Newsletter of


Representing SSA Field Office Employees in Oklahoma


June, 2008 – Volume III, No. 2





(And reminders for everyone!)


Last year the Dallas Region hired only 30 employees. This year, over 300 of you were hired!  Welcome to our world of too much work, too few people in which everyone’s problem needed to be addressed yesterday!


You are represented by Local 2505 of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFL-CIO).  We have negotiated a National Contract which has a LOT of rights that can help make your work life bearable.


As new employees, you don’t have a lot of leave.


Article 9, Section 6 requires SSA to “attempt to locate low cost / no cost local medical providers for services such as cholesterol, blood pressure and dental screenings, mammograms and will make such information available to employees. The administration will also provide / pay for flu shots, when reasonably available. A reasonable amount of administrative leave will be granted to employees who avail themselves of these services.” Also, SSA’s Personnel Policy Manual (PPM) S630_9, section 3.3.6. states that employees with less than 80 hours of accrued sick leave may be excused for up to four hours each leave year to participate in preventive health screenings, such as are listed in Article 9.


You may get administrative time for vision checks. Some or all of the cost of your eye exam, glasses and contacts may be reimbursed by SSA. See Article 9, Section 18.


Exercising your rights can save your leave and save you money!


You also have the right to work flextime.


IVT Training is from 10 until 3 Central Time. If an employee flexes in at 7, they are available for the entire time of the training and can't leave until 3:30. If an employee wishes to flex in a 9, they are available for the entire time of the training.


Employees on the EAST Coast may have their flex restricted because IVT is 11 - 4 Eastern Time. If they flex in at 7, they can leave at 3:30 and would miss the last 1/2 of training (or, in the alternative, hit SSA up for overtime or credit hours, which SSA is loathe permitting for training).


Employees on the WEST Coast may have their flex restricted because IVT is 8 - 1 Pacific Time. If they flex in at 9, they will miss the first hour of IVT training.


In the Central Time zone, we can enjoy the full benefits of flex during IVT training because we don't miss anything.


If ANY Trainee has a problem with flextime, PLEASE contact any one of your Local Officers!


As trainees, there is so much information being delivered so quickly, you are going to burn out and suffer information indigestion if you don’t take your breaks!


At least one manager has said at a staff meeting: “Breaks are a privilege, not a right.” That is wrong. Employees have also said that breaks are 10 minutes. That is wrong, too!


Article 10, Section 1.B clearly states, “A rest period of fifteen (15) minutes will be allowed each employee twice a day provided the employee works seven hours…”


Please don’t believe everything you hear from management and your co-workers! Check with someone in the Union!


Often, IVT training only provides trainees a 10 minute break. So, you get your 15 minute break BEFORE IVT Training starts in the morning and AFTER IVT training ends in the afternoon. If that isn’t happening, please let us know!. An email from your Union to Management will straighten this out!


IVT lunch periods are 30 minutes. If everyone else in your office is enjoying a 45 minute lunch but you are only getting a 30 minute lunch, management must shorten your work day by 15 minutes or pay your overtime or let you accrue comp time or credit hours. Again, if that isn’t happening, please give us a call. Every instance we know about has always been straightened out with an email.




In McAlester, SSA required employees to speak to a member of management when phoning in for leave. The Union filed a grievance. SSA admitted that requiring employees to speak to a member of management when phoning in for leave violated the contract.


In typical SSA fashion, they can’t admit they erred and move on. NOW, SSA is requiring the person who answers the phone (management is too busy to answer the administrative line on which employees call in for leave) to track down a member of management when an employee calls in for leave because, as long as management is in the office, management is available.


What to do? Follow the contract! Article 31, Section 5. Management can NOT require you to phone is after 8 when a member of management is present. You know whom you are to contact for leave. Call the office and dial that person’s extension or ask for that person. (There are managers who choose NOT to have voice mail. If they aren’t in, you’ll need to speak to their back-up or the back-up’s voice mail.) All you need to do is ask for the person to whom you wish to speak and tell THAT person or their voice mail what kind of leave you want, how many hours you want and what your call back number is.


Union Represents Poteau Employees Tired of Racial Slurs, Ethnic Slurs and Sex Discrimination in their EEO Complain!


Poteau SSA has 13 bargaining unit employees: 2 men; 11 women of whom 2 are brand new. Eight of the nine female employees requested EEO Counseling after years of enduring discriminatory treatment in work assignments and a hostile work environment created by the manager's angry outbursts, racial slurs, ethnic slurs and intemperate, insensitive comments.


There is no room for this kind of management and this kind of environment in Social Security. The work we do is stressful enough without such management;. The public whom we serve deserves better! AFGE Local 2505 will do whatever it takes to get relief for female employees in Poteau. After the EEO complaints were filed, SSA announced that Poteau District Manager, Jack Armstrong, was going to be on leave until his retirement became effective June 30, 2008.


Hassled on Leave Requests?


New managers and supervisors are always trying to make their mark on an office and impose their imprimatur on the staff.


A new ADM grilled a 30 year employee who is raising her granddaughter about why she needed 2 hours of Family Friendly Sick Leave. How long had the employee known? Why did the employee wait until the day of the doctor’s appointment to request leave?!


You know enough NOT to take your bad day out on the public. Management should know enough NOT to take their bad day out on you! The Union can think of a LOT of snappy answers, “If you want to use that tone of voice with me, I want the Union present. President Ralph de Juliis’s cell phone is 918-781-3096. Can you phone him for me and get him on the speaker phone?” It’s up to you if you want to explain and apologize. If your leave is denied, contact the Union and we’ll get a grievance going. If your leave is approved, contact the Union so we can talk to that manager. Asking you, in an exasperated tone of voice and big sigh to, “PLEEZE try to give us more notice next time!” is passable. Grilling you is beyond the pale.


That same Assistant District Manager harassed another employee who was tag-teaming baby-sitting duties for a grandchild with Mom and the other Grandma. That employee was required to take additional appointments before her leave was approved.


Management can hold your annual leave and credit hour requests hostage to workloads, NOT your sick leave requests. A grievance has been filed; the step 1 presentation has been made; the employee and the Union are awaiting management’s response. 


2009 Pay Raise


A House Appropriations panel yesterday approved a 3.9 percent pay raise for federal civilian employees next year. President Bush proposed a 2.9 percent average raise for civilian workers. Lawmakers on the financial services and general government subcommittee adopted the pay provision as part of the $22.4 billion fiscal 2009 spending bill approved by voice vote to fund the Department of Treasury, the District of Columbia and many independent agencies. The raise for 1.9 million federal workers matches the 3.9 percent hike approved by the House for military personnel in May as part of the Defense Department authorization bill. The Senate has not yet taken up the civilian pay question, but the House panel's action sends a strong signal that a 3.9 percent average raise ultimately is likely to be adopted by Congress. A final resolution won't come for months, though, when the appropriations process concludes. The pay raise would take effect in January. But House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said the panel's vote for equivalent raises "is an important way to reward these hardworking individuals who make such invaluable contributions to the growth, prosperity and protection of this nation."


Other Legislative Action


The Union and Management are not always on opposite sides of issues. Here is joint letter on SSA’s budget signed by many organizations, including AFGE and SSA’s two management associations:


May 23, 2008


The Honorable Tom Harkin, Chairman

Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education

and Related Activities, Committee on Appropriations

131 Dirksen Senate Office Building

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510


The Honorable Arlen Specter, Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education

and Related Activities, Committee on Appropriations

156 Dirksen Senate Office Building

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510


The Honorable David R. Obey, Chairman

Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services,

Education, and Related Agencies

United States House of Representatives

2358 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515


The Honorable James T. Walsh, Ranking Member

Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services,

Education, and Related Agencies

United States House of Representatives

1016 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515


Dear Chairman Harkin and Ranking Member Specter,

Dear Chairman Obey and Ranking Member Walsh,


The undersigned organizations represent many of the stakeholders of the Social Security Administration (SSA).  We respectfully request that your Subcommittee provide no less than $240 million above the President’s Budget Request for SSA’s administrative expenses in the Fiscal Year 2009 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. 


This additional funding is critical for SSA to address an ever increasing number of service delivery issues.  The most critical issue is the massive backlog in disability hearings.  Currently, over 750,000 hearings are pending, and the average wait for a decision is over 500 days. This is after the fact that most disability applicants wait an average of 240 days before filing for a hearing.  As a result thousands of people are dying before they receive a decision on their disability claim.  And an untold number are suffering severe financial hardships, including a rising number of home foreclosures.  Many do not have health care, resulting in further deterioration of their conditions.  Although SSA is beginning to make progress on the hearings backlog, the agency does not expect the backlog to be eliminated until 2013 unless additional resources are provided.  


Not only has there been a marked degradation in the level of service that SSA provides related to the disability process, visitors to local SSA Field Offices are also being negatively impacted.  Field Offices are seeing record numbers of visitors with the baby boom population now filing for benefits.  Baby boomers are retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day.  In many Field Offices these visitors are experiencing waiting times that are in excess of 2 hours.  For those who try to reach their local SSA Field Office by telephone, busy rates are running at an unacceptable rate of well over 50% in many locations.  This is due in large part to the fact that Field Offices are receiving over 60 million business-related phone calls each year.  Staffing cuts have often left no one to answer the phone as most of the employees in the field are interviewing claimants all day.


In addition, SSA continues to be given responsibility for new workloads such as providing assistance with Medicare Part D cases and increasingly complex security checks.  At the same time SSA will need to reduce the number of SSI redeterminations and medical Continuing Disability Reviews scheduled for FY 2009 by 40% and over 50% respectively from levels earlier in the decade.  With the level of funding proposed by the President for FY 2009, over four billion dollars will be lost due to reducing these program integrity workloads.


Adding to the challenges facing the agency, SSA’s information technology systems are in severe need of additional investment.  Most of SSA’s systems components are over 30 years old.  The agency has over 36 million lines of older computing language known as COBOL which will need to be rewritten.  This task will be made more complex because SSA utilizes over 100 separate programs to accomplish its work.


SSA is facing these many workload challenges while at its lowest staffing levels since 1972, prior to the implementation of the SSI program.  About 25% of the agency’s core staff, the Claims Representatives in the Field Offices and Teleservice Centers, are expected to retire in three years.  In addition, over 30% of SSA’s management is expected to retire during that same period.  The state Disability Determination Services have lost over 1,300 employees since the beginning of FY 2006.  SSA must find a way to begin to hire and train new employees now to address the loss of so much of its trained staff and to handle the increased baby boomer workloads. 


For all of these reasons, we respectfully request that you provide no less than $240 million above the President’s Budget Request for SSA’s administrative expenses in the Fiscal Year 2009 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.  We are confident that this increased investment in SSA will benefit our entire nation.  On behalf of our members throughout the country, we appreciate your consideration of this request.




AARP, AFL-CIO, Alliance for Retired Americans, American Association of Social Security Disability Consultants, American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, American Association of People with Disabilities, American Foundation for the Blind, American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Teachers Program on Retirement and Retirees, American Postal Workers Union Retirees, Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs, Association for Gerontology and Human Development in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, B’nai B’rith International, Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation, Federal Managers Association, Gray Panthers, National Adult Day Services Association, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, National Association of Social Workers National Association of Disability Examiners, National Association of Disability Representatives, National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, National Association of State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, National Council of Disability Determination Directors, National Council of Social Security Management Associations, National Disability Rights Network, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives, National Respite Coalition, National Senior Citizens Law Center, National Treasury Employees Union, OWL, The Voice of Midlife and Older Women, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Social Security Section of the Federal Bar Association, Social Security Disability Coalition, The Arc of the United States, United Cerebral Palsy, United Spinal Association, Voice of the Retarded


National Union Grievance for Bilingual Employees


June 12, 2008


Mr. Michael J. Astrue

Commissioner of Social Security

Social Security Administration

6401 Security Boulevard

Baltimore MD 21235-6401


Re:  GC-UMG 08-02


Dear Commissioner Astrue:


Pursuant to Article 24, Section 10, of the SSA-AFGE National Agreement (the Agreement), the American Federation of Government Employees, SSA General Committee, (the Union) hereby files this institutional General Committee level grievance.


The Union charges the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) with violating the Agreement, and all applicable laws, rules and regulations, by discriminating against its bilingual and multilingual bargaining unit employees in their conditions of employment.


More specifically, the Union charges SSA with discriminating against its bilingual and multilingual employees, in part by failing to consider the amount of additional time, effort and skill required for these employees to perform duties related to their language abilities, in at least the following five conditions of employment: 1) Adverse Disciplinary and Performance Actions (by, inter alia, penalizing bilingual/multilingual employees at a rate disproportionate to their non-bilingual/multi-lingual counterparts); 2) Awards (by, inter alia, failing to award bilingual/multilingual employees at a rate consistent with their non-bilingual/multi-lingual counterparts); 3) Performance (by, inter alia, failing to consider the greater difficulty and additional time required of bilingual tasks in the bilingual/multilingual employees’ performance appraisal process); 4) Training (by, inter alia, failing to offer adequate language training to bilingual/multilingual employees who perform language related duties, despite the communication difficulties presented by the diverse foreign language dialects spoken by SSA’s non-English speaking consumers/clients); and 5) Upward Mobility (by, inter alia, failing to promote bilingual/multilingual employees beyond lower level public contact positions because of the need for these employees in front line positions). 


The Union believes that the discrimination outlined above is a clear cut and continuing violation of Article 38, § 1(D) of the Agreement, which guarantees that:


Employees will not be disadvantaged in any condition of employment as a result of their use of multilingual/bilingual skills in their job.

The Union believes that the on-going discrimination outlined above constitutes a continuing violation not only of Article 38, but also the following eight articles of the Agreement: Article 3 (Employee Rights), § 2A; Article 16 (Training and Career Development), §§ 1, 2 and 3B; Article 17 (Monetary Awards), § 1; Article 19 (Upward Mobility), §§ 1, 2A-2E; Article 21 (Performance), §§ 1 and 5; Article 23 (Disciplinary and Adverse Actions), § 1; Article 26 (Merit Promotion), §§ 1 and 2; and Article 27 (Details), § 9.   


Moreover, the Union believes that, because of the high concentration of Hispanic bilingual/multilingual employees within SSA who occupy both formal and de facto Spanish-speaking bilingual positions, SSA’s policies regarding and its treatment of its bilingual and multilingual bargaining unit employees cause a particularly negative and disparate impact upon SSA’s Hispanic bargaining unit employees.  See e.g. Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424, 91 S.Ct. 849, 28 L.Ed.2d 158 (1971).  For example, SSA’s treatment of its bilingual and multilingual employees has operated to force Hispanic bargaining unit employees to disproportionately remain in low level public contact positions, and to be denied performance and monetary awards at a disproportionately high rate.


As you know, Article 18 of the Agreement requires SSA to comply with the Civil Rights Act of 1991, and prohibits SSA from discriminating on the basis of race and/or national origin.  Therefore, because SSA’s treatment of its bilingual and multilingual employees disparately impacts SSA’s Hispanic bilingual and multilingual bargaining unit employees in a negative manner, as an additional and separate violation the Union charges SSA with discriminating against its Hispanic bargaining unit employees in violation of Article 18 of the Agreement and all applicable laws, rules and regulations (as described in Article 18, § 1).


Based on the above, the Union asks for the following relief in order to remedy SSA’s discrimination against its bilingual and multilingual employees:


1.        That all bilingual and multilingual bargaining unit employees who have been harmed by the violations above be made whole.  This includes the establishment of a process whereby individual claims may be adjudicated, and the payment of back pay, attorney’s fees and/or damages as allowed for by the Agreement and applicable law, rule or regulation.


2.        Consistent with SSA’s obligation to treat all bilingual and multilingual bargaining unit employees fairly and equitably and pursuant to Article 5 of the Agreement, that SSA bargain with the Union concerning the establishment of a language differential program for all bilingual bargaining unit employees of SSA.


3.        That, in order to correct the conditions giving rise to SSA’s ongoing violations of the Agreement and in order to ensure that similar violations do not occur in the future, SSA take the following actions:


a.        Modify, agency-wide and wherever needed, its training initiatives, both formal and on-the-job, to ensure that bargaining unit employees hired as bilingual or multilingual employees receive appropriate formal and on-the-job instruction in their assigned language. 


b.        Supplement its affirmative action and upward mobility programs with a plan that specifically addresses its Spanish speaking bilingual bargaining unit members, pursuant to Article 19, §§ (2)(A) through (2)(E).


Also, the Union requests all other relief that is just and proper, and that is consistent with applicable law, rule or regulation.


Finally, the Union reserves the right to amend this grievance consistent with the evidence developed in this matter, and as the Union becomes aware of any additional claims.  More specifically, the Union reserves the right to add, for example, claims pertaining to other protected classes that have been disparately impacted by SSA’s treatment of its bilingual and multilingual employees, and/or claims arising out of intentional discriminatory animus against SSA’s Hispanic employees or any other protected class.   


I am the Union’s representatives for this grievance.  Pursuant to Article 24 Section 10 of the National Agreement the Union waives the grievance meeting. 






Witold Skwierczynski

Spokesperson AFGE-SSA General Committee


Cc: AFGE General Committee

       J. Gage

       A. Grajales


Union Begins Prep for Next Contract


Contract Alert # 1

Did you realize that August 2009 marks the expiration of the 2005 AFGE/SSA National Agreement?  What was felt during the last contract negotiations was the Agency’s clear message that its value of dedicated and hard working SSA employees was not as major a concern as diminishing and eroding the protection of employee rights gained from past contracts.  What was leaned? The key to a winning victory in 2009 is a realization that,


“We Don’t Change the Message – The Message Changes Us”


During upcoming months and in preparation for the 2009 contract negotiations, AFGE will be reaching out to you to ensure this time around we’re focused and prepared to change our Message!


2009 Contract Preparation Includes:


             Placing Greater Value on Employee Input.

             Placing a Greater Emphasis on Your Opinions and Issues of Importance to You.

             Conducting More Timely and Informative Employee Surveys.

             Remaining Receptive to Information and Concerns Voiced to Local Stewards, Regional Representatives and Local Presidents nationwide.


Watch for regular distributions of updates and informative communications to you under a newly established “Contract Alerts” publication.  The newly formed “Communications and Educations Committee” (CEC) will ensure that the word gets out to let you know when, where and how your voice will be needed as preparation for negotiations begin.  


Your personal commitment to participate with AFGE by volunteering to help increase membership, communications with your co-workers and being advocates for federal employee issues will be critical leading up to these negotiations.  Offering your support will ensure our success in saying that SSA employees have a strong message to send in 2009!


Change Our Thinking - Be Involved - Change Our Future


Local Wins 3 Employee Appraisal Grievances


Three employees filed grievances on their appraisals. After lengthy delays and the filing of an Unfair Labor Practice for SSA’s refusal to provide information, the Union presented the employee grievances. All three were settled at step 1 of the grievance process with SSA agreeing to raise one element of each employee’s appraisal to a 5. That raised each employee’s numerical average to 4. SSA is now reconsidering each employee for a ROC Award.


Thanks to the Local’s Webmaster, Amanda Lamb, Local Representative in the Pine Bluff, AR office for her background work. (Our Local shamelessly copied her presentation).


PACS Discussions


In the course of a Section 10 grievance presentation, management in one office asserted that it complied with the LETTER of the contract, Article 21, Section 5.F.1. (It says that SSA should hold subsequent PACS expectation discussions whenever there is a change in the employee’s supervisor.)


In this particular office, none of the employees remembered having such a discussion after they got a new supervisor on September 2, 2007. Management pulled out the employees PACS review which were signed by the new supervisor and each employee towards the end of September. When the Union asked the employees about their signatures, all of a sudden they remembered. The subsequent PACS discussion with their new supervisor was less than a minute and little more than “Nothing has changed. Everything your former supervisor told you still goes. Sign here.”


For the record, the new supervisor didn’t attend the prior PACS discussions with the employees and had no clue what was said. That is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE! That is NOT a PACS discussion; that is a travesty thereof.


Would your supervisor permit you to give such reporting instructions at the conclusion of an SSI Redetermination: “Everything we told you to report the last time still goes”? YOU should NOT let your supervisor get away with such a slip-shod explanation of what is expected from you… Unless of course you admit you are just average, mediocre, run-of-the-mill and don't want awards or a promotion! Your supervisor, who may be a GS-13 Assistant Manager or GS-14 District Manager gets big bucks. The least they can do is explain what they are looking for in a level 5!


Speaking of level 5, one Assistant District Manager said that the way the level 5 standards were written, she didn’t see how anyone could be rated a level 5 in the same performance element year-after-year!


Did YOU know that? Of course not! But, whose fault it is? Your supervisor for not explaining what a level 5 is in each element? Or, is it YOUR FAULT for not demanding an explanation of a level 5 and what your supervisor expects to see for EACH performance element?


When stuff like that happens, you need to let the Union know!


Management wrote in one employee’s mid-term PACS discussion that the employee needed to be more cooperative with management.


She brought it to the Union. The Union pulled out the PPM. “cooperative” is ONLY used in the description of level 5 performance in the element of Interpersonal Skills. Naturally, the employee received a level 5 in that rating. Obviously, management was documenting the file to take away that level 5. The Union wrote a response, reminding the employee’s supervisor of how cooperative the employee had been: picking up the supervisor’s kid at school on the employee’s break; planting the bulbs the supervisor purchased from another employee after having to purchase the pot and potting soil.


Did you know that part of your job as a GS-11 Claims Representative was to play nanny, chauffeur and gardener for your GS-13 supervisor who brags about their newly built $350,000 home and $50,000 boat?


One might think that such a well off member of management could find affordable day care and transportation for their own kids! One would think that the same member of management  would understand and not harass subordinates in the same office about requesting sick leave to take care of their grandchildren. (See the above article Hassled on Leave Requests?)


THAT is why there is a Union: to stand between employees and their supervisors, who in best Biblical fashion, see the speck in the employee’s eye but not the log in their own!




President Ralph de Juliis, Executive Vice President Carol Lewis and representatives from Benefit Architects, Monte Jolly and Craig Schuff have been visiting offices to talk to new and old employees about the Union, workplace issues that concern them, the contract and the various discounts and benefits AFGE offers to Union members. Since the spring, Local 2505 membership has grown 8%!


If you still have the federal employee group life insurance (FEGLI) then you most not be aware of changes in that program.

The cost will increase: when you retire or reach the age of 55 to 60 you will no longer be able to afford it. When you cancel your FEGLI you will not receive any of the premiums that you paid in over the years back. That’s why the Union has life plans in which your cost stays level; and, you can also pick one of the cash value plans so you can receive money back should, in the future, you decide that you no longer need the coverage!

Here is an example of a female age 25 non tobacco making $40,000 a year. She will pay 14.00 biweekly for her FEGLI; but , at age 60 depending on pay increases she will be asked to pay over $300 biweekly; over $600 a month! The Union has a plan where she can get the same 5 times her pay for the same 14.00 biweekly, and it is GUARANTEED to stay the same price until she is 90 years old. For a slightly higher premium, she can guarantee the price all the way out to age 120. $14 to FEGLI which goes up to $600 a month versus $14 for the Union plan in which the premiums are guaranteed to stay the same until age 90? The Union has similar great deals on many other insurance offerings!

For no obligation information and an estimate contact Craig Schuff (817) 253-2696 from Benefit Architects!

Introducing Your Newly Elected AFGE Local 2505 Officers


Carol A Lewis Executive Vice President


Carol currently works in the McAlester, OK office. She began her career with Social Security as the Administrative Aide in the Tulsa. She was subsequently promoted to SR and SSI CR.


Carol’s introduction to the Union began with her requesting advice on obtaining a hardship reassignment from Tulsa to McAlester. Her subsequent involvement with the Local came as the result of no one in McAlester being able to take breaks or their full lunch periods because of workload pressures. After an office visit by the Local’s Executive Officers, employees started taking their twice daily 15 minutes breaks and full lunch period. After becoming Local Representative in McAlester, she and the former Local Representative filed grievances over their awards. They were represented by then AFGE Local 2505 Executive Vice President Ralph de Juliis. While their arbitrations were pending, the next round of awards came out and both of them received the same amounts as the other McAlester employees. In addition to serving as the Executive Vice President of Local 2505, Carol Lewis is also the Local Rep for the McAlester, Poteau, Hugo, and Ada offices.  In her capacity as Union Rep, she assisted the Local in overturning an employee termination and an employee suspension at arbitration.


Mary Roberts, 2nd Vice President


 Mary was born in a small town near San Antonio, TX and moved to eastern New Mexico when she was eight years old. In the summer of 1968, she traveled to Oklahoma to visit family and never left. She married and raised two wonderful children. Her son lives in St. Louis, MO and has three children. Her daughter recently married and lives in Norman. Mary enrolled at the University of Oklahoma when her children were in their teens. She graduated form OU in 1991 with a degree in Public Administration. She received her Masters in 1993.

While working in the Masters Program, she was the Interim Assistant Director of Hispanic Student Services at OU. After graduation, she started her career with the Norman Public Schools teaching ESL (English as a second language). On January 23, 1994, she was hired as a Bilingual Service Representative for SSA and within a year and a half promoted to a Bilingual Claims Representative. In November 2003, she was a guest instructor at the Region VI Training Center in Dallas, Texas.

In 2005, she completed the SLC training. On 12/23/05, she was selected as TE after filing an EEO complaint for non-selection. She was represented by then, AFGE Local 2505 Executive Vice President, Ralph de Juliis.

In 2008, as a result of a grievance settlement in Moore, the use or lose annual leave she lost because of the National Day of Mourning for President Ford, was restored.

She states believe in the Union and in what the Union can do. Being an officer and helping other SSA employees in Oklahoma is just a way of "paying it forward" and showing my appreciation and gratitude for what AFGE Local 2505 has done!

Magda Mashburn, Secretary / Treasurer


Magda started with SSA in 1974 right after graduating from SW Missouri State University magna cum laude.

She started as a claims representative. She soon reached step 10 because of numerous awards and step increases. Because of limitations in mobility and lack of opportunities and a general dislike of moving into management ranks, she remained a claims representative. When new opportunities finally lurked because of new GS12 positions, she always made the top 3 on the list to best qualified, yet never quite made the cut. In spite of an excellent work record and numerous awards, it appeared that maybe she had become too old. After 30 years of keeping her nose to the grind stone and donating lots of free time and skipping breaks and lunches, she decided it was time to squawk. And squawk she did with the help of then AFGE Local 2505 Executive Vice President Ralph de Juliis. Within months based on an EEO complaint, she was promoted to GS12 Technical Expert, a position not to exceed one year. Again within months based on a second EEO complaint (again with the help of Ralph de Juliis), this position was changed to a GS12 permanent. Magda is currently on the SDW cadre in Oklahoma City, OK.

She has always been a strong supporter of the Union and has been a member since 1974. She never felt she needed the Union's services until the repeated non-selection when she felt she more than qualified for the new GS12 positions created. She will be forever grateful to the Union and to Ralph for helping her get promoted.

Effective with 2007, she has served as Secretary-Treasurer of Local 2505 and hopes to do so for a while longer before she retires.

Meeting Notice

AFGE Local 2505


July 12, 2007


Location: (Magda Mashburn’s home)

3837 Highpoint Court, Norman, OK

Time: 11 AM




Call to Order

Secretary’s Report

Treasurer’s Report

            -Status: Rebate follow-up & Organizing Reimbursements

Legislative Report

Litigation Report

-Authorize attorney contingency fee agreement for Poteau Eight

New Business

-Fund Attendance at August Contract Prep Meeting

-Constitution / By-Laws Changes: In addition to pass along dues increases, add a yearly adjustment equal to the Federal Pay Raise

-FLRA Training for EVP Lewis, 1st VP Brooks, 2nd VP Roberts

Unfinished Business



AFGE LOCAL 2505 is now On-Line!


Please check out our Local’s website at:




AFGE Local 2505 General Officers Contact Information



Ralph de Juliis - President

ralph.dejuliis@ssa.gov or ralph.de.juliis@sbcglobal.net


Cell: 918-781-3096 or Home: 918-439-9683


Carol A. Lewis – Executive Vice President


Work: 918-423-1631 ext. 117





Magda Mashburn – Secretary - Treasurer


Work: 405-605-3001 ext 3981


Mitzi Brooks – 1st Vice President


Work: 580-237-1664 ext. 202


Mary Roberts – 2nd Vice President


Work: 405-799-4140











AFGE Local 2505 Newsletter:  March, 2008

Ms Magda Mashburn, Secretary-Treasurer

3837 Highpoint Court

Norman, Oklahoma 73072-5023