66 MAY 2018 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL AFSA NEWS Back to School: Labor Management Matters In May 2017 AFSA and the Department of State launched FSI course PA457 (Foreign Service Labor Management Relations). The Labor Management sec- tion at AFSA developed this course to increase employee and management under- standing of labor manage- ment relations within the foreign affairs agencies. Successful completion of the course enables members of the Foreign Service to bet- ter understand the relation- ship between the union and their respective agencies. In the course, you will learn about: AFSA—Your Exclusive Representative and Profes- sional Organization The history of Foreign Service labor management relations dates back to 1924, when the Consular Corps was combined with the Diplomatic Corps to form the Foreign Service of the United States. In the same year, the Consular Association recon- stituted itself as the American Foreign Service Association— AFSA—the profes- sional organization for members of the U.S. Foreign Service. In 1972 AFSA won the right to be the exclusive representative of the Foreign Service and currently holds exclusive representation rights for members of the Foreign Service in six foreign affairs agencies (State, USAID, FAS, FCS, BBG and APHIS). AFSA is unique in that it is both the exclusive represen- tative and the professional association for the U.S. For- eign Service. Over the years AFSA has played a signifi- cant role in advancing priori- ties identified as important to the Foreign Service and our membership. AFSA engages in congressional advocacy, produces The Foreign Service Journal and administers a scholarship fund for the children of For- eign Service members. AFSA is the sole recog- nized labor union for the For- eign Service; foreign affairs agencies may only negotiate changes to conditions of employment with AFSA. Rights and Obligations As detailed in the Foreign Service Act, employees, management and the union hold certain rights and are legally bound to carry out specific obligations. The Foreign Service Labor Man- agement course (PA457) discusses these rights and obligations in more detail. As an employee, you should know your rights, which include: • The right to join or assist the labor organization without fear of penalty, and the right to refrain from join- ing the union. • The right to act as a representative of the labor organization and to present its views to authorities. • The right to an attor- ney outside the exclusive representative in grievance processes, if desired. • The right to have a union representative pres- ent during an investigatory interview conducted by the agency if you reasonably believe the interview may result in discipline or termi- nation. Do you want to learn more? The Foreign Service Labor Management course (PA457) is available through FSI’s Leadership and Man- agement School and takes approximately one hour to complete. We encourage all Foreign Service members to sign up and learn about labor-management relations within the foreign affairs agencies. —Jason Snyder, AFSA Grievance Counselor an official in the employee’s chain of command, such as the bureau office director, post principal officer or other senior official. Nominations from overseas posts do not need post joint awards committee approval. Nomi- nations must be submitted to your bureau’s Executive Office between April 1 and June 16. In recognizing excellence in your colleagues—particularly those who might feel disin- clined to draw attention to their accomplishments—you are making the Foreign Ser- vice stronger, building the next generation of Foreign Service leaders and highlighting the commitment to service that unites us in this career. The MSI nomination form, DS-1903, can be found on MyData, on the intranet at https://mydata.state.sbu/ home. Nominations criteria can be found in the Proce- dural Precepts for Foreign Service Meritorious Service Increase Panels (on the HR/ PE intranet site at https:// intranet.hr.state.sbu/offices/ pe/Pages/default.aspx). For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org . Please take the time to nominate your deserving colleagues. n ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/CREATARKA MSI • Continued from page 65 In recognizing excellence in your colleagues, you are making the Foreign Service stronger.