THE RIGHT TO SWAP JOBS
We noticed that this issue is causing some strife inside the AFGE Border Patrol Council, which only confirms that the right to swap jobs is a critical collective bargaining issue.
Not long ago NTEU put before the FSIP several demands that employees be able to swap shifts, tours, or locations and prevailed on most of them. NTEU and CBP, 10 FSIP 10. Even the Bush-era FSIP, run by an anti-union bunch supported a union proposal for job swapping (AFGE and Dept. of Transportation, 07 FSIP 27) as did the Wall Street Journal. There is no question that job swapping is substantively negotiable thanks to decisions in NTEU and BATF 2 FLRA 573. NTEU and IRS 5 FLRA 525, NTEU and Customs, 38 FLRA 838
Even if the right is just limited to swapping with those who have the same series, title, grade, and qualifications, it can make huge differences in employees’ lives. Swap rights give them the opportunity to swap into a job that offers more AWS and telecommuting flexibility, better hours of work, a location closer to home or an available carpool, a more desirable lunch hour, lower commuting time and costs, more suitable vacation periods, better protection from RIF’s, more control over overtime work and TDY assignments, more direct access to child care facilities, alternatives to leave for FMLA purposes, and even an opportunity to get away from a supervisor or colleagues she does not like or work well with.
We used our own “Compare Contracts” data provided in the FEDSMILL.com menu bar to see what kind of job swap clauses NTEU has placed in its agreements. The following are from its IRS and CBP contracts:
#1- The Employer has determined that Employees in the same occupational classification series, with the same specialty area, if applicable, and at the same grade levels may swap positions, absent just cause.
#2-In the event the Employer has obtained VERA/VSIP authority, VERA/VSIP will be made available as a mitigation strategy via the vehicle of “job swaps.” In the event of a RIF, the parties agree to modify the provisions of Article 15, Section 7 so that directly impacted employees will be permitted to swap jobs into other occupied positions, either inside or outside of the commuting area.
#3-Job swaps will be permitted into the competitive area undergoing a RIF in conjunction with each open direct VERA/VSIP window if there are still directly impacted employees within that competitive area. Employees swapping positions with a directly impacted employee must do so only for the purposes of retiring or resigning with VERA and/or VSIP and must meet minimum qualifications for the position. If the proposed RIF will eliminate all positions in the competitive area, the swapping employee may choose to retire or resign with VERA and/or VSIP or be separated in the RIF process and receive severance pay.
#4- Weekly or Daily Tour of Duty Swaps- For the purpose of this Section, a swap is defined as the voluntary exchange of a scheduled daily (shift) or tour of duty (weekly) between two employees. . . .Infrequent employee requests to temporarily swap shifts or tours of duty will be approved provided the employees involved in the swap are qualified to perform the duties encompassed in the swapped shift or tour of duty and the swap does not result in a negative impact on operations or an increased cost or conflict with overtime cap compliance procedures.
#5- An employee may swap annual leave dates with another employee at any time consistent with the provisions below.