|Photo Caption From Left to Right: Demetrios Stroubakis, Don Melanson, Dean Martin, Angela Hicks, Lydell King, Charlie Bernhardt (Seated)
If you are a civilian employee working for the U.S. Coast Guard, there’s a reason to pop the champagne and celebrate. AFGE members in Council 120 and the U.S. Coast Guard have agreed to new workplace flexibilities and improvements for employees following two months of negotiations.
The new labor-management master agreement covers 3,000 USCG civilian employees who provide logistical support to the Coast Guard's operational forces. The contract, which could take effect before the end of the year after going through the ratification process, offers:
- MaxiFlex schedule across the whole bargaining unit, giving employees more flexibility to schedule their own hours within a pay period
- Increased maximum Telework days from 3 to 4 in a week for eligible employees
- 16 hours of required continuing education and training
- Reimbursement for safety boots and safety eyewear while allowing for more employee choice
- Detail opportunities based on seniority
- A new collaborative workgroup to create a new awards system
- Greater opportunities for union participation in new employee orientations
- A streamlined negotiated grievance procedure where parties have equal time limits for filing and responding. First line supervisors will not be the deciding officials in grievances.
- Increased training opportunities for representational training
Workers at the Coast Guard benefited from having an engaged and hard-working group of their peers at the negotiating table. This is the second master agreement negotiated between the Council and USCG.
“We have built a collaborative relationship with Coast Guard management. These MLA negotiations were just another example of how two sides can effectively work together, improve the working conditions for our employees, and still improve the quality of service the CG provides to our nation,” said Council 120 President Demetrios Stroubakis.
It was not easy to come up with priorities, but the bargaining team did it.
“This is a major success for smart, strategic bargaining," AFGE Field Services and Education Director David Cann. "The team did an outstanding job of identifying their priorities and going after them relentlessly.”
The team also had the insight of long-time Labor Relations Specialist Charlie Bernhardt. The agreement was a successful cap to Bernhardt's 39-year career in negotiating contracts for federal employees.
AFGE members should all be proud of the work of Council 120's bargaining team. Thanks to their dogged action, employees at the USCG will have an improved workplace. Congratulations on your new contract!