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.

Meeting Agenda Items Submitted

September 23rd, 2014

Please click on “View Meeting Agendas” under Membership Meetings to view submitted agenda items for the October 8th meeting.

Local 2544 Meets Regarding Border Security

September 22nd, 2014
ArpaioMtg

L to R: Tuffly, Arpaio, Del Cueto

Local 2544 President Art Del Cueto along with past president and current treasurer Edward Tuffly had separate meetings in Phoenix today with Judicial Watch, the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA), the Arizona Police Association (APA) and Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Border security issues were discussed at length. Local 2544 has had a longstanding working relationship with PLEA, APA and Sheriff Arpaio.

Former Phoenix Law Enforcement Association President and retired Phoenix police officer Mark Spencer is now with Judicial Watch and we look forward to our continued relationship with him in his new role. Judicial Watch is extremely supportive of border security and the men and women of the Border Patrol. They have pushed for an extensive investigation into the Terry shooting.

We have enjoyed a years-long relationship with Dr. Levi Bolton, the Executive Director of the APA. Levi is also a retired Phoenix police officer and a huge supporter of Border Patrol agents. All Local 2544 members are members of the APA and associate members of PLEA. Levi is a tireless advocate for law enforcement officers in Arizona.

The last meeting was with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is also a longtime supporter of Border Patrol agents. Issues of mutual interest and ways we can better work with MCSO to achieve goals that will benefit our organizations were discussed in a nearly 4-hour meeting with the Sheriff this afternoon.

Local 2544 would like to thank Spencer, Bolton, PLEA VP Ken Crane and Sheriff Arpaio for taking the time to meet with us during a very productive day.

Some interesting ideas were generated by our meetings yesterday. One idea was that all managers should volunteer to lead by example and wear lapel cameras. If these cameras need to be implemented to ensure accountability while carrying out the business of the government, management should lead the way and wear them at all times while on duty.

Border Patrol Pay Reform Passes Senate

September 18th, 2014

The National Border Patrol Council would like to thank Senators Tester and McCain for reaching across the aisle and sponsoring the bipartisan Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Act. The BPAPRA was combined with the Cybersecurity Authorization today and it passed the Senate. It has now been sent to the House for consideration. We still have a lot of work to do. This is not a done deal yet.

We are grateful for the elected representatives and their staffs who put so much work into getting this through the Senate. Along with Senators Tester and McCain, we would also like to recognize and thank Senators Cornyn, Heitkamp, Ayotte and Flake for co-sponsorsing this important legislation.

Lastly, we would be completely remiss in not thanking NBPC President Brandon Judd, VP Albert Trevino and VP Jon Perkins for all the hard work and personal sacrifice they have made to get this bill passed through the Senate. They have been on the road almost non-stop for many months working diligently to see this succeed. It didn’t just happen. It was worked for and it involved tremendous sacrifice. They may not want to be singled out and thanked, but it is appropriate that we say THANK YOU!

AUO Issues Update

September 17th, 2014

The National Border Patrol Council was recently informed of more positions that would be losing AUO; specifically details to sector, but we were also notified that more cuts at the station levels are on the way. Union officers will also be affected. The NBPC received notification that all full-time union officers would be de-authorized the use of AUO in October. The notification states in part:

As you are aware, CBP’s compensation practices have been under intense scrutiny from the media, Office of Special Counsel, and Congress.

The letter goes on to give official notification that union officers will lose AUO unless they work the field and no longer protect the interests of the membership.

Bargaining unit agents detailed to sector should have already been given the option to return to the field in order to maintain a percentage of AUO. If you are detailed to sector and you were not given this opportunity, please notify a steward and we will take care of it. Regardless of the agency’s interpretation of the law, the Union has the right to bargain the impact and implementation of any and all directives given to employees.

Membership Notification

September 17th, 2014

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES (AFGE) 

LOCAL UNION 2544 

NOTICE OF NOMINATIONS 

All aspects of the nomination and election of officers of AFGE Local Union 2544 will be conducted under the

supervision of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS), pursuant to a

settlement agreement August 12, 2014.  The nominations and election will be conducted in accordance with the

Civil Service Reform Act of 1958 (CSRA) and Part 458 of the Code of Federal Regulations, and  insofar as lawful

and practicable  with the provisions of the AFGE Constitution and the Local 2544 Bylaws.

OFFICE TO BE FILLED 

Nominations will be conducted for the following offices: President; Treasurer; Executive Vice President; 

Secretary; 1st Vice President; 2nd Vice President; and 3rd Vice President.  In accordance with Local Union 2544

Bylaws Section 18, all elected officers of the local will be delegates to the National Convention, District Caucus,

National Border Patrol Council Convention, or any other meeting where delegates might be required in the order

listed above.

TERM OF OFFICE/INSTALLATION 

Candidates elected in the election will be installed at the general membership meeting held on December 10, 2014.

The term of office shall run for three (3) years ending in December 2017.

NOMINATIONS 

Nominations for all officer positions of Local Union 2544 will be accepted from the floor at the Wednesday, 

October 8, 2014, 6:00 p.m. membership meeting held at the union office located at 2185 West Magee Road, Suite

125, Tucson, Arizona 85742.

Nominations may also be made in writing and must be received by the Election Supervisor Seyi Olowolafe by fax 

(602) 514-7102 or mail at US Department of Labor – OLMS Phoenix RIO, 230 North First Avenue, Room 

501, Phoenix, Arizona 85003 by no later than 12:00 p.m. on October 8, 2014.  Written nominations shall include

the nominator’s full name, address, work duty station, and the full name of the nominee.  Self-nominations will be

permitted.

To be eligible to nominate candidates, a member must be in good standing at the time of the nomination meeting.

Dues must be current (paid through September 2014) by the time of the nomination meeting.  No member will be

allowed to be a candidate for more than one office in the election.  To be eligible for nomination, nominees must

have been a member in good standing for one year (October 2014 through September 2014) of an AFGE local,

immediately preceding the nomination meeting.  The member cannot be a member of any labor organization that is

not affiliated with the AFL-CIO.

Candidates must accept the nomination in writing at the nomination meeting.  If the nominee is not in attendance,

they will be notified in writing by the Election Supervisor of their nomination and shall have until 5:00 p.m. on

October 17, 2014, to provide written acceptance of their nomination.  In the event that the nomination acceptance is

not received by October 17, 2014, the nominee shall be deemed for all purposes to have declined the nomination(s)

for the office(s) for which the nominee has been nominated.

ELECTION 

The election will be conducted by polling beginning Tuesday, November 18, 2014 through Thursday, November 20,

2014, at each of the nine border patrol workstations.  Additional information regarding the election will be provided

in a separate notice which will be mailed to all Local Union 2544 members at a later date.

Website updates

September 17th, 2014

We will be adding two new pages to our website. One will be for upcoming agendas at general membership meetings and another dedicated to the Election notices.

Until that time, we post all notices on the front page.