Indeed, the Accountability Act finds that its provisions « succeed any collective agreement to the extent that such an agreement is incompatible with the new law. » AfGE, which represents more than 220,000 VA employees, said the department`s new performance board was at odds with the collective agreement it had already signed with the agency in 2011. David Bump, AFGE`s vice president for VBA in Portland, Oregon, referred to the Education Department`s recent decision to end negotiations and implement its own terms, without the union`s approval. AFGE`s main agreement with VA explains how both parties have agreed to measure staff performance and to ask workers to meet these standards. « The VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act explicitly states that proceedings involving withdrawals, downgrades or suspensions of more than 15 working days will succeed all collective agreements that are inconsistent with the procedures outlined in the new law, » said ministry spokesman Curt Cashour, when asked about discrepancies between VA`s current practice and the AFGE`s executive contract. The AfGE is also ready to bring this fight to the negotiating table. VA had informed AFGE in December of its intention to reopen and renegotiate its current collective agreement. Both sides were currently discussing the rules of the game, McQuiston said. According to the agreement, PIPs should give staff « an appropriate possibility of at least 90 calendar days » in order to resolve specific performance-related problems identified. During this period, employees and their superiors should maintain constant communication. Va argues, however, that under the new Liability Act, it is not required to comply with the AFGE agreement. The union and the VA will appear before an arbitrator at a hearing in April to try to resolve disputes over the interpretation of the law. The latest VBA guidelines do not mention any performance improvement plans. And according to the memo, the Agency will allow employees to resolve up to four pay periods or two months of underperformance – less time than the 90-day PIP described in the AFGE agreement, according to the AFGE agreement, managers will have to identify an employee`s performance flaws and develop a performance improvement plan (PIP) with the employee and a local union representative.