Local Lodge 2424 Government Shutdown
Hello Brothers and Sisters,
This is the first informational update on the Federal Government Shutdown that started January 20th, 2018.
Item #1: Members should refer to their company management and supervisors for the latest information on return to work dates and times. Local Lodge 2424 covers nine separate contractor workforces and some of the Federal Government workforce at APG. Some of those workers are not affected, but many are affected by this shutdown. This is a point of controversy that I will detail later in this email. But only your employer can issue a furlough notice, or the return to work notice.
Item #2: If you are furloughed, you may be entitled to unemployment compensation. Unemployment is based on the state you work in, not the state you live in. There are pros and cons to filing an unemployment claim. Those will be detailed later in this email. Unemployment officials may require a furlough notice letter. A verbal notice is not valid in many cases (which may be why many of us Contractors were sent text messages). There is controversy as of Monday morning if these furlough notices will be issued.
Item #3: If you are using unemployment you are required to check in with your union hall for work once a week, or make three attempts at applying for a job. The local lodge has no knowledge that work is available to any of the skill sets of our members for the week of January 21nd through January 27th. This item will be updated weekly via the local lodge website and facebook page. This should meet the requirement of weekly check in for those using unemployment.
Item #4: Rumor control. I will detail which Union officers and stewards are working using Union funds during this shutdown. In short none. But here are the exceptions so that you understand the rumor control.
A. The local lodge employs one full time employee, Ms. Rosemary Moss. I have made the decision that she will work fulltime without interruption during this shutdown. She is needed to keep the union hall open during this shutdown, update these communications on Facebook and the local lodge website, handle phone calls, and carry out the normal work that continues. The union hall has one computer available to any member that wishes to use it for work searches or union activities. As long as the Government allows access to the union hall building, we will continue to offer those services.
B. Our Business Representative, Billy MacIntosh, and District 1 Organizer, Andy Powell, are employees of the International President’s office of the IAM&AW. They serve other contracts and workers in private industry that are not affected by this shutdown. Their employment is determined by the International President, not at the local lodge office.
C. Some of the Federal Work force is working as of Monday, so the Federal Workforce Stewards are operating based on the terms of their contract. The latest update is they will be furloughed too, shortly.
D. The elected officers of the local lodge are paid monthly under the by-laws of our local lodge. That includes me, the President, the Vice President – Greg Hanner, the Recording Secretary – Jorge Brodo, the Secretary/Treasurer – Henry Russell, the Conductor/Sentinel – Tom Burkindine, and Trustee – Derrick Oxendine.
We were paid for the Month of December on January 12th. They will be paid again in February for January service, and I see no need to deduct any pay. I am paid $150.00 for the month; most of the others receive $100.00 or less for the month. They still perform their functions for meetings and execution of the local lodge business regardless of the shutdown.
E. The Chief Shop Stewards and stewards for each contract have the ability to apply for lost time funds for time they carry out union business instead of their normal job duties. I will not be approving any lost time claims at this point. If you can’t work, they will not work using union funds. If this shutdown continues for weeks there may be a need to allow some lost time to be covered in the event there are arbitrations or grievances that have timing deadlines that need to be carried out. And some contracts (CBAs) have steward time paid by the employer built into the CBA. If the company management determines they need to use that clause to meet with a steward or carry out some business between the company and the union, I will not see an issue with that. But again, as far as using Union funds to be paid when that option is not available to membership – that will not be allowed.
The State of Maryland set up a webpage to deal with unemployment compensation issues for this shutdown. The link is here:
The State of Pennsylvania also set up a webpage. The link is here:
State of Maryland Federal Contractor specific information is listed here:
Pros and Cons of Unemployment:
Unemployment in Maryland has a maximum benefit of $430 a week. Any income you receive is deducted away from that amount. Many of us Federal Contractors will get a paycheck later this week. You can start your unemployment claim this week, but the income you get from your paycheck will probably wipe out any benefit the State would offer. But it would count as your first week of unemployment. Every worker is entitled to 26 weeks of benefits. So, if this is your first week of unemployment, the clock starts running the first week you claim. And it appears the benefit clock continues to run even if you return to work (This is unconfirmed information and we cannot get an update as of the date of this letter, so please contact the unemployment office for your specific situation). So, an example would be that if you filed unemployment this week and next week, and then went back to work week 3 – the 26 week clock keeps running in the background. At week 26, your benefit for the year is exhausted – even if you have been back to work for 23 weeks. So, if later that year, if we go through this again, or you already know there is a chance your employer may lose the contract or lay you off – your benefit may not be there. We don’t know whether this shutdown will continue for one day or several weeks, so be careful with your decision.
Also there is the point of what other income may reduce your benefits. Here is what is listed on the State of Maryland website:
13. What income must I report and when should it be reported? What effect will this income have on my benefits?
Any income must be reported. The Division of Unemployment Insurance (DUI) staff will make a determination based on the Maryland Unemployment Insurance Law regarding whether the monies will have an effect on your weekly benefit amount.
When you file your initial claim or reopen your existing claim, you must report full or part-time wages earned during that week from regular employment, self-employment, odd jobs, etc. regardless of whether you were paid during that week.
You must also report pensions, annuities, holiday pay, vacation pay, severance pay, bonuses and special payments that you have received or will receive. Commission payments must be reported during the week in which you receive the commission.
When you file your weekly claim certification, you must report all gross wages (all wages earned before taxes and other deductions) earned during the week in which the work was performed regardless of whether you were paid during that week. This includes wages earned for permanent and temporary work, part-time and full-time work, self-employment and odd jobs. Commission payments are handled differently. Commission payments must be reported during the claim week in which you receive the commission payments. The first $50 in earnings will not be deducted from unemployment insurance benefits. However, you must report all earnings, even if under $50. Any earnings over $50 per week will be deducted from your benefit payment on a dollar for dollar basis. Earnings are considered payment, in any form, for any work or service performed, including self-employment, tips and odd jobs.
In addition, DUI must be notified if you receive a back pay award or, if once you begin receiving benefits, your monthly pension amount changes. When you return to work, you must report the wages earned during the week you first work, regardless of whether you have been paid.
If you do not report these payments as instructed, you are committing unemployment insurance fraud. If you are found guilty of fraud, all fraudulently acquired benefits must be repaid with interest, and you will not be permitted to receive any future unemployment insurance benefits for a one year period from the date the fraud issue is determined. In addition to these administrative penalties, you can be fined up to $1,000 or imprisoned for up to 90 days, or both.
• Any week you have earned wages including full-time, part-time, temporary, self-employment, tips or odd jobs. You must report these monies when earned.
• However, commission payments must be reported during the week you are actually paid and all earnings must be reported on the MWE-REX WORK VERIFICATION LOG.
Who is Shutdown and who is Not?
Some Brothers and Sisters are working. Many are not. Why and why not? I became aware today of the controversy within the DoD on how this issue was going to be handled. Most notably are the guidance memos that were published January 18th by the Comptroller of the Treasury for the Pentagon, and then the “Union talking points” memo published at the same time. It was decided last week that any DoD work that already had funding approved would be allowed to continue operations regardless of government shutdown, and most work would continue. Then today on Monday that changed. It appears that leaders above the Pentagon level decided to make this shut down hurt more. So a talking points memo is circulating today which is why some people at work today are being told to go home, but others will still stay open. The memos are attached below.
Excerpt from Comptroller of the Pentagon Memo dated 18 January 2018.
Link is here: http://comptroller.defense.gov/
Contractors performing under a fully funded contract (or contract option) that was awarded prior to the expiration of appropriations may continue to provide contract services, whether in support of excepted activities or not. However, new contracts (including contract renewals or extensions, issuance of task orders, exercise of options) may not be executed, nor may increments of funding be placed on incrementally funded contracts or to cover cost overruns, unless the contractor is supporting an excepted activity. No funds will be available to pay such new contract or place additional increments of funding on contracts until Congress appropriates additional funds.
The expiration of an appropriation does not require the termination of contracts (or issuance of stop work orders) funded by that appropriation unless a new obligation of funds is required under the contract and the contract is not required to support an excepted activity. In cases where additional funding is required and/or oversight, engagement, or inspection by Federal employees who have been furloughed is critical to successful performance under the contract and the contract is not required to support an excepted activity, the issuance of a stop work order or the termination of the contract may be required.
Union Talking Points Memo
DRAFT ANNEX F
Talking Points with Unions
NOTE: AS A RESULT OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 13812, PRE-DECISIONAL INVOLVEMENT WITH UNIONS IS NO LONGER REQUIRED. HOWEVER, YOU MAY USE THESE TALKING POINTS IF YOUR LOCAL PRACTICE IS EARLY COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR UNIONS.
· As many of you are aware, annual funding for the government is about to expire.
· The Department remains hopeful that a government shutdown will be averted. The Administration strongly believes that a lapse in funding should not occur and is working with Congress to find a solution.
· There is still time for Congress to prevent a lapse in appropriations; however, as you are aware, we are required to prepare for all contingencies, including the possibility that a lapse could occur.
· A lapse would mean that a number of our activities would close down due to a lack of appropriated funding.
· While military personnel would continue in a normal duty status, a large number of our civilian employees would be temporarily furloughed.
· To prepare for this possibility, we are updating our contingency plans for executing an orderly shutdown of activities that would be affected by a lapse in appropriations.
· Supervisors and managers are beginning to informally tell employees they would be subject to furlough.
· Should shutdown be warranted, generally, employees who are not excepted from the furlough should come in and sign their furlough letters, then depart for the day. Employees may also receive their notice through agency email.
For DoD/Component-Level Union Meetings:
· Once approved, the plans will be posted to the DoD website.
· The Plan will include a broad description of the excepted activities in DoD.
· Local activities will identify excepted activities and employees consistent with the DoD plan.
· The Secretary knows that the uncertainty of the current situation puts our civilian workforce in a difficult situation.
· Should a lapse occur, it could impose hardships on many employees and disrupt important national security projects.
For Field-Level Activities
· The DoD Contingency Plan will identify excepted activities. We will follow that plan.
· Excepted and non-excepted employees will be notified of their status by this Friday afternoon.
· Since we won’t know about a lapse until the last minute, employees will receive their official furlough notice after the lapse has occurred.
· We recognize the uncertainty of the current situation puts our civilian workforce in a difficult situation.
· Should a lapse occur, it could impose hardships on many employees and disrupt important national security projects.
Sincerely and Fraternally,
President, Local Lodge 2424