NTEU Fights for FDA Employees on Multiple Fronts

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) logoNTEU has been working on several fronts to enforce your rights and ensure all FDA employees are treated fairly. Here are updates on some of our latest efforts to improve your workplace:

Fighting to Improve Weekend Work in Micro-Labs

Microbiologist working in the labIn response to employee feedback, NTEU is investigating inequities in how the FDA assigns weekend micro-lab work. While the contract (Article 25, Section 4) provides some information on hours of work for employees, it is silent on how weekend work should be assigned in micro-labs around the country. As NTEU continues to engage on program alignment and laboratory reorganization and optimization, the union will discuss this issue at the next quarterly meeting this month with Office of Regulatory Affairs. NTEU will set this issue as a top priority agenda item and request data on how weekend work is assigned at the FDA.

Fighting for Fair Foreign Travel Assignments

Official travelNTEU filed a grievance after learning that the FDA foreign travel assignments may be wrought with pre-selection and other inequities. The union’s grievance maintains that the FDA failed to follow the NTEU-negotiated process for making foreign travel assignments. Management denied the grievance, but NTEU plans to invoke arbitration on the issue.

Fighting for Your Right to Flexible Schedules

Directional signs symbolizing work-life balanceNTEU has recently won two important arbitration cases enforcing employees’ right to alternative work schedules (AWS).

In the first case, Chapter 290 (FDA New York/New Jersey) took on FDA’s denial of a Consumer Safety Officer’s (CSO) request for a 4/10 AWS. At the arbitration hearing, NTEU presented evidence showing that other CSOs around the country are working the same schedule without any adverse impacts on productivity or customer service. The arbitrator sided with NTEU and ordered the FDA to place the employee on her requested scheduled as soon as possible.

In another case, Chapter 215 (HHS Seattle) won an arbitration case on behalf of a CSO denied a maxiflex schedule. NTEU challenged the denial asserting that the FDA violated the contract by failing to apply a case-by-case review of the employee’s request. In siding with NTEU, the arbitrator ruled that management failed to properly consider the employee’s request when it relied on “potential” problems versus actual documented problems. The arbitrator sustained the grievance and ordered the agency to grant the employee the maxiflex schedule as requested.

Your support of NTEU makes a real difference as we continue to fight these difficult battles to protect, enforce and build on your workplace rights and benefits.

We will continue to keep you updated on any developments on these important issues in the coming weeks. In the meantime, visit your NTEU representatives with any questions or concerns.

Author: chapterpresident

I have worked in the FDA since 1990 in a variety of positions. I currently serve as chapter president of NTEU Chapter 254, representing FDA employees in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah.