1. : The Employer recognizes that the Union has the exclusive right to represent all employees in the unit in negotiations and formal meetings with the Employer, with regard to matters affecting the conditions of employment.
a. The Employer agrees to respect the rights of the Union.
b. The Union has the right to present its views, ideas or recommendations to any level of management, or other officials of the executive branch of the Government, the Congress, or other appropriate authorities regarding personnel policies, practices or conditions of employment.
c. Upon request from either party, Union officials and Employer supervisors shall informally discuss items of concern in the application of the Agreement or law, rule or regulations to avoid misunderstanding. Representatives of the union and Employer shall not refuse to meet to discuss these matters.
d. The Employer will recognize elected union officers and appointed representatives throughout the bargaining unit. The Union will supply the Employer in writing, and will maintain on a current basis, a list of the Union officials. At a minimum, the list shall be forwarded to the Employer on a semi‑annual basis. The list will identify the group of bargaining unit employees each official is designated to represent. Except as provided in paragraph e, Union officials will provide representational services on official time only to employees within their representational area.
e. In any field agency where the Union is unrepresented by an official or steward, the Union President will be given advance notice of any formal change in policies, procedures, working conditions or grievance discussions. In those instances the Union may assign another Union official from outside the Agency to assist the employee. These dealings will be undertaken to the fullest extent possible by telephone, mail or other means. If it becomes necessary for a Union official to personally visit the Passport Agency to assist the employee, it shall normally be the nearest official. The Employer will not be responsible for travel and per diem cost of the Union official. However, the official shall be permitted official time as provided in Section 5 to represent the employee and for travel time to and from the location.
f. The Employer agrees to recognize duly accredited representatives of the NFFE National Office. The Union shall provide notice in accordance with section 6 to the Employer of visit to be made by representatives of the National Office.
2. : The meeting is intended to provide the parties an opportunity to mutually explore matters concerning the labor‑management relationship and effective operations of the organization. The party requesting the meeting shall provide an agenda of subjects to be discussed. The other party may also provide a list of subjects which will be discussed. The agenda items shall not be subjects of individual or institutional grievances but will pertain to matters of mutual concern of the parties. The meeting will be for one day.
The meeting will be held on a mutually agreeable date during the first year of this agreement and each year thereafter. Management will provide official time and expenses for travel and per diem for the Union President and up to 3 other representatives as designated by the Union. The names of the Union official must be provided to the Employer 30 days in advance of the meeting.
a. The initial point of contact shall be the lowest level Employer official and lowest level Union official having responsibility to act. If either Party at the initial point of contact feels a matter is outside its jurisdiction, the matter shall be referred immediately to the next higher level.
b. The Employer's contact for matters affecting more than one agency or beyond the headquarters office is the Union President, or in the case of a vacancy in that position whomever the Union designates. The Union may authorize the NFFE National Office to act on its behalf in any dealings with the Employer.