A Few Matters

Possible Shutdown
The attachments from NTEU National provide an update on agency preparations for a possible government shutdown. NTEU 245 raised this issue at the PTO labor management forum last Wednesday and I also met with PTO Congressional Affairs. While anything can happen and stranger things have—it is my understanding that the PTO would remain open (like the last time) if there was a shutdown. We suggested that a joint announcement between labor and management be sent out to all employees; the Office is going to look into it.

Timesheet Certification
Please let me know if your manager has inquired about your production and/or raised the issues we faced  before on timesheet certification. It seems managers are still obligated to contact their group director if your production is less than 75% of Marginal production for two consecutive bi-weeks despite the elimination of the blue flag from your spreadsheets.  Further, some managers are contacting their attorneys even though the revised guidelines removed any arbitrary trigger and you are fully entitled to manage your workflow within the parameters of the PAP.

Unpaid Retirement
16 of you received notice from the Office on this topic.  If you didn’t, just ignore this.  If you did, we have sent an e-mail to the Office requesting a waiver of any overpayment.  Let me know if you would like to see our request.

Like Trademark management and the CIO, we are thrilled with the new speed.  Thanks to both.  I also want to thank our union representatives on the E-Commerce Committee and all our union beta testers for raising this important issue and other important automation issues—for some time now.

Finally, we were pleased to ink another OT agreement for next fiscal year, which currently leaves OT at 20 hours per biweek, and details will be forthcoming next week on extension of the annual leave agreement (Plan 2) for another year.  We are also close to signing a deal to implement a phased retirement program for the whole agency.  This program would allow eligible full-time employees to work part-time and begin to draw retirement benefits, while enabling the transfer of those employees  institutional knowledge to other employees through mentoring.

Let me know how we can help you as we close in on the end of another FY.

Howard Friedman