Visit to FDA in Denver

Denver Federal Center sign monumentNTEU Assistant Counsel Doug Sanders and I will be visiting the FDA district office and laboratory in Denver tomorrow (7/12) afternoon and most of the day on Wednesday (7/13) to meet with management on Tuesday afternoon and present a lunch-and-learn on Wednesday in the district conference room.

Besides attending the lunch-and-learn, we would like to visit with you one-on-one sometime on Wednesday. Because we are about to negotiate the next version of the HHS-NTEU Consolidated Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), this is a great time to share your thoughts about it with us. We also want to know about your efforts to recruit new members. After all, more members translates to more bargaining power to negotiate better agreements.

Before you come visit with us, please send me an email with your time proposal for Wednesday, 7/13. I will accept invitations in the order they arrive (first come, first served). I will send alternate proposals if there is a conflict in my schedule already. If we are unable to schedule a time on Wednesday, we can schedule time to speak over WebEx later on.

Please make sure you always request permission from your supervisor to leave your duties to visit with a Union representative in accordance with Article 5, Section 9, of the CBA:

“An employee cannot be required to tell a supervisor the specific circumstances surrounding his/her need to contact a Union representative. When an employee wishes to request permission to leave the work site to contact a Union representative, he/she must inform his/her supervisor only of the general nature of the visit and the estimated time of return as mutually agreed. The employee must receive prior approval from the supervisor to leave the work site and, where possible, s/he must give the supervisor a telephone number at which s/he may be reached while absent in case of urgent work-related need. The amount of time spent will be reasonable. The employee’s request will be granted and may be delayed if the employee’s absence would hinder the accomplishment of essential workload requirements. Examples of hinder include an inability to complete specific or previously assigned projects timely or when the employee’s absence would adversely affect needed physical office coverage and cannot be otherwise accommodated. If permission is not granted, the supervisor will identify the time period when the employee may meet his/her Union representative. Only under compelling circumstances will the supervisor require the delay to exceed one (1) workday.”

The general nature of the visit is contract interpretation. The location will be the Denver Union Office, Building 20, Room B1106. The phone number there is 303-236-9658.

I am also looking for more stewards to help us with the representational duties of our chapter. I would like to know who do you think will make a good steward. Remember that a Union is a group of employees going before their employers for better working conditions and benefits. This means that we are the Union, and the NTEU staff only counsels and assists us in our efforts.

I am looking forward to meeting you personally in Denver.