It has come to our attention that ORA Southwest Region management requires bargaining unit employees (BUEs) to complete and submit a privately owned vehicle (POV) use request form whenever the BUE opts to drive a POV to perform or travel to perform official duties, including training and other administrative tasks. The Agency confirmed this practice in their response to a Union’s formal request for information.
NTEU has objected this practice since it has not been bargained as required by Article 3 of the CBA and federal labor statutes.
Furthermore, such form is not required by federal travel regulations (FTR) or the HHS travel manual, which is still in bargaining status at this time.
Examples of the forms we have received from other BUEs and the Agency in response to our formal request for information are available upon request.
Additionally, the Union has recently learned that employees have received approval to use POVs as long as they do not claim reimbursement for their mileage. This is also evidenced by the POV use request forms. Such a mandate would be contrary to the CBA, FTR, and the HHS travel manual, which is still in negotiation with NTEU. An employee would be entitled to either the full mileage rate or the established lesser mileage rate where a government owned vehicle (GOV) was available. When used in lieu of a commercial carrier, the employee would be entitled to be reimbursed up to the constructive cost had the common carrier been used. Employees are able to seek reimbursement for travel for up to six years from the time of the travel. Based on our now known information, I am also requesting that you let me know if you were approved to use a POV under the condition that you did not claim mileage. NTEU needs such information to pursue just reimbursement to affected employees.
I welcome your questions and comments on this subject.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation.