NTEU Prevails in Transit Subsidies Fight

Following a long and persistent effort by NTEU, HHS is now working with the union to create a process to pay employees retroactive transit subsidies they are owed for all of 2012 and January 2013.

This did not come easy. NTEU had to:

  • File a grievance
  • Take it to arbitration
  • Fight it on appeal to the Federal Labor Relations Authority
  • Fight it in DC Circuit Court

NTEU won in every venue. For employees in this time frame, NTEU is seeking as much as $1,375 for those who used the maximum transit subsidy allowable per month, every month.

Rather than learn from that outcome, HHS is now refusing to pay retroactive transit subsidies for 2014. The issue is at arbitration.

Wondering about receiving retroactive transit subsidies for 2015? So did NTEU. The union asked the department if it plans to pay…and is waiting for a response.

NTEU is committed to ensuring employees receive what they are owed.

It’s good to have NTEU at your side.
“…to ensure that every federal employee is treated with dignity and respect.”

On my way to St. Louis

I’m traveling this morning to visit CDER’s Division of Pharmaceutical Analysis in St. Louis for a briefing on a change in working conditions and potentially to bargain depending on what I hear. I’m looking forward to meeting Union stewards Anjanette Smith and Kimberly Story in person and all the other BUEs there as I tour the facility.

Did you know that the Agency only pays 50% of union travel? This trip would not be possible without the union dues paid by your membership. This is one of the many reasons NTEU’s power is directly derived from our members.

Help us help you. Join today. Ask me how. 

NTEU Persists in Efforts to Obtain FLSA Coverage for HHS Government Information Specialists

On March 16, 2012, NTEU filed a national grievance with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS or agency) concerning the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) status of employees in 17 different positions. That grievance included HHS Paralegal Specialists within the GS-0950 series. NTEU reached a settlement agreement with HHS under which the agency agreed to reclassify employees under the Paralegal Specialist title and series number as non-exempt (covered) under the FLSA. HHS also agreed to pay these employees back pay and liquidated damages for uncompensated overtime worked between March 16, 2010 (or the date on which the employee entered the position, whichever is later), until the effective date on which they are reclassified as FLSA non-exempt (or the date on which the employee left the position, whichever is earlier).

Shortly before signing the settlement agreement, NTEU learned that sometime in 2012 or 2013, HHS moved certain Paralegal Specialists, GS-0950, into the position of Government Information Specialist, GS-0306. HHS transitioned employees into this new position without giving notice to NTEU. In fact, although HHS was well aware that these employees’ FLSA status was in dispute, the agency did not raise the issue of employees’ new position titles until March 14, 2016.

NTEU believes that regardless of the change in title and series number, affected employees continue to perform essentially the same job, and therefore, the change should have no impact on employees’ status under the union’s FLSA grievance. Over NTEU’s strident objections, HHS has held firm that the employees should recover back pay and liquidated damages under the settlement agreement only for the period during which they held the title of Paralegal Specialist — and not for the period of time since they have been in the Government Information Specialist position.

NTEU persists in its efforts to secure for these employees the compensation they deserve. On April 5, 2016, NTEU filed a motion with the arbitrator assigned to NTEU’s March 2012 grievance, asking her to define that grievance as covering Government Information Specialists. In addition, to preserve employees’ rights in the event that the arbitrator denies that motion, NTEU has filed a protective grievance asserting that Government Information Specialists should be covered under the FLSA.

Since filing the national FLSA grievance in 2012, NTEU’s efforts to achieve proper compensation for employees has been met with resistance from HHS at every step. Undeterred, NTEU continues to hold HHS’s feet to the fire and has won relief for more than 700 employees and counting. But these efforts are not possible without the support of bargaining unit employees. I encourage you to speak with me or any other Union representative about how you can do your part.