The Foreign Service Journal, April 2020

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | APRIL 2020 59 Labor Management Relations—A Critical Matter for All AFSA is both the principal advocate for the long-term institutional well-being of the professional career Foreign Service and responsible for safeguarding the interests of AFSA members. For this column, I want to share a few thoughts related to labor management, a critical role for safeguarding member interests. AFSA has a strong, dedi- cated Labor Management team—an impressive cadre of professionals who advance AFSA’s mission at both the individual and policy levels. In my approximately six months on the job, I have learned quite a bit, both from the AFSA LM team and also from the many USAID col- leagues engaged in the labor management area. This is a fascinating and specialized field, and I would encourage you to take a look at AFSA’s website: labor-management-guidance. Labor management relations are so critical to a modern organization’s effectiveness that the Foreign Service Act (my favorite act) has an entire chapter on the topic (Chapter 10). The act mandates that “the unique conditions of Foreign Service employment require a distinct framework for the development and implementation of modern, constructive and coopera- tive relationships between management officials and organizations representing members of the Service.” This is more than rheto- ric—it is one more instance of Congress recognizing that FSOs operate in a unique environment under exceptional circumstances, and that the agency and AFSA should engage accord- ingly. As AFSA VP for USAID, I am committed to doing my best to build, maintain and strengthen this frame- work for the benefit of the agency’s mission and its people. n USAID VP VOICE | BY JASON SINGER AFSA NEWS Contact: | (202) 712-5267 AFSAGoverning Board Meeting, Feb. 19, 2020 Changes to Legal Defense Fund SOPs: The Governing Board approved the following changes to the standard operating procedures of the Legal Defense Fund: • Raise the donation amount requiring Governing Board approval to $10,001 or more. • Allow AFSA to draw funds from the LDF if the associa- tion needs to retain outside legal counsel to assist in a matter of institutional significance. • Consolidate all relevant guidance into one LDF SOP document. • Allow the LDF Committee to make the final decision on funding denials. The decision must be unanimous. Further, a member may appeal the committee’s denial to the Governing Board. Legal Defense Fund Requests: The Governing Board approved a payment from the Legal Defense Fund of $2,358.18 to the attorneys of an AFSAmember for legal services related to the impeachment proceedings through Dec. 31, 2019. The Governing Board denied a Legal Defense Fund request from an AFSAmember unrelated to the impeachment hearings. n Everything You Need to Know about the TSP Thrift Savings Plan Train- ing and Liaison Specialist Arvella Collins visited AFSA headquarters on Jan. 8 to discuss “What You Need to Know About the Thrift Savings Plan—2020.” The presentation included infor- mation on new features of the TSP. For most federal workers, the TSP is a great option for saving for retirement. TSP offers portfolio diversifica- tion, low management fees and reallocation of contribu- tions. Ms. Collins, who works for the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, geared her talk toward pre- retirees. But the informa- tion is also useful for those already retired who wish to review their TSP and hear about new developments. The program included the following topics: • First Steps: Preparing for separation • Turning Savings into Income: The TSP retirement income options • Withdrawal Rules: Other considerations • Planning Your Legacy: TSP death benefits • Getting Help: Resources for participants AFSA members may visit to watch a recording of the presenta- tion. n