Union, command leaders discuss shared interests

Gen. Bruce Carlson, AFMC commander, praised the relationship between labor and management in AFMC.

"In many organizations labor and management don't speak," he noted.

AFMC and AFGE leaders make the effort, through meetings such as this one, to maintain open communication.

"Even when we disagree, we can have a frank discussion and shake hands," General Carlson said.

John Gage, national president of AFGE, and Scott Blanch, president of AFGE Council 214, were the senior labor representatives at the meeting.

Mr. Blanch and Barbara Westgate, AFMC executive director, presented the AFMC/AFGE Partnership Council's "Best Practice Award" to Tinker AFB, Okla., and its AFGE Local 916, for their efforts in fostering good relations between management and labor. As council co-chairs, Mrs. Westgate and Mr. Blanch jointly briefed the council's annual report. Some of the initiatives they discussed were computer accessibility for all employees and expanded labor-management training.

Among other topics covered during the meeting were the command's Wellness Program, the Voluntary Protection Program, or VPP, Workforce Engagement, the Global Logistics Support Center, and the Expeditionary Combat Support System.

Lt. Col. John Leitnaker, the AFMC chief of Health and Productivity Management, asked union representatives to help improve the AFMC Wellness Program by encouraging feedback from bargaining unit employees. He reminded leaders that AFMC policy allows workers three hours of duty time each week for fitness activities.

"Using duty time for fitness improves perception of wellness of personnel," the colonel said.

AFMC established VPP in February to reduce workplace accidents, especially in the air logistics centers where the nature of maintenance work on aircraft and weapon systems is potentially more dangerous than in other work places.

"AFMC could potentially see a savings of $30 million dollars a year," with the VPP, said Dave Brucker of the AFMC Safety Office.

Leif Peterson, AFMC director of manpower, personnel and services, described a pilot study on Raising Workplace Engagement. This program's goal, Mr. Peterson said, "is to provide AFMC the most highly engaged workforce possible to operate successfully in the current environment."

John Steenbock, from Air Force Personnel Center at Randolph AFB, Texas, discussed numerous changes in civilian employee recruitment. Some of the changes he noted are the elimination of the Air Force-unique Civilian Personnel Decision Support System, the Civilian Announcement Notification System, Resume Writer, the Emergency Data System, and career briefs. These processes will be replaced with more streamlined processes, Mr. Steenbock said.

Trixie Brewer, deputy director of the Global Logistics Support Center provisional headquarters, described how the GLSC is realigning supply chain management in a way that will be "transparent to most bargaining unit employees."

Steve Cain, chief of the Logistics Transformation Office, spoke about the Air Force Logistics Transformation Expeditionary Combat Support System, or ECSS. He discussed the current state of ECSS and how civilian and military personnel will be impacted.

General Carlson noted that "There is no end to the challenges we face, but I think they are ones we can surmount."

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