AFGE Local 1812 employee union reports that International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) and other managers responsible for creating a workplace with the lowest employee morale in the federal government are showing signs of panic before the next Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.

AFGE Local 1812

Someone, Anyone, Please Fill It Out

by American Federation of Government Employees, AFGE Local 1812

We have been slipped a Talking Points memo that upper management has been passing out to Agency supervisors. Upper management is enlisting lower level supervisors in a campaign to get them to encourage employees to fill out the OPM Employee Viewpoint Survey.

The problem is that, so far, only 20% of employees have bothered to fill out the survey this year. That is way below even the 40% who filled out the survey last year.

AFGE Local 1812 could have told upper management that there was going to be a problem this year. We have noticed a marked increase in the number of employees telling us that they were not going to fill out the survey this year because “nothing changes”.

The memo seems to be an act of desperation on the part of management and it contains some inaccuracies.
In a section of the document upper management claims that differences have been made and they provide some examples.

For instance:

An Ombudsman – a full time position is devoted to being an employee advocate, available to all who need her. She’s busy, helping you. (Emphasis added.)

This is misleading at best. The Ombudsman is not an employee advocate. An Ombudsman is required to be neutral. Trust us, they would not create a full time position as an employee advocate. In fact, in the unending contract negotiations Agency officials had demanded reducing official time for Union representatives.

Here’s another one:

Employee Assistance Counselor – an on-site counselor position established to provide a resource for any employee in need of assistance.

First of all, this type of position has existed before. The Agency has had an Advisory Referral and Counseling Service for decades. It is mentioned in a Union contract over 20 years ago. Another thing employees should be aware of is that the Counselor works for the Agency not the employee.

They expect the supervisors to promote the Fun Fests, “walk arounds”, Networking Events (where recently they were actually serving employees cake – we can’t make this stuff up), Brown Bags, Town Halls, etc. As if communicating their bad ideas more efficiently was a solution to anything. They even boast about their silly civility campaign.

The last paragraph in the memo is the best:

“Help us. I encourage you to take the survey, because it is our VOA. It is your VOA. Your views will help as we continue efforts to make this a better place to work.”

Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that we got a “walk around” about the FY 2014 budget proposal that would eliminate employees? It seems that the plans are that for some it won’t be their VOA for long. And aren’t these the same folks who want to remove all stipulations in the Union contract requiring fair, dignified and respectful treatment of employees?

It’s our guess that there won’t be much more then 20% of employees who complete the survey this year even with all the wheedling. A significant increase in employee participation will not occur until significant changes in management are made.