AFGE lawyers work in two distinct but cooperative departments:
The establishment of the Field Support Group (FSG) is an attempt to initiate a model for better providing timely assistance and familiar personnel to District NVPs, NRs, and Locals. The FSG is headed by Deputy General Counsel (DGC) and consists of the DGC and the three current Field Attorneys. The FSG attorneys are supported by GCO’s Legal Assistants and interns, are assigned three specific Districts each, and respond to questions and requests made by NVPs, NRs, and Local Presidents.
The Council Support Group is made up of GCO attorneys and LMR Bargaining Specialists deployed to teams assigned to specific Councils to respond to questions and requests made by Council Presidents and by attorneys working under a Council’s Legal Representation Fund. Because the number of Councils and their issues greatly outnumber the attorneys and LR Specialists that can be assigned to the Support Group, it is important during the start of a project that questions come directly from Council Presidents. If case requests or questions about practice areas involve the expertise of other AFGE attorneys, the Council’s assigned attorney will refer the case to the right practice area expert for a timely response.
One of the purposes of the Council Support Group is to provide Council Presidents with an attorney that becomes familiar with their Council and the Council’s issues in litigation. It is expected that FSED staff and GCO staff will be on Council conference calls monthly and periodically attend Council meetings so they are familiar with the Council’s most important issues.
As previously stated, the NEC has authorized a program in which four attorneys situated in the GCO and 4 attorneys paid for by Districts (currently – 4th, 10th, 12th, 14th Districts) work exclusively on administrative cases that can generate back pay and attorney fees recoveries.
A GCO attorney is assigned on a rotating daily basis to answer routine legal questions on an emergency basis. Call GCO at (202-639-6424) and ask for the attorney-of-the-day. A written request to the General Counsel is required for more complex legal questions or a written reply.
Election, AFGE constitutional, or AFGE internal policy questions may be called in to the Department of Labor Liaison Attorney at (202-639-6424) between 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Eastern time.
AFGE has set up a "user friendly" case tracking system that allows any officer or steward in a Local or Council that has signed on CaseTrack to request attorney representation. Case tracking provides a means to "load" all the key case documents on to the system as attachments and be reviewed by an attorney. It also provides for the ability to coherently describe the issue involved in the case-grievance, OWCP, EEOC, MSPB, etc. With the stroke of a button an e-mail can be sent to the CaseTrack monitors asking for review.
The use of the case tracking system will enable our attorneys to obtain contemporaneous and accurate case information and provide same-day advice. Monitoring requests for assistance and referring them to the right person by practice area, agency, or district will be done by the General Counsel and the Deputy General Counsel, assisted by GCO staff.