Workforce: February 2014 Archives

Dale Gardner

Dale Gardner, Astronaut Who Helped Corral Wayward Satellites, Dies at 65, NY Times

"Dale A. Gardner, an astronaut who helped lead the first salvage operation in space, steering a jet-propelled backpack to corral two wayward satellites and bring them aboard the space shuttle Discovery, all while orbiting 224 miles above Earth, died on Feb. 19 in Colorado Springs. He was 65. His death was confirmed by NASA, which did not provide a cause."

Federal Labor Relations Authority Invites Customer Input on Representation Issue

"The Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) is inviting customer input on a significant representation issue arising in a case currently pending before the Authority: National Aeronautics & Space Administration, Goddard Space Flight Center, Wallops Island, Virginia, Case No. WA-RP-13-0052, 67 FLRA 258 (2014) (Member DuBester concurring). The Authority order granting review in pertinent part can be found here. This case raises a legal question of first impression concerning whether S 7111(f)(3) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute and S 2422.12(d) of the Authority's Regulations apply to decertification petitions filed by individuals."

- Decisions of the Federal Labor Relations Authority 67 FLRA No. 65
- Notice of Opportunity To Submit Amici Curiae Briefs in a Representation Proceeding Pending Before the Federal Labor Relations Authority, Federal Register

Keith's note: NASA civil servants working at Wallops Flight Facility have been seeking to decertify the existing union there since June 2013. They claim that union representation is no longer necessary at that location. The Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) has not yet decided if they will conduct a special secret ballot election among those civil servants to decertify the current union at Wallops (American Federation of Government Employees - AFGE).

Tom Pierson

Keith's note: SETI Institute Founding CEO Tom Pierson has left our planet. Learn more about his life here. Ad Astra, Tom.

"Under Pierson's guidance, the Institute grew from a tiny, narrowly focused research center with a handful of employees to its current status: an internationally known organization that is home to more than 130 scientists, educators, and support staff.  While founded to conduct SETI searches, the Institute soon broadened its mandate to encompass all aspects of understanding the nature and prevalence of life beyond Earth."

NASA: An lndependent Review of Foreign National Access Management

"Over the last year, security incidents involving foreign nationals at NASA research Centers have drawn the attention of the NASA Administrator and other agency leaders, Congress, and the media. Recognizing the growing threat of cyber-attacks and espionage aimed at government agencies by hostile nation-states and foreign adversaries, NASA asked the National Academy of Public Administration (the Academy) to conduct this review of its foreign national management processes."

Rep. Frank Wolf Statement On Independent Report Critical Of NASA's Security Protocols

"Frankly, I was taken aback at the breadth and depth of security challenges identified across NASA and I am deeply disappointed the agency has restricted access to the report. The report should be made public as soon as possible, with any necessary redactions in the interest of national security, because it confirms not only the serious security challenges that need to be addressed, but a persistent organizational culture that fails to hold center leadership, employees and contractors accountable for security violations. This must change."


Peter J. Salerno, NASA engineer

Peter J. Salerno, a senior electrical systems engineer for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., for 30 years, died Jan. 6 at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Md. He was 53. He had a heart attack and complications from diabetes, his mother-in-law, Dorothy Boerner, said.

Richard Horace (Dick) Battin

Dr. Richard Battin, formerly of the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory and the MIT Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics, passed away on Saturday, February 8. Dr. Battin played a key role in the development of guidance and navigation theory used in the Apollo Program. His books Astronautical Guidance and An Introduction to the Mathematics and Methods of Astrodynamics have been important references for several generations of engineers in the space program.

Union says 'supervisory mischief' leads to 'robust' bias at NASA

A federal union representing NASA employees said racial "bias is robust" in a letter last week to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers (IFPTE) told OPM Director Katherine Archuleta that "NASA's performance ratings are improperly influenced by demographic factors such that, on average, white employees are rated higher than minority employees. The bias is robust across centers and has been a persistent feature over time." The letter from Lee Stone, an IFPTE vice president, said "NASA has two levels of above-standard performance which invites supervisory mischief whereby the highest level often ends up preferentially allocated to friends-of-management, leaving the next tier for high-performing employees who are not plugged-in with management, including exceptional minority employees."

IFPTE Letter Regarding NASA and 5 CFR S430.208

"It is with great sadness that I must provide you with compelling evidence that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has been systematically violating 5 CFR S430.208 as well as the 14th amendment rights of its employees for at least the past six years."

Keith's note: This is a serious accusation - one that IFPTE needs to actually prove - i.e. with verifiable numbers, reports, statements, etc. "Mischief" does not a formal case make.



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This page is an archive of entries in the Workforce category from February 2014.

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