On May 16, 2018, NTEU filed a national grievance against the FDA for continued violations of Article 26 of the CBA, the parties’ Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding Program Alignment and Laboratory Optimization, and the Telework Enhancement Act. NTEU alleges that ORA has failed to promote, encourage, and maximize telework opportunities for employees, as required by the parties’ agreements and the law. Instead, ORA has created and fostered a culture that diminishes the telework program by implementing policies and practices that are designed to limit telework participation among bargaining unit employees. The agency has done this by imposing limits on how often employees may telework and routinely denying employee requests for recurring telework.
NTEU further alleges that the agency has failed to provide telework participation reports to OPM and NTEU as required by the Telework Enhancement Act and the CBA. Additionally, the agency has committed an unfair labor practice by failing to provide complete information as requested by NTEU in its information request filed February 14, 2018.
As a remedy, NTEU requests that the agency:
- Immediately comply with the terms of Article 26 of the CBA, the parties’ MOU on Program Alignment and the Telework Enhancement Act;
- Issue an immediate directive to all ORA management to cease and desist any blanket restrictions to telework, such as limits to the number of telework days per pay period and/or limiting telework to episodic only, and immediately notify staff that such restrictions have been rescinded;
- Remedy any telework requests that were improperly denied or modified based since the execution of the Program Alignment MOU in May 2017;
- Immediately begin issuing quarterly communications to all ORA management and staff encouraging and promoting the request and approval of recurring telework and directing supervisors to take steps to maximize telework opportunities;
- Provide a copy of the reports required by Section 6506 of the Telework Enhancement Act to OPM and NTEU;
- Provide a joint training with NTEU on Article 26 of the CBA and the telework provisions of the MOU;
- Provide NTEU a complete response to its information request file on February 14, 2018;
- Post a notice to all employees of the statutory violation, signed by the Secretary of HHS, on all HHS bulletin boards for a period of sixty (60) days; and
- Any other remedy that is appropriate under law.
If you have questions or comments on this matter, please share them with your chapter president.