BBG Watch is happy to publish his New Year Message from the American Federation of Government Employees, AFGE Local 1812 which represents truly outstanding and dedicated federal employees under the BBG.

We join AFGE Local 1812 in their wishes that there will be real efforts by the BBG members to turn things around so that this important taxpayer-funded Agency can return, as soon as humanly possible, to being the voice of the people of the United States to the world.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

AFGE Local 1812

Another Year, Hope Springs Eternal

by American Federation of Government Employees, AFGE Local 1812

To AFGE Local 1812 members in Miami, who are still waiting to be reinstated or compensated, after the FLRA ruled that they had been illegally RIFed, we extend our deepest sympathy. We are fully aware that it’s been two years since a ruling should have ended their ordeal. However, as the Agency does not appear to believe in the concept of binding arbitration, the employees’ plight has not ended and it is our deepest hope that the coming year will bring better news.

Speaking of 2014, as we reflect on 2013, we wonder whether there will be progress for our bargaining unit members on several fronts, but right now we won’t hold our breath. The past twelve months saw the false camaraderie of ice skating outings, cookie contests and other socials. On more serious matters, we at AFGE Local 1812 can’t help but notice that almost zero progress was made in actually improving morale or in union/management relations. Contract negotiations are still bogged down, as they have been for a number of years. Staffers, who have seen no raise for the past three years, are being asked in 2014 to contribute more for their health care and new hires will be expected to contribute more for their retirement. In addition, the Agency wants to inflict an unwanted and unpaid meal period on employees who much prefer working a schedule with no unpaid meal period.

Contractors are still being hired instead of permanent staffers, the IBB bureaucracy is still hugely bloated and worst of all, cozy contracting jobs for former now-retired managers, partly responsible for the chaos during their tenure, are still all the rage. At the same time, the English-language Newsroom remains severely understaffed and in disarray, unable to produce an output worthy of its name. By now, VOA audiences are well-versed with Reuters, as the Agency seems to have become an affiliate of that British news agency.

However, we are heartened by new BBG Chairman Shell’s statement at the last meeting where he recognized the value of human capital in making this once-operative Agency effective once again.

“In the private sector, I’m in the media business too, and when you’re in communications and media business, what you really have is your people, and it’s true very much so at this organization as well. And I think the Board and the organization is very much committed to making it not just a better place to work but the best place to work and have employees who are excited to come here everyday and believe in the mission and in what they are trying to do and what we’re trying to get to. So going from low, down in the ratings to low but a little bit better in the ratings is nothing to crow about and we’re not happy at all about where we are. And we have a lot of work to do…” “There is nothing more important to this organization than making it a good place to work for our dedicated people” — BBG Chairman Jeff Shell

As 2013 comes to a close, we are hopeful that there will be real efforts by the BBG members to turn things around so that this important taxpayer-funded Agency can return, as soon as humanly possible, to being the voice of the people of the United States to the world.

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