Archive for the ‘News’ Category
Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
It seems the great ideas to cut our pay and benefits just keep on coming. We have become punching bags for the Obama Administration and many legislators.
After three years of pay freezes, cuts to AUO, the looming uncertainty about AUO decertification or further cuts to AUO percentages and another furlough on the horizon – along with rising health care costs, taxes, fuel prices and the cost of living – coupled with devaluing home prices and the fact that many of us are upside down on our mortgages – we now have another proposal from our friend in the White House along with Republican and Democrat legislators – an increase in our contributions to the retirement system. President Obama wants a 1.2% increase (pay cut) and Paul Ryan wants a 5.5% increase (worse pay cut).
Read more here.
Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
There was a hearing on Capitol Hill today regarding the misuse of AUO. We are linking a news story about the issue. We are also providing a link so that you can watch some of the testimony for yourself (you will have to fast forward until the actual testimony begins – there is a 15 or 20-minute slack time at the beginning of the video). The AUO issue does not appear to be going away any time soon. The ability of Border Patrol agents to do our jobs becomes harder and harder every year, and our pay and benefits is taking one body blow after another.
There is a news story linked here.
You can watch the actual testimony here. The questioning from some of the Congressmen is harsh.
We are linking the House and Senate pay reform bills as well so you can track the progress of each bill.
House bill is linked here.
Senate bill is linked here.
Sunday, November 10th, 2013
In an attempt to educate bargaining unit members about the new pay reform legislation, the NBPC President and Local 2544 President attended several musters at Tucson station recently. As is customary, they first notified management. In the past Union officials have often spoken at musters without managers being present so that bargaining unit members could engage in a more free-flowing, honest and unguarded discussion without fear of reprisals from management.
Leading up to an appearance at a recent Tucson muster the union officers were immediately met with some resistance by the Watch Commander assigned to the 1800 shift. Both union officers remained professional during their interaction with the Watch Commander. Sector staff was called for clarification of the Watch Commander’s stated position (he insisted he would not leave the muster). It was immediately straightened out and the Union was able to address the bargaining unit members. In a show of diplomacy, the NBPC president allowed the Watch Commander to remain and participate during the entire muster, even though he could have asked the Watch Commander to leave.
Given the circumstances and the interaction before, during and after the muster the union officers were surprised to find later that a complaint was filed by either the Watch Commader or a higher ranking member of station management. The complaint centered around alleged unprofessional conduct of the union officers, which was an outright lie. To make matters worse, the complaint was made directly to OBP staff in D.C. The complainant(s) apparently ignored the chain of command and bypassed Sector management completely.
Everything contained within the complaint was based on lies and exaggerations. This union has historically maintained a professional demeanor with members of Tucson sector management. The vindictive lies and exaggerations put forth by the Tucson station managers are unfortunate and uncalled for. We hope that the attitude demonstrated by a few high-ranking station managers does not spread to subordinate managers. Supervisors in general are supposed to be held to a higher standard than rank-and-file agents. Higher ranking managers are supposed to be held to the very highest standards.
We hope we are able to continue a positive working relationship with those managers with whom we’ve accomplished things for our members. Some managers apparently did not learn that pinning bars or oak leaves on your collar and assuming a title does not earn respect. Respect is earned by demonstrating inner qualities like honesty, integrity, good judgment, fairness and professionalism over a period of time. Real leaders understand this.
Monday, November 4th, 2013
Washington Post Report Shines Spotlight on Need for Pay Reform
It seems only appropriate that the Office of Special Counsel delivered its report on the failings of Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime, known in federal circles as AUO, on Halloween.
The Washington Post coverage of the report focused on the aspects of the Treat, referring to the “candy bowl” of overtime money from which some Homeland Security employees have unethically dipped. But the most unappetizing aspect of the issue is the Trick being played on taxpayers, that the government continues to employ a broken and bloated pay system even though an efficient and remarkably logical solution is well within reach.
The AUO pay system has been dysfunctional for years now and is indeed being abused by some federal workers; however, it’s the system Congress gave us. We try to make the best of it, but our mission involves patrolling over 9700 miles of border each and every day, an immense amount of land to cover.
The 10-hour shifts for which AUO can provide are a necessity, given that our agents may face four-hour round trips to get to and from some of the most hotly contested spots along our border. But with the current limitations of our compensation system, Border Patrol agents are forced to play “goal line defense” every single day. Even though Customs and Border Patrol is the largest uniformed police force in the world, our compensation system is lagging behind that of other agencies. The truth is, our pay system is a relic, older than most of our agents.
With illegal immigration once again on the rise along our southern border, it’s becoming even clearer that the need for change is urgent. Not only have we recorded higher border traffic in areas such as the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, but we find more and more people from countries other than Mexico are now trying to cross illegally into the United States.
During the economic downturn, the United States became less financially appealing to potential illegal immigrants, leading to far fewer apprehensions. But now, as the U.S. economy recovers, the number of attempted crossings is climbing fast. In just the last year, our border patrol agents made more than 420,000 apprehensions, a 15-percent leap over the previous 12 months. And these numbers will only continue to grow as our economy continues to stabilize.
Thankfully, a solution is on the immediate horizon. Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) both plan to introduce bills that will both improve the security of our borders and save the money of U.S. taxpayers. This bipartisan agreement will save our taxpayers $130-million a year, while allowing Border Patrol agents to work the hours we need in order to better secure our borders.
As the Office of Special Counsel explained in its report to the White House, “the lack of progress in implementing [reform] plans first outlined five years ago raises questions about the agency’s willingness or ability to confront this important problem.” But members of Congress from both parties, like Rep. Chaffetz and Sen. Tester, are clearly ready to reform our pay system and save taxpayers $1.3-billion over the next ten years.
With this solution so close at hand, we must ensure that necessary pay reform and the substantial budget reductions it would bring don’t fall victim to the misdeeds of a few. Our Border Patrol agents serve this country honorably and place their lives at risk on a daily basis: border security is our top priority, plain and simple. But in order to successfully pursue that priority, we need a fair pay structure that enables us to get the job done safely and effectively.
Saturday, October 26th, 2013
He should probably stick to his cartoon drawings. But this opinion piece epitomizes the “love”, “respect”, “compassion”, “acceptance” and “tolerance” he and his fellow ultra-liberals like to preach about. The part they always seem to forget to mention is that all these wonderful attributes they like to preach about (and put on their bumper stickers) are reserved for those who agree with everything they think. Those who disagree with them are viciously labeled as “dark-hearted”, “racist” and other loving terms of endearment.
We hate to drive up his hit count on this hit piece, but it’s really funny, and we need comedy relief in these times of pay cuts, crappy equipment, gas rationing and the constant stream of wonderful news coming from D.C.
Friday, October 18th, 2013
We will have a meeting on Wednesday, October 30th to discuss the Border Patrol Pay Reform Act. The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. at the Scottish Rite located at 160 S. Scott Avenue in Tucson. Only current members will be allowed into the meeting. Membership will be checked at the door.
There will be no food provided at this meeting and no mileage will be paid. If you have questions about the new pay system that is being considered you should attend or arrange with a friend or co-worker to have your questions answered.
Recent agency (CBP and Border Patrol in particular) dirty tactics, such as attempting to make all furlough days non-excludable for AUO purposes in an attempt to force further reductions in our pay highlight the urgency of a pay reform system.
Friday, October 11th, 2013
Congressman Barber has been a terrific ally to rank-and-file Border Patrol agents. He is always seeking our ideas on better ways to do our jobs and he has been a true friend over the years.
Thanks Congressman Barber for once again having our backs. We appreciate it.
Please click on the link below to see a speech Congressman Barber gave on the House floor.
Wednesday, October 9th, 2013
“I hate Border Patrol agents too, fellas. Your legalization papers are coming soon.”
Apparently 18 USC 111 still only applies if an agent sustains serious injuries. How many times has the AUSA asked “How badly is the agent injured?” when presented with a case of impeding or assault on a federal officer? No serious injury sustained by an agent almost always = no prosecution. That has been a running joke for many years (along with the ridiculous threshold amounts of dope to trigger a prosecution). So when dozens of “protesters” impede, resist and otherwise interfere with Border Patrol agents and the carrying out of our duties, what happens? Nothing. They get a little pepper spray, they act like they have pulled off some heroic deed, they are attended to by the fire department, they get their picture in the paper and they walk away with no citations and no criminal charges. And does that encourage further lawlessness and put us in a bad position as we try to do our job? Absolutely. It emboldens these types of people and puts us in danger. Impeding law enforcement should be a serious no-no. Protest some other way, but not by interfering with an active enforcement operation and creating a dangerous atmosphere where someone could be badly injured or killed. Why weren’t these people arrested and charged?
Another truly despicable example of agents being handcuffed, having to fear doing our jobs and having nobody standing in the gap to help protect us from the illegal alien cheerleaders and the anarchists. Shameful.
Since these “protesters” can be easily identified, charges should be filed on them as soon as possible.
You can read a story about these heroic “protesters” here.
Tuesday, October 8th, 2013
Good to see that our friend Raul Grijalva is earning his taxpayer funded paycheck during the shutdown…by getting arrested.
The shutdown and the national debt are small problems though compared to his single issue, cheerleading for illegal aliens.
NPS rolls out the red carpet for illegal aliens and clowns like Grijalva to “protest” about how awful this country treats them. But the World War II vets who fought so that we could have everything we have are treated like second class citizens. Absolutely disgraceful.
Grijalva has never missed an opportunity to bash the Border Patrol. He would be a happy man if we were all fired. He has protested against us, called us every name in the book, falsely stated that we only use hollow point ammo to intentionally inflict massive destruction on the poor illegal aliens he represents and he has made all sorts of other ridiculous assertions over the years. He is pictured above protesting against us near Tucson. Nevertheless, he will collect a huge pension check, courtesy of the American taxpayer, for the rest of his life once he leaves office. It is just so awful that he is treated this badly. No wonder he is so angry.
Monday, October 7th, 2013
As of this morning, the so-called “shut down” continues unabated. As the politicians who created this mess continue to blame each other we are going to start missing pay checks out here in the real world. Politicians are mostly elitist millionaires, so they really don’t have much to worry about. Our next pay check will be a partial (paid through September 30th). After that, there will be no more pay checks until this is cleaned up, and right now there is nothing out there that looks promising. We advise that you take every precaution, apply for unemployment insurance, lengthen any TSP loans you may have and warn your lenders that they may not get paid this month or next. Don’t expect much sympathy from your lenders, they really don’t care about anything except $$$.
Anything can happen, and this could be cleaned up today, but here is the latest: