Albany, Ga. --
Labor/Employee Relations Division personnel want civilian-Marines here to know they are available to assist them in understanding policies that apply to the everyday functions of their employment.
Located in Building 3010 outside Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s front gate, LERD staff provides guidance and advice to management on the administration of the Master Labor Agreement, Civilian Personnel Manual, Base Order 12000.6A, and all other applicable rules, policies and regulations relating to labor and employee relations.
“Labor and employee relations are basically two separate functions,” Al Dervan, deputy director, Civilian Human Resources Office-Southeast, said. “Labor relations commits that we represent management and the conduct of business with the labor unions; in this case with the American Federation of Government Employees. We do represent management’s interests in bargaining and negotiations with AFGE.”
Employee rights, responsibilities and benefits, which affect all federal employees here, are considered employee relations, he said.
“We serve as a conduit of information to the employees in the areas of benefits, leave entitlements, rights, responsibilities (and) policy changes,” Dervan said. “We administer family medical leave programs, leave donor programs (and) worker’s compensation. We also are responsible for suitability adjudications for employees, (which) is making a determination on whether employees or applicants are suitable for federal employment.”
Labor/Employee Relations Division personnel advise management on employee performance and conduct issues, he added.
When it comes to matters concerning conduct and performance, LERD guides management in choosing the appropriate course of action, according to Katrina Stanfill, labor/employee relations specialist, Civilian Human Resources Office-Southeast.
“We do that by providing onsite training or if they come to us with a specific issue,” she said. “We take it all into account and maybe advise them to get more information, supporting documentation and then we help them formulate an action they can use for employees, whether that (is) counseling, training (or) discipline.”
LERD assists employees in understanding their rights and responsibilities as it applies to the everyday functions of their civilian-Marine employment.
Due to regionalization, employee benefits are handled directly by the Human Resources Service Center-Southeast and can be addressed by calling (888) 320-2917, Stanfill noted.
However, LERD is available to answer general questions about health and life insurance programs, the Thrift Savings Plan, military and prior civil service buyback and retirement.
Questions regarding leave, overtime, the Incentive Awards Program and the Performance Management Program can be answered by LERD specialists.
“We help employees when they have difficulty in filling out retirement packages, when they’re having difficulty dealing with the benefits center,” Stanfill said. “We help retired personnel either by guiding them to the proper resources or with issues with retirement checks.”
Additionally, LERD sponsors the Health Fair each year prior to open season (November-December timeframe).
Health insurance representatives from the health insurance providers are onsite to answer questions and to provide information regarding their available plans.
This year’s open season runs from Nov. 14-Dec. 12 and the health fair will be held Nov. 9 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., according to Evette Bostock, LERD.
New employee orientations are also offered to those federal employees, who are new to the government about their benefits, leave policies and probation statuses, she added.
They recommend federal employees establish an account with the Employee Benefit Information System once (they’re) in the federal system at http://www.public.navy.mil/donhr/Benefits/ebis/Pages/Default.aspx.
EBIS is an automated, secure, self-service Web application that allows employees to make health insurance, life insurance, and Thrift Savings Plan contribution elections, review general and personal benefits information, and calculate retirement estimates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Stanfill said.
Department of the Navy policy requires all civilian employees to make benefits elections electronically. Paper forms are not accepted for these transactions. Those who need assistance with a transaction should call the benefits line at (888) 320-2917.
“We can’t process health and life insurance (benefits),” she said. “The only thing we can give is benefits plan information. We can’t sign anybody up for benefits.
“We can’t sign them up for TSP or change their allotments. We don’t process retirements. We can assist with filling out retirement packages if they’re having difficulties,” Stanfill added.
LERD personnel are there to provide guidance to managers as well as help employees and answer questions, she said.
“They don’t need to make big decisions without conferring with their labor relations office,” Stanfill said. “It’s not their job to know every single policy, instruction and procedure. That’s our job. That’s why we’re here to guide them so they know the right thing to do. We’re here for employees and management and to answer questions for anybody.”
To reach the Labor/Employee Relations Division, call (229) 639-5255.