Union, immigration agency move toward new contract

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the American Federation of Government Employees signed a joint agreement Friday in an effort to improve the working relationship between agency managers and union representatives. The move marks the first step in the development of a new labor-management contract. The agency is operating under an old contract negotiated in 2000 for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which was split into USCIS, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Customs and Border Protection when the Homeland Security Department was established in 2003.

"USCIS is at a mission crossroad that requires its best effort to meet the national security and immigration needs of the nation," USCIS Director Emilio Gonzalez said. "Empowering USCIS employees to better accomplish their mission and encouraging mutual respect between management and workers through this agreement are keys to our future success."

The agreement, signed by Gonzalez and AFGE President John Gage, enlists the help of two management facilitators, Robert Tobias and Erin Baillie, to collect information and analyze the labor-management relationships at agency offices in Vermont, California and Dallas.

Tobias is the former president of the National Treasury Employees Union and current director of the Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation at American University. Baillie is a consultant with Federal Management Partners, a human resources consulting firm.

Tobias and Baillie will interview employees, managers and union officials at the sites through the end of May.

The site visits are designed "to take a pulse of the patient -- the patient being the agency -- of how labor-management relations [function], because they are different in different locations," said Michael Knowles, president of the AFGE National USCIS Council.

Representatives of USCIS management and labor will then meet in June to discuss a plan to build a more efficient and effective relationship, culminating with the development of the agency's first labor-management contract.

Knowles said that when Congress passed the legislation that established DHS and its new personnel system, the department agreed to honor the existing collective bargaining agreement from INS, which expired in 2003, until each subcomponent agency could establish its representative union.

Because USCIS, ICE and CBP all have different missions, officials decided each agency should have its own contract and bargaining council, Knowles said.

Gage said AFGE will go to the negotiating table with ICE next week. AFGE recently appealed an election decision rendering NTEU the sole union for non-Border Patrol CBP employees.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.