1. The goals of the Union/Management Cooperation Agreement are to further the agency mission, foster more productive and cost effective service to the agency's customers, and enhance the working conditions and morale of the employees.
2. The parties will select their own representatives and will actively cooperate in developing positive accomplishments in their interaction. Management shall select all managerial/supervisory representatives and the Local shall select all bargaining unit representatives. Either party may suggest representatives to the other, and all suggestions shall be given fair and honest consideration. The Union has the right and responsibility to develop and communicate suggestions and positions of the bargaining unit.
3. Union/Management Councils shall be formed at two organizational levels. The parties shall form one council on a national basis between Passport Services upper management and the Local. This shall be called the National Union/Management Council. The parties shall also form union/management councils at each of the Passport Field Agencies. These shall be called (name of city) Regional Union/Management Council (e.g., New Orleans Regional Union/Management Council, Los Angeles Regional Union/Management Council, etc.) Except as where agreed to by the parties, the Regional Councils shall be represented by an equal number of management and Local 1998 representatives.
4. Except as where otherwise agreed to by the parties, the National Union/Management Council will meet once a year under the provisions of Article 7, Section 2 of the negotiated agreement between Passport Services and NFFE Local 1998. The length of the meeting may extend up to two days as necessary due to the number of agenda items. The National Council shall also conduct three conference calls between the representatives, scheduled for the quarters when the annual meeting is not held.
5. Local representatives shall advise their supervisor of the scheduling of the meeting and the conference calls on the same day they are advised of the information. Official time shall be allotted as needed for the meeting and the conference calls.
6. It is the purpose of this Agreement to involve employees and union representatives as full partners with management representatives. To this end, the Union/Management Council shall consider problems at the predecisional stages, crafting solutions to promote the Department's objectives, serve the customers, and meet employee needs; and design and create procedures and practices to achieve bilateral resolution of issues between labor and management. Individual grievances shall not normally be discussed at Council meetings or conference calls, and will not be decided within this forum.
7. The Employer agrees to provide the Union with material related to working conditions. The Employer will share regular updates on other activities. The Union may request additional information in the course of monthly briefings. If available, management will provide such information.
8. The parties recognize that training in cooperative labor management relationships, such as interest-based bargaining, conflict resolution, alternative dispute resolution techniques, and communications skills, may be useful in enhancing the Council's accomplishments.
9. The Council will make decisions by consensus.
10. The Employer will notify the Union if and when a Department level union/management council is instituted and of any action taken by that council on issues that impact on the bargaining unit.