The pace of policy changes coming from Washington appears to be increasing as we get closer to the national elections. It could be a coincidence or just my imagination. But, here are a few items (and more) that could affect you which do not require a deep dive into labor and employment law.
Back Pay Act: Back pay means just that. OPM is proposing to change more than 40 years of OPM precedent by reinterpreting the Act to narrow its use. Our LMA includes a back pay provision that we have used successfully. If the proposed regs become law, it is unclear how it would impact our LMA.
Emergency Leave Transfer Program: OPM will allow federal employees impacted by the 2020 California wildfires to qualify for the program. HUD’s authority is discretionary so we will need to see if the agency implements this aspect of ELTP. There is a parallel program for those impacted by Hurricane Laura.
Please remember your fellow members and consider donating leave to members in the leave transfer program. Their names may be found in a drop down menu within WebTA (at least in the older version).
Annual Leave: Try to schedule your annual leave before November 21st in the event that it is cancelled by your supervisor. The requirement for restored leave is that it must be scheduled before start of the third bi-weekly pay period prior to the end of the leave year. According to OPM, this is November 21, 2020. Annual leave may be restored if it is forfeited because of an “exigency of the public business or sickness” of the employee.
There is proposed federal legislation, September 30th, to restore lost leave because of the pandemic in both the Senate and House. There is no text available so we cannot say what the bills contain. Between now and the end of the year, the House has allotted 5 weeks, the Senate 6 weeks (including time for the S.Ct confirmation hearings), for legislation. Passage, therefore, is uncertain.
Labor-Management Agreement: Our LMA continues in effect until a new LMA is bargained. NFFE and the management team have enlisted the services of FMCS to help initiate bargaining. The primary sticking point is that our LMA calls for in person ground rules bargaining (the predicate to bargaining over the LMA). Anyone who has experience in negotiating understands that it is preferable to bargain in person (think about poker-in person or virtual-which is better?). The management team wants to use electronic bargaining. Both parties agree, however, that the current LMA is working well.
NFFE Local 1450 Elections: It will soon be time for electing officers and trustees. Please refer to our website for detailed information on the nomination and voting process. All current officers and trustees have agreed to run for re-election. We have an outstanding group of dedicated advocates and I am proud to serve with them and to have represented all of you as your president over the past term. I will send additional info to everyone via private email.
Pandemic News: Ugh! It is not only still with us but, nationally, worse than ever. This may be hard to believe but before Covid-19, the United States was considered to be the country best prepared to handle an epidemic! Another pandemic researched letter is coming. I have scrapped numerous versions. The focus, my only focus, is to help protect you by providing unbiased, curated information. Hope it helps.
Be well by staying safe!
Dennis T. Murakami. Esq.
President, Local 1450
National Federation of Federal Employees-
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
Office (415) 489-6680
Cell (925) 788-4286