Update: One minor correction, Ames has not begun the eQIP for employees, beyond those occurring for security clearances, at this point.
Bargaining unit member,
NASA is proceeding to implement Homeland Security Personnel Directive (HSPD-12) at all Centers, including Ames. Center management has determined that more than 20% of the employees at Ames are moderate or high sensitivity risk. AFEU contends that Ames management has over-classified a large number of employees, particularly given that GSFC and JPL have reported around 5% at moderate and high risk.
This over-classification by management will result in an inappropriate loss of your privacy by requiring you to sign a more intrusive set of release forms--allowing the government to acquire medical records from your doctors and hospitals and financial records from your financial institutions. These releases also allow the government to submit an open-ended request for a statement from your doctors and financial managers regarding your suitability for employment and whether there is anything in your background that may be cause for concern.
I have requested that all employees at moderate or high risk be notified of their classification. HR intends to work with the Union to establish a classification appeal process. However, it is apparent that employees are already being asked to submit to the eQIP process wherein their information is to be submitted. Even if you disagree with the classification, if management directs you to submit to this questionnaire, we suggest you provide the information requested.
AFEU expects to be forced to file a group grievance (similar to a class-action suit) and a legal defense committee has been formed to develop our case and to work with legal counsel to ensure that the case is pursued to the fullest extent under the law and under our contract. If you feel you have been misclassified as moderate or high risk, contact an executive board member of the Union and we will include your concerns in our actions. As with any Union representation, you must explicitly request representation if you wish to be party to a grievance.
What can you do in the meantime? If you are not currently a member, please consider joining. Your dues go to help the Union pay for legal expenses that will be incurred in our defense. If you are a current member, consider helping with other Union activities such as negotiations or becoming a steward to assist in other, unrelated cases so that the core defense team can focus on the particular issues of HSPD-12. You are allowed official time, using the Union's WBS #'s, in your support of the Union's activities.
Lastly, the next membership meeting, scheduled for noon on Feb. 20, will focus on this and other pressing issues facing the employees at the Center. We hope to see you there, and we welcome whatever assistance you can provide. We will be sure to update everyone as these issues develop.