Grievance on NCTR Building 14 Bad Faith Bargaining

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) in the Jefferson Laboratories Campus
NCTR in the Jefferson Laboratories Campus

Yesterday, NTEU Chapter 254 filed an institutional grievance against FDA National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) management for engaging in bad faith bargaining tactics on negotiations with the Union regarding the renovation of NCTR Building 14.

The Chapter alleges that NCTR management willfully violated the United States Code (USC), Title 5, Chapter 71, Subchapter II, Sections 7116 (a) (1), (5), and (8) [5 U.S.C. §§ 7116 (a) (1), (5), &(8)]; the HHS-NTEU Consolidated Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) Articles 3, 7, and 10; the 2012 HHS-NTEU Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding the Agency’s Space Utilization Policy; and the 2017 FDA-NTEU MOU on the Renovation of NCTR Building 14 and Related Employee Relocation.

Specifically, the Chapter grieves that NCTR management officials unilaterally implemented the remodeling of NCTR Building 14, temporarily and permanently changing the working conditions of employees, when they started the project before concluding bargaining with the NTEU over the design of the facility.

Furthermore, NCTR management stated during bargaining mediation that the decisions on office and laboratory décor colors and finishes were decided at a higher level than NCTR, within FDA. On January 18, 2017, the Chapter learned that NCTR management chose the office and laboratory décor colors and finishes before submitting the construction design for bids by August 1, 2015. NCTR management first notified NTEU of this project on August 17, 2015.

As remedies, NTEU requests that NCTR management: (1) immediately cease and desist non-compliance with all relevant contractual, regulatory, and statutory provisions cited above; (2) provide at least three different and distinct office décor color/finish palettes for building 14 employees to choose from by popular vote; (3) honor the majority vote in the selection of office décor colors and finishes in building 14; (4) provide a professional moving service to relocate employees’ personal belongings from their current office to their new office and laboratories in building 14; (5) cease the unilateral implementation of construction and remodeling projects that temporarily and permanently, directly and indirectly, change the working conditions of bargaining unit employees; (6) provide the Chapter with a three-year projection concerning all known construction and renovation projects and expiring leases at NCTR on an annual basis; (7) consult with the Chapter seeking pre-decisional input (PDI) on all projected construction and renovation projects and expiring leases; receive training or retraining on the violated contractual, regulatory, or statutory provisions; (8) post the decision throughout the Chapter with written assurances that management will not commit these violations again; (9) pay or reimburse the Union for any and all allowable attorney’s fees and costs associated with this grievance; and (10) grant any and all other remedies that may be available to the Union.

The Chapter has also filed a formal request for information, per 5 U.S.C. § 7114 (b) (4), to further define the scope of these violations and further refine the remedies requested.

The Chapter rightfully requested a meeting with the designated Agency official within 10 workdays of the request in accordance with Article 45, Section 7, of the CBA. I will keep you posted on the progress of this grievance.