December Newsletter 2018

AFGE Local 910 Family,

We were fortunate to have District nine representative, Donny Boyte as our guest speaker November 28th at the night of our dinner at the DAV.  It was great to have many of you present and we look forward to many more opportunities like this in the future.  For those of you who were not available to attend we wanted to share with you some of the information we captured:

Notes from dinner:

AFGE local 910 is obligated to represent all bargaining unit employees, dues and non-dues paying members. United States labor law – Wikipedia.  Your membership makes a difference for ALL, thank you for your commitment, together we are a loud voice, YOUR voice is heard and we are stronger united.

In 1978 the civil service reform act was passed to allow union officials time to work in the union office to help with grievances and Unfair Labor Practices (ULP's) this is also when it was decided and agreed that employees are not allowed to strike.  Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 - Wikipedia

While employees of the KCVA have an obligation to represent veterans, Congress has passed a repudiation to take away union “Official Time” for all Pure Title 38 employees.  Hybrids are still allowed to use duty time to represent you.  Local 910 will continue do everything we can to represent you and your concerns in the same professional manner as before.  We are united, we are strong, we are equipped!

Who is Donny Boyte? He is your national rep, previously has served as a local treasurer, and is currently the District rep for many locals in a four state region.  Fred McDuff was also present and his work is focused on campaigns and lobbies for your rights. His work is supported to ensure your Voice is heard at our National Capitol on many issues, currently we are fighting for a pay raise for all VA employees.  Additionally, for the past two years, National AFGE  has lobbied to make sure your insurance rates are not increased. Just another way your membership fights for your interests behind the scenes. We are also fighting to ensure that  your retirement annuity is protected and not diminished.  One Half of your dues goes to the AFGE National Office  ($11 dollars).  This money supports National Reps, lawyers, advertising, sign forms, and pays the utilities to run the office in Washington DC.

Sometimes we hear; “What has my union done nationally for ME ?”

  • Before 2013 all new employees retirement annuity was 1.8%  After 2013 all new employees retirement annuities increased to 3.5% and currently the federal government is trying to increase it to 6.5%.   In 2013 the government tried to pass a 27% pay cut for all physicians, AFGE fought this and won.  No pay cuts occurred in 2013.   In order to compromise, the government increased the annuity to 3.5% of all future hired employees and DID not lower doctors pay.  AFGE lobbied for this compromise to keep doctors pay from being cut.  The off set of increasing the annuity was the compromise.
  • AFGE national office kills bills that negatively impact employees’ rights.  Currently you pay 28% of your insurance premiums and the hospital pays 72%.  There is currently an active federal bill to swap these numbers.   The government is working to make you pay 72% and they pay 28%.  AFGE national is fighting right now to make sure this does not happen.  We don't want our members to be responsible for increased insurance premiums!!
  • Currently you pay into 3 retirement programs, FERS, Social Security and TSP.  The VA proposed a bill to do away with FERS and Social Security and only keep TSP.  AFGE national put a stop to this.    

National AFGE is not republican, democrat, or libertarian; they support all politicians and policies that are PRO LABOR.

AFGE makes sure that the VA is supporting:

  • Fair Wages
  • Fair Benefits
  • Employees are treated with respect
  • Safe place to work

BTW….In 1935  AFGE made significant changes in employment for government workers:

  • Overtime pay
  • Night and weekend differential
  • 8 hour work day
  • Comp Time
  • Every new employee received training to do their job and the employee GETS paid for the training.  Before 1935 training was not paid for, they trained you, without paying you, then if you made it thru training, that determined if you kept your job.

So you are thinking to yourself, when I hired on here, all of these things were already in place.  So, what does it matter to me?   AFGE fought to establish these benefits for YOU!   Your freedom and benefits are always under attack and threatened to be taken away.   Our concern is that, one of the first things to go will be your reps and union time in the office.  We see this now and have been fighting this directly for several months. The next thing to go will be the space that we can work out of to represent you. Also has been a recent battle but currently we are winning.  They are already working on taking away our hours by enforcing the executive orders and the repudiation.

Another example of current fights we are engaged in at top levels of lobbying:

After you work for the VA for 3 full years your leave moves from 4 hours to 6 hours AL per pay period.  The federal government is trying to change that!  They don't want you to have 6 hours of time off!  They want to combine AL and SL into one leave group and lower it to 4 hours per pay period.  AFGE is fighting to make sure this does not happen to you.

These bills and laws are being fought all the time, AFGE is making sure your rights are not violated or benefits reduced or removed.

What can you, the employee do to help?  Make the calls to congress.  Congress and the senate log all calls! When you call a number provided by your local or National AFGE, it is well scripted, you type in your zip code and the call is routed to your representatives office.  IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE! Take part in your union, make the calls and make a difference.   When you call in, the automated line will tell you about the issue at hand, and all you have to do is state your name, your zip code and if you are for, or against, the proposed policy.  What else can the members do?  Help run registration drives to vote, volunteer at off site union events, and get the word out to call congress to inform your congressman or woman on what you believe.

The Koch  brothers want to privatize the VA.

They are billionaires.  With Trumps help they could privatize the entire VA system and the Koch brothers would have complete control.  What would happen if the VA is privatized?   The VA would start to take shortcuts, they would stop providing the best care and do whatever they can to spend the least amount of money as possible.

It is illegal to use any of your union dues to pay any political person.  WE DO NOT GIVE DUES TO any POLICITAL CAMPAIGN.

When we collect Political Action Committee (PAC) money, we give that money to the politician that supports the union and the members rights, we do not only give to democrats or only give to republicans, we give to the politician that supports AFGE and AFGE ideas. AFGE only supports those that side with FEDERAL EMPLOYEES!  AFGE wants to keep government jobs and is fighting to not privatize the VA.

There are 49 thousand open positions in the VA system.  BTW, 44% of VA employees are veterans.  33% of all federal employees are veterans. The Koch brothers gave 809 thousand dollars to republicans to eliminate all federal government employees and cut employees benefits in previous elections.  This past election the  Koch’s gave 1 billion dollars, to republicans to back their privatization efforts.

AFGE has 327 thousand members.  If each member gave the least amount that they could, 2 dollars per pay period, this would give AFGE national the ability to give to politicians that fight for federal government employee rights.  If you would like more info on PAC, please contact the office.   Please help make a difference! Automatic Payroll Deductions

1. wiki "united States labor law"
United States labor law - Wikipedia


2. wiki  "civil service reform act of 1978"
Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 - Wikipedia


3. OPM tries to cut Federal Benefits


4. The koch brothers
Koch family - Wikipedia


5.How vets will suffer if the VA is privatized