Membership Notification- Updated

November 20th, 2014

From DOL concerning the election delay and updated election notice:

Revised Timeline

Election Notice Final

 

 

DOL Letter

Member Notification on Elections

November 14th, 2014

The DOL Supervisor sent an email giving new dates for the Local 2544 elections.

The new dates are Dec. 2,3, & 4. Please check the attached documents for your prospective station and for requesting Absentee Ballots

 

Election Notice Final

Absentee Ballot Request Form

 

Anybody have an M-4 we can borrow?

November 11th, 2014

m4Everyday we are reminded of how mismanaged our Agency is but this takes the cake.

Imagine you are at work. Your company only has limited amount a pens. Some people use them, some don’t. But as the years pass, some pens become broken and some run out of ink. The managers at your company act surprised “We didn’t know that they would get broken we didn’t know they would run out of ink!”. To remedy the problem, they replace half as many pens that were thrown away.

Now imagine your a Border Patrol Agent and it is not a pen but a M-4 rifle! Imagine it’s not about some report your doing but about protecting your life!

Border Patrol M-4 rifles are being deadlined at an alarming rate and not all are being replaced. Again we have to ask “HOW DID THESE PEOPLE GET IN CHARGE?” Did they honestly think that these rifles would last for ever and they wouldn’t need to be replaced. How is it that managers didn’t see this coming?  How is it the a Border Patrol Agent can’t get an M-4 that is “sighted in” for him or her?  Every LE Agency we talk too, scoff at the idea of officers sharing weapons, especially a weapon that needs to be “sighted in”. Millions of dollars are spent on “feel good” programs ran by good ole boy managers and sending managers to foreign countries to do who knows what while the Agent on patrol gets the shaft.  This is a slap in the face to every Agent who does the day to day job of patrolling the border and protecting our nation.

Disclaimer: The Border Patrol will not accept donated weapons but thank you to the Gun Shops and citizens who have offered.

Read more HERE

 

Pay Reform Issues

November 4th, 2014

Many of you are being told that you had no say in the Pay Reform. That is largely incorrect, as explained below.

National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd has visited our sector on multiple occasions. He explained the facts of the Pay Reform in many musters and meetings. The presentations took approximately 30 minutes and afterwards he opened it up to Q&A. He answered every question that was asked. He told everyone that he was not there selling the Pay Reform but that he was there to explain the facts and to get feedback.

At the end of each muster or union meeting, he asked everyone present three questions.

-Who wants the NBPC to kill the pay reform?
-Who wants the NBPC to continue forward with the pay form?
-Who hasn’t had enough time to consider the information?

After he asked the questions, a vote was taken and counted from each muster and union meeting, and the overwhelming majority was in favor of continuing forward with the pay reform. There were some who voted against it, and there were some that voted that they hadn’t had enough time to consider the info, but the vast majority voted to continue forward. Notwithstanding the vote, Brandon gave out his personal email address and told everyone that if they changed their mind and if they wanted the NBPC to kill the pay reform they should email him and he would keep a running tally.

Brandon or a member of the NBPC has since been to every sector and has done the same informational presentation at musters. He has also held the same off-site union meetings throughout the country. The response everywhere has been the same.

To help add clarity to what’s already happened and why there is a serious sense of urgency, here are some key facts to consider about the Pay Reform. Please note that the NBPC notified all agents of what was coming well before it happened:

-The NBPC informed everyone that agents at the academy were going to be de-authorized the use of AUO.
-The NBPC informed everyone that all HQ personnel were going to be de-authorized the use of AUO.
-The NBPC informed everyone that second line supervisors and above were going to be de-authorized the use of AUO.
-The NBPC informed everyone that light duty agents would be de-authorized the use of AUO.
-The NBPC informed everyone that certain details would be de-authorized the use of AUO and that is currently happening as we speak.

In all cases the NBPC was correct. The NBPC is now telling us that CBP is drafting a new AUO policy and that AUO directives will be forthcoming. The policy and directives will ensure that AUO is used and administered in strict accordance with the law. As evidence, here are some excerpts from Deputy Secretary Mayorkas’ memorandum about the forthcoming policy and directives. Areas in bold are for emphasis.

Given the poor state of the administration of AUO in many parts of the Department, I am now directing each of you to develop a comprehensive Component-specific plan to achieve and/or maintain full compliance with the law as explained in this memorandum.

Record keeping is a critical component of proper AUO management, both as a means to ensure that hours claimed as AUO are, in fact, payable as AUO and to ensure that employees earn AUO premium pay at the appropriate rate. Without adequate records, managers cannot adequately evaluate hours claimed or differentiate between uncontrollable overtime and overtime work that can be scheduled in advance. Moreover, in a time of limited budgets, sound record keeping permits Components to actively manage overtime expenditures, including by varying schedules, delaying or shifting work to minimize overtime, or staggering shifts.

In part because of insufficient record keeping, many Department supervisors and managers do not appropriately review the AUO hours claimed to ensure that the work performed was necessary overtime, that the amount of time claimed was appropriate, and that the duties could not have been scheduled in advance. Under OPM regulations, an employee’s appropriate rate of AUO premium pay depends on the average number of hours of irregular or occasional overtime work performed per week. When supervisors and managers approve claimed hours without appropriately reviewing these records, employees receive inflated rates of AUO pay based on the approval of work that should have been scheduled in advance.

A challenge of particular note is supervisors who routinely approve one-and-a-half to two hours of “administratively uncontrollable” overtime for the same employees performing the same tasks at the same time on the same days of the week. As a result of this pattern, AUO rates- which should fluctuate based on mission needs and the specific circumstances that arise during the duty day-generally remain steady, often at the maximum level, for much of the Department’s workforce. Work that is steady and consistent is not “uncontrollable” even under a commonsense understanding of the term, and therefore the AUO pay rates based, at least in part, on steady and consistent work exceed the actual AUO pay rates that employees should be receiving under statute and regulation.

Managers should not use AUO as a general overtime payment system to permit employees to complete any work that arises after normal working hours. Although AUO provides management a flexible tool for compensating employees with irregular and unpredictable responsibilities, it is not a shortcut to avoid proper workforce and overtime management and should not be used to routinely extend the workday.

Some Components, relying on a legacy policy created by the Department of Justice long before the Department of Homeland Security was established, “exclude” certain days, such as days spent on annual leave, from the required weekly calculation of the average number of AUO hours worked in a particular week. Because AUO premium pay rates depend on an employee’s weekly average of AUO hours worked, excluding non-work days from the weekly average calculation results in higher weekly AUO averages and may result in a higher rate of premium pay than would otherwise be appropriate.

Discipline Requirements. The Department will not tolerate overtime abuse. The DHS AUO Directive will establish clear policies governing AUO administration and make clear that failure to follow those policies will result in disciplinary action, to include disciplinary action for supervisors and managers who permit their employees to misuse AUO. The Directive will require all Components to update their tables of penalties to include sanctions for failure to comply with the laws, rules, and policies governing AUO.

As explained above, each of you is required to submit to my office and to the Office of the General Counsel your Component-specific plans to remedy the Department’s current noncompliance with AUO laws and regulations. Once we have received and reviewed your Component’s plan, the Human Capital Office and the Office of the General Counsel will coordinate with you to implement these plans and to monitor Component progress in achieving full compliance with law and regulation. If, in the course of developing and implementing these plans, you discover additional AUO administration problems not mentioned above, nothing in this memorandum should be read to prohibit you from taking any additional steps to remedy AUO misuse. Moreover, you are also free to decide that, after weighing the costs of reforming your Component’s AUO practices, the costs of proper AUO management outweigh the benefits of the AUO system and to eliminate the use of AUO in favor of other forms of overtime compensation for employees.

As you can clearly see, there are more bad things on the horizon for AUO, and because it’s a legal issue and a budget issue, the best way to mitigate these things is to get a change in the law. The NBPC has been working on this for over four years. During those 4 years, including the 1 1/2 years Brandon has been NBPC president, they’ve been working as hard as possible to get the best possible Pay Reform.

The NBPC has not been doing this alone. In order to ensure they can meet with all possible congressional officials, the NBPC employs two high-powered but distinctly different lobbying firms. They’ve also been using as many of AFGE’s substantial resources as they can possibly use.

Even with the NBPC utilization of highly skilled professional lobbying and law firms, Congress has been very specific as to what it will take if the NBPC wants the legislation passed. Congress has told the NBPC that the law must be supported by both the Agency and the Union and that it MUST save money. And even though those two parameters have been met, the NBPC and the Agency are still facing an uphill battle to get this done.

Again, the NBPC has been 100% on the mark regarding what they’ve told everyone was going to happen. Read the excerpts from the Mayorkas memo. If you still feel AUO isn’t going away as we know it, you should fight the Pay Reform. No one likes the idea of losing FLSA, and if there was a way we could keep it, we would.

If someone in this Local has the answer on how to get Congress to pass a law that will allow us to continue with AUO as we know it, please ask him to explain it in detail. The Agency’s intentions with AUO have been made abundantly clear, so how exactly would he fix it?

Member Notification

October 31st, 2014

There will be an Election Committee budget meeting on:

Nov 10, 2014

4 pm

Union Office

We encourage as many members to show for this important meeting

Chandler PD Loss

October 31st, 2014

Our thoughts and prayers go to the family and friends of Chandler PD Officer David Payne, who lost his life earlier this morning when he was hit from behind while he was sitting on his department’s motorcycle and to Chandler PD Officer Bryant Holmes, who was killed in a off-duty motorcycle accident, earlier this week.

The loss of both officer occurred within days of each other and highlight the dangers Law Enforcement Officers face everyday.

 

Verizon Plan is Here

October 17th, 2014

As promised, the Verizon plan is ready for all members. It is the culmination of a lot of hard work by Local officers. Please print and complete the forms linked below. All the instructions are contained within those forms and you can contact the Plan Coordinators if you have questions. Thank you for your patience as we worked through the final details.

Verizon Credit Card Form              APA Verizon Contract New Members              Verizon Discount Plans for APA Members

Special Meeting

October 11th, 2014

There will be a special meeting held at the Union Office on Oct. 21 at 6 pm to discuss the budget for the upcoming elections. We encourage all to attend.

FOLLOW-UP POST TO THE VRP and ROB

October 8th, 2014

What is the VRP? On August 26, 2010, the agency and the NBPC entered into the most recent VRP agreement that continued a test program that was approved by Congress and that was intended to provide Federal Agencies and Federal Employees more move opportunities by decreasing the amount of money an agency would have to pay for relocations. The test program expired on April 29, 2014, which also ended the negotiated VRP.

Under the VRP, the agency identified vacancies at Border Patrol Stations and posted those openings on USA Jobs. Agents were provided an opportunity to apply for the openings and were able to put in for a maximum of five locations. OPM compiled referral lists of all applicants by seniority and sent the lists to the selecting officials at the individual sectors. On each referral list, the selecting official (management) was able to consider the top seven (7) names, which became the list of consideration, for the first vacancy. For each additional vacancy, one more name from the referral list was added to the list of consideration. Management was able to select anyone from the list of consideration regardless of seniority.

Example: Station “A” has two vacancies and 10 agents apply for those openings. Management would be given the referral list containing the names of all 10 agents but would only be able to select from the list of consideration or the top 8 agents based upon seniority. With their two selections, management would be able to choose the two most junior agents from the list of consideration even if those agents only had 3 years in the patrol and the most senior agents had 20 years in the patrol. Management would be required to take into consideration the seniority of all agents on the “consideration list,” but if they determined the junior agents were more qualified, management would be free to choose those agents.

Recent examples of how selections were made under the last few VRP announcements: After management received their lists, they called the duty stations of the applicants to compile a matrix on each agent. In many cases, they were looking for specific qualifications or certifications such as Firearms Instructors, Boat Patrol Certifications, Horse Patrol Certifications, etc., and they made their selections based upon those certifications and other factors, including overall seniority. About 4 or 5 years ago, we saw a great many Firearms Instructors selected in the VRPs even though in many instances they were some of the most junior agents on the “consideration list.” We also saw an awful lot of senior agents passed over because management claimed they weren’t the most qualified agents when they made their selections.

Albeit a big factor, seniority isn’t the only component to being selected under the VRP.

What is the ROB? The Relocation Opportunity Bulletin is almost the same as the VRP. The biggest difference is that the VRP is a funded program and the ROB is a non-funded program. There are a few other subtle differences such as:

Agents will be able to apply for three locations instead of five.

Agents will be required to submit a resume.

There are no seniority limitations to make the consideration list. Seniority will still be a factor and must be considered when making a selection, but it’s not the only factor.

Another reason the ROB is considered a non-funded program is because it doesn’t provide the same moving benefits as the VRP. Under the VRP and prior to moving, an agent is given 5 days of admin leave to take a house hunting trip. At the time of moving, agents are given three more admin days to pack their household belongings and another three admin days to unpack upon arrival at their new duty location. Agents are also given admin leave for travel to get to their new duty station, but there is no per diem.

Most Commonly Asked Questions:

Q. Is the ROB a location swap program?

A. No, you do not have to find someone to trade locations with you. It is an application and selection program just like the VRP. It is anticipated that Nationwide ROBs will be announced on USA Jobs and that in sector ROBs will be announced via memorandum.

Q. Is every station going to have slots available?

A. Staffing levels are determined by the agency and, like the VRP, those levels will determine the openings.

Q. How many agents will be able to leave one station?

A. Just like the VRP, there is no hard number. Because this is a test program that will last only two years, and if the agency wants it to continue after the initial expiration, they will make proper selections regardless of the number of agents from one station that will be reassigned.

Q. How much time in service must an agent have to participate in the ROB?

A. Eligibility begins once an agent is off probation.

Q. If an agent accepts a ROB, is there a waiting period before an agent is eligible to apply for another relocation?

A. Like the VRP, there is a two-year waiting period.

Q. Will management prevent agents in focus sectors such as Tucson and RGV from being selected under the ROB?

A. If management wants this program to continue beyond the initial two-year trial period, they will not exclude anyone from being selected. As management did with some provisions of the VRP, however, they can violate provisions of this agreement and the NBPC will have to take appropriate action. Unfortunately, there are no provisions the NBPC can add that will ensure management does not violate an agreement, but we retain the right to file grievances, ULPs and EEO complaints.

Q. Can an agent apply for the same number of stations under the ROB as he/she could under the VRP?

A. No, under the ROB an agent may apply for up to three stations per announcement and under the VRP an agent may apply for up to five stations per announcement.

Q. Will the ROB inhibit or replace any other negotiated agreements, whether national or local.

A. No, the ROB does not replace or inhibit any agreement already set forth.

Q. Is the NBPC working on a location swap program?

A. Yes, the NBPC proposed a location swap program to the agency more than a year ago and we’re still in negotiations.

As you can see, the ROB is an inferior program when compared to the VRP, just like the VRP is an inferior program to fully funded moves, but when the ROB is coupled with the VRP and hopefully a location swap program in the near future, the possibility of agents being able to move will be greatly enhanced. We haven’t had any mobility announcements in almost three years and this agreement ensures there will be regular mobility opportunities for the next two years. If you have any other questions, please get with your local and they will get you an answer.

RELOCATION PROGRAMS WILL OPEN TO ALL BORDER PATROL AGENTS RESULTING IN INCREASED MOBILITY AND BETTER MORALE

September 30th, 2014

We are pleased to inform you that the Union and Management have agreed to open up two relocation programs. These two programs could start as early as next month. They are the Voluntary Relocation Program (which originally expired on April 29, 2014) and a new program that will be called the Relocation Opportunity Bulletin (ROB).

The main difference is that the VRP is a funded program that pays agents to move, whereas the ROB is non-funded and agents will be required to fund their own moves. The ROB will be in place for two years, after which, the NBPC will be able to evaluate and renegotiate if necessary. The ROB will expire on September 30, 2016. The VRP requires Congressional approval, which the Union and the Agency are currently seeking. We hope to have a quick resolution to the approval issue so that both programs will move forward expeditiously.

Under these two programs move opportunities will be announced every quarter, which will greatly enhance the chances for mobility to a far greater number of agents. The VRP and ROB will alternate quarter to quarter and we anticipate that moves under the ROB will be announced in a few weeks while we await Congressional approval for VRPs. Because moves under the ROB are non-funded, agents may exclusively apply for relocations under the VRP. Agents selected under the VRP will receive lump sum payments to help with move expenses.

The VRP Lump Sums pre tax are:
Multiple person household who own a home – $35,275
One person household and own a home – $27,375
Multiple person household who do not own a home – $16,850
One person household and does not own a home – $8,950

We will update the moment VRP approval is given by Congress.