Jan 22, 2012

Labor Contract Negotiations At An Impasse

     Social Security management has been in a protracted negotiation with the labor union that represents most of its employees, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), over a new contract. The AFGE website reports that the union has requested the intervention of the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP), which is a fairly obscure federal agency. The FSIP has directed the parties to engage in intense negotiations with the help of a mediator. 
     I am not optimistic about a resolution of the matter this year. AFGE has made many bitter complaints about Commissioner Astrue. This may not be resolved until there is a new Commissioner.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Both management and the union are sometimes petty and narrowly focused. However, the mid-and lower level management is placing ever more heavy pressure on employees to do more and more with less and less -- while public demands increase. As long as that is the case, there will be ongoing frictions. I work in a moderately large field office of SSA. There is pressure for quality, but the pressure to keep up with shrinking resources, ever more demands for shorter process times, and more demand for claims and services makes it impossible to spend sufficient time on cases and issues -- so quality and accuracy slips. Officially, quality comes first. In practice, meeting production and timeliness demands override quality and accuracy too much of the time. The low level management is pressured from above (and from public) for results, for meeting arbitrary and unrealistic goals. They in turn are forced to pressure the employees. The employees, in turn, are stressed and feel greatly overburdened and pressured -- and tend to respond to the pressure by 'pushing' the case or issue on through to completion. There may be some places in federal service where employees are overpaid and under worked, but it is not so in most SSA field offices. :-(