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Labor meeting marks beginning of new contract cycle

Gen. Ellen M. Pawlikowski, Air Force Materiel Command commander, and Troy Tingey, American Federation of Government Employees Council 214 president, add their signatures to the Master Labor Agreement during a signing ceremony at Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command Aug. 23, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michelle Gigante)

Gen. Ellen M. Pawlikowski, Air Force Materiel Command commander, and Troy Tingey, American Federation of Government Employees Council 214 president, sign a labor agreement during the Master Labor Agreement signing ceremony at Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command Aug. 23, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michelle Gigante)

Gen. Ellen M. Pawlikowski, Air Force Materiel Command commander; Troy Tingey, American Federation of Government Employees Council 214 president; and the Master Labor Agreement negotiation teams pose for a group photo after the Master Labor Agreement signing ceremony at Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command Aug. 23, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michelle Gigante)

Gen. Ellen M. Pawlikowski, Air Force Materiel Command commander; Troy Tingey, American Federation of Government Employees Council 214 president; and the Master Labor Agreement negotiation teams pose for a group photo after the MLA signing ceremony at Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command Aug. 23, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michelle Gigante)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Leaders gathered to reaffirm their partnership and mutual goals by signing a new Master Labor Agreement during the annual Joint National Labor Management meeting Aug. 23, 2017, at Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command.

The meeting began with a ceremony in which AFMC Commander Gen. Ellen M. Pawlikowski and Troy Tingey, American Federation of Government Employees Council 214 president, signed the new labor agreement, which went into effect June 1, 2017.

AFGE President J. David Cox was also on hand and commended the labor and management teams for their ability to complete negotiations in two weeks, utilizing interest-based bargaining techniques, where similar efforts have taken years to complete.

Pawlikowski referred to the signing as “a celebration of their partnership,” and said “both management and Council 214’s 35,000 bargaining unit employees can be proud of the result.”

The official part of the meeting began with Pawlikowski, Cox and various AFMC management and union officials discussing the successes of fiscal year 2017 and expectations for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Partnership Council’s annual report was presented jointly by council co-chairs Patricia Young, AFMC executive director, and Tingey, who represents the bargaining unit employees at the majority of AFMC bases.

Young and Tingey also briefed the highlights of the three 2017 Partnership Council meetings. The focus of this August meeting was the new beginning presented by the signing of the MLA. This new MLA is a three-year binding contract.

A major success story from the past year included expansion of the Employee Assistance Program from only AFMC civilians to civilians throughout the Air Force. This change will become effective Oct. 1, 2017. The program provides support services to civilian workers, comparable to the military’s OneSource.

Yet another highlighted success was the Air Force Civilian Associate Degree Program which will help civilians reach their potential by providing an opportunity to earn an associate degree, at little or no personal cost. The first group to start through the program will begin in March 2018.

“Workable solutions to today’s tough challenges require collaboration on a recurring basis, not just a few annual meetings,” Pawlikowski said. “While the Joint National is a critical avenue for us to communicate, the day-to-day partnership and interaction of the labor relations officers and union presidents in this room are equally important to our continued success. With that in mind, I have no doubts we will continue to work well together meeting mission demands and taking care of our valued civilian employees.”