Were you out of town when the 5% retention incentive form was due?

The union has been working with the agency to address those employees who were on leave or otherwise unable to sign the 5% retention incentive during the week it was due this past summer. CBP HRM said that if you didn't sign that week, you cannot participate - no exceptions.

However, OBP Headquarters has now asked us to try to track down anyone who this applies to so we can forward their names to DC. We do not yet know how it will be addressed, only that the agency is looking for a solution.

If you were not qualified to participate, you still cannot sign up.

But if you were qualified and just couldn't fill out the form on time, send your name, station, and the reason you couldn't sign the form to union@nbpc2366.org.

Outside employment and volunteer activities

The union has learned that some supervisors and managers in the agency are insisting that employees need to request permission before participating in all volunteer activities under the new CBA – that is false. The CBA did not change anything regarding this topic, because this is a change required by federal regulations.

The 1995 CBA has the following statement: “Volunteer activity is not considered outside employment for the purposes of [Article 10].” This statement was removed in the new CBA because federal regulations changed, requiring that federal employees request permission before engaging in some volunteer activities.

5 CFR 4601.101 (d)(2)(ii) states, “Outside employment does not include participation in the activities of a nonprofit charitable, religious, professional, social, fraternal, educational, recreational, public service, or civic organization, unless the participation involves:

  • Acting in a fiduciary capacity,
  • Providing professional services for compensation,
  • Rendering advice for compensation other than the reimbursement of expenses, or
  • An activity relating to the employee's official duties as defined in 5 CFR 2635.807(a)(2)(i)(A) through (E), to include activities relating to any ongoing or announced policy, program, or operation of the employee's agency as it is defined at 5 CFR 4601.102.

So this means that for activities like Little League, volunteering at a church, and others, no permission is required as long as the participation does not involve something in the four bullets above.

If employees are not sure if they fall into one of the above four areas requiring permission, they are encouraged to check with OCC.

Op Mobility lump-sum amounts increased

Effective with Op Mobility announcements opened on or after October 1, 2019, the GSA has increased the lump-sum amounts. Because our MOU with the agency includes automatic matching to the maximum GSA amount, employees transferring under the Op Mobility Program will now receive the following lump-sum amounts:

  • $13,600 for one-person households who do not own a home.
  • $25,625 for multiple person households who do not own a home.
  • $36,175 for one-person households who own a home.
  • $48,175 for multiple person households who own a home.

Q&A regarding new CBA

Due to some misinformation intentionally being sent to Border Patrol employees about the updated collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the union has created a list of questions and answers to address the misconceptions. As new questions pop up, we’ll update them below.

  1. Will Del Rio Sector now have a detail management team (DMT)?

    Although it is not called a DMT, there are procedures in the CBA that will govern how details and collateral duties are assigned. The two assignments will fall into two categories: it is an assignment that any employee can do, or the assignment requires certain skills/abilities. If the assignment is something that any agent can do – including assignments for which...

Questions continue below...

Notice of meeting

The August 2019 membership meeting will take place at the SSGT Willie de Leon Civic Center in Uvalde, Texas, on August 28, 2019, at 7:00 pm.

During this meeting, nominations will be held for the offices of Local President, Executive Vice President, Vice President North, Vice President South, Treasurer, and Secretary. Nominations will be accepted from the floor or via email sent to nominations@nbpc2366.org – all nominations must be received by the close of the nominations portion of the meeting. A second for a nomination is not required.

Qualifications for office are: 1) be a member in good standing of this local; 2) be a member for one year of an AFGE local, immediately preceding the closing of the nomination process; and 3) not be a member in any labor organization not affiliated with the AFL-CIO. Candidates shall not run for more than one office in the same local election. Any member who is current on their dues payments and/or any member who has signed a dues withholding form (SF 1187) accepted by a responsible officer of the local, is in good standing and eligible to nominate candidates.

Candidates must accept his or her nomination at the nomination meeting or, if not in attendance, submit a written acceptance to the election committee, to be received by close of nominations. A lone letter of acceptance is a self-nomination. The member making the nomination has the responsibility of informing the nominee of his or her nomination. Placement on the ballot will be determined immediately following the nominations.

The term of office will run for two years, ending with the installation of officers following the regularly scheduled elections in September 2021.

The secret ballot election will be held prior to the September 2019 meeting via mailed ballots sent to the last known mailing address for all members of Local 2366. If your address has changed, please notify Local 2366 immediately or change it via www.AFGE.org.

Additional information regarding the election shall be provided in a separate written notice, sent to the last known mailing address for all members of Local 2366.

Each candidate may have a reasonable number of observers, who are members, present throughout the election process, including the tally of ballots.

Scholarship from Local 2366

Each spring and fall semester, Local 2366 gives out one $1,000 scholarship to a dues-paying member, member's spouse, or child of the member for use at an accredited college, university, or vocational/trade school.

Applications for Fall Semester are due June 1, but the current application period has been extended until July 31, 2019.

Applications for Spring Semester are due November 1.

Instructions are available here PDF
Application is available here PDF

CBP's safety and health program leaves much to be desired

Note: a letter for your doctor is available here, but read on for more information about its purpose and getting CA-2 claims successfully submitted.

Despite knowing that Border Patrol agents are being exposed to infectious diseases across the southwest border on a daily basis, CBP has sat on its hands and offered only one solution to employees who get sick: you should have worn your personal protective equipment (PPE).

That advice, of course, does nothing for someone who has already gotten sick and taken an illness home, potentially exposing their family and others in the community to illnesses that are not typically seen in the United States on a regular basis. The union contacted CBP's Office of Safety and Health (OSH) to find out what the agency expects agents to do after they come down with an infectious disease -- when PPE no longer matters. At the sector level, they say they have not gotten any new guidance from CBP. At CBP OSH, they can't even be bothered to respond to our questions, because they know they don't have any acceptable answers. So the union is left to do what it can to help employees get covered by the Department of Labor's (DOL) Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) for illnesses they believe were contracted at work.

CBP's safety and health program has processes in place to deal with an employee being exposed to tuberculosis (TB) and bloodborne pathogens, but it does not have a plan in place for dealing with other infectious diseases or illnesses, such as measles, mumps, chickenpox, and scabies, among many others. Plans for TB and bloodborne pathogens are included in the agency's 2012 Safety and Health Handbook, HB 5200-08B, but only because OSHA requires those plans to exist. Clearly, CBP will only do the bare minimum, as required by law or regulation, when it comes to looking out for the safety and health of its workforce.

Since CBP refuses to look out for the wellbeing of its front-line employees via its own safety and health program -- after employees have become infected -- they leave it up to employees to attempt to get approval via OWCP, a process which is typically daunting and can be especially difficult to get approval for when dealing with infectious diseases.

We have seen numerous instances of employees being forced to make appointments with their personal physicians to get treatment for all sorts of illnesses. Therefore, the union has generated a letter for employees to take to their personal doctors when they believe they got sick at work due to contact with immigrants who were sick.

If an employee's personal physician believes that the employee did indeed get sick at work due to contact with sick immigrants, the medical report needs to explain, in detail, why the physician believes that to be the case, along with all of the information required by OWCP.

This letter provides the physician with a history of the increase in immigrants coming across the southwest border, explains the illnesses frequently encountered, and explains what information the physician needs to provide in the medical report. Fill out a Form CA-2 and submit it to your supervisor along with your doctor's medical report -- just make sure that the report has all of the required information listed in the letter.

The union usually sees claims filed via a Form CA-2 initially denied because the medical report does not contain the required information. It is our hope that this letter will improve the chances of getting a case approved more quickly.

Agency representatives have stated publicly that employees are being exposed to illnesses at an ever-increasing rate, but they have done nothing about it other than to state that employees should be wearing their PPE. CBP has the ability to cover the treatment and monitoring of infectious diseases and other non-covered illnesses via its existing safety and health program, but until they expand that program to include these other illnesses, employees have no choice but to pay for the medical care on their own or attempt to get the illness covered via OWCP.

In the event that CBP does eventually decide to better look out for the safety and wellbeing of its workforce, we will update this information accordingly. Until then, contact your local union representative if you need help with the OWCP process and we'll do whatever we can to help.

Links:
Form CA-2, Notice of Occupational Diseaseand Claim for Compensation
Background letter for employee's personal physician
Publication CA-810, general OWCP information
Form CA-35, checklists used to gather medical evidence

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