Annual Report 2016 | American Foreign Service Association
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obtained agreement from the Department to finalize the

2017 linked assignments agreement much earlier in the



In 2016 the Department initiated formal negotiations

over a new pilot process for awarding MSIs in 2017 and

beyond. Throughout the negotiations, AFSA successfully

enshrined several protections for our members, such as

explicitly stating a percentage of MSIs the Department

must award per year with a safeguard provision that

requires the Department to renegotiate any proposed

decreases of this percentage in the event of a severe

budget crisis. The new MSI process not only maintains

the integrity of the rank order system used by the

promotion boards, but also maintains bidding privileges

for the top group of employees who are recommended

but not reached for promotion. An additional highlight

of the new process is the ability of employees tempo-

rarily removed from the list of MSI recipients due to low

rankings and/or discipline cases to receive retroactive

MSIs if their case is successfully overturned, with no

restriction on timeframe.

Shared Leave Programs:

The Department established a Leave Bank in 2015 to

provide a second shared leave program in addition to

the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program. In 2016, with

the strong support of AFSA, the Leave Bank Board

increased the cap limitations for the annual leave from

80 to 160 hours and the lifetime maximum from 240 to

480 hours.

Transit Subsidies:

Shortly after receiving a letter from AFSA asking the

Department to increase the transit subsidy to the new

amount authorized by Congress in December 2015, the

Department agreed to do so, resulting in additional

savings for Department employees using the program.

Vance Memo:

After several months of negotiations between AFSA and

DS/OSI, in June 2016 OSI began recording interviews

conducted in the U.S. of employees under investigation.

While OSI is not required to inform or remind employees

of their right to representation at the beginning of each

interview, AFSA did manage to get them to agree to

notify employees verbally that they are being recorded

prior to the start of every interview. OSI also agreed to

let AFSA review the recordings from initial interviews,

and to provide AFSA and the employee a private consul-

tation space when needed.

Of course, in addition to all of the above, we worked

through our quarterly meetings with CDA, DS, FLO, HR/

PE, IRM, and MED, as well as through our every-oth-

er-week collaboration meetings with the HR PDAS to

resolve a variety of issues affecting our members.

As always, should you have an issue or a concern you

wish for us to consider addressing, please reach out at

and let us know about it. If you prefer

not to contact us directly, feel free to reach out to your

AFSA Post Rep instead. Many of the above policy chang-

es were the direct result of members letting us know

about problems affecting them. We can’t fix

everything, but we certainly can’t fix what we don’t

know is broken.