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Regional Contract Marks New Chapter in Labor-Management Relations

AFGE Local 1923 has entered a new chapter in labor-management relations with its first-ever regional collective bargaining agreement with Naval District Washington.

AFGE Local 1923 negotiators Alfonzo Gillis, left, and Carl Gentile, right, joined Naval District Washington Commandant Real Admiral Patrick Lorge in signing the first-ever regional collective bargaining contract for non-fire, non-police civilian employees.

On Aug. 26, NDW Commandant Rear Admiral Patrick Lorge and his Human Resources Office-Washington bargaining team signed a new collective bargaining agreement with AFGE Local 1923, which is the exclusive representative for non-fire, non-police civilian employees from throughout the region.

AFGE Local 1923 became the sole representative for employees across the region in 2005 and entered into an interim agreement with NDW in 2007 covering the limited topics of grievances, arbitrations, and discipline. During these years, many of the benefits and efficiencies of one regional bargaining unit could not be fully realized because no regional contract existed which would streamline labor relations interests such as working conditions and personnel policies.

The new contract replaces a patchwork of pre-existing practices and outdated contracts, said Frank Vitacco, NDW’s chief negotiator for the new agreement.

While NDW and the AFGE have had very productive dealings in the past, the new contract will be a major improvement for managers, employees and the union.

Vitacco characterized the bargaining sessions with Carl Gentile, AFGE’s chief negotiator, as amiable and productive and said negotiations were accomplished in a spirit of cooperation.

Details on the contract following the jump:

Based on the desire of management and the AFGE bargaining team to move the NDW Region and bargaining relationship forward, this contract provides many benefits and progressive aspects. Some of the highlights include:

  • The new agreement cancels the hodgepodge of pre-existing memoranda and inherited contract language.
  • The parties acknowledge a shared commitment that all forms of workplace violence are intolerable, are condemned in the strongest terms and agree that such acts constitute grounds for the offender’s removal in addition to other appropriate action.
  • Labor management relations meetings provide an avenue for effective communication and exchange of ideas between NDW senior management and AFGE representatives.
  • In the spirit of resolution in place of litigation, before a party may file an unfair labor practice charge with the Federal Labor Relations Authority, it must provide advance notice and summary to the other side, allow for an investigation, and engage in alternative dispute resolution and mediation. In a similar vein, before a party may
    advance a grievance to arbitration, both sides will engage in formal mediation in an attempt to resolve the dispute.
  • As a commitment to rehabilitating disciplinary problems, alternative discipline agreements are for the first time available as an option in lieu of traditional discipline. In addition, last chance agreements are now available to management in lieu of removals.

Carl Gentile served as AFGE’s chief negotiator, and was joined by Alfonzo Gillis and employee representatives Alice Evans and Julie Hamilton. For NDW, Frank Vitacco served as chief negotiator and was supported by Tom Crane, Sarah Torres, and Phil Beal of the Human Resources Office – Washington. Negotiations occurred between January and May of this year.

Portions of this article first appeared in Waterline, a news and information paper for the Navy National Capital Region

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