NTEU has successfully resolved a dispute with HHS regarding the bargaining unit status of Regional Emergency Management Specialists (REMS) employees in the Administration of Children and Families (ACF), Office of Regional Operations (ORO).
In January 2015, the agency began posting vacancy announcements (GS-301-13) for these positions as nonbargaining unit. NTEU disagreed with that designation as these employees do not perform supervisory functions, are not confidential employees, nor do they perform any other type of work that would preclude them from being part of the bargaining unit and represented by NTEU, per 5 U.S.C. § 7112(b). Thanks to the persistent efforts of Jenny Holladay, President of NTEU Chapter 215, NTEU was able to work with the agency in order to resolve this matter informally. This week, the agency acknowledged that REMS employees should not be excluded from the bargaining unit and notified NTEU that it would be re-designating the bargaining unit status codes for these employees to reflect their current bargaining unit status.
Although this effort only impacted a small group of employees agency-wide, it is imperative that we challenge instances in which we believe the agency has improperly designated employees as non-BUE. Such designations weaken our union and strip employees of their rights and protections under our Consolidated Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
If you suspect that your or another position has been improperly designated as non-BUE, please let me or a chapter officer or steward know so we can address the matter.
I welcome your questions and comments on this subject.