On Wednesday, April 11, 2018, AAFSW President, Dr. Joanna Athanasopoulos Owen, along with some AAFSW Board members met with the Chief Labor Management Negotiator at the Department of State Bureau of Human Resources / Office of Policy Coordination and were formally informed that AAFSW’s application (February/March 2018) to be considered a recognized Employee Organization by the Department of State (under 3 FAM 5300 regulation and 5 CFR 251) had been officially approved.
After a great deal of coordination and with help from our sister organizations at the Foreign Affairs Council and especially with immense help by FSYF President John Naland, AAFSW has been granted an Employee Organization status. After the publication of the new FAM, AAFSW has approximately one year to reapply for receiving again an Employee Organization Status with the Department of State under the new FAM regulations (~by April 2019).
During the March 20th, 2018 AAFSW Board meeting and after consulting with the AAFSW membership, the AAFSW Board voted unanimously to make some small changes to the AAFSW Bylaws to satisfy the DOS regulations and obtain the Employee Organization status. Recognition as an Employee Organization does not change AAFSW’s not-for-profit, non-governmental modus operandi or its mission which is to promote a better quality of life and foster an esprit de corps in the foreign affairs community through advocacy and activities. Recognition as an Employee Organization will allow AAFSW to continue using State Department facilities and work closely with the HR/PC to coordinate its cultural “soft diplomacy” events and the annual AAFSW Art and Book Fair. AAFSW voted to expand its membership to Civil Service employees of Foreign Affairs agencies, to include one or more direct hire employees when consulting with State Department management, and to declare the Board of Directors’ commitment to fiduciary responsibility. As AAFSW Bylaws were under revision, in addition to these changes suggested by the Department of State management, the AAFSW Board voted as well for some minor changes related to the AAFSW Committees.