This Agreement is entered into by and between the Social Security Administration (hereinafter referred to as SSA or the Employer) and the American Federation of Government Employees (hereinafter referred to as the Union or AFGE).

The parties mutually recognize that the Congress of the United States has expressed public policy concerning labor relations in the Federal Government as follows:

"...the right of employees to organize, bargain collectively and participate through labor organizations of their own choosing in decisions which affect them, safeguards the public interest, contributes to the effective conduct of the public business, and facilitates and encourages the amicable settlement of disputes between employees and their employers involving conditions of employment; and the public interest demands the highest standards of employee performance and the continued development and implementation of modern and progressive work practices to facilitate and improve employee performance and the efficient accomplishment of the operations of the government."

Therefore, labor organizations and collective bargaining in the civil service are in the public interest.  (5 U.S.C. 71)

Pursuant to this policy, the parties have agreed upon the various articles hereinafter set forth.  This Agreement constitutes a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Social Security Administration and the American Federation of Government Employees.