Management violates core hours in our chapter

TimeI recently learned that the ORA Southwest Imports District (SWID) is starting a pilot program that will allow employees to voluntarily work shifts Monday through Friday as follows:

  • 2:00 PM CST – 10:30 PM CST
  • 1:00 PM MST – 9:30 PM MST
  • 1:00 PM PST – 9:30 PST

I also learned that CDER Division of Pharmaceutical Analysis (DPA) in St. Louis, Missouri, has been using the following schedule:

  • Work Hours: 6AM – 7PM
  • Business Hours: 8AM – 4:30PM
  • Core hours: 9:30AM – 3PM
  • Lunch band: 11AM – 2PM

Please note that these schedules are not in compliance with Article 25, Section 4, of the 2014 HHS-NTEU Consolidated Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA):

Core Hours:
Monday and Friday, 10:30 AM to 02:30  PM
Tuesday through Thursday, 10:00 AM to  03:00 PM

Flexible Arrival Band:
Monday, Friday, and Saturday, 05:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Tuesday through Thursday, 05:00 AM to 10:00 AM

Flexible Departure Band:
Monday, Friday, and Saturday, 02:30 PM to 09:00 PM
Tuesday through Thursday, 03:00 PM to 09:00 PM

Flexible Band for Credit Hours:
Monday through Sunday, 05:00 AM to 09:00 PM

Lunch band:
Monday through Sunday, 11:00 AM to 02:00 PM

I asked SWID Director of Investigations Branch Staci Below for a briefing and opportunity to bargain, but she refused.  I reminded her that this action will directly violate the CBA Articles 3 and 25.

CDER DPA Director Dr. John Kauffman requested to bargain with the Union to formalize their preferred hours of operation. NTEU and HHS already bargained over the FDA hours of operation under Alternate Work Schedules in the CBA, Article 25, Section 4. Therefore, I told him that I am not obligated to and will not bargain a matter already settled in the master agreement.

I will defend our employee and Union rights to the fullest extent of the law. I hope I can count on your support.

I welcome and encourage your questions and comments.

2 thoughts on “Management violates core hours in our chapter”

  1. A valuable member asked me via email, “Perhaps you can make it clear to us on the repercussions of bending the rules, or allowing managers to set policies such as this. I would imagine some people would like the opportunity to report to duty later every now and then.”

    My response is that employees have a duty to obey management’s orders. However, if management’s orders violate the CBA, the employee should point out the CBA provisions to their manager and, if this does not change the order, grieve about it while complying with the order. Please remember that the current deadline to file a grievance is 30 calendar days.

    If the employee arrives later than the time that management expects him/her to arrive, and the manager disciplines the employee for doing so, the employee may grieve such disciplinary action.

    Unfortunately, management may just take it out in the employee’s performance appraisal instead of disciplining the employee. They may do this because PMAP scores are harder to grieve. And this is why evidence development throughout the year is so very important. This is also why we advise that employees receiving non-compliant orders from their managers obey first and grieve later.

    Thanks for your question, valuable member!


  2. Another question, what are the ramifications to BUEs in so easily acquiescing to such blatant disregard for the CBA?

    My response is that there is a danger of establishing past practice and eventually losing this benefit. The agency could conceivably push to expand our core hours during negotiations saying that employees do not use the flexible time bands.

    However, we can avoid such bleak future by reporting and grieving such blatant violations of the current CBA. The mere act of grieving will send the message, loud and clear, that we want those flexible time bands as is (or bigger).

    Thanks for asking!


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