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M A R C H 2 0 1 2 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L
41
W
ith the increase in total numbers of
Foreign Service members, AFSA’s
Labor Management Office has seen a
commensurate increase in workload
— in the number of grievances, dis-
cipline, Equal Employment Opportunity cases, security
clearance cases, assignment restrictions, requests for assis-
tance during investigations by the Diplomatic Security Bu-
reau and Office of the Inspector General, and general
inquiries frommembers about conditions of service.
To strengthen our ability to respond quickly tomembers’
concerns, we welcomed Janet Weber to the office as labor
management counselor inMarch of 2011. We also increased
the number of labor management attorneys from four to
five, hiring Andrew Large.
Our office dealt with a bewildering variety of bread-and-
butter issues over the course of the year. The labor manage-
ment staff received between 400 and 450 requests for
assistance each week, and the staff is presently working on
approximately 200 active cases that are pending in various
agency offices or before the Grievance Board. There are sev-
eral matters of general importance that stand out.
In 2011, the State Department proposed disciplinary ac-
tion against a handful of employees for off-duty conduct
that it had not sought to regulate in the past (i.e., extramar-
ital affairs between consenting adults). The department has
never sent out a cable or department notice advising em-
ployees that, depending on the number of partners, it views
such behavior as “notoriously disgraceful conduct” that may
subject the employee to discipline.
AFSA has expressed its concern to the department re-
garding the lack of notice to employees and the tenuous con-
nection between this off-duty conduct and the employee’s
job, and we are assisting a number of employees who are
challenging such disciplinary actions.
Improper Rule Changes
During 2011, we encountered a number of instances in
which the department had made improper changes to the
• Disbursed scholarship assistance to nearly 100 students,
worth a record amount of approximately $223,000
• Continued our strong legislative advocacy to ensure that
FS annuitants continue to receive the benefits they have
earned
• Provided counseling and assistance to more than 300
individual retirees
• Retooled our bimonthly
AFSA Newsletter for Retirees
and
Members in Transition
to explain retirement benefits,
department policies and the impact of the debt-reduction
process on annuities and benefits, and expanded its distri-
bution to active-duty members.
ANNUAL REPORT
American Foreign
Service Association
2011
A
F
S
A
N
E
W
S
The Memorial Plaques
B
Y
P
ERRI
G
REEN
, S
PECIAL
A
WARDS
AND
O
UTREACH
C
OORDINATOR
T
he first AFSA Memorial Plaque was un-
veiled in 1933 by Secretary of State Henry
Stimson. Today, two plaques grace the C
Street lobby of the State Department,
honoring 236 members of the Foreign
Service who have died in the line of duty. In 2011, the
name of Eugene F. Sullivan, a USAID Foreign Service of-
ficer who died of blackwater fever in Ethiopia in 1972,
was added during a ceremony held on May 6, Foreign
Affairs Day. Then-Deputy Secretary of State James B.
Steinberg and AFSA President Susan Johnson presided
over the ceremony, witnessed by 26members of Mr. Sul-
livan’s family and many others.
Labor Management:
Advocating for
Our Members
B
Y
S
HARON
P
APP
, AFSA G
ENERAL
C
OUNSEL