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PARESE is on EL Centro Sector for our Members!
On January 29, 2016, Border Patrol agents began receiving the first paychecks under the recently enacted BPAPRA of 2015.
Many members expressed surprise that this paycheck reflected a decrease in their net pay. Fortunately, most members were aware and prepared, as the Union had been talking with members about this for years — ever since the Office of Special Counsel reports demonstrated abuses in claiming AUO throughout the agency.
Once the OSC reports substantiated the claims made by fellow agents, some of whom bragged about abuses on social media, there was little support for maintaining the old system. In fact, many in DHS and CBP lobbied for a system that would have netted every agent a loss of nearly 30 percent of their annual pay. The Union believed that this was extremely excessive and would penalize the vast majority of agents who only worked the hours they claimed and claimed the hours they worked.
Your union representatives worked to develop a fair plan and to generate support for a pay system that would give agents a consistent income. We worked hard for a system that would not be subject to the whims of D.C. administrators and that would not fluctuate 20 to 30 percent each year based on sector traffic. We felt that the plan being pushed by DHS and CBP would have created too many financial hardships for families trying to budget for mortgages, car payments, childcare and other expenses.
Although not perfect, BPAPRA successfully headed off the draconian cuts being promoted by DHS, OPM and CBP, which, by the way, would have cost agents more money and had lots of support from a very fiscally conservative Congress.
Along the way to its implementation, we fought every effort to harm our agents and we won.
When CBP de-certified all Border Patrol agents from AUO in March of 2015, and wanted to implement a targeted enforcement-based overtime payment system like OFO has, we fought back and we won the implementation of the temporary Overtime Transition Plan (OTP) for ALL agents nationwide, which actually paid agents more than AUO paid them.
When OPM issued a one-page letter supporting the position that agents are FLSA exempt until BPAPRA was implemented, we fought back and we won. Legislators passed a technical amendment to the law in near record time to ensure Border Patrol agents would not lose FLSA during the transition.
When OPM and DHS claimed that all payments of FLSA since December 2014 were subject to repayment by the agent, we fought back and we won.
When OPM and DHS promoted a pay plan that would have cost agents approximately 30 percent of their salary, we fought to secure a modern salary plan that protected the interests of our agents. It is not perfect, however. Agents will still see a reduction of pay in the area of 6-7 percent.
We understand that no one wants to see their pay cut. At the beginning of this long fight, only bad options were presented to us. We believed we had to do better. The plan we presented was a fair and fiscally responsible compensation program, one that mitigated many of the cuts Border Patrol agents are now facing. Unfortunately, not all of the points included in that initial proposal made it into the final law. That is the nature of negotiations and legislation. We met with hundreds of representatives, staff members, lawyers and lobbyists. National Union Officers of the NBPC spent countless days away from their families, fighting for you by meeting with anyone and everyone who could help. Our lobbying team continues to work to get the best deal possible for agents. Union representatives are currently working on technical amendments to the law to ensure the legislative intent of Congress is codified in the law.
Some will claim there was a better deal to be had. These people are either misinformed orintentionally being dishonest. We can say with absolute certainty that there was no such deal.
Some will claim that they were not fully informed. Fortunately, the union had countless meetingswith members throughout the country and we posted regular legislative updates on our website and on social media, while also discussing the issue continuously on the weekly podcast. We have created multiple venues to keep our members abreast of developments. Most of you have used these opportunities to stay informed, to help lobby elected officials, and to provide valuable input. The NBPC has and will continue to keep its members informed on any changes to the BPAPRA.
The USBP Nationwide Swap Program (NWS) will open on February 8, 2016 @ 0800 PST until February 29, 2016 @ 1600 PST
Employees will have the ability to submit up to 7 locations from a list of available duty stations. There will be no preference of choice. All choices will be considered as a location the employee is willing to move to. All selections are made on the basis of seniority.
As with the previous announcement, employees will receive an email informing them of the location they have been paired with. Employees will have 7 days to respond. Employees who decline the pairing will be removed from the current announcement. Employees who are impacted by their partner declining, will have their name placed back into the program for a second round of pairings.
As per the April 28, 2015 MOU employees will be considered eligible if he/she:
• Has served a minimum of three (3) years as a BPA, is not the subject of any pending performance or disciplinary action, or is the subject of an investigation of alleged misconduct, that may prevent the performance of the full scope of the required duties;
• Has not received or been subject to three or more disciplinary actions (reprimand to fourteen (14) days suspensions), or a single adverse action (suspension of more than fourteen (14) days) within the last two (2) years;
Is not under a Last Chance Agreement; and
Has fulfilled any time-in-station requirements associated with any previously approved relocation or assignment.
Employees who are submitting for the NWS, should strongly consider the personal cost and commitment it takes to relocate under this program and the impact it has on their fellow co-workers. Employees should only put in for locations that they truly want and willing to relocate to.
An announcement will be placed on the CBPnet’s USBP homepage giving more information and a link to the NWS site. Employees will not have access to the site prior to it opening. Employees should carefully read and understand the conditions and requirements before submitting their names for this program. Employees should take great care when entering their data, to ensure it is correct.
We have been trying to add a link within the NWS site that will give a live feed or a snap shot of employee locations that are requesting a swap with your location. If this application is installed, it will only show the entire amount of employees from all job series and subcategories ( BPA, K9, K9 Instructor) that are putting in for your location. This application and the data it provides, does not guarantee a swap to any individual and should only be used as a barometer for gauging interest in your location.
Today, AFGE announced its endorsement of Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. It is a decision that will please many of its members, but will displease a lot of Border Patrol agents.
AFGE’s selective process is spelled out in detail on their website. AFGE reached out to all announced presidential candidates – Republican and Democratic – with a questionnaire to gauge their positions on federal employees. Two candidates responded and agreed to an interview.
The National Border Patrol Council, as part of AFGE, made its concerns and preferences known in terms of presidential candidates. We emphasized the issues that are important to our members and voiced our anxieties on border security and immigration.
After reviewing every candidate’s record on federal employee pay and benefits, furloughs, shutdowns, and government services, the AFGE National Executive Council, without an endorsement from the NBPC, voted and Secretary Clinton was the endorsee.
We recognize that our agenda is not always AFGE’s agenda and so do our supporters on Capitol Hill. This is why, our strategy to work both sides of the aisle to advance legislation has benefited agents and their families as well as border security. In addition, we have also established a PAC that allows us to support individual candidates that support our agenda of strong enforcement and an end to the phantom amnesty programs like DACA, DAPA and “catch and release” that only encourage illegal immigration.
You have a choice to make. You can be mad at AFGE’s endorsement and disengage, or you help us advance our agenda by joining our PAC. The American public has been demanding border security for far too long. With your input, we will support candidates that recognize that the first line of defense against our borders being infiltrated by transnational criminal cartels, human smugglers, and possible terrorists is you, our Border Patrol Agents.
The work we do as Border Patrol Agents has an impact on every community across this country. We intend to stay focused on that work and not politics. As the exclusive representative of United States Border Patrol Agents, the National Border Patrol Council has not and will not endorse a candidate for President of the United States.
NATIONAL BORDER PATROL COUNCIL
American Federation of Government Employees
Affiliated with AFL-CIO
“Protecting Those Who Protect Our Borders”
I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for the lack of a newsletter these past months. There is no excuse and I will increase the frequency of the newsletter. Please follow our Local through Twitter or Facebook. The best thing you can do for the Union is be involved or at the very least stay up to date with current Union concerns.
(Union Service Announcement)
This section of the newsletter will be reserved for announcing any pertinent Union concerns. The Executive board of Local 2554 would like to thank Mr. Michael Martin for the suggestion. Although the discussion we had with Mr. Martin did not result in the outcome we were looking for, the discussion itself went well and we extend our thanks for his time.
For our first official U.S.A. = Unscheduled shift change
Once the G259 is posted if there are any Service initiated changes to your schedule, during that pay period, you may claim any premium pay you would have earned if you had worked the hours as originally scheduled. The determining factor is the posting of the G259 not the number of hours of notice you are given. If you have any questions or need clarification do not hesitate to contact Fernando Gurrola at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- OT checkpoint Grievance update: We have been assigned new attorneys to negotiate the settlements terms of the OT checkpoint grievance. The Union won the grievance however we do not agree with or accept the financial settlement the Service has offered. No money has been disbursed in any form from this grievance. Hopefully with the input and assistance of the new attorneys we will see the conclusion of this grievance soon.
- SWAP FAQ: Hopefully this information will help Union Members make more informed decisions regarding the SWAP which is currently in progress and the upcoming SWAP which is scheduled for January 2016.
- El Centro Sector had at least one Agent who was not included in the SWAP because their name was entered incorrectly.
- Nationwide we had several Agents who were disqualified due to incorrect information entered into the EOD section.
- When you enter your station preferences in the SWAP please be aware there is no ranking system applied to your choices such as first choice, last choice etc… You will be matched with the most appropriate station based on the totality of your application.
- When you are matched you will be contacted by the National Coordinator and will receive an offer. You may at this opportunity decline the SWAP without penalty. However, if you accept and then subsequently decline or choose not to complete the SWAP there will be a substantial penalty attached.
- If you are matched but your SWAP declines your name will go back into the SWAP program and you will be given an additional opportunity to be matched up.
- There is no penalty associated with losing your SWAP due to the other Agent declining or refusing to SWAP. Beyond the loss of your current SWAP.
- Verizon phone update: Officially the Verizon program is still under negotiation however Verizon has removed the unlimited data, the 10th month upgrades and raised the basic price $10-20. At this time the National is talking with AFGE and will hopefully be able to negotiate another program for our membership.
- Grooming Standards: Recently El Centro Station made a change to the implementation of the grooming standards, the Union disagreed with the manner and authority of the Station to make this change and with the help and support of El Centro Sector management we were able to resolve this issue without the need to expend financial or legal resources. We want to take the opportunity to thank Management and we hope that future concerns can be handled in the same prompt and efficient manner.
- Agent Welfare: Calexico Station Stewards will begin selling Union merchandise soon. The proceeds of all sales will go towards the welfare of Local 2554 members. Be on the lookout items should be here in time for Christmas, show your support for Local 2554 and your fellow Union members.
- Union Participation:
One of the strengths of any Union is the participation and involvement of its members. Everyone is encouraged to not only attend the Union meetings but to get involved. You can do as much as you are comfortable with. The only way for the Union to grow or to change is by the direct participation of its members. Don’t just complain, come down and help, your voice won’t count unless it’s heard.
IF YOU ARE HAVING A CONCERN WITH MANAGEMENT PLEASE CONTACT A UNION REPRESENTATIVE.
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for the Monthly Newsletter please contact David Yglesias at the following email: email@example.com
Nationwide Swap Program (NWS) Update – Declination notice e-mails sent
Certain employees received a notification via e-mail today advising them that their initial pairing has been rescinded because the employee with whom they were paired either declined the pairing or failed to respond to the pairing notification. Those employees who were negatively impacted will have their names put back in the system for one final chance at a pairing, which is expected to be completed within two weeks. Upon a successful pairing, those employees will again be notified of the pairing and given an opportunity for a swap under the NWS.
This posting is a courtesy of Local 3307 RGV
October 27, 2015 El Centro, California
All Agents that submitted required documentation for consideration of their individual application to the Swap Program, should by now, have received notification of outcome, (match found, qualification based on qualifying factors such as seniority, etc.…). Notification should have arrived in the form of an electronic mail.
The e-mail should also contain information and or interrogatory question(s) asking the participant of his/her intent to continue with the process (Swap). Local 2554 received a list/roster identifying 31 participants from the El Centro Sector.
If you have question(s) regarding any individual notification, (your own, of course) or if you were not notified and have question(s), please inform Local 2554 via e-mail.
Next scheduled “Swap” opportunity will be taking place on or about January 2016.
Local 2554 union members read the statement below and posted in Tucson local web site.
President Del Cueto is the main negotiator in this Verizon deal.
Here, in El Centro local 2554 we are standing by until negotiations are officially close.
We are not accepting applications and prior applications were not processed.
Any questions please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sabotaged Union Verizon Plan
For several months now I have been negotiating a discount cellular phone plan with Verizon. The discount was similar to plans that other organizations had with Verizon which included unlimited data. The deal was finalized and would have been a huge benefit not just for Local 2544 members, but to all members of NBPC nationwide. We received information that the benefit plans that included unlimited data would no longer be available and unless those within the plan did not make any type of updates they not would lose the unlimited data.
At the time that this information was made aware to me, I immediately contacted Verizon and spoke to the account executive in charge of our plan. I spoke to him and explained the issue and concern I had with the unlimited data and wanted to verify that we would not be affected like the two police unions in Arizona. He assured me that our plan would not suffer the same effects that the others would and assured me that we would be able to continue with unlimited data for our members under our national plan. These assurances are verified both with texts and emails that were sent back and forth between the Verizon account representative and I.
Earlier this week there was a conference call with Verizon executives where I was informed that our plan would also be affected with the exact same changes (loss of unlimited plans, 10 month upgrades, etc.) Various questions were asked during this conference call that lasted approximately an hour and a half. Verizon’s account executive informed me that he would get back to me after he was given time to contact other departments (compliance control) within the company to properly respond to the questions posed.
The next day we again spoke via conference call in which a Verizon executive told me that our national deal fell through because there had been issues and protest raised out of Arizona by another bargaining organization that was losing their current plan. This other organization had been aware of these changes for a year and was in the process of trying to salvage some benefits to their plan. When it was made aware to them that I negotiated an unlimited data plan nationwide their negotiating team confronted Verizon’s compliance team over our deal which caused Verizon to radically alter our national cell phone discount and causing us to lose the unlimited data plan in the process. This information is also verifiable through texts that were exchanged between the Verizon executive and I.
At no time did any member of Local 2544’s executive board or any member of the National Border Patrol Council withhold any information concerning any type of change regarding the plan. Furthermore, we did not intend for the plan to change at the eleventh hour and did very thorough due diligence with the Verizon representative to make sure this was indeed an unlimited data plan that would remain unaltered. We will move forward and try and ensure we get as many benefits to our members as possible. We remain dedicated to continue to serve and defend all of our members’ rights regardless of any rumors other organizations may spread in order to promote themselves. These organizations fall very short compared to the benefits that we provide. We will continue forward regardless of any obstacles that are put in our way by any organization that tries to compete yet can’t even provide their members basic representation during a critical incident.
This entry was posted on Thursday, October 22nd, 2015 at 8:56 pm and is filed under News. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Retirement of Chief Michael Fisher
Published on October 16 2015
Early this morning, the National Border Patrol Council learned of the retirement of Michael J. Fisher as Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol. First, we want to thank Chief Fisher for his 28 years of service to this nation and the Border Patrol. Chief Fisher helped lead the agency during a difficult, tumultuous time in its history.
The position of Chief of the Border Patrol is extraordinarily difficult. The chief must try to navigate an endless maze of politics, hazards and no-win situations. Chaos on the border is created by policies that curtail enforcement, White House messaging that invites thousands to cross the border illegally and a lack of political will to enforce the rule of law. Without the clear support of a presidential administration or the agency, the job can prove nearly impossible.
We don’t believe Chief Fisher was ever given the support or autonomy necessary to secure the border by the leadership of Department of Homeland Security or Customs and Border Protection. Chief Fisher succeeded to the extent the administration allowed him to. The next Chief of the Border Patrol must be given the authority and freedom to do what is needed to secure the border.
The Border Patrol is a law enforcement organization that is unique in the United States. We believe there are several senior leaders within the Border Patrol who understand our culture and values and who are capable of leading the agency in the years to come.
We wish Chief Michael Fisher a happy and safe retirement and all the best in his future endeavors.