Shutdown/border security message from NBPC

NBPC Members –

While we all suffer the delay of our first paycheck under the government shutdown, we believe that it is imperative to dispel any rumors being promulgated by those with extreme left-leaning views on social media and those who are hoping to place the blame on anyone other than with whom it belongs. The Union did not cause the shutdown and our support of the wall is not the reason the shutdown continues. President Trump made it abundantly clear prior to the shutdown that he would not allow an appropriations bill to move forward without funding for the wall. Those in Congress who believed he was bluffing moved forward without funding the wall, so consequently, a shutdown commenced on December 22, 2018.

The NBPC’s number one legislative priority has been, and will continue to be, agent compensation and retention – both of which, hand-in-hand, will contribute greatly to border security. We have met with members of Congress and the leadership of our country at the highest levels of government to convey this message. It was during our January 3, 2019, meeting with President Trump that we discussed our priorities and their impact on border security. To make it simple, we cannot get what we need with another continuing resolution. Without the support and understanding of the White House and Congress, an appropriations bill will not contain the funding necessary to ensure we hire the agents we need and retain the ones we have, and at the same time make sure that they are getting compensated fairly for performing the work needed to ensure border security.

The NBPC cannot address every comment on social media, so we ask that you discuss any concerns you may have with your Local’s Executive Board Officers and/or the National Executive Committee.

--NBPC National Executive Committee

AtHoc messages received by CBP employees

Many employees have reported receiving phone calls, emails, and text messages regarding Blackberry's AtHoc service. AtHoc, which CBP has been utilizing for at least a few years, is designed to help the agency account for employees' safety and well-being during a significant event like a natural disaster or national emergency.

The recent messages have encouraged employees to download the AtHoc app, but due to the unsolicited nature, employees have questioned the legitimacy of the messages and the app; the messages are indeed being sent by Blackberry on behalf of CBP.

Employees are not required to download the app, it is strictly voluntary.

Using child safety seats while transporting children

MEMBER ADVISORY
Using Child Safety Seats While Transporting Children

Over the past few months, there have been concerns raised about the transportation of infants and toddlers found along the border and in ranches further in the interior. For example:

  1. A supervisor told an agent that child safety seats are supposed to be used only when transporting children from station to station, not from a ranch or the border to a station;
  2. When an agent told a supervisor that he did not have a child safety seat in his vehicle, a supervisor told him it was fine to transport a child without the seat, as long as he turned on his emergency lights and drove slowly;
  3. A supervisor told an agent to have the child’s mother hold the child in her lap while the agent “carefully” drove to the station; and
  4. Child safety seats have been found to be improperly mounted to vehicle seats, in some instances because the vehicle seats were never equipped to hold a child safety seat and in other instances because the installer likely didn’t know how to install one.

The union first broached this issue in 2014 when Del Rio Sector had very few child safety seats in its inventory and we started seeing a marked increase in family units crossing the border. Since then, the agency has purchased additional child safety seats and some stations even designated certain vehicles to always contain child safety seats.

However, despite a continued flow of family units across the border, it is clear that guidance is needed in the field, including how to properly mount the seats and when they are supposed to be used.

Del Rio Sector management has been notified of these recurring issues and they informed the union that training is being developed in the installation and use of child safety seats when transporting children; we have not seen any interim guidance sent to the field.

In the meantime, it is important that all members know that they are responsible for the safety and well-being of anyone they transport in their vehicles. If you are in a vehicle accident and a child is injured because a child safety seat was not used or was improperly used, you may face disciplinary action.

If a supervisor ever orders you to improperly transport a child without the use of a child safety seat, you should verify the order (preferably via radio on tower). Ordinarily when a supervisor tells you to do something that might be improper, the appropriate way to handle it is to obey the order now and grieve it later – if you find yourself in this situation, immediately contact your local union rep.

Our goal is ensure the safety and well-being of ourselves and those in our custody, so when in doubt, check with your local union rep.

Canine Care Provision of BPAPRA Technical Amendment

BORDER PATROL AGENT PAY REFORM SYSTEM AMENDMENTS
"Canine Care" Provision

October 2, 2018

As Border Patrol agent canine handlers are aware, the canine care provision was removed from the legislation that was passed in the House of Representatives last week (The Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Amendment Act of 2018). This was done after much debate and push back from the NBPC. The canine care provision was the only section in the legislation that would score (which means it would cost money that Congress would need to appropriate); however, we believed that to be a minimal cost.

In December of 2017, NBPC National President Brandon Judd and NBPC Vice President Christopher Kraus (canine handler) met with then Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan about the canine care provision. Acting Commissioner McAleenan agreed that the canine care provision would improve the program and because he agreed that it would be at minimal cost, he committed to working with Congress to ensure the provision passed. Unfortunately, when push came to shove, Commissioner McAleenan caved for the good of his own career.

It appears the numbers provided by CBP to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) were overinflated. The NBPC pushed back on these numbers, but the CBO can only work with what the agency provides and therefore, the $100 million dollars over a 10-year scoring period caused the House to remove the provision because there was no “pay for.” To complicate matters further, the CBO also took longer than expected to give their score of the provision, releasing it just prior to the House of Representatives getting ready to go on recess.

With midterm elections coming up and changes that could happen in the House and Senate, legislators dropped that portion of the bill in order to go forward with the current bill that passed, with the intention of addressing the canine care provision at a later time.

WHAT IS NEXT?

The NBPC is committed to fixing the canine care provision and will be actively working with the next Congress to get this done. We will be monitoring different upcoming legislation in which the provision can be reinstated with accurate numbers in order to get it passed into law.

BPAPRA Technical Amendment

BORDER PATROL AGENT PAY REFORM AMENDMENT ACT OF 2018
Technical Amendments

October 2, 2018

BORDER PATROL PAY SYSTEM AMENDMENTS

The bill would amend a 2014 law (Public Law 113-277) that provides overtime pay and a stable work schedule for Border Patrol agents.

ADVANCED TRAINING – Currently law limits agents to 60 days of advanced training per year. The bill will increase this to 180 hours for level 1 agents and 90 hours of level 2.

ALTERNATIVE WORK SCHEDULES – Currently OPM has mandated that agents must work a 5-day work week. The bill would allow agents at the basic rate to work four 10-hour shifts to meet their 40-hour workweek requirement. Agents at level 2 would work nine 10-hour shifts per pay period to work their required hours.

CONTROL PERIOD – Congress was concerned that Agents could artificially inflate their retirement by working either basic or level 2 overtime rates and then increasing their level to level 1 in the final three years of their career. OPM in response created a control period that was completely unworkable. The bill eliminates the control period and calculates retirement benefits based on what the agents actually work over the course of their career.

TRAVEL COMP TIME – Agents will now be allowed to apply comp time earned while traveling to overtime debt obligations. Travel comp may only be applied after any normal comp time is exhausted.

LEAVE WITHOUT PAY – Agents who took LWOP were still being paid their overtime supplement and were therefore accruing an overtime debt. The bill corrects this and agents taking LWOP will not be paid regular or overtime pay.

WHAT IS NEXT?
Now that the bill passed the House, the bill will go to the Senate to be considered. If the bill is passed in the Senate, it will be cleared for the White House, then signed by the President to become Public Law.

Op Mobility announcement has been posted

The agency has posted the latest Op Mobility announcement. It was posted earlier this week and then taken down due to errors in the qualifications section, but those have been fixed. If you registered when it was first posted, you will need to register again.

https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/498400900

2018 Operational Mobility Announcement

In consultation with the agency, the National Border Patrol Council expects the next Operational Mobility Announcement to be posted on USA Jobs sometime this week, possibly as early as Monday, April 30th. We encourage all interested agents to apply.

Please read the entire announcement. There will be a message addressing declinations.

Any agent that applies for and is offered a relocation who subsequently declines the offer will be ineligible to reapply or be considered under this program for a period of two years. This provision is being implemented due to the high number of declinations that slow the process and make it difficult to put together a new announcement.

If you have any questions about Operational Mobility or any other program or benefit please contact your local union steward.

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