American Federation of Government Employees Local 1897 president Peter Smith and Brig. Gen. David Eidsaune, Air Armament Center Commander and Program Executive Officer for Weapons sign the local supplement agreement to the Master Labor Agreement. (Photo by Craig McDonnell)
by Lois Walsh
96th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
6/25/2007 - EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Eglin's union and senior management signed a landmark local supplement agreement reached in record-breaking time on June 25.
While Eglin will continue to have two separate unions, the benefit of the agreement is that it applies to all bargaining unit employees and will provide ease of reference for management, unions, and bargaining unit employees as to what labor provisions apply to common workforce issues and topics.
Brig. Gen. David Eidsaune, Air Armament Center commander and the Air Force Program Executive Officer for Weapons, along with American Federation of Government Employees Local 1897 president Peter Smith, signed a local supplement agreement to the Master Labor Agreement that took one day to negotiate. AFGE Local 1942 president Rocky Tasse will sign the agreement at a later date.
The Master Labor Agreement is the overarching union-management agreement applicable for all bargaining unit employees. Both unions at Eglin are consolidated under AFGE Council 214, which in turn is located at Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
"Eglin is indeed unique in Council 214 for having two separate local unions covered by one Master Labor Agreement, on one base," said Scott Blanch, AFGE Council 214 president. "Having one local supplement for the two locals is something management was interested in and union leadership recognized as a legitimate interest."
According to General Eidsaune, the local supplement agreement is a win-win for AAC and all of Team Eglin.
"Eglin sets the example for the rest of command in terms of how the unions and management work together for efficiency, fairness and leveling the playing field for all," the general said. "I look forward to putting this agreement in play."
Mr. Smith said that each local union used to operate under separate contracts which had variations in provisions and language. At times, these differences caused confusion as to which employee was impacted by the documents. Now management and labor has a single local supplement agreement to follow, publish and reference.
"Formerly, to determine the appropriate document management, the employee must first know which bargaining unit (local union) they belonged to and then use the applicable contract to determine the necessary action," he said. "At times certain conditions in one workplace may apply to one employee and not the other.
"Traditional labor/management contract negotiations may take months, if not years," Mr. Smith continued. "But we were able to streamline our process through interest-base bargaining to develop a combined agreement in a matter of weeks. This is an unprecedented accomplishment having a positive impact on the mission and the workforce."
The bottom line, according to Mr. Blanch, is that leaders from all three parties came up with one agreement that works for everybody and enhances Eglin's mission support capabilities by eliminating repetitive bargaining over the same issues.