FORT WORTH, TEXAS
"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."
-Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948)
We encourage all bargaining unit staff to become union members. Remember, strength is in numbers. As a member of Local 1006 you WILL be heard. Click here to download a membership form to join the AFGE Local 1006. Contact a steward or E-Board member for more information about becoming a member.
Did you know anytime you are faced with disciplinary actions you may (and it is highly recommended) request a union representative? Just tell your supervisor you want a union representative before they begin to question you.
All Bargaining Unit Employees of the Bureau of Prisons have the right to be accompanied by a Union Representative to all interviews with management officials, in which the employee reasonably believes the interview might result in disciplinary action (e.g. Investigative, Safety, Accident, Mystery Shopper) to include "NOT THE SUBJECT OF THE INVESTIGATION".
The above right is guaranteed in the 1975 U.S. Supreme Court decision, NLRB v. J. Weingarten, and violation of that right has been found to be an Unfair Labor Practice. Simply stated, your Weingarten Rights provide that you may request, and management must provide, a Union Representative to accompany you to all interviews that you believe might result in disciplinary action.
Your Rights During an OIG Investigation: Garrity and Kalkines
While Weingarten and Miranda Rights will still be afforded, Special Agents use Kalkine or Garrity warnings in interrogations that everyone should become familiar with.
Garrity Rights: This is a voluntary interview. Always request a Union Representative and do not answer any questions. You can leave the interview if they inform you that this is a voluntary statement. Do not go forward until that has been explained and you have signed the waiver and assurance form from OIG. Protects the employee from having to choose between self incrimination and job forfeiture for failing to cooperate. The individual has the right to not be threatened with discharge in order for the OIG to secure incriminating evidence that would be used against them for arrest and prosecution. Miranda Rights would be applicable here.
Kalkines Rights: If the individual is given immunity from criminal prosecution, the employee is required to cooperate in the investigation even if the information solicited could be used for discharging the employee. Special Agents do not have the authority to grant immunity from criminal prosecution. However, if Special Agents provide the form "Administrative Warning: Duty to Cooperate" that means that the OIG has obtained such a waiver of prosecution.
As a reminder the AFGE Local 1006 union wants to remind all bargaining staff of their right to a union representative during any examination that could lead to disciplinary action. This includes Office of Inspector General (OIG), Office of Internal Affairs (OIA) and Special Investigative Services (SIS). The agency does not pick the representative, the union does. The agency also has an obligation to inform you of your right to union representation prior to any examination that they know could lead to disciplinary action, that's even if you don't ask for it, they still must tell you of your right.
In accordance with the Master Agreement, Article 6, section g, and 5 USC, Section 7114, employees are to be informed of the following rights:
Unit employees, including probationary employees, have the right to a Union representative during any examination by, or prior to submission of any written report to, a representative of the Employer in connection with an investigation if:
1. The employee reasonably believes that the examination may result in disciplinary action the employee; and
2. The employee request representation.
Do not fall for the old line "Well, you're not the subject of the investigation" and ask them to call the union president. The union is the one who assigns representation. Contact Regina Warren or any other union representative if you have any questions.
THE SITUATION: A worker files a ULP charge against the union for its failure to pursue her grievance. The union believes that the case against the employee is too solid. What are the union's rights and obligations?
A union with exclusive recognition must represent the interests of all bargaining unit employees without regard to their membership in the union, according to 5USC7114(a)(1). This is commonly referred to as the union's "duty of fair representation." This duty is not absolute, however.
Sometimes, the union may discriminate on the basis of membership. In Fort Bragg, 28 FLRA 908, 87 FLRR1-1434 (FLRA 1987), the Federal Labor Relations Authority explained that the duty attaches only when the union has exclusive representation authority over the dispute.
The union represented its members in a class action suit and stated that nonmembers had to pay a $500 fee to be included. The FLRA ruled that the union didn't violate its duty of fair representation because the suit wasn't grounded in its role as exclusive representative. The nonmembers could have filed a similar suit. The FLRA explained that a union may lawfully treat employees differently based on whether they pay union dues in cases where employees may select a representative other than the union, such as matters before the Merit Systems Protection Board.
Here, the employee seeks representation in the negotiated grievance/arbitration procedure where the union has exclusive rights. Thus, it would be a ULP to deny representation because she isn't a union member, However, the union argues that she has a bad case and doesn't want to waste effort pursuing it.
The Supreme Court tackled this issue decades ago in VACA v. Sipes, 386 U.S. 171, 103LRP 19901 (U.S. 1967), a private sector case decided under the National Labor Relations Act. The Court's decision applies to the federal sector because in Fort Bragg, the FLRA ruled that Congress adopted for federal employee unions the private sector duty of fair representation.
In Vaca, a union refused to process a grievance over an employee's termination to the final step of the grievance procedure, arbitration. the Court declared that employees don't enjoy an absolute right to arbitration, and explained that in administrating the grievance procedure, unions must make decisions on the merits of grievances in a good-faith manner. The Court noted that the union must have the discretion to weed out frivolous grievances to avoid the costliest part of the grievance process. The union violates its duty if it arbitrarily ignores a meritorious grievance or chooses not to proceed based on wrongful conduct, such as discrimination or personal hostility.
In defending against a charge of discrimination based on membership status, a union should examine its past practices. Does it regularly represent nonmembers in arbitration? Does it regularly reject non-meritorious cases brought by dues-paying members?
It has come to the attention of the Union, that the Agency is routinely requesting staff members to take part in polygraph examinations to aid their investigative process. Before you submit to such examinations, KNOW YOUR RIGHTS and understand how the process works! Polygraph examinations are voluntary!
Voluntary Examinations :
Polygraph examinations given to federal employees or other individuals may be voluntary, meaning that the examinee may refuse to take the examination with no adverse consequences. For example, witnesses or subjects in a criminal investigation are protected by the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and therefore can refuse to speak with investigators or take a polygraph examination.
In some cases, polygraph examinations conducted by the FBI, DEA, and ATF are mandatory. In these cases, completion of a successful examination is required for an individual to obtain a desired benefit such as consideration for employment, membership in a foreign investigative unit, or obtaining a security clearance. The consequences of refusing to take a mandatory polygraph examination – or of having results that indicate deception – vary according to the policy of the component requiring the test.
CLICK HERE if you would like to know how polygraph testing works.
CLICK HERE for OIG report on polygraph exams.
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For a full list of benefits click here Benefits