„The standard is three years because it is the maximum time during which a collective agreement can remain in force and is not challenged by another union,“ Tobias said. „At the end of three years, another union could petition and call for an election. It would be irresponsible for a union to agree to a ten-year term or for management to insist on a ten-year term. Another unusual aspect of the proposed contract is its duration. Under the conditions set by the department, the collective agreement would be in force for ten years. And it removes the re-opening clause from the previous agreement, which is a standard part of an employment services contract that allows the parties to reopen to the renegotiation of the parts of an agreement before its expiry date. „The half-measures taken so far are not enough because too many government employees are still working in full or near-full offices,“ Reardon said. „The closure of buildings stops large meetings, as the CDC recommends, telework and provides weather and security holidays – unlike personal holidays – to those who have a job that cannot be used for telework.“ „Directors and superiors are encouraged to maximize telework during regular business hours,“ wrote Richard A. Stone, the head of The Veterans Health Administration. Supervisors began processing telework authorization applications in Portland, Oregon, VA`s medical center, on Monday, according to an employee who also spoke on condition of anonymity. The Department of Veterans Affairs announced publicly Thursday that management had released its first proposal to negotiate a new collective agreement with the nation`s largest federal workers` union, underscoring efforts to severely limit the use of official time. Stone`s statement on Saturday cited „remarkable efforts to evaluate and ultimately expand the IT capabilities of the VA network,“ which allowed administrative staff to telework. AFGE stated that the department`s proposal of 331 parties, which was collected by government management, was submitted to the union 10 minutes before the release of the department`s statement. The proposed treaty contains a large number of workplace provisions, including articles on telework, official time, child care programs and even whistleblower protection.
„New telework authorizations should only be granted to clinical staff who use remote connection for health care,“ Stone wrote. On Monday morning, after the release of the guidelines, the White House sent a memorandum from the President`s Management Board to ensure that the maximum flexibility of telework is effectively applied across the country where an epidemic occurred. The White House has insinuated to regional leaders in federal agencies in each territory with the community spread of the new coronavirus to take measures similar to those of the National Capital District. These include telework for all those who have an agreement, the use of governments to speed up telework for those who do not agree, and the provision of paid leave for those who cannot telework and who are at a „higher risk“ of infection with the virus. Like the Capital Region memo, it also suggested that agencies consider staggered work schedules „and other operational mitigation measures.“ VHA „maximizes telework where possible, while ensuring that it has sufficient on-site staff at its facilities to meet the daily clinical needs of Veterans,“ said Bobbi D, a spokesman for HAV.