Since early 2015, NTEU and the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA) have been working to address concerns regarding the proposed Program Alignment and Laboratory Optimization initiatives, which will centralize the ORA structure and specialize laboratory functions across the agency. NTEU provided months of pre-decisional input regarding many aspects of the programs to mitigate potential adverse impacts on employees. In addition, over the past year, the parties have been formally bargaining the details of both initiatives in a single Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Despite that ORA proposes to implement the initiatives on May 15, 2017, the parties have not yet reached agreement and the agency cannot lawfully implement until the negotiations are complete.
This week, ORA began holding formal discussions, per Article 7 of the CBA, with employees to provide information about Program Alignment. It is imperative that chapters send union representatives to these meetings and speak up on behalf of NTEU. Specifically, we want to communicate to employees that NTEU and ORA have not reached agreement and are still negotiating aspects of the Program Alignment initiative. We also want to remind employees that the agency cannot lawfully implement until the agreement is final. Additionally, we want to encourage employees to come to the chapter representatives prior to these meetings with any questions or concerns about this enormous change in working conditions so that we can be sure to get answers.
If you have any questions or comments regarding this matter, please contact Chapter President David Arvelo.