President’s Newsletter – March 22, 2019

UNION NEWSLETTER

Good morning from Baltimore! We have wrapped up the first session of contract negotiations. Be assured that your future, your livelihood, and your work/balance are critically important to your union. Judge Mincey has completed a second survey that looked at issues related to hours forfeited and morale. As an example, we learned that 49% of ALJs do not feel leadership at any level values their well-being and work life balance. We are committed to working with the agency to turn that around. We all know morale is key to a healthy and effective organization that can sustain high performance. The American citizens we serve deserve nothing less. The survey is posted on the union website and you can also receive it from your regional vice president.

We continue to receive information from judges in relation to reasonable accommodations. Feel free to email Judge Mary French at maryfrenchalj@comcast.net. If you have worked in the area of reasonable accommodations and would like to assist, contact our national grievance chair Jay Cohen.

I have some additional information since the last newsletter in relation to donated hours:

1)      Donated annual leave hours by ALJs in FY 16, FY 17 and FY 18.

2016 – 13,820 hours

2017 – 12,552 hours

2018 – 12,078 hours

2)      Donated “use or lose” annual leave hours by ALJs in FY 16, FY 17 and FY 18.

2016 – 8,612 hours

2017 – 7,090 hours

2018 – 8,209 hours

The number of ALJs who issued 500 or more dispositions and less than 500 dispositions in FY 2017 and FY 2018.  This chart does not account for ALJs who retired or separated from the agency prior to the end of a fiscal year.

FY17FY18
500 or more487777
499 or less1132843

When I look at the disposition data provided by the Agency, I am amazed at the above and beyond efforts of ALJs. I also note that most judges do not issue 500 dispositions. Finally, I cannot look at the data related to morale and lost hours of work and conclude that this pace is sustainable.

Judge Mincey and I will be doing a quick turnaround this weekend because we are headed back to Washington, D.C. for the third time since January. We will again provide education about critical issues related to judicial independence and our ability to ensure that we issue legally sufficient decisions that provide for the due process rights of the claimants.

Over the next few weeks, we will be sending out updates via our Union Website e-blast service.  Please make sure your regional vice president has your current personal e-mail address if you would like to receive them.

Below is an opportunity to donate leave to a colleague. Thank you for your support as we navigate through these challenging times.

Melissa

AALJ President