Annual Report 2015 | American Foreign Service Association
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and promotion can be held up in the Senate.

Consequently, AFSA used every opportunity

to raise awareness among our congressional

contacts regarding the negative impact of this

practice on our members’ morale and eligibil-

ity for onward assignments, its imposition of

financial hardship on deserving members and

their families, and, ultimately, its detrimental

effect on the ability of consulates, embassies

and USAID missions to conduct the business

of the United States overseas. We are glad to

report that our efforts have helped spur faster

processing of lists, and we remain committed

to addressing any setbacks to this progress

should the need arise.

21

FIGHTING FOR MERITORIOUS SERVICE INCREASE

CONFERRALS

The Foreign Service Act of 1980 authorized the issuance of Meritorious

Service Increases as a tool for the Department of State to provide an

increase to the next higher salary rate of the Foreign Service member’s

class for especially deserving service. Our Labor Management Depart-

ment is handling

a number of implementation disputes

related to the

Department of State’s violation of the parties’ collective bargaining

agreement related to the conferral of MSIs by the 2013, 2014 and 2015

Foreign Service Selection Boards.

In September, the Foreign Service Grievance Board ruled

in favor AFSA’s implementation dispute on behalf of the 554 For-

eign Service employees who never received the monetary com-

ponent of their MSIs awarded by the 2013 selection board.

The ruling stated that the Department of State had indeed breached

a provision of the 2013 Procedural Precepts, a negotiated agreement

with AFSA. In its ruling, the FSGB directed the department to retroac-

tively pay the 2013 MSIs, with interest, dating back to Nov. 3, 2013—

the effective date of promotions. The department appealed the ruling

to the Foreign Service Labor Relations Board. As of Dec. 31, the parties

were still awaiting a ruling.

The 2014 MSI case, which AFSA filed when the Department of State

implemented a 5-percent cap on the number of people who could

receive MSIs, continues to make its way through the FSGB

process. The department denied this grievance, arguing that it had the

discretion to either pay or not pay MSIs to whatever number of em-

ployees it chose.

AFSA appealed this decision, arguing that—as the FSGB eventually

found in its decision on the 2013 MSI case—the department is bound

by its past practice of paying MSIs to all those employees rank-ordered

by the selection boards, up to the 10-percent cap that the parties

agreed to in the Procedural Precepts. Meanwhile, the department

followed the same procedure in 2015, implementing a 5-percent cap on

MSIs.