March 27 through April 1 was a very busy few days for NASCOE. The NASCOE Negotiation Team was in Washington, DC to meet with management on your behalf. The Negotiation Team is comprised of the NASCOE Officers including the Past President, the five Area Executives and the five area Negotiation Consultants. Also accompanying NASCOE were the National Programs Chair, the Southeast Area Programs Chair and the National Legislative Chair. The NAFEC Chair was also in Washington meeting with and accompanying NAFEC on their visits.
In order to accommodate the schedule for the week, NASCOE representatives traveled to Washington on Easter Sunday. We used Monday to review the items one final time and prepared for our negotiation session with management and conduct NASCOE business with the Executive Committee. NASCOE is the sole organization that can negotiate with management on behalf of CO employees. The meetings were very productive and we believe membership will appreciate the results of the session.
For the second year in a row, Wednesday morning was set aside for a joint session with all employee associations being present. The joint meeting gave management an opportunity to address all of the associations at one time. This year was especially memorable because Secretary Vilsack and Under Secretary Michael Scuse both addressed the association representatives. NASCOE is very appreciative of them taking time out of their busy schedules to share some comments with us.
After lunch on Wednesday, the NASCOE team was able to view a demonstration of the ARS based workload tool being developed. Immediately after the workload demonstration, Glenn Schafer provided an overview of the Bridges to Opportunity (BTO) software. NASCOE is supportive of the BTO initiative and was encouraged by the demonstration. BTO has the potential to expand our customer base and may help justify FSA presence in the county.
All of the employee associations stayed at the same hotel and collectively hosted an informal reception on Wednesday evening. Members of management, program specialists and their teams were all invited. This was very well attended and was an excellent way to make new acquaintances and build relationships.
Thursday was a travel day home for most of the Negotiation Team. However, in order to take maximum advantage of being in Washington, a few members of leadership made additional visits on Thursday and Friday, as time would allow. These meetings were mainly with program specialists and dealt with more specific topics as opposed to the negotiation session on Tuesday.
All in all it was a very busy but productive week for NASCOE. The topics negotiated and the resolutions will be shared with membership as soon as the minutes and resolutions can be fully vetted by both sides. Please remember that program items can be submitted at any time by using the online submission form located on the NASCOE webpage. As always, please feel free to contact your NASCOE leadership if you have issues, comments or concerns.