Article by Article Summary
Click on the hyperlink to see contract article.
“Roll” means there were no changes.
Article 00 - Preamble - Roll
Article 1 - Recognition and Coverage - Roll
Article 2 - Precedence and Effect- Roll
Article 3 - Management Rights - Roll
Article 4 - Employee Orientation - Rolled with a minor semantic change that allows the Union to request reasonable time (normally thirty minutes) for orientation in accordance with Article 8 (Official time).
Article 5 - Employee Rights - Added the following language: “While attending the examination, the Union representative retains all rights under the law applicable to these examinations.” Restored the 2014 language at Section 12 for prohibited personnel practices. Added language about the VDT program, which states, “The Agency has decided to terminate the Vision Program. If the Agency implements a new Vision Program, NTEU bargaining unit employees may participate.” (** the VDT program was not previously in our contract, but rather in the PPM.)
Article 6 - Equal Employment Opportunity - Rolled except eliminated Section 3C that required the Agency to distribute electronically the notice by NTEU to each employee who requests counseling. Section 3E was changed to add “subject to the provisions of Article 8.” So that section now reads: The employee may, at any stage in the processing of the complaint, be represented by a union representative or may proceed without union representation. If the employee is pursuing a complaint under the grievance procedures of this Agreement and he/she elects to proceed without union representation, the Union has the right to be present at any meeting between the Employer and the employee concerning the grievance subject to the provisions of Article 8.
Article 7 - Union Rights - New language: “Upon request, the Agency will provide the NTEU Chapter President, or his/her designee, with a bargaining unit member list in Excel format in October at the start of each fiscal year. The list will include the name, office, email address, and position title of each employee represented by NTEU.”
Article 8 - Union Time - This is what is referred to by law as “official time” and it is the time we use to enforce the contract and represent your interests. We agreed to an amount of 6500 hours to be used annually by all the stewards. There will be no “full time” union reps, or even 50% reps. There will be two union officials or stewards who will use 840 hours each. Everyone else will be capped at 250 hours. However, we pledge not to let these new limitations impact our ability to represent you. We are here for you!
Article 9 - Labor-Management Relations Committee - The Agency wanted to end these meetings; however, I believe it is important to continue to maintain a working relationship with Agency leaders. We can choose to attend the meetings in person for one day, or virtually for two days. The Union will cover the cost to attend the meeting in person. The in-person meetings will be held in Woodlawn to reduce the cost.
Article 10 - Facilities and Services - This article rolled for the most part. One change made was that the Chapter President will not be entitled to a separate office space for file and document storage. Since most offices are office sharing, I did not feel it was necessary for the Chapter President to be entitled to not only an office for work purposes, but also an office for storage. Most of our records are now maintained electronically.
Article 11 - Part-Time Employment - Roll
Article 12 - Probationary, Trial, Term, and Temporary Employees - The prior contract had a 10-day notice prior to termination, but the Agency refused to continue with the 10-day notice and proposed no notice at all, which would have given management the right to fire employees immediately. We convinced them to give us two (2) days.
Article 13 - Position Classification - Roll
Article 14 - Personnel Records and Access to Information - Changes were made to show the transition to an electronic 7B file.
Article 15 - Hours of Work - The Agency backed off allowing only offices with 15 or more NTEU employees to offer a compressed work schedule 5/4/9 or 4/10. (The compressed work schedule is identified in the contract as a flexible work schedule; however, in accordance with OPM regulations it is technically a compressed work schedule. Employees working a regular work 8 hour, 5 days per week schedule can earn up to 8 hours of credit. Employees on a 4/10 or 5/4/9 cannot earn credit hours under OPM regulations.) We got them to give us back language that prevents them from arbitrarily denying credit hours. We got them to strike their language “Employee performance will be considered in the approval of overtime,” which they insisted on throughout much of the bargaining. Employees on a 5/4/9 and 4/10 schedule may be required to share space/hotel in accordance with space sharing/hoteling procedures outlined in Article 17.
Article 16 - Leave - The Agency did not want to provide administrative time for CLE. But we were able to keep the 2014 CLE language in Section 8F, but changing “will” to “may”. The Agency’s singular reason for the change was to address the rare instances of abuse. The Agency intends to allow admin leave for CLEs the same as in the past. Incorporated language from the Weather and Safety leave Act. We got the following language: “In inclement weather and other emergency situations when the office is not closed, the Agency may grant up to two (2) hours of administrative leave to those employees arriving after the beginning of the core hours or scheduled start time. The granting of such leave is contingent upon the LAO determining that the employee made reasonable efforts to arrive timely and was delayed by the conditions.” A year of civil service is now required for advance sick leave.
Article 17 - Telework - at the Federal Service Impasse Panel. The fight for Telework will continue, please visit Fight for Telework.
Article 18 - Details - Roll
Article 19 - Employee Reassignment Requests - Changed to a new system. The Agency frequently made proposals to align NTEU with AFGE. While we rejected that general position, we determined that it made sense with respect to reassignments and that this Panel would certainly be persuaded that a system SSA used for 50,000 of its employees was also good enough for the 2200 represented by NTEU. However, NTEU was able to settle the outstanding arbitrations over the Agency’s failure to utilize the transfer list. Chapter 224 reps worked with everyone on the list to update it to roughly 110 employees. The Agency agreed to offer transfers under the terms and conditions of the current Article 19 but only where it determines it has openings.
Article 20 - Merit Promotion - Rolled with the addition of “Career development for individual employees shall be encouraged through establishment of an Individual Development Plan (IDP). Information regarding IDP’s can be accessed…” (link will be provided).
Article 21 - Performance - 60-day OPS. Performance Assistance (“PA”) is eliminated. New hire PACS is eliminated. The EOs encouraged a 30-day OPS which the Agency insisted on throughout much of bargaining. We determined under the circumstances that the Panel would likely grant that. The Agency finally offered 60 days (to our last offer of 75 days) so we decided to take it as it was better than the 30 days likely to be imposed by the Panel.
Article 22 - Monetary Awards - Add language at Section 3: The Agency has the discretion to not grant a monetary award to an employee who received a reprimand. Employees who have received any other form of formal discipline (e.g. suspension or demotion) are not eligible to receive any type of monetary award not already paid for the fiscal year in which the discipline is imposed or through the end of the next fiscal year. Affected employees will only lose award eligibility for one fiscal year.
Article 23 - Acceptable Level of Competence (WIGI) - At Section 4C the language was changed to allow the within-grade increase to become effective on the first day of the first period after an acceptable level of competence determination is made.
Article 24 - Training - Roll
Article 25 - Health and Safety - A new section was added- Section 12 Employee Assistance Program. It gives guidance to employees about where they can find information on EAP. It also explains that employees will be informed of confidentiality provisions should they engage in EAP.
Article 26 - Disciplinary Action - New language requiring disciplinary action to be initiated in a timely manner. Time frames changed from “work days” to “calendar days”. Discipline “may” be progressive in nature. Discipline “may” be proceeded by oral or written counseling. Oral and written reply must be delivered contemporaneously. We are no longer expressly allowed to supplement the record after the reply. The Agency agreed to our proposal that letters of reprimand will be kept in the eOPF for up to one (1) year or as long as an administrative need exists (i.e. litigation, pending disciplinary actions). They wanted two (2) years without any qualifiers.
Article 27 - Adverse Actions - Most critically, we retained the right to take adverse actions to arbitration.
Article 28 - Grievance Procedure - The most important thing here is that we retained the right to grieve a number of very important items, including the reduction or denial of telework, disciplinary actions, PACS appraisals, and so much more. However, there are shortened time frames for filing grievances, and for processing them.
Article 29 - Arbitration - The primary changes include shortened timeframes for NTEU’s Counsel to invoke a case for arbitration.
Article 30 - Expedited Arbitration - Largely rolled.
Article 31 - Reduction-in-Force - Roll
Article 32 - Dues Withholding - Rolled with changing “LRO” to Servicing Personnel Office- SPO” and language regarding future right to automate the process. At line 141, add a new Section 7 that reads, “NTEU will be provided information on dues withholding by its members. The Agency will consider data points requested by NTEU in conjunction with these reports.”
Article 33 - Negotiations - We will pay expenses related to negotiations for our team. *added MOU side bars for WebTA and Dragon.
Article 34 - Duration and Termination - We will have a six (6) year contract and no re-openers.
Article 35 - Office Space - We can negotiate space actions not covered by the terms of this contract. However, the article was negotiated with the intention to reduce the necessity of costly and repetitive bargaining over every office space change. This was a very difficult article to come to agreement on. They Agency insisted that we waive our rights to bargain. The Agency constantly told us that AFGE had waived it, so we had to as well. We resisted and ultimately prevailed on that point. Office sharing and hoteling will be the future. We anticipate issues with office space if the Agency decides to reduce the number of days employees telework.
Article 36 - Transportation Subsidies - Rolled, but changed the 2014 language from “will” to “may.”
Article 37 - Furloughs - Provides guidance during a government shutdown. Deadlines for filings (grievances etc.) will be extended by the number of days that the government is shutdown. We have a provision for administrative furloughs. If an employee has use or lose leave scheduled during the furlough, the employee and manager shall make reasonable efforts to reschedule the expiring leave during the leave year.
Article 38 - FMLA - New article that provides a short overview of FMLA rights.