New Collective Bargaining Agreement Q&A

The new CBA becomes effective on November 1, 2019, below are some Q&A of the common questions being received.

Q1.      I heard that there will be no more cool-down periods for details under the new CBA. Is this true or false?
A1.       False, the new CBA has a built-in selection process for details and collateral duties, and a cool-down period remains in place, which is equal to the length of your detail, not to exceed 1-year. For example, if you serve on a detail for 6 months, your cool-down will be 6-months, if you serve for 1-year, it will be 1 year; however, if you serve for 2 years, your cool-down will be 1-year, as that is the maximum cool-down period.

Q2.      Does the Detail Management Team go away under the new CBA, and if so, will junior agents have a chance at details?
A2.       The new CBA will have a built-in selection process for details/collateral duties, and is not governed purely by seniority. Some sectors, such as RGV, already have detail management teams, but many do not. Any standing DMT SOP cannot conflict with the new CBA. The built-in selection process will dictate how all sectors will assign details and collateral duties, which will now fall into two categories: the detail or collateral duty either requires prerequisite skills and abilities, or it doesn’t. For details and collateral duties which just need any agent to participate, it will be assigned by seniority. This applies to details wherein the agency will teach you a skill, like riding ATVs, or it is an assignment any employee can do. If a detail needs a particular skill, then the agency can require employees to submit a memorandum or resume and participate in an interview, if necessary. For example, if a detail needs someone with a specific skillset/requirement, then the agency will explain that skillset/requirement, among others, in the solicitation and employees will have to provide information about their specific skillset/ability in order to qualify for the detail. The following information will be used for selection when the agency determines that a detail or collateral duty requires special skills: a) Any required qualifications, certifications, or other training, etc.; b) Any preferred prerequisites/qualifications; c) Prior temporary assignment of the same type; d) Seniority; e) Period between temporary assignments; f) Interview (if applicable); g) Supervisory Recommendations; and h) Availability. The weights of the above criteria will be included in the solicitation. In the event the above criteria result in an equal evaluation of two or more candidates, seniority will be the tie breaker.

Q3.      Will senior agents get all of the holidays?
A3.       No, the selection of annual leave will work like a draft, employees will be arranged in order of seniority and their requested periods of annual leave will be arranged in order of preference. Each employee will be granted their first available leave choice and then move to the next employee on the list. After moving from the most senior employee down to the most junior employee, the list will start over again with the most senior employee and will continue to move through the list until all leave requests have been considered or there are no more available periods of time. Due to the breakdown of the two (2) six-month leave periods (Oct – Mar / Apr – Sep), four (4) of the major holidays are within the first period (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years & Spring Break), while, Fourth of July and the Summer leave periods are contained in the second. This provides more opportunities for the leave to be distributed more evenly, without allowing any group of agents to retain all of the leave periods.

Q4.      Why didn’t the Union bargain for GS-13s and FLSA?
A4.       Contrary to misinformation, under Federal Law, Public-Sector Unions (federal government) cannot bargain over pay and benefits such as retirement and leave; therefore, the Agency does not have the discretion to enter into bargaining over pay, differentials, or any other federal leave and pay administration issues. Simply put, they cannot bargain over those topics, as it is illegal. That being said, the Union, through our legislative efforts, has been successful, through our lobbying efforts, in getting members of the U.S. House and Senate (on both sides of the aisle) to sponsor legislation re-authorizing BPAs to earn FLSA; however, those Bills are subject to Congressional approval in both chambers. As for GS-13s, we have been working with the current Administration to seek higher-graded positions within the agency, but just like FLSA, it is illegal for public-sector Unions (NBPC) to negotiate over GS increases; that is strictly the responsibility of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and grade levels are determined by job responsibilities. The Union is working to add responsibilities and duties to the BPA position description in order to warrant GS-13 upgrades. The process is still ongoing. The Union is optimistic, as in the past, the Union has been successful in getting across-the-board GS-11 and GS-12 upgrades. Those upgrades were not handed to us, it took a lot of hard work and effort before we were able to make it happen.

Q5.      Will we implement Bid-For-Shift?
A5.       Yes.

Q6.      What are the options if the Bid for Shift?
A6.       Swanton Sector will not confirm a meeting to discuss these changes with the local yet. More information will be forthcoming.

Q7.      Is it true that we can now swap assigned days off duty?
A7.       Yes, employees will now be able to swap assigned days off duty with other employees from the same tour of duty. Shift swaps also remain permissible under the new CBA.

Q8.      Can you provide an update on the compressed/alternative work schedules?
A8.       An update to the BPAPRA Technical Amendments Congressional Bill was pulled at the last minute by a member of Congress due to their misunderstanding of what the Bill provided. The Union’s legislative team has reached out to that member’s staff and is vigorously working on a solution.

Q9.      Will all detail history reset under the CBA?
A9.       The Union and Management will need to collaboratively decide whether detail history will reset, and if so, for what length of time period going back.

Q10.    How will days off duty be assigned? If I have a special event, can I have a requested day off if I am not senior enough?
A10.     Assigned days off will be assigned by seniority as requested by the employee; however, management always has the discretion to accommodate an employee without bumping an agent who is senior to the employee in order to ensure that junior employees who have special events will be able to take that time off. In other words, an employee cannot be bumped, but management has the discretion and may make the adjustment necessary to grant time off for employees.

Q11.    I heard that involuntary details away from your duty station got extended to 60 days. Is that true?
A11.     No, that is false, the language in the new CBA remained the same as in the current CBA, which states that, except for training courses, details away from the normal duty station will not exceed 35 calendar days, unless the employee volunteers for a longer period.

Q12.    Now that beards will be allowed, what will be the policy on shaving if you aren’t growing a beard?
A12.     Employees who are not actively attempting to grow a beard or other type of facial hair must report to work with an otherwise cleanly shaven face. Ungroomed beard stubble will not be considered neat, clean and professional.

Q13.    Do I still need a medical waiver to grow a beard, or am I covered by the new CBA?
A13.     That will be entirely up to the individual; however, there are restrictions as to when you can wear a certain uniform or perform certain functions while having a beard, but those exclusions will not apply to employees who have requested and received a waiver for medical or religious purposes.

SUNNY DAYS AHEAD FOR BPA DAN DOLAN

Local 2266 would like to wish everyone a very Happy Holiday season with a special greeting and kuhngratulations to BPA Dan Dolan. BPA Dolan who was one of three Union Reps that have been wrongfully terminated in Swanton Sector this year was fully reinstated and relocated from Beecher Falls to Tucson, AZ. We thank him for putting his ass on the line for the Local and it’s members and hope he will be treated far better in his new home.

Dolan’s case is only one of a long line of similar cases that will be coming due in the New Year. We are confident that we will continue righting the wrongs of Chief Pfeifer. So far no one in Washington D.C. has been willing to correct this mess and according to Chief Pfeifer “…the agency allows this process to happen…”  We can only hope moving into the New Year someone will at the very least get tired of paying the outrageous price tag attached to Chief Pfeifer’s losing fight against our contractual and statutory rights.

Swanton Sector Management Argues Rectal vs Oral Thermometers!

UPDATE:

During arbitration on June 30, 2016 and July 1, 2016, Beecher Falls SBPA Zavala indicated that Swanton Sector Management disagreed with EMS’s assessment that an Agent suffered from mild hypothermia.

To support his position, SBPA Zavala stated that the only accurate way to take his temperature would have been to administer a rectal thermometer.

To wit, Zavala stated: “With the equipment I have, it would have been necessary to use the invasive method of inserting the thermometer into the anal region to obtain core body temperature. The anal cavity is a sealed orifice, which is not affected by outside effects such as wind and stuff.  In the oral cavity, the person may have drank cold water or…..as they are traveling with their mouth open…. air comes into their wet mouth and cools it.”

Just imagine your reaction if your Supervisor tells you that the only equipment he/she has to take your temperature is an anal thermometer and because any other method just isn’t accurate enough for management. Also, consider that this is not the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in emergency rooms throughout the United States.

For clarification purposes, Local 2266 feels compelled to advise the membership that they are not required to submit to Swanton Sector Management’s literal or figurative desires to “stick it to them.”

Watch your “six!”

 

Morale2.SWB

 

www.bpunion.org

Published on June 21 2014

Chief Patrol Agent John Pfeifer is disregarding the exclusive representative of Swanton Sector agents and has let his managers run amuck.  His actions have revealed that there are two standards in Swanton Sector:  one for managers and another for Union members.  Union members are being held to higher standards of conduct and facing greater levels of discipline for violating those standards.
The Union has repeatedly brought their concerns to Chief Pfeifer only to have them ignored.  This failure of Chief Pfeifer to take the Union’s concerns seriously has given a green light to Patrol Agent In Charge (PAIC) Kuhn of the Beecher Falls Station to conduct operations in a dangerous manner. Continue reading »

#DenyDelayDueProcess

UPDATE:  (A)DC Nikki Johnson flops on providing the case law that she said refutes the Union’s grievance as Chief Pfeifer denies grievance without substance.

Now let’s just forget for a second that Chief Pfeifer again rejected the existence of our CBA and Title 5 of the United States Code that provides our right to be represented and take a look at his response.  Chief Pfeifer admits to violating the Statute (Federal Law) and Article 2 of the CBA but still denied the grievance in whole.

UIG Response Bypass Termination

Bypass-Termination

FLRA MEETINGS GUIDANCE

 

Chief Pfeifer’s Designee, (A)DC Mission Support Nikki Johnson stated in a grievance meeting that she had case law that refutes the violations of the CBA, Federal Laws and cited cases in the grievance. Naturally, the Union asked about these cases. However, (A)DC Nikki Johnson could not provide the Union the case names, the case summaries or any hint to their existence. Maybe, management will let us know in their response….or maybe not….