DENVER – The union that represents employees at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is going on the offensive to show their bosses where money can be saved to reduce the number of required furlough days. EEOC has notified employees that the budget shortfall caused by sequestration will be made up by 8.5 days of unpaid furloughs.
“We cannot sit by and allow wasteful practices while EEOC employees are sent home without pay and the public loses services,” said Gabrielle Martin, president of the American Federation of Government Employees National Council of EEOC Locals (AFGE Council 216).
Council 216 has added a BOLO (Be On the Lookout) section to its members-only Facebook page. This will allow employees to report wasteful spending they observe in their offices.
“The BOLO section will systemize the stream of e-mails the union receives from frustrated employees letting us know about activities they see in their offices that should not be occurring in the face of furloughs. For instance, the union learned that supervisors are traveling for meetings in EEOC’s Cleveland office in May instead of using video teleconference,” Martin said.
Martin reiterated that contracts remain a sore point. “Morale, already low, declines further because EEOC’s permanent workforce is being sent home for 8.5 days while contractors continue to work.” Employees have reported seeing EEOC solicitations on FedBizOpps for a legislative tracking service. Martin has also heard from members that contract mediators are still working, often in the same cities where the agency’s own mediators face furloughs. “These contracts should be cut or modified given the current budget landscape,” Martin said.
A leadership conference to be held in May in Chesapeake Bay has been quietly postponed, after employees saw it posted on the agency website. “Cancellation should occur to save agency resources wherever possible,” stresses Martin. “As for the August EXCEL conference in Denver, flying in managers for glad-handing is a totally unacceptable expenditure in the face of furlough days. I am sure if they attend, I will hear about it.”
Martin also wants employees to utilize the Council 216 BOLO section to share cost-savings ideas. “We have already received an idea for the agency to require all printers to be set for double-sided printing. This would instantly cut the agency’s paper and ink-toner expenses in half,” Martin said. “Why isn’t this being done? Why are we paying to recycle paper we could use for drafts?”
The Council is also promoting budget-saving strategies to improve agency efficiency, including a cost-saving full service intake plan, lower supervisor to employee ratios, and voluntary expanded telework to reduce rental costs.
“We are on the lookout for any idea big or small to save money. The union will not stop its campaign until the EEOC cuts back on the 8.5 furlough days by finding savings in places other than the backs of its employees,” Martin said.