Appeal For Expanded Telework After Harvey Dries Up Fuel Pumps

I asked the Agency to implement a very liberal telework policy to help employees with the fuel shortage.

Earlier today, I emailed FDA Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs (ACRA) Melinda Plaisier, the head of the FDA Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA), the following:

Gas pump out of gasoline The damage to oil refineries and infrastructure has already been widely reported in the news. This damage has created a shortage of gasoline across Texas, which will soon expand further to other states. Besides rising gas prices, there are many gas stations shutting down their pumps because their tanks are empty here in Texas already.

I took this picture yesterday on my way home when I stopped to fill the tank of my car. I had to fill it up with premium unleaded, the only fuel they had left. Soon, they will be out of all fuel.

I am teleworking today, but I know that many employees in my chapter are still not allowed to telework to perform duties that are compatible with telework.

Therefore, I ask that you implement a very liberal telework policy across ORA to help employees during this shortage.

Thanks in advance for your kind consideration of my request.

As a reminder, telework is governed by the Telework Enhancement Act of 2012 and, in HHS, Article 26 of our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). In ORA, we also have a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that memorializes the agreement between FDA and NTEU on the implementation of ORA Program Alignment. Item number 11 of this MOU states that:

“In order to maintain work-life balance for impacted employees, the Agency will encourage and promote the use of telework under Article 26 of the CBA. More specifically, ORA will maximize telework opportunities, including recurring telework, for employees and positions that are eligible for telework. In addition, ORA will send quarterly communications to all ORA supervisors and staff encouraging the use of and approval of telework, as appropriate.”

I will keep you posted on this matter. Meanwhile, please continue to request telework as needed and applicable, and let your chapter president know if you disagree with your supervisor’s decision.