AFSA Labor Management Explanation of Services and Scope of Representation

There are several ways for current members to request assistance from AFSA’s Labor Management Office (LM):

  • Send an e-mail to afsa@state.gov, which will be read and reviewed by AFSA’s Labor Management Advisor (LMA). USAID and FCS members may also direct their inquiries to crose@usaid.gov.
  • Send an e-mail to member@afsa.org which will be read by AFSA’s Membership Section which then forwards the email to the appropriate AFSA staff member or elected official.
  • Call LM’s main number at 202-647-8160. USAID members should call 202-712-1941.
  • Stop by and visit AFSA’s Main LM office in Room 1251, Main State. We also have an AFSA office at USAID in Room 2.10C; an AFSA office at FCS in Room 31013; and an AFSA office at FAS in Room 0075-S.

Regardless of the manner in which an inquiry comes in, it is AFSA’s policy to protect its members’ privacy and confidentiality to the greatest degree possible.

Duty of Fair Representation: Pursuant to Chapter 10 of the Foreign Service Act, AFSA LM represents all bargaining unit members, regardless of AFSA membership, in those matters where AFSA has a duty of fair representation, e.g., collective bargaining.

AFSA Members: AFSA restricts grievance assistance and counseling to AFSA members. AFSA members include those assigned to Management Official, Confidential Employee and Human Resource positions. LM staff may assist associate members, as time permits, with security clearance issues, suitability appeals, and other issues relating to their Foreign Service employment, and/or issues that have broad applicability for Foreign Service family members. Assistance to regular members takes precedence over assistance to associate members. Effective July 1, 2018, only members who have been in good standing for at least six months are able to receive LM grievance counseling and legal assistance.

Conflicts of Interest: Where there is a conflict or potential conflict between the interests of two or more members seeking AFSA’s assistance, the LM staff will inform all parties of the conflict and take appropriate action. Action may include, but is not limited to: seeking informed consent from the members to waive the conflict or ceasing to represent one or all parties.

In cases where pursuit of a specific case may cause significant (i.e., widespread or serious) harm to the broader interest of AFSA or AFSA members collectively, or create a conflict with the interests of the union, AFSA’s General Counsel, who oversees all case work, is required to alert the AFSA Governing Board, via the State VP (who supervises LM staff), to the potential conflict or harm. LM staff will in such cases, which are rare, seek the member’s permission to discuss the case prior to doing so. If the Governing Board finds that the potential harm to collective interests outweighs the benefit of pursuing a specific case, then LM staff will not provide legal assistance or grievance counseling but will provide a referral list to help the member obtain outside counsel.

Scope of Representation: AFSA assists members with a wide variety of issues relating to their Foreign Service employment, including in grievances, discipline proceedings, investigations, and security clearance cases. Members are required to take an active role in their cases, which includes being responsible for meeting filing deadlines, drafting documents, gathering evidence in support of their cases, and responding to LM staff’s inquiries in a prompt manner.

AFSA reserves the right to limit or discontinue assistance if a member is not following AFSA’s advice, is not actively participating in his or her case, or if further assistance exceeds or may adversely impact AFSA’s limited resources. If an LM staff member believes that assistance to a member should be limited or terminated, he/she will discuss the issue with the GC, who will discuss the issue with the constituency VP and/or MC.