Fort Sill Union Agreement: What You Need to Know
If you`re a civilian employee or contractor at Fort Sill in Oklahoma, your working conditions and benefits may be affected by the latest union agreement negotiated between the management and the union representing some of the workers. Here`s a brief overview of the main provisions and implications of the Fort Sill Union Agreement, which was ratified in December 2020 after months of bargaining.
Background and context
Fort Sill is an Army post that covers over 94,000 acres and hosts various units and programs, including the Fires Center of Excellence, the Basic Combat Training Center, the Army Field Artillery School, and the Air Defense Artillery School. The installation has a workforce of about 8,000 people, including military, civilian, and contract personnel. Many of the civilians are members of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), a national union that represents over 700,000 federal and D.C. government workers.
The AFGE Local 3954, which represents about 1,900 non-supervisory employees at Fort Sill, started negotiations with the installation management in May 2020 to renew their collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which had expired in 2019. The union`s bargaining team sought to improve wages, benefits, working conditions, and safety standards for its members, who perform various duties such as transportation, supply, maintenance, training, and administration. The union also challenged some proposed changes that would limit employees` rights and protections, such as the use of non-disclosure agreements and the reduction of official time for union activities.
After several rounds of talks and some mediation sessions, the parties reached a tentative agreement in November 2020, which was subject to ratification by the union membership and approval by the management. The final agreement was announced on December 22, 2020, and will be effective until December 2023.
Key provisions and impacts
The Fort Sill Union Agreement covers many aspects of the employment relationship between the unionized civilians and the installation management. Some of the notable provisions include:
– Wage increases: The agreement provides for a 2.5% across-the-board increase in base pay for all bargaining unit employees, retroactive to the first pay period of 2020, and a 2% increase for fiscal year 2022 and 2023. The agreement also sets new minimum and maximum rates for some pay grades and adjusts the locality pay areas for some employees.
– Benefits and leave: The agreement maintains or improves various benefits and leave policies, such as health insurance, dental and vision plans, retirement plans, life insurance, flexible spending accounts, telework, alternative work schedules, and annual and sick leave. For example, employees who choose the self-plus-one option for health insurance will receive a higher government contribution to their premiums. The agreement also allows for more liberal use of administrative leave for certain types of absences, such as bereavement, jury duty, and blood donation.
– Workplace conditions and safety: The agreement contains provisions that aim to enhance the safety, health, and well-being of the employees, such as the requirement for the management to provide personal protective equipment and training, the provision of ergonomic assessments and equipment, and the establishment of a joint labor-management safety committee. The agreement also limits the use of temporary and term employees and provides for more notice and consultation on reductions in force.
– Union rights and activities: The agreement affirms the union`s rights and protections under the federal labor laws and the CBA, such as the rights to represent employees, file grievances, engage in collective bargaining, and use official time for union activities. The agreement also modifies some of the rules and procedures for union activities, such as the use of official time for lobbying, the access to bulletin boards, and the handling of union dues and fees. The agreement prohibits the use of non-disclosure agreements that would restrict employees` right to report misconduct or discrimination.
Overall, the Fort Sill Union Agreement represents a compromise between the union and the management on many issues that affect the pay, benefits, and working conditions of the civilian employees at Fort Sill. While the agreement may not satisfy all the demands and expectations of the parties, it reflects a good-faith effort to reach a fair and sustainable resolution through collective bargaining. The agreement also shows the importance of unions in advocating for the interests and rights of workers, especially in challenging times of uncertainty and change. If you`re a member of the Fort Sill union or work in a similar context, you may want to review the agreement and consult with your union representative or HR contact to understand its implications for your job and career.