CFS Potential Mandatory Transfers Update: Oct. 24, 2023
Dear CFS SSWs and SSSSs,
As you may know, recently there has been talk of potential term limits and mandatory transfers of SSWs and SSSSs within CFS (Please note: This does not include SSWs and SSSSs within APS). Despite some rumors, OCEA was not informed of these changes before they were announced to staff. After receiving notice from OCEA members, we immediately initiated the Meet and Confer process with CFS Management to get clarification on their plan and to discuss the potential impacts to your working conditions.
We met with CFS Management for the first time regarding this topic last Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023. We want to THANK everyone who provided feedback and questions for this meeting. Considerable thought and effort went into your carefully crafted responses and we greatly appreciate it. Due to the overwhelming volume of responses, we were unable to personally reply to each message. Please know each email was read and considered, and all questions were compiled and submitted to management.
At Thursday's meeting, we were able to get a better understanding of the overall plan and the motivation behind the proposed change in policy and practice. It does appear there is a significant misunderstanding about who this change will impact. Currently, CFS management only intends to apply this policy change to non-case carrying positions, but long-term their plan is for this to apply to all SSW and SSSS positions within CFS.
Their reported intent is to reduce attrition; expand employee knowledge of CFS as a whole; offer employees more opportunities for professional development; and strengthen succession planning. Management shared concerns with employees quitting because they were being denied transfer/growth opportunities as well as concerns with employees (SSWs, SSSSs, and managers) having limited experience in various programs.
However, questions related to timelines, term limits, and seniority remain unanswered. Specifically, additional clarification regarding the implementation timelines for SSWs in case-carrying positions, and SSSSs in general, is still needed. We are also seeking clarification on the terms limits themselves. While many of you were told the term limit would be five years, CFS Management told us "three years, with business need exceptions not to exceed five years." Additionally, we received many questions centered on how seniority will be determined. CFS Management told us seniority will be determined by time in current assignment, not program. We have also requested additional clarification regarding how seniority will be determined when there are multiple people in an assignment for the same amount of time (e.g., those assigned to RFA). Lastly, many of you also requested transparency with the seniority list. We have elevated this request to CFS leadership and have no reason to believe this request cannot be fulfilled.
Additional pending questions include:
- How will CFS Management determine the transfers?
- Will employees have a say?
- Does it have to be a new program in which they have no prior experience?
- Will employees have equal knowledge of, and access to, available opportunities?
As a reminder, OCEA cannot approve or take a position on a management right, such as modifying a management policy. OCEA can demand to Meet and Confer over the impacts of a proposed policy change. Therefore, OCEA will continue to engage SSA management to ensure your voices are heard, your concerns have been considered, and to mitigate the potential negative impacts of this management decision.
CFS management wants to proceed with implementation in January 2024. Given the fact OCEA has yet to be provided a copy of the proposed policy, the upcoming holiday season, and level of detail the County still needs to finalize, OCEA believes the County’s timeline is unrealistic. As always, we will update you on any further developments.
We plan to meet with CFS Management again next Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023. With consideration given to the new information provided in this email, please submit any additional questions you may have to OCEA Labor Relations Representative Kerensa Schupmann at email@example.com by 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 30.
If you wish to discuss this topic further, please contact your OCEA Labor Relations Representatives:
Publication Date: October 24, 2023