FDA Travel Staff Manual Guides Rescinded

Official travelOn September 30, 2016, I informed you that NTEU filed a national grievance asserting that the FDA violated Articles 3 and 42 of the parties’ Consolidated Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), certain provisions of the Federal Travel Regulations (FTRs), and the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (statute) when it unilaterally implemented three Staff Manual Guides (SMGs) related to travel, without providing NTEU notice or an opportunity to bargain.

In the grievance, NTEU contended that SMG 2340.2, “Updates to Other Than Coach Class Travel SMG 2340.2,” violated the 14-hour rule for travel other than coach-class in 41 CFR §301-10.125 (FTR) and Article 42, Sections 11(14) and 12 of the CBA by excluding flying time for domestic segments and domestic layovers/wait times.

HighwayAdditionally, NTEU alleged that the SMG 2343.2, “Updates to Miscellaneous Expenses While on Official Government Travel,” which required employees to provide receipts for certain miscellaneous receipts even if the value was below the $75 threshold, violated Article 42, Section 3B of the CBA, 41 CFR § 301-11.25 (FTR), and 41 CFR § 301-52.4 (FTR).

NTEU further alleged that SMG 2340.3, “Updates to Actual Expense Request,” introduced new definitions and procedures for submitting actual expense requests and seeking lodging deposits that were inconsistent with Article 42 of the CBA and 41 CFR § 301-11, which governs temporary duty travel allowances and reimbursement procedures.

This is NTEU CountryAs a remedy, NTEU requested that FDA immediately rescind the SMGs and cease and desist from further violating the CBA, FTRs, and the statute. FDA agreed and, on June 21, 2017, the agency confirmed that the SMGs had in fact been rescinded and issued an FDA-wide notice to staff stating this.

I welcome your feedback on this subject.