The Foreign Service Journal, June 2003

Happily, this AFSA initiative stimulated management to start organizing themselves to become negotiating partners. This was a sea change in man- agement culture at State, and it took a while, but eventually they understood the value to both sides of professionally con- ducted negotiations. I left Washington for six years of overseas duty in the summer of 1974. When I returned in 1980, there was a full-fledged grievance system in place, and the arbitration system was func- tioning (under the aegis of the Foreign Service Labor Relations Board). I even had the pleasure of serving as AFSA’s representative on that for a couple of years. In 1984, I became State’s deputy assistant secretary for personnel, and had the responsibility for formulat- ing the department’s final offers during the informal grievance process. If the employee did not accept my final offer, he or she could then resort to the formal grievance process. I had no cultural problem in moving from labor union militant to senior management official dealing with personnel issues. In the final analysis, both sides are trying to solve problems in order to make the system work more fairly and more efficiently. But my AFSA expe- rience gave me one advantage over other manage- ment officials who did not go via that same route: I never embarked on a change of policy or procedure with respect to negotiable issues without first initiat- ing consultations with AFSA. ■ 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 39 The establishment of a State Department ombudsman greatly facilitated my work on the Members’ Interests Committee. Home Suite Home The next time you’re going to be in DC for an extended stay, make yourself at home at Georgetown Suites. With our discounted monthly rates and large, comfortable suites, you’ll feel right at home. Plus we’re near the State Department. Call today! Georgetown Suites the fun place to stay in DC 1-800-348-7203