RECAP OF TODAY’S NTEU ALL BARGAINING UNIT MEETING
|This morning, NTEU held a coffee and donuts meeting to discuss where we are in our term bargaining. NTEU would like to provide an update on the status of our collective bargaining efforts. NTEU, on behalf of our bargaining unit employees, has made some very positive gains in the following 12 articles that were opened either by NTEU or the agency. These gains include:
· a “mass dignity’ clause in the Employee Rights article that allows employees to grieve unprofessional behavior or bullying whether or not the employee is a member of a protected class;
· the ability to request telework up to five days per week, with supervisors able to approve two days a week without upper management approval;
· increased hours when employees on Flex Schedules can earn credit hours;
· provisions in the annual leave article that establishes deadlines by when managers should approve/deny annual leave requests;
· a new section in both the disciplinary and adverse action articles that describes the process for alternative discipline agreements. These agreements are widely used at the NRC now, but were not in the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA);
· the right to respond to counseling memos in writing as well as the acknowledgement that counseling memos are not the first step of progressive discipline but serve, instead, to counsel employees about behaviors or performance;
· a new process for employees requesting reassignments that does a better job of keeping employees informed as they go through the process; and
· language in the CBA specifically prohibiting retaliation for participating in the Non-Concurrence, Open Door, or Differing Professional Opinions Programs.
Our NTEU field representative, Peyton Lawrimore, was joined by Jennifer Harling, our chief negotiator, and Tim Hannepal, our NTEU DC representative. After discussing the gains that have been made during term bargaining and tentatively agreed to, Peyton discussed the five remaining articles. These include Family Leave, Arbitration, Official Time, Reduction in Force, and Awards. Although we are very close on the Family Leave and Arbitration articles, and fairly close on Official Time, these three articles have been “bundled” with the RIF and Awards articles. By “bundle” we mean that NTEU and the agency would have to reach agreement on all five articles in order to sign off on any one of the remaining articles.
For the Awards article, the agency is refusing to memorialize the current practice (it has been used over the last two years) that provides a delta between the amount of funds available for bargaining unit and non- bargaining/supervisory awards. Currently, that is .4%. Regarding the RIF article, the agency insists that the process the agency would use in a RIF is not negotiability. Specifically, the agency insists that because the NRC is an excepted service agency, they do not need to negotiate the use of “bump and retreat rights.” The negotiability issue was litigated in 1990 and appealed to the 4th Circuit Court. NTEU prevailed at every juncture.
Why is this important to you? NTEU will resume bargaining the week of July 13th. In the interim, it is important for your management to hear from you! When the bargaining unit demonstrates its interest in these issues and this process, management is more apt to hear our “interests.”
Please talk with your colleagues and your managers about your concerns and your interests.
After Peyton and Jennifer discussed the status of our bargaining efforts, Tim Hannepal provided information on the OPM breach. Although another federal union (AFGE) is suing OPM, at this point NTEU is pushing for more information, a longer period of coverage for affected employees and adding individual who may have had their information compromised because of their relationship to a federal employee. NTEU is also considering a class action lawsuit but at the moment, NTEU doesn’t believe that will create more incentive for OPM to take appropriate action and is, instead, focusing on OPM’s response to this crisis.
NTEU would like to hear from you too. Please send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by the union office located in OWFN 1 G22. We look forward to talking with you!
Finally, as July Fourth nears, NTEU would like to thank you, our federal employees, for the contributions you make to America.