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Nearly two-thirds of AFSA’s membership hails from the

Department of State. Representing this deserving group

is a source of great pride; it also makes for very busy days.

Throughout 2015, AFSA met with department management on a

biweekly basis to promote our members’ interests on a wide range

of issues affecting the Foreign Service. Here are some highlights.

After strongly (but ultimately unsuccessfully) protesting the depart-

ment’s proposal to significantly change the criteria and procedures for

posts to qualify for

danger pay

and hardship differentials, AFSA was

able to protect employees at danger pay posts from some negative

repercussions related to Fair Share bidding and six- and eight-year

rules. We also got management to grandfather in certain elements for

bidders who had been assigned to, but not yet arrived at, danger pay

posts. Unfortunately, our push for a later implementation date to allow

employees to make necessary financial adjustments did not succeed.

AFSA and the department negotiated language for revised sections to

the Foreign Affairs Manual that govern (1) the differences between

affinity groups and employee organizations, (2) Members of Household

and (3) employees’ capacity to conduct official and private outreach.

The department and AFSA also negotiated the terms of a new

Fitness-for-Duty policy for service in Iraq that mirrors the one in

effect for Afghanistan, signed a memorandum of understanding capping linked assignments and negotiated a performance mana ge- ment reform package. As a result of the Supreme Court ruling on sam


sex marriage, the department notified AFSA in July that it would be

phasing out the Same Sex Domestic Partner program. After consulting

with GLIFAA, AFSA negotiated the grace

period for enrollment and the cutoff date

for the program.

AFSA also partnered with our Civil Service

union counterparts to negotiate the estab-

lishment of a leave bank for all department

personnel. The leave bank allows employees

to contribute unused, accrued annual leave for

use by leave bank members who need such

leave because of a medical emergency.

We also met with the Foreign Service Institute

to discuss how to improve transportation

options to its campus. And we worked with

them to create a labor relations course.

In consultation with groups such as the

Asian American Foreign Affairs Association,

Balancing Act and the Equal Employment

Opportunity Commission, AFSA remains

engaged in ongoing negotiations on many

additional issues, such as assignment restric- tions, consular staffing, domestic help, the FSI Rosslyn annex, the Overseas Development Program, short-term disability insurance, the

Vance memo and work-life wellness. We hope

to report positive developments in all of those

areas and more in 2016.


Angie Bryan