SUMMARY: Because CBP has provided inaccurate data for individuals who, at some point between 2003 and 2015, served as Border Patrol Agents or Import Specialists, miscoded individuals as outside of the bargaining unit from 2008 to 2010 (“J code”), and improperly included deceased individuals in the list of employees covered by the settlement, we are halting the distribution of settlement checks to address these and other potentially significant data-related concerns.
Thanks to many who flagged issues with the individual payment amounts that were made available earlier this week. The last several days have been devoted to working with the settlement administrator to examine the CBP provided data underlying these issues. Because of what we have learned so far, NTEU National President Tony Reardon is halting the distribution of settlement checks so that these data problems can be corrected and correct payments issued. The following is a brief summary of what has been determined.
CBP improperly credited certain individuals with time in the two positions covered by the settlement agreement when that time was actually served as Border Patrol Agents (BPA) or Import Specialists (IS). Under the settlement agreement formula, only time spent in a CBPO, CBPAS, or related legacy positions is creditable. As a result of CBP’s data error, approximately 1,100 individual awards were too high, which, of course, would further affect the calculation of other award payments.
Several chapters noted that certain individual awards appeared too low given their total years of service between 2003 through 2015, raising concerns that these individuals had not received appropriate credit for all of their years in NTEU’s bargaining unit. As some of you may recall, in 2009 we settled a national grievance challenging CBP’s improper exclusion of approximately 600 individuals from the bargaining unit based on these employees’ alleged access to classified information. While these employees’ bargaining unit status was ultimately corrected going forward, it appears that CBP provided unit status data to the settlement administrator that continued to treat these individuals as non-bargaining unit from 2008 to 2010.
Finally, several chapters pointed out that deceased individuals were to receive payments, many of whom had passed away years ago, and some before retirement. For reasons yet to be determined, CBP included these names on the list of covered employees provided to the settlement administrator. As you know, the settlement agreement does not provide for payments to the heirs of deceased individuals. NTEU wants to identify as many deceased individuals as possible and exclude them from the settlement pool before individual amounts are calculated by the settlement administrator.
These are the significant systemic problems with the CBP provided data that we have confirmed by working with the settlement administrator. We are also looking into a couple of other general concerns about individuals’ payment amounts that were posted but, so far, those amounts appear to be explainable, given the many factors that affect individuals’ payments under the settlement formula.
President Reardon has therefore instructed the settlement administrator to halt distribution of the checks, until we are confident that the data issues have been resolved. This will necessarily delay pay distributions under the settlement agreement. It is unclear, at this point, how long that delay will be. NTEU's top priority is to get the payments right, and we are sure that is your top priority as well.
We very much appreciate your assistance and cooperation as we work to address these concerns.