On January 5, 2018, NTEU filed a national grievance against the FDA for continued violations of Article 42, Section 11 of the CBA and Section 9 of the parties’ Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding Program Alignment and Laboratory Optimization. NTEU alleges that FDA has failed to follow the negotiated process for making foreign travel assignments.
NTEU alleges that the FDA has failed to fairly and equitably assign foreign inspections among qualified employees in violation of Article 42, Section 11 of the CBA. More specifically, the agency has failed to make foreign assignments based on Entry on Duty date (EOD) and has, on numerous occasions, assigned or mandated foreign assignments prior to soliciting volunteers. Additionally, the agency has violated the negotiated process for making foreign assignments by requiring a valid passport contrary to the provisions of the CBA and the agency’s own policy that a valid passport is not required to make assignments.
NTEU further alleges that the FDA has violated the terms of the parties’ MOU regarding Program Alignment and Laboratory Optimization by failing to maintain a current, accurate Qualified Travelers List (QTL) that ensures the employee sent on the trip meets the appropriate technical requirements. As a result, the agency is making assignments unfairly and inequitably, and in violation of the negotiated process set forth in Article 42, Section 11 of the CBA.
As a remedy, NTEU hereby requests that the FDA:
- cease and desist from violating Article 42 of the CBA and Section 9 of the parties’ MOU on Program Alignment, and immediately comply with the terms of both agreements;
- identify every volunteer who should have been selected for each vacancy announced in the ORA Official Weekly Foreign Trip Notifications since December 1, 2017 and grant them priority consideration for the next trip for which they volunteer;
- rescind any requirement for employees to have an official passport in order to be assigned to a foreign trip;
- immediately update the QTL with complete information, to include the EOD, and provide a copy to all agency employees;
- provide make whole relief for any impacted bargaining unit employees who have been harmed by the agency’s violations; and
- provide any other appropriate remedy allowed by law, rule, and regulation, including, but not limited to, attorney’s fees consistent with the Back Pay Act.
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