Competitive Service

Our legislative committee, including Chair and RVP 5 Gabrielle Vitellio, and members Exec VP Danette Mincey and Secretary Janice Holmes, along with IFPTE legislative director Matt Biggs, have worked diligently these last four months to see a bill introduced to restore the hiring of ALJs to competitive service. You can read the article here.


We are headed back to the negotiating table next week. I would like to thank Treasurer George Evans, Janice Holmes, and Danette Mincey for working with me to prepare the initial proposals that were based on data, mission needs, and judges’ pressing concerns. At all times we have been reasonable, bargaining in good faith, while seeking win-win outcomes. Through the first four weeks of negotiations, we have had Judges Danette Mincey, RVP 4N Matt Martin, RVP 4S Carol Moore, Gabrielle Vitellio, IFPTE International Representative David Lafemina, and member Patrick Berigan, along with me at the table. I thank each of them for their excellent service. In addition to this week, we have two short sessions scheduled in June. We have reached agreement on six articles and the preamble. We hope to make much more progress in the upcoming week.

In a previous newsletter, I explained the negotiations of NTEU Chapter 224 and AFGE Council 220. NTEU went to impasse on fewer articles than AFGE. Both went to impasse on critical articles like telework, duration of the contract, official time, and grievances. I also discussed the recent HHS decision made by the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP). The vast majority of all decisions made by FSIP now are in favor of the Agency. Both AFGE Council 220 and NTEU Chapter 224 have filed bad faith bargaining grievances, and sought support from Congress.

We will continue to bargain in good faith and do everything in our power to advocate for the tools you need to do your work, as well as have work life balance. We know that the current scheduling requirements are not sustainable.

Half of your board has either prepared proposals, participated at the bargaining table, or provided support. At our last board meeting, we had a valuable discussion about the current negotiations, exploring all options and considering all ways we can advocate for our members. The discussion was in no way limited, and continued after the meeting ended. I want to assure you that your board is passionately committed to doing all we can, and exploring every option, as we represent you.

AFGE Letter

You can read the newest Congressional letter written on behalf of AFGE Council 220 here.

Information Request Data

When first elected, I made several information requests in order to best draft proposals and negotiate our collective bargaining agreement. I want to share some data with you. I’ve previously shared data on lost hours of work. In these documents, you will see information on file page counts per offices here.

In the next document here, you will see information on dismissals, dispositions, remands and scheduling.

2019 AALJ Educational  Conference

As a reminder, this year’s conference is October 22-24, 2019, with travel days on the 21st and 25th, in Reno, Nevada. We are staying at the beautiful Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel and have partnered with the National Judicial College.


All who submitted an interest in becoming our next union treasurer were impressive. The board will evaluate these candidates and we will report back soon.

Changes in eBP

On April 26, 2019, the Union received notification of change to the Electronic Business Process (eBP). It will now be called the Standard Hearings Operations Procedure (SHOP). I requested to negotiate appropriate arrangements and procedures. The Agency declined. I asked them to reconsider. Many of you had briefings on the changes. Judge Holmes is taking the lead on this issue. There are concerns in relation to requesting medical experts as well as related to ARPR. Please let Judge Holmes know your concerns.

Forfeited Hours

I’ve received many emails about proper reporting of time. I’ve been asked to go over how you log forfeited time. The credit hours you log and that are lost are automatically captured in the Agency’s records. The annual leave you donate or forfeit are also automatically captured. Time worked outside duty hours can be logged as the forfeit “FRF” paycode.

Hearings Moving to the  AC?

In the category of what’s past is prologue, it appears the Agency may again be attempting to move hearings to the AC. Click here for more information. The Union has been monitoring this, and has addressed our concerns to Congress in anticipation of this initiative rolling out again. In sum, we do not believe the American public is best served when individuals who are not protected by the APA make life changing decisions for American citizens. We will keep you posted.


If you are a line judge reading this email, and you are not a member, I am personally asking you to join the union. We need you. The reason our union was formed was because we needed a voice at the table. All federal sector labor unions are under assault. We need you to join your fellow judges to help us fight for your jobs and your judicial independence. Go here to sign up or email me directly. It’s time to join.

Closing Thoughts

Guess who just got married? Yes, it was me! Brent and I tied the knot last Saturday. I just wanted to share my good news with you.

Let’s pull together and support one another. Melissa

Melissa McIntosh AALJ President