SECTION 1. Management agrees to recognize only the designated national and regional union representatives authorized by the President and stewards authorized by the regional chairpersons to administer this agreement. Where no representative has been properly designated, Management has no notification obligation to the Union. A representation roster will be provided to Management as follows:
A. The President of NWSEO will provide the Assistant Administrator for Weather Services in writing within 30 calendar days of the signing of this agreement (and within 30 calendar days of any subsequent changes), the names, duty stations, home addresses and telephone numbers of all national officers, regional chairpersons of the union, and their respective NWS areas of responsibility at the national level.
B. The regional chairperson or designee will provide the Regional Director/Office Director of the National Weather Service, or any other Management designee, in writing within 30 calendar days of the signing of this agreement, and annually thereafter, the names, duty stations of appropriate union stewards and their respective NWS areas of responsibility. If no telephone number is provided for stewards, management has no obligation beyond attempting to contact the steward at his/her work site.
C. The Union shall designate in writing no more than one (1) steward per organizational unit who is a bargaining unit employee. Stewards shall represent the Union and employees in only the organizational unit to which they are officially assigned as NWS employees, or as designated by the Regional Chairperson when there is a steward vacancy; (Provided however, that official time shall not be authorized for travel time when a steward so designated is required to travel to a station other than his or her own for representational purposes).
D. The Union shall designate in writing no more than one (1) Representative-at-large for the NWS Headquarters (NWSH) units. This Representative-at-large shall represent the Union and employees in only the NWS Headquarters units located in Silver Spring, MD.
The Assistant Administrator, or his/her designee, shall advise the NWSEO National President of the names of those NWS employees who are designated to serve as Labor-Management Relations (L-MR) Focal Points at the national and regional/office levels. Management shall provide copies of this notice to the appropriate Regional Chairpersons of the Union. The Union will be promptly notified of any changes in these designations.
A. Regional Chairpersons, recognized stewards, and the NWSH Representative-at-large shall be permitted reasonable amounts of official time. The table below shall serve as a guideline for judging the amount of official time typically used to perform authorized functions on duty time.
Use - Reasonable Amount of Official Time
1. Step one grievance representation (includes consideration of a possible grievance) - Up to 5 hours per grievance.
2. Steps two and three grievance representation - Up to 2 hours each step per grievance.
3. Arbitration preparation if presenting the case before the arbitrator - Up to 16 hours per case.
4. Arbitration - Actual time, as presented in Article 11.
8. Preparation and communication with corresponding levels of management (Article 6, Section 3) on matters covered by this agreement - Each instance - no more than 2 hours.
9. Proposed disciplinary, adverse action, or performance-based representation - Up to 8 hours preparation time per action per representative.
All the above time frames include time spent on the telephone.
B. Local management will be notified in writing if a vice steward or regional councilperson is authorized to act in the absence of the designated steward. In these situations, the vice-steward or regional councilperson is authorized use of official time for the above-enumerated representation purposes which would otherwise be accorded to the steward.
C. Regional/Office Management will be notified in writing if a Regional Vice-Chairman or Regional Councilperson is authorized to act in the absence of the Regional Chairperson. In these situations, the Vice Chairperson or councilperson is authorized use of official time for the above-enumerated representation purposes which would otherwise be accorded the Regional Chairperson.
D. Regional chairpersons will be authorized up to 16 hours official time per pay period to conduct representational activities and/or activities authorized by the contract in addition to the official time necessary for regional negotiations or consultations, or for labor-management committee meetings authorized by Article 8.
SECTION 3. The amount of official time granted for national NWSEO officers may have a direct impact on the ability to schedule employees in a field office or other NWS activity where shift operations are involved. The removal of those officers from a shift schedule may require staff augmentation to ensure the continuation of services.
A. The NWSEO President, Executive Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer are authorized the following amounts of official time to perform the functions authorized by this Agreement without loss of leave or pay:
The NWSEO President may use up to 80 hours official time per pay period. The Executive Vice-President shall be granted up to 40 hours official time per pay period and the Secretary/Treasurer up to 16 hours of official time per pay period. If any national position is abolished or vacant, the NWSEO President may designate an alternate who will be granted the official time authorized for the position.
Excluded from the hours referenced above are:
1. Article 8 meetings;
2. Article 8 travel time, if otherwise in a duty status; and
3. Consultation at the national level with NOAA, DOC, and OPM to be determined on a case by case basis.
Official time is authorized for:
1. Preparation and communication on provisions covered by this agreement;
2. Union grievances (Article 10);
3. Informal ULP (Article 22);
4. Grievances at step 2 or 3;
5. Arbitration when union advocate;
6. Preparation of agenda items for Article 8 meetings; and
7. Preparation of reports for other agencies required by law.
All the above time frames include time spent on the telephone. Official time for negotiations and any preparation time at the national and regional levels will be negotiated by separate Memoranda of Understanding and are not covered herein.
Management shall make available telecommuting arrangements for the NWSEO President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer, and Regional Chairpersons at no cost to the government, for use up to the authorized official time for each office.
SECTION 4. Supervisors or other designated officials will release Union Representatives from their official work assignments on official Government time, provided that workload conditions permit and/or other means of accomplishing the scheduled work are available, and after advising the representatives of the conditions of and any limitations to their release, when one of the following situations is completely satisfied.
A. A management official requests the release of the representative for activities expressly authorized on official Government time by law or this Agreement;
B. The union representative has been designated by a bargaining unit employee as the employee's representative in accordance with the provisions of the Agreement; or
C. To represent the union under a labor relations activity authorized by the provisions of this Agreement.
SECTION 5. Official Time Procedures
A. Recognized officers and stewards of the union will be excused by Management on official Government time consistent with the workload and the operational needs of the organizational components to which they are assigned. For all authorized situations where an employee requires official time to engage in Agreement-related activities, the employee must specifically request prior excusal from duties from the immediate supervisor, or other designated official in accordance with the provisions of this Article. This does not preclude prior arrangements with a supervisor to cover those periods when a supervisor, or designee is not available due to differences in working schedules.
B. The Executive Vice President, and Secretary/Treasurer shall make all requests for the authorization to use official time to the Assistant Administrator for NWS or his designee on a biweekly basis. In this request the officer may specify particular shifts or parts thereof on which he/she would like to utilize the official time. This request may be made verbally, via a telephone, or in writing. Management shall approve the requested time or specific alternative times within three business days of the request. This does not preclude arrangements for longer periods of authorization; normally the authorized official time for national officers will be incorporated into the master rotation.
C. The union agrees that in the interest of efficient government, all efforts will be made to use approved time expeditiously, and that effect on the work schedule of the union representative s office/unit is a factor in the decision as to when official time may be authorized. Only one employee may serve as a representative in a particular case of complaint at any one time on official time. The supervisor or designee shall propose an alternate time in those instances where requested official time is denied.
D. A designated representative must obtain the permission from the supervisor of any employee he/she wishes to contact on the employee s duty time regarding a representational matter. The represented employee s supervisor or designee makes the final determination on the release of employee. This does not preclude a change in designation.
E. Management is under no obligation to pay Union representatives for representational time spent when they are not scheduled to work, nor is Management obligated to incur any other expenses in connection with representational duties. No overtime or premium pay is payable for the purpose of representational activities. Travel and per diem for representational purposes will be allowed in accordance with Article 8 of this Agreement.
SECTION 6. In those instances where a designated representative must contact an employee being represented or seeking representation, appropriate management officials, or the regional chairperson, the use of a NWS telephone is authorized, prior approval of the supervisor(s) is obtained and the provisions of this Article are met. Telephone usage is limited to representation and representational questions between stewards or designated representatives, represented employees and Regional chairs. In any event, any other internal union business discussions or conference calls for any union purpose are not authorized. National officers utilizing NWS telephones must meet all requirements of this Article, and such use shall count against the maximum authorized time.
SECTION 7. In accordance with the Statute and the interest of efficient conduct of government business and the economical use of government time, activities related to the internal affairs of the Union will not be conducted within the working hours or work areas of employees. Management facilities and/or equipment and ADP equipment shall not be used for any such purpose.
A. There shall be no restraint, interference, coercion, or discrimination against union representatives because of the performance of their approved official representational duties. A steward shall not use official time in his/her position as a Union representative for matters outside the scope authorized by this Agreement and will conduct his/her approved business with dispatch. Union representatives may receive, but not solicit, complaints and/or grievances of employees on official or duty time. NWS staff, equipment or property will be used in conjunction with or as a result of representational functions only as provided in Article 25 (Communications And Facilities).
B. In those instances where a Union representative's use of official time does not comply with the provisions of this agreement, Management will initially discuss the matter with the Union representative in order to find a satisfactory solution. Abuse of official time could lead to disciplinary action.
SECTION 9. Official time recording is a bilateral system to meet the OPM requirement that a record of official time be used in the performance of representational duties be maintained. Each union official/steward will maintain a bi-weekly account which will show the authorized total time spent on representational duties and the specific purpose for usage. The appropriate supervisor shall indicate approval by initialing on the log for each period of time spent on approved representational duties. The log shall be forwarded to the Assistant Administratorís designee in NWS Headquarters, through the local supervisor on a bi-weekly basis no later than the Monday following the end each pay period. When no official time has been used, the official/steward need not submit a report.