Thank you to Chief Vitiello

The National Border Patrol Council would like to thank Chief Vitiello for all the hard work he's done for and on behalf of the Agents and Agency. Understanding that there was a need for a stable life outside of work and recognizing best practices within the industry, Chief Vitiello, even though he faced opposition, decided to provide a stable work and home life for agents by agreeing to a Bid-For-Shift MOU for all of the Texas Border Patrol Sectors - El Paso, Big Bend, Del Rio, Laredo, and the Rio Grande Valley. The MOU is available here.

Over the past few years Chief Vitiello has been a strong advocate for agents and during his time as the decision maker he’s put the mission first while also improving our agents’ lives. Under his leadership we have been able to create more mobility for agents than ever before. We got rid of the clean shifts that Chief David Aguilar implemented just so other non-agent priorities could be met. We’ve been able to create a HIP program for all agents and we’ve been able to get much better uniforms, even though our shirts still have to be changed in the near future. Unlike most of his predecessors, Chief Vitiello has not been self serving, rather he’s made the decisions he feels are best for the agency and the agents.

Chief Vitiello understands the issues that come from some self-serving managers and agents within the Border Patrol and the need to change and improve. He’s endeavored to enact positive change through positive programs involving agent safety and stabilizing pay and not mere words. He’s the only chief that has held his managers accountable and not just agents. Commissioner Kerlikowske has been beating the culture change drum for over two years without realizing the change has been taking place under his nose by a man who goes quietly about his work with class and dignity. If the commissioner truly wants to make a positive change in the culture of the Border Patrol he need not look any further than the chief he already has in place; a chief that has the trust and respect of his managers and bargaining unit agents alike.

The new chief is supposed to be announced sometime in the middle of this month, we suspect it will be from the outside, but for the good of the Border Patrol and this country/border security, we, the NBPC, sincerely hope it will be Chief Vitiello.

Shift bid program approved for Texas sectors

The National Border Patrol Council has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Border Patrol allowing agents to bid for shifts. The program is set to run for a trial period in Texas sectors until the new CBA is implemented.

We have been dealing with some morale issues in Del Rio Sector lately, but this is something that Chief Vitiello felt was too important to delay, so we thank him for it.

There are still some final details to iron out, so we'll post more information as soon as we can.

The MOU is available here.

Upcoming special election to establish collective bargaining rights in Eagle Pass for police and firefighters

The Eagle Pass Police Association and Eagle Pass Fire Fighters Association are again asking for our support to help them get collective bargaining rights in an upcoming special election.

Last year, officers and firefighters received civil service status, granting them rights against being unjustly terminated, among other protections. Next month, there will be a special election to determine if collective bargaining will be established.

According to media reports and the police office and firefighter associations, the city manager and others have been telling citizens of Eagle Pass that simply having collective bargaining status will raise taxes – something that just is not true.

As Border Patrol agents, we are able to file grievances to address problems at work. Officers and firefighters with civil service status, but without collective bargaining, must settle their disputes via lawsuits in district court. If collective bargaining is established, the two parties would be able to meet to put together an agreement that would create processes to handle grievances and other disagreements.

The Eagle Pass Business Journal published an interview with members of the Eagle Pass Police Association and an interview with Eagle Pass City Manager Hector Chavez.

Early voting takes place from April 25, 2016, through May 3, 2016; Election Day is May 7, 2016. Voting information can be found on the City of Eagle Pass website.

Local 2366 of the National Border Patrol Council is asking any Border Patrol employees who live in Eagle Pass to support police officers and firefighters in Eagle Pass and vote FOR collective bargaining rights!

Del Rio Sector cancels details, PFP, and training for BRA, COM, and EGS before completing bargaining

At the end of March, Del Rio Sector management notified us of their intent to cancel out-of-station details and in-station details in Brackettville, Comstock, and Eagle Pass South supposedly due to their low effectiveness ratings. Over the course of the next two weeks, we learned that they intended to:

  1. Suspend in-station and out-of-station details;
  2. Suspend "non-essential" training;
  3. Suspend recruitment and honor guard events for employees assigned to the three stations; and
  4. Cancel the physical fitness program for agents assigned to "line-watch or other field duties."

These changes were planned to start on April 3, 2016.

Local 2366 filed a demand to bargain over the proposed changes on March 30, 2016; Chief Karisch decided to postpone the plans for one pay period. The union met with the agency on April 5, 2016, to formally bargain with the agency. During the meeting, the union and agency made a few agreements, but still had some outstanding issues to be resolved before the agency implemented.

The union heard nothing from the agency until April 15, 2016, 11 days after we first met to bargain over the issues, and was notified that the agency intended to go forward with its plan. However, the agency's response to the union's demand to bargain inaccurately described conversations and agreements that were reached during the bargaining session.

The agency has the right to assign work, however they are first required to bargain over how those changes will adversely affect employees. Despite the requirements to not implement changes pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement and statute, Del Rio Sector opted to put their proposed changes into motion on April 17, 2016, contrary to contract and law.

The union suggested numerous alternative ideas to help Brackettville, Comstock, and Eagle Pass South with their effectiveness ratings, but it is unclear which of those suggestions, if any, the agency will use.

It is now more critical than ever for agents to notify Local 2366 of any issues related to irregular overtime in the field. We hear on a regular basis that supervisors are denying agents the use of irregular overtime sector-wide to pursue groups of illegal aliens, but we need specific examples. We've told Chief Karisch that it is happening, but we need dates, times, places, and information on the group so it can be addressed. Give the information to your station's stewards or send the details to intake@nbpc2366.org.

If you have any comments about how these changes affect you, tell your stewards or email them to intake@nbpc2366.org. We will compile the comments and share them with Chief Karisch so he knows how his agents feel about his plans.

Local 2366 is addressing these violations of contract and law and will update the membership when available and appropriate.

Update on the pending lawsuit

If you did not previously sign up for the lawsuit that was filed in 2014, you can still sign up for a new lawsuit that was recently filed to allow you to participate.

NBPC members must complete, sign, and mail the below consent-retainer form to Woodley & McGillivary at the address below in order to participate with the lawsuit to recover pay for uncompensated work.

If you are a BORTAC, BORSTAR, or Intel agent who was moved out of the bargaining unit when you started in your new position, you may still participate in the lawsuit if you previously paid union dues, however the lawsuit is only able to go back three years.

Download the form here.

WOODLEY & MCGILLIVARY
1101 Vermont Ave., N.W.
Suite 1000
Washington, D.C. 20005

If you have been a canine handler throughout the period for which we are claiming damages, you do not have to join Abad as this case will cover all of your claims.

BPAPRA Resources

Below you will find some resources related to the U.S. Border Patrol's new pay system, known as the Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Act.

Click here (PDF) for a summary of CBP's BPAPRA Directive that went into effect January 6, 2016.

A copy of OPM's BPAPRA regulations, with comments, is available here (PDF).

The directive is available on CBP's intranet in the BPAPRA resource center.

NBPC Statement on Body-Worn Cameras

Despite our best efforts to answer questions posed by reporters and the public, our position on body-worn cameras (BWC) has been misunderstood or worse yet misinterpreted to fit a certain narrative. Several media outlets have incorrectly stated that the National Border Patrol Council opposes body worn cameras. This is simply untrue.

Our position on body-worn cameras is the same position we have on any proposed new technology, equipment or program. It requires us to always ask three simple questions:

  1. Will the equipment work in the harsh and varied conditions our agents operate in?
  2. Does the program/equipment enhance border security?
  3. Is this expenditure more important than other critical needs, including additional
    Agents in the field, vehicles and a communications system that enables agents to talk to each other
    in the field?

The recently completed body worn camera feasibility study report issued by Commissioner Kerlikowkse found that the cameras utilized in the extensive field study did not perform well. The feasibility study report states, “most of the BWCs available in the marketplace today “provide limited effectiveness, and for the most part are not suited for CBP operational use.” In fact, the study pointed out that the video quality in low light was poor and the audio in windy conditions was nearly inaudible.

The Border Patrol is a unique and specialized law enforcement agency that operates in some of the most remote areas of the country. We are not an urban police force and equipment that works in urban areas doesn’t necessarily work for us.

Today, our nation faces enormous challenges at our borders, from the continued onslaught of unaccompanied minors, to the threats posed by drug cartels, human smugglers and terrorists. We must remain focused on securing our border and cannot divert an estimated $100 million-plus for equipment that 1) does not work in our harsh conditions, 2) fails to enhance border security and 3) is a lesser priority than other pressing needs on the border.

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