While NTEU and CBP have reached agreement on a handful of articles that will be included in the new contract, much more work needs to be done. And, even though the parties have made some progress when negotiating other contract articles in narrowing our differences, the parties remain far apart on some of the most important articles such as Bid, Rotation and Placement (BRP), Overtime, and Scheduling. As a result, the parties have begun using a mediator from the FMCS to assist the parties in our negotiations.
The parties recently concluded a disappointing, two-week bargaining session over issues associated with the Centers of Excellence and Expertise (Centers). Little was agreed to concerning BRP within Centers, BRP between Centers, and the many problems that have surfaced because of CBP’s decision to use remote supervision where many employees and their supervisors work in different time zones and the inability of ACE to support the Center initiative resulting in wasteful inefficient work-around practices.
This week, we have returned to the term table to again address the 30 or so contract articles where we have yet to reach agreement. In addition, the parties are discussing the possibility of using a fact-finding process concerning the Overtime, BRP, and Scheduling articles where a neutral third party would present his or her views regarding each parties’ proposals. Ultimately, as was the case with the current contract, it is quite likely that the parties will have to invoke the services of the Federal Service Impasses Panel to impose contract language on those articles where the parties could not reach a voluntary agreement.
NTEU’s goal in renegotiating the successor National Collective Bargaining Agreement is to strike the proper balance between CBP’s operational needs and the absolute right of employees to enjoy reasonable working conditions backed up by nondiscretionary enforceable contract rights.