You probably have or will view this week a video from the Associate Commissioner of Regulatory Affairs (ACRA) Mel Plaisier, the head of the FDA Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA), on Program Alignment implementation. Please note that FDA (the Agency) and NTEU (the Union) are still bargaining on Program Alignment and have agreed to these meetings so that the Agency could share information about the initiative.
There will be more meetings with more information once we have an agreement in place. Although we have made good progress and are close to an agreement, there are still a few items that were are bargaining over. These include items related to the increased travel that will very likely result from specialization and the ability of employees to switch to other commodity specialties.
Though there is plenty of uncertainty about our future at this time, the Agency and the Union have agreed that each of us will receive clear answers after we reach an agreement. Each of us will receive orientation and transition packets with specific information about the reorganization, including a copy of the final agreement between the Agency and the Union, organization charts, clear roles and duties, frequently asked questions with answers, and points of contact for additional information.
One constant throughout all this change is that NTEU will still be there to ensure compliance with the HHS-NTEU Consolidated Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), federal labor laws, and all applicable regulations. Training, travel, details, and many other topics addressed in the CBA will still be governed by the CBA for bargaining unit employees (BUEs).
Potential office moves are changes in working conditions that require that the Agency notifies the Union for potential bargaining per Article 3 of the CBA and federal labor law. Make sure that the Union knows of any changes in working conditions.
Also note that NTEU chapter jurisdictions will not change with Program Alignment implementation. NTEU Chapter 254 will still represent FDA employees physically stationed in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah, regardless of their chain of command.
If any of you wishes to discuss the topics of these meetings further or in private, upon supervisory approval, please visit a Union office or contact me or another chapter representative by phone, email, or instant messenger.