The Foreign Service Journal, June 2003

Equally important, AFSA’s “Young Turks” and “Participation” advocates recognized that President Nixon’s federal labor-management reforms of this era pro- vided the mechanism for AFSA to expand what had been a professional and social organization into a labor union— one dedicated both to preserving the unique merit-based principles of the Foreign Service and to establishing a for- mal system of bargaining in which employees could par- ticipate actively in the development of the rules and regu- lations that governed their profession and their careers. This dual approach was the key to the AFSA revolution. Today, the labor management institutions that were built during that revolutionary period are the most broad- ly-based within the federal government. Unlike other federal unions, which are prohibited from representing most supervisors, the Foreign Service labor-management system encompasses large numbers of executives and managers, including many former ambassadors and other senior-level personnel. Reflecting the wide range of its members’ interests and concerns, AFSA conducts bargaining on all themajor issues affecting careers and benefits, and does so on a rolling basis each year. Contrast this with the Civil Service system, where the major national regulations are fixed unilaterally by the Office of Personnel Management and are not nego- tiable at the agency level. As a result, most Civil Service bargaining only takes place every year or two and focuses on local implementation of government-wide rules. Similarly, grievances within the Foreign Service are pursued by employees themselves with the assistance of AFSA. In the Civil Service, almost all grievances are brought by the unions on behalf of the employees for the violation of some local contract provision. In other words, it is the unions who are the major grievants in the Civil Service System for breaches of the contract, not the employees. The “Young Turks” and Participation Slate members are now grandfathers and grandmothers, but they have given birth to a lasting and vital legacy in the Foreign Service and molded their vision into a dynamic reality. ■ F O C U S J U N E 2 0 0 3 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L 27 Studio suite for 2 people, plus rental car for federal government per diem Apartment-style suites with fully equipped kitchens Honor Federal Government per diem 365 days a year Pets accepted with $100 fee Complimentary daily hot buffet breakfast and evening meal Monday through Thursday with beer, wine & soft drinks. Complimentary Shuttle to Van Dorn Metro Free parking for one car Adjacent to Landmark Mall and support services Convenient to: Ronald Reagan Airport 8 miles Pentagon 5 miles NFATC 5 miles Washington, D.C. 8 miles Old Town Alexandria 5 miles Reservations (703) 370-1000 Phone: (703) 370-1000 Fax: (703) 751-1467 420 North Van Dorn Street, Alexandria, VA 22304 E-mail: Earn Hyatt Gold Passport Points at Hawthorn