ECY Area Reports

ECOLOGY AREA REPORTS

Ecology 8/2018 Jenny Ho

A demand to bargain has been filed on the contracting out of IT services for the Migration and Modernization of the Data Center, Infrastructure and Applications. Please contact your steward for more information.

The Union received notification of a policy update related to digital accessibility and notification of the Agency’s intent to contract out technical documents review for the Toxic Cleanup Program. No concerns were raised.

Ecology 7/2018 Jenny Ho

The union received notification on two policy changes—one concerning delegating authority and the other concerning tobacco use on Ecology facilities. The notifications were sent out for member review and no concerns were raised.

The union also received notification on the Agency’s intent to contract out services for the Duwamish River Festival. The notification has been sent out for member review. Please contact your steward if you have any questions.

A Telework/Alternative Work Schedule Committee meeting was held to review and discuss the Agency’s telework and alterative work schedule policies in late July. The committee reviewed data on telework and alternative work schedule participation. A significant number of bargaining unit members are eligible for telework and alternative work schedules but do not participate in either. Most employees who telework only telework once or twice a month. Management expressed that it has been challenging managing coverage in work units with many varied schedules. The union team shared frustration with a lot of managers’ inflexibility to make schedule changes when business needs are not a concern—this rigidity is at odds with the spirit of the Governor’s Executive Order on Building a Modern Work Environment. The Agency agreed to give the Union an opportunity to provide feedback and recommendations for PDP questions for managers related to teleworking and alternative work schedules as well as for employee survey questions. The Committee will continue discussions on improving the telework and alternative work schedule policies and procedures at the next UMCC, which is scheduled for September.

Ecology 6/16/18 Jenny Ho

Informal discussions and information exchange regarding proposed cubicle moves at the Nuclear Waste Program in Richland continue.

The union received notification on contracting out of services at Stubblefield Salvage Yard. No concerns or questions were raised by stewards or members.

The union also received notification on two policy changes—one concerning delegating authority and the other concerning tobacco use on Ecology facilities. The notifications are out for member review. Please contact your steward if you have any questions.

The Agency’s Infants at Work program is slated to start in late July and a meeting to review and discuss the Agency’s telework and alterative work schedule policies is scheduled for July.

Ecology 5/16/18 Jenny Ho

Informal discussions and information exchange regarding proposed cubicle moves at the Nuclear Waste Program in Richland continue.

The union received notification of a reorganization at the Environmental Assessment Program and has filed a demand to bargain. Informal discussion and information exchange on potential changes to work duties are ongoing.

Ecology 4/16/18 Jenny Ho

Following the OSHA Hazwoper Certification MOU presentation last month, in which data on the 245 employees required to obtain Hazwoper training was presented to the union, the union made an additional information request for incident reports of exposures resulting in adverse health effects as well as reports of threats of bodily harm. The information request has been met and data is currently out to members for review.

Notification was received on supervisory changes in Water Resources. Affected members were notified and no concerns were raised.

The union and the Agency met for a demand to bargain on cubicle moves in the Nuclear Waste Program in Richland due to the addition of more than a dozen new cubicles. A number of questions and concerns were raised by the union. The Agency is currently reviewing the union’s proposals and has agreed to respond in early May after meeting with facilities staff.

An information request was fulfilled on new security cameras in the lobby of the Lacey building. The Agency confirmed that cameras are for security purposes and will not be used to monitor workers. The Agency has also agreed to provide clear signage on the location of the cameras.

A UMCC was held on April 30. Topics included: results of the employee survey; promoting the use of project positions vs. outsourcing; large number of upcoming Environmental Specialist retirements; and update on infants at work implementation (on schedule for summer roll-out) and an update on office moves. UMCC members in attendance were Pat Bailey, Llyn Doremus and Ginger Wireman.

Ecology 4/16/18 Jenny Ho

  • Fulfilling its responsibilities per the Osho Hazwoper Certification MOU, HR presented data on the 245 employees who are required to obtain Hazwoper training. The presentation included a review of tools and methods that the agency uses for employee safety. The union made an additional information request for incident reports of exposures resulting in adverse health effects.
  • A demand to bargain is being scheduled for cubicle moves at the Nuclear Waste Program in Richland.
  • A DTB has been filed on the installation of new security cameras.

Ecology (updated 4/16/18) Amy Spiegel

Notice was received 11/15/17 of the employer’s intent to relocate the Bellingham Field Office. A DTB was filed 12/4 and an impacted member has been doing a tremendous job gathering information. The team for this DTB includes Mak Kaufman and Llyn Doremus. Through discussion, this DTB was resolved informally and is now closed. WFSE continues to work on the broader issue of DES rules/parameters regarding agency office moves.

Members have raised concerns that there was a possible reorganization within the Spills Program and an AQ/HQ Space Reassignment that occurred without notice to the Union. We have requested information on these issues and will need to determine next steps once received.

It was recently discovered that Ecology contracted-out bargaining unit work (cubicle moves) without providing the contractually and statutorily required notices or bargaining. An unfair labor practice has been filed. Since filing, it came to our attention that IT work may have also been contracted. This ULP has now been settled and payment from the agency received. Distribution to impacted members has also been completed.

Notice was received on 10/2/17 of the intent to implement 6 revised policies. Concerns arose with one policy (16-11, section 2) that includes language conflicting with the CBA and ethics guidance. An amendment was requested to fix this and resolve it informally and the employer is in agreement with this process for resolution. Language is being reviewed just to be sure the CBA and ethics rules are referenced in order to close this out.

Previous LA filed a DTB in response to implementation without notice of the Time Keeper program. A meeting was held on 4/12/17 and we are awaiting a response to some outstanding issues related to functionality with FMLA time. The team for this meeting was Pat Bailey, Kerry Graber, and Robin Fleskes.

Previous LA filed DTB in response to policies on Telework and Flexible Work Schedules. A meeting was held on 6/2/17 and agreement was reached to conduct an ad-hoc on these issues. This DTB is now closed and we will plan pursue the best possible use of the ad-hoc process. The team for this meeting was Pat Bailey, Llyn Doremus, and Elena Guilfoil. 

  • Update 4/16/18 – We will likely be scheduling this ad-hoc to start in May of 2018 and it will be staffed by Labor Advocate, Jenny Ho. 

Previous LA filed on 11/18/16 DTB  in response to notice of multiple policy revisions including 7-10, 7-13, 14-10, 14-30, 20-03, and 20-13. Concerns remain with 20-03 and we are working to provide updated details about the status of those concerns.

HAZWOPER MOU has been extended through March 2018 and, at team members’ requests, a timeline and deliverables has been provided by the agency illustrating how Ecology intends to meet that deadline. This was a condition of the extension. UPDATE:  We have confirmed 3/26/18 for this meeting and it was staffed by Labor Advocate, Jenny Ho. As a continuation of the discussion during GG bargaining, the team for this would be Pat Bailey and Kerry Graber.

  • The Employer is obligated to review all positions with OSHA HAZWOPER certifications for hazards/safety concerns. They were to meet and discuss this with us no later than 9/30/17. Unfortunately, Ecology did not fulfill this. They have requested an extension and we advised that we would need a timeline with deliverables from Ecology prior to agreeing to any extension. Ecology has provided this and we have agreed to an extension through March of 2018.

Ecology 2/19/18 Jenny Ho

The State-wide UMCC was held to address: communication for future office moves; the new website; staff access to internet for personal use; LED lighting; and Infants at Work. Issues concerning the next office move will be addressed at the regional NW UMCC. Due to policies determined by the state Ethics Board, Director Bellon is not currently open to providing wi-fi access for employees for private use. Due to recommendations from members, new LED lighting at Ecology headquarters will have reduced blue light. Agency rollout of Infants at Work will be targeted for the summer. A call in March is scheduled to address the ongoing issue of Hazwoper training. Ad hoc conversation on telework is in the process of being scheduled. A demand to bargain will be scheduled on the contracting out of the Tacoma Smelter Plume engineering design and technical assistance.