Update on FY2016 from our Executive Board

Hello everyone!  Happy New Fiscal Year.  Although the year has just begun, an issue of concern has already arisen, and the NTEU 245 Executive Board wants keep you informed as to our activities on your behalf.

A.  Mandatory In-Person Spring Training 2016

You may recall that on Friday last week, the Office sent out a notice to “save the date” for Spring Training 2016, making it  MANDATORY FOR ALL EMPLOYEES TO BE ON CAMPUS , ON EITHER APRIL 12TH OR 13TH, depending on the date you’ve been assigned.

We are working on numerous fronts to minimize the disruption to our examiners and to afford our bargaining unit some benefits from this training. First, we have asked the Office to request CLE credit. Second, we have requested the Office consolidate other possible reasons for requiring in-Office attendance, such as getting new PIV cards, at the same time, to minimize the need for further travel. Both of these requests were adopted by the tenth floor and incorporated into Mary’s email to the unit.

In addition, we have asked the Office to let us know what extra hoteling space will be made available and how they will accommodate the large number of visiting examiners.  We have further requested that the Office get a reduced-rate block of rooms at lodging establishments near headquarters. In addition, we are requesting that our attorneys be excused from attending the Spring Training for all leave requests made before February 12, 2016 to accommodate vacation and spring break plans, and to excuse people after that time when they demonstrate a personal or financial hardship or illness.  Finally, we have requested that the Office afford our attorneys some discretion to choose either April 12th or 13th based on shared lodging arrangements, personal need, or personal preference; although Mary’s email set out dates for each law office, we are continuing to work on this issue.

As of today, despite numerous conferences with the tenth floor, the E-Board has not been provided with an adequate explanation as to why the Office believes that the training requires our attorneys to attend in person.  We have merely been advised that the Office feels that the hands-on training for collaboration tools and customer service training cannot be effectively provided remotely.  Although we believe this explanation is inadequate, management seems intent on the training, and so we will continue to work on contingency plans to lower costs, lessen disruptions to work and personal obligations, and have the Office take into account plans and hardships that may be encountered by in-person/on-campus requirements.    We will keep you advised on our progress.

Please contact Jay Besch or Howard Friedman to let us know if you have any concerns or questions.

B.  FY2015 Ratings

As specified in our collective bargaining agreement, if you disagree with your rating you should submit written comments to the approving official (whomever your manger reports to) within five working days of receipt of your rating. Signing your rating does not signify that you agree with it, just that you received it.

If you decide to submit comments, or have other questions concerning your rating, contact Howard or another NTEU 245 Board member for assistance. They are listed on the cc line.

We always look forward to hearing from you.


Jay C. Besch
NTEU 245 Executive Board member