United Public Employees.
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Meet and Confer Update

005 DCFAS Return to Work Plan

May 26, 2021

UPE and DCFAS met on May 26, 2021 to discuss the Department’s return to work plan.  The Department intends to reopen all DCFAS lobbies June 15, 2021, with the exception of one Watt Avenue location. Staff who currently support those lobbies will continue to do so on a rotating basis. The Department also intends to roll back changes that were implemented under the emergency COVID procedures, including telework.

UPE immediately questioned why the Department was ending telework when it has been working successfully for both the workers and the Department.  The Department claims their intention is not to end telework but to reset and reassess the needs. They need to identify what worked versus didn’t work, what is feasible, and where enhancements need to occur.

UPE questioned why the reassessment can’t be done now, prior to the July 12 return date, as it appears they are delaying the process. The department once again claimed they needed to get everything updated and further assess, however it is still unclear why they can’t do that now.  UPE further questioned the department on which classifications would be included in the assessment. Despite their earlier commitment to expand telework opportunities the Department would not commit to any specific 005 classifications or even identify specific functions.

Knowing that telework did not hinder any of the department’s practices or procedures during the pandemic, we feel positive that it will continue. Having said that, we all recognize that not everyone will be able to participate, simply due to job functions that just cannot be done remotely. We will continue to advocate and offer suggestions that will allow as many as possible to have a remote schedule.

Additionally, UPE raised concerns about the safety measures being put into place with the large numbers of returning staff. The Department only provided what has been in place for the last year but failed to identify any new measures that addressed the increased capacity. UPE quickly reminded the Department that telework was a safety measure that they intend to modify. Despite the Governor’s call to reopen, COVID-19 is still a safety concern and asking our members to return to the office without measures in place is unacceptable.

UPE and the Department agreed to meet again to continue discussions. Thank you to our 005 Board Members AAron Washington and Jabari Sekou for their advocacy.

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