12, 2020) The Senate Appropriations Committee has released its proposed Department of Commerce Appropriations Act which includes increased funding for NOAA and the NWS and rejects the Administration’s proposed cuts to staffing at the NWS and at AOML, whose employees are also represented by NWSEO. The Appropriations Committee criticized NWS’s budget execution and for continued understaffing at the NWS. The Senate bill increased funding for AFS specifically to fill vacancies. “Committee provides an increase of $23,000,000 above the fiscal year 2020 enacted level for this purpose and directs NWS to reconcile previous year funding gaps and prioritize filling vacancies in currently understaffed WFOs.”
The House had approved an even higher funding level for the NWS, and the two bills must be reconciled in conference.
Here are excerpts from the Senate Committee Report accompanying the FY 2021 Commerce Appropriations Act:
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OPERATIONS, RESEARCH, AND FACILITIES [In thousands of dollars]
Central Processing.................................................................................... 97,980
Analyze, Forecast, and Support...................................................... 537,393
Dissemination .............................................................................................. 76,843
Science and Technology Integration........................................... 155,524
GRAND TOTAL NWS ........................................................................... 1,099,102
Spending Levels.—The Committee notes its frustration with NWS over its failure to adhere to spending levels included in Senate Report 116–127 and adopted by Public Law 116–93. The Committee reminds NOAA and NWS that the spending levels specified by Congress in the reports or explanatory statements accompanying its appropriations bills are not recommendations, but are in fact a requirement and that per the bill, ‘‘any deviation from the amounts designated for specific activities in the report shall be subject to the [reprogramming] procedures set forth in section 505 of this Act.’’
Continued disregard for the spending levels included in the explanatory statements will result in increased budgetary controls for NWS in subsequent fiscal years.
NWS Staffing.—The Committee recognizes and appreciates NWS’s work to fill vacancies, especially for weather forecast personnel.
However, there is a long way to go, and the Committee continues to be concerned with the number of NWS employee vacancies given the importance of the NWS mission to protect the lives and property of our Nation’s citizens. The Committee does not adopt the proposed NWS workforce savings and directs NWS to continue efforts to fill all vacancies as expeditiously as possible.
Furthermore, NOAA shall continue to provide quarterly briefings to the Committees on all NWS staffing issues, to include: a list of funded vacancies, by type and location, including the length of time the positions have been vacant; the program, project, or activity [PPA] from which each vacancy is funded, and the plan for addressing each vacancy; an update on the implementation of the Operations and Workforce Analysis; budget execution by PPA; major procurements; and other topics as appropriate.
NWS Staffing in Alaska.—The Committee remains concerned about potential NWS staffing reductions in Alaska and reminds NWS that any staffing changes must comply with the reprogramming procedures set forth in section 505 of this act. Prior to proposing any staffing reductions, NWS shall conduct community outreach meetings in all affected communities.
Information Technology Officers [ITOs].—The Committee notes that NOAA still has not submitted a proposal for a pilot Regional Enterprise Application Development and Integration team. Until such a plan is submitted, and NOAA reports the results, the proposal to eliminate ITOs is rejected.
Analyze, Forecast, and Support [AFS].—The Committee recognizes the need to fully staff the Nation’s weather forecast offices [WFOs] and believes the requested levels within AFS do not meet this need. Therefore, the Committee provides an increase of $23,000,000 above the fiscal year 2020 enacted level for this purpose and directs NWS to reconcile previous year funding gaps and prioritize filling vacancies in currently understaffed WFOs.
Tsunami Warning Program.—The Committee rejects NWS’s proposed cut to the Tsunami Warning Program, including for the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation program grants. Funding is provided at no less than $500,000 above the fiscal year 2020 enacted level to ensure that high-quality tsunami watches, warnings, and advisories are issued to safeguard lives and property. The Committee directs NWS to expeditiously fill the current vacancies.
Workforce Succession Planning.—The Committee is concerned that a large percentage of NOAA’s workforce is either currently retirement eligible or soon to be. Therefore, NOAA is directed to provide the Committee, within 270 days of enactment of this act, a report that details: (1) the age composition of NOAA’s workforce, to include an assessment of the percentage of staff by line office that are currently retirement eligible or will be within the next five fiscal years; (2) a summary of the agency’s current workforce succession plans, including any relevant documentation; and (3) any challenges to succession planning that could be remedied through legislation.
To support the cause and work of NWSEO, contact NWSEO Membership Director Christy Fox at email@example.com.
No one cares more for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
employees than NOAA employees.
No one works harder for NOAA employees than NOAA employees.
We are NOAA employees. We are NWSEO.
(October 30, 2020) The NWSEO National Convention was a successful virtual one-day session. With over 100 NWSEO members present, NWSEO President John Werner and NWSEO Executive Vice President JoAnn Becker facilitated and led the group through various informative sessions, reports, and new business.
Richard Hirn provided informative General Council and Legislative reports and answered many questions from members. Executive Vice President JoAnn Becker led and promoted the Political Action Committee (PAC) fund drive, where NWSEO members: Robert Ruehl, Mark Pellerito, Kimberly Vaughan and Evan Bookbinder shared their personal testimonies about why they contribute to the NWSEO PAC. Final PAC pledges and contributions totaled $17,405!
NWS Deputy Director Mary Erickson spoke to NWSEO members about the vision of the NWS and diversity. Dr. Neil Jacobs, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction performing the duties of Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere also addressed the Convention and highlighted his commitment and gratitude to the employees as well as explaining the NOAA efforts to address sexual harassment and assault issues. Dr. Jacobs also discussed his vision for improving computing and processing across NOAA.
NWSEO Secretary/Treasurer Chris Jacobson provided the annual financial report and presented the 2021 Budget. Later in the day he led discussion on the Constitution Committee report and proposed amendments. The NWSEO members were able to discuss and debate proposed Constitution/Bylaws amendments via a GoToMeeting session.
NWSEO Membership Director Christy Fox reported 1593 members as of September 30, 2020, highlighting efforts of top recruiters and plans to host a membership drive in November. Congratulations to the Top Recruiter of the Year, Steward Doug Anderson, who presented “his story,” why he joined NWSEO and his recruitment tips.
NWSEO awarded the prestigious 2020 Kip Robinson Award to Karleisa Rogacheski. This annual NWSEO award, named after a late lobbyist who worked diligently for NWSEO, is given in recognition of members volunteering their time and talents to make NWSEO a stronger union. Karleisa has been active in the Credentials & Elections and Recruitment Committees. She has also served on the NWS Contract Negotiation Team. Over the past year Karleisa, has participated in time critical projects in preparation for the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP) contract decision. She has been a contributor to other NWSEO efforts such as this Convention and the new NWSEO website.
She is also the NWSEO representative on an NWS Tiger Team charged with developing an assessment and recommendations examining the potential longer-term impacts of COVID-19 on NWS strategy, partnerships, processes, and people (specifically, workforce resilience and culture). Karleisa joins past Kip Robinson Award recipients Chris Jacobson, Bill Proenza, Bill Hirt, John Stansfield, Barry Hirshorn, Chris Sisko, Delyne Kirkham, Steve Pritchett, Shannon White, David Marsalek, Steve Wannebo, Mitch MacDonald, John Werner, Jason B. Wright, JoAnn Becker, and Mike Dion and Mark Pellerito. Congratulations, Karleisa!!
Summary of Voting Results:
Acceptance of the Credentials Committee Report – Approved
Waiving of the Reading of the 2019 NWSEO Convention Minutes and Acceptance of the 2019 Convention Minutes – Approved
2021 NWSEO Budget – Approved
Implement Direct Voting for Regional Officers – Approved
Term Limits for President and Vice President – NOT approved
Elimination of Regional Councils – Approved
Adjust referendum amendment signature threshold – Approved
The 2021 NWSEO National Convention is scheduled in person for October 18-19, 2021 at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, NV. The 2022 NWSEO National Convention is scheduled for November 7-8, 2022 in New Orleans, LA.
(September 11, 2020) NWSEO recently learned that the HotelStorm platform and business was discontinued June 30, 2020. The partnership of NWSEO and HotelStorm began in September 2016 and was a valuable benefit to many NWSEO Members. It provided exclusive hotel discounts with savings of up to 60% over other online travel agencies. However, we have noticed issues with HotelStorm for the last year.
We apologize for any inconvenience to our members.
NWSEO Membership Director Christy Fox continues to research new options and benefits for our members. If you have ideas or suggestions, please email Christy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 10, 2020
Dear NWSEO brothers and sisters,
I hope this message finds you safe, healthy and your spirits strong. Special thanks to all who are helping and assisting our NWS brothers and sisters in Lake Charles as they strive to get their lives and office back in order following the destruction wrought by Hurricane Laura! The intent of this message is to bring you up to date on Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations/ issues and encourage you to participate in some important surveys you have or will be receiving.
Updates on Collective Bargaining Agreements
NWSEO leadership has remained busy working collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations and issues over the past several months. The good news on the negotiations front is that the CBA between the NOAA, National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS), Office of Satellite and Product Operations (OSPO) and the NWSEO passed membership ratification, and was signed by both parties this week. The NESDIS/OSPO – NWSEO CBA is now undergoing agency head review. NWSEO would like to recognize NESDIS Chairperson Hugh Sharkey, Kevin Turner (retired), Aaron Savage, Jake Cherrix, Stan Abney, Zach Dornhagen and Arla Tillman for their contributions toward making this new CBA a reality. Congratulations to NESDIS/OSPO bargaining unit employees on their new contract!
On the other hand, the challenges over how to move forward with a new NWS - NWSEO CBA continue. When the tentative CBA failed to pass membership ratification, NWSEO requested the parties return to the table on November 3rd to begin renegotiating the contract. This would allow the parties time to review all the articles, craft new proposals and allow negotiations to begin closer to the end of this remarkably busy tropical cyclone and fire weather season. NWS again refused to renegotiate any articles other than the four which were agreed to prior to the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP) assuming jurisdiction. NWSEO took this dispute to arbitration and the arbitration hearing was conducted on August 31, 2020 where both sides presented their arguments. The parties are now scheduled to file their written briefs by October 2, 2020 with their reply briefs due October 13, 2020. Once the reply briefs have been received, the arbitrator will have two months to render a decision on the matter, which puts a decision being made in the early to mid-December timeframe. In the meantime, the 2001 NWS-NWSEO Negotiated Agreement remains in place.
I have become acutely aware over the past year of how important survey results are to management’s decision-making process. To ensure your “voice is heard,” I strongly encourage you to participate in the upcoming 2020 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) slated for a September 14, 2020 release. NWS employees should also complete the NWS Organizational Health Index (OHI) survey which closes September 25. The responses to these surveys compared to previous year’s survey statistics produce what is essentially a scorecard on how the agency is doing and the results frequently steer the future direction for NOAA and NWS. It is important that everyone’s perspective is accounted for in these surveys.
Thank you for your support and service to our country! Please be safe and take care of yourselves, your families, and coworkers.
President, National Weather Employees Organization
(September 2, 2020) NWSEO would like to recognize member Amy Fritz and her husband, Ryan for their heroic efforts in rescuing a young, autistic boy from a rip current while vacationing in North Carolina.
Amy, the National Cooperative Observer Program Manager at NWS Headquarters in Silver Spring, MD and Ryan, CEO of Science of Cardio, were surfing well off the coast of Frisco, NC when they saw a young boy playing in the surf. Knowing the NWS had forecast a moderate to high chance of rip currents in the area, they quickly realized that the boy was not playing; rather, the boy was caught in a rip current and was being carried out to sea. Being both trained in open water rescue, they knew they had to act fast. Ryan, also trained in advanced lifesaving, quickly turned his 8-foot surfboard around and made his way toward the boy, who was now flailing his arms about 100 yards from shore. With Amy keeping constant eye contact with the boy, Ryan was able to position his board between him and the boy and then he was able to grab the boy by his arm and eventually secure the exhausted child onto the board. As Ryan safely guided the boy on the board towards shore, Amy scanned the beach and quickly found the boy’s panic-stricken mother and explained what had happened and then assisted getting the boy to shore and reunited with his family.
Amy mentioned that she was very appreciative of the accurate rip current forecasts prepared by hard working NWS employees that lead to her and Ryan’s heightened situational awareness. Amy was also cautioning those on the beach of the increased risk which likely led people to think twice about swimming that day.
Congratulations to Amy and Ryan on a job well done!!!
(August 20, 2020) Congratulations to all NWSEO Recruiters and a tremendous THANK YOU for all of your efforts in sharing the work of NWSEO with your colleagues, making NWSEO stronger each day. The NWSEO Summer Madness Membership Drive ended Saturday, August 15th; however, recruitment is ONGOING! As you know, our membership support is the backbone and core of our organization. Never forget that as a member, you are in a highly effective position to help increase NWSEO membership and keep our professional organization strong.
Since March 2020, thirty-nine recruiters worked to strengthen our union by an additional 50 members. Out of that group, twelve members recruited two new members to join NWSEO. These top twelve members will receive the recruitment travel incentive for the 2021 National Convention in Las Vegas.
Congratulations to all, especially the top 12 members with two new recruits:
Members, please continue to reach out to non-members in your office and other regions! Ask your Regional Chair & Vice Chair for guidance or NWSEO Membership Director Christy Fox at email@example.com.
(August 13, 2020) NWSEO members resoundingly voted down the tentative Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Final results, as certified by the American Arbitration Association (AAA), show contract ratification failed with 91% of voters voting “NO” to the tentative CBA and 9% voting “YES”. This landslide rejection shows clear evidence of the widespread displeasure among NWS employees with the tentative agreement’s terms.
The ratification vote for the tentative CBA was conducted by the AAA from July 28 through August 12.
In accordance with the agreed upon ground rules, NWSEO notified management that as the ratification vote has failed, the parties are now to resume negotiations.
Thank you to all members who voted. Your voice counted in deciding on our new contract and your membership fuels our union.
Please continue to speak to others about becoming a union member. Ask others to stand in solidarity for the rights of the employees. Join NWSEO today. For more information about membership please contact Christy Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org
(August 3, 2020) As you may recall, NWS unilaterally and illegally terminated the existing/2001 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) in July 2017. NWSEO took the matter to arbitration and an arbitrator ruled the termination was indeed illegal. The agency appealed to the FLRA, which overturned the arbitrator’s ruling. NWSEO appealed that ruling, and late last week, our NWSEO General Counsel reported that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned the FLRA’s decision and reinstated the arbitrator’s award that the NWS illegally terminated the 2001 CBA. This means that until a new CBA is in effect, the entire 2001 CBA remains in full effect, and the President’s Executive Orders limiting official time and grievance rights cannot be applied to our bargaining unit.
NWSEO has now demonstrated, at the second highest court in the land, that the NWS has acted illegally in the most fundamental aspect of its labor relations- terminating its CBA - an action personally approved by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.
This is a profound victory not only for NWSEO, but for all the other Federal unions because the Court ruled that the FLRA has applied the wrong standard of review of arbitration awards and that they may not set aside arbitration awards if they deem the arbitrator’s interpretation of the CBA “unreasonable.” Using this improper standard, the FLRA has set aside nearly 2/3 of arbitration awards that have been in the union’s favor, but none that have been in management’s favor. Stated another way, the Court ruled that the FLRA may not substitute its judgment for that of an arbitrator’s interpretation of the terms of a CBA. It remains to be seen, however, whether the FLRA will correct its ways, or whether it will continue to set aside arbitration awards illegally and with impunity.
A copy of the decision is attached (link to pdf).