OCC Bargaining Update - October 5, 2015



Implementation of 'Examination Efficiencies' Guidelines Delayed

NTEU Provides Update on Pay, Office Space Negotiations


OCC has delayed implementation of the recently­ issued Examination Efficiencies guidelines after NTEU objected.

 On Sept. 25, Deputy Comptroller Toney Bland conducted a conference call with all MCBS employees to discuss new guidelines on “Examination Efficiencies” that would generally require most examination activities to be conducted offsite, at the field offices, rather than at the bank. These new guidelines were to take effect Oct. 1.

  •  NTEU did not learn of these new guidelines until the agenda and attachments for the conference call were distributed to all MCBS employees two days before the meeting.
  • NTEU was not provided the opportunity for pre­-decisional involvement on this matter through our Labor­ Management Forum or through other means, as required under Executive Order 13522.
  • NTEU was not provided advance notice and the opportunity to bargain over the impact and implementation of these new guidelines, as required by 5 U.S.C. Chapter 71 and Article 7 of the NTEU­OCC contract. 
  • When NTEU first objected to the implementation of these guidelines without notice or bargaining, OCC management initially asserted that they were not changing any existing policies or practices, so there was no obligation to bargain.
  • NTEU thereafter submitted a formal demand for bargaining, and indicated that it would file an Unfair Labor Practice charge against the agency if it proceeded with implementation.
  • On Oct. 1, MCBS issued an email “delaying implementation of the recently issued Examination Efficiencies guidance at the request of NTEU.”

NTEU appreciates all the feedback we received from examiners expressing their concerns about these changes, and we hope that management will be receptive to addressing these concerns in bargaining over the impact of these changes. We will keep you informed of future developments on this important issue.


Office Space Negotiations

Earlier this year, OCC management reopened negotiations on Article 15 of the Agreement seeking reductions in office space in Field, Satellite and District offices (they have since dropped their proposed changes to space in District Offices). Although NTEU has been open to the concept of reducing space when it is not being efficiently utilized, we have maintained that it is essential that all employees have adequate space to work and be productive when they are in the office (including examiners assigned to work in Large and Midsize banks). 

NTEU also believes that where office space is being reduced, employees should be approved for telework on a recurring (not just occasional) basis. We spent several weeks trying to develop a reasonable solution, but both sides could not agree. As of Sept. 18, we were at an impasse in negotiations, and we were preparing to submit the case to be resolved by the Federal Service Impasses Panel.

But when NTEU learned that MCBS had issued the Examination Efficiencies guidance, requiring more examiners to spend significantly more time in the field office, we felt completely blindsided. We immediately submitted a revised bargaining proposal to reflect the changed circumstances presented by the new guidelines. NTEU told OCC management that they had engaged in bad­ faith bargaining by withholding this material information during the course of our negotiations, and that we are prepared to submit an Unfair Labor Practice charge against the OCC if they do not return to the bargaining table immediately.


Compensation and Benefits

Negotiations on Article 39 began on Sept. 22. NTEU reopened this article primarily to address concerns raised by employees regarding merit pay and geo pay, and we described our initial proposals in our last update. We spent most of the first week explaining NTEU's proposals and exchanging some proposals on some of the benefit provisions where NTEU had also sought some improvements. Slight progress was made on these issues, but we have yet to receive a counterproposal from OCC management on the core issues of merit pay and locality pay. Negotiations are scheduled to resume Oct. 6.


Your Support is Crucial

NTEU asks for your support as we represent your interests in securing fair and reasonable agreements on compensation and office space and address your concerns on the new Examination Efficiency guidelines.

If you have any questions, or would like to provide your feedback on these matters, please contact your chapter president.

 

“Non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco.” ~ Virgil

 

A seat at the table, fair and equitable treatment, and professionalism are union values on which stakeholders can still count!  Now more than ever!

 

“...to ensure that every federal employee is treated with dignity and respect.”

 

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