The Foreign Service Journal, April 2021

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | APRIL 2021 59 AFSA NEWS AFSA NEWS THE OFFICIAL RECORD OF THE AMERICAN FOREIGN SERVICE ASSOCIATION Please check for the most up-to-date information. All events are subject to cancellation or rescheduling. April 5 Deadline: 2021 High School Essay Contest April 21 12-2 p.m. AFSA Governing Board Meeting April 22 12 p.m. AFSA Virtual Book Notes: Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation by retired FSO Peter Cozzens May 6 AFSA Foreign Service Day Virtual Programming May 7 Virtual Foreign Service Day May 13 12 p.m. AFSA Governing Board Election Town Hall May 19 12-2 p.m. AFSA Governing Board Meeting CALENDAR The Foreign Service Labor Relations Board ruled on Jan. 19 in favor of granting payments to FSOs who were ranked by the 2015 and 2016 State Department selection boards to receive Meritorious Service Increases. AFSA is extremely pleased with the decision. In a close vote, two mem- bers of the FSLRB ruled in AFSA’s favor while the chair of the board, appointed by the previous administration, dissented. As there is no appeal in this type of case, AFSA believes the depart- ment is now legally required to retroactively pay the 2015 and 2016 MSIs, with interest, to affected employees. Individuals who are expected to benefit from the FSLRB’s decision are those who were identified as “... demonstrating potential to serve at higher levels” in department cables announc- ing the 2015 and 2016 promo- tion lists. While the calculation of back pay can be complicated and time-consuming, we will urge the department to move forward expeditiously. As of this writing, the department has advised AFSA that it is reviewing the FSLRB’s deci- sion. The 2015 and 2016 cases are the last of four implemen- tation disputes AFSA filed based on the department’s decision not to award any MSIs, or to award a smaller percentage of MSIs than called for in AFSA’s collec- tive bargaining agreements (i.e., the selection board procedural precepts) with the department. AFSA prevailed in the 2013 MSI dispute, and more than 550 individuals received retroactive MSIs or adjust- ments to their annuities if retired. Unfortunately, while the Foreign Service Grievance Board ruled in AFSA’s favor in the 2014 dispute, the FSLRB reversed this decision. For nearly 40 years the department and AFSA have negotiated and agreed on the procedural precepts (i.e., the “ground rules” for selection boards). The precepts include provisions relating to the award of MSIs to employees who were not promoted, but whose performance was of sufficient quality that an MSI was deemed appropriate by the selection boards. For approximately 30 years prior to 2013, MSIs were paid to whatever number of employees the selection boards recommended, up to a percentage limitation of the competitive class specified in the precepts. AFSA’s Labor Management team has devoted hundreds of hours over the past six years litigating MSI cases to make certain our members and all Foreign Service employees get what is rightfully theirs. As a result of AFSA’s efforts in this dispute, more than 1,000 Foreign Service AFSA Celebrates Win on Meritorious Service Increases employees have received or are expected to receive a permanent increase to their salaries, or to their annuities if retired. These are your AFSA dues at work. If you have any questions about this matter, please write AFSA at n Foreign Service Day May 7, 2021 Please save the date for the annual AFSA Open House on Thursday, May 6. See page 67 for more details.