OVERVIEW OF NEW NTEU-IRS CONTRACT
Any time one of the larger, federal sector bargaining units signs a new contract it is a big deal for everyone. The novel provisions will be cited by unions or management at other bargaining tables around government to help them make their cases for adopting favorable provisions. The NTEU-IRS agreement is no exception. The two parties have renegotiated their national term agreement over a dozen times since the late 70’s making it a very mature collective bargaining agreement. Below is an overview of the deal thanks to one of the local NTEU chapters. Not all articles were opened, and if you want to see what was in the existing agreement, check out the “Compare Contracts” button on our menu bar and scroll down to the last NTEU-IRS contract. We will post a complete copy of the new agreement as soon as we get a copy.
Article 5 – Employee Rights
NTEU obtained a new process for addressing bullying in the workplace (Section 7); employees who are subject to bullying may file a grievance at Step 2 of the grievance procedure. In a side letter, IRS will be obligated to train managers on this language and discuss the parties’ agreement to eliminate bullying in the workplace. NTEU also secured language under which the IRS is obligated to provide identity theft protection for a period of one year where the employee’s SSN has been disclosed and the risk of identity theft is high (Section 21).
Article 8 – Union Rights
We altered the process for notice of formal meetings where employees from 15 or more Chapters are impacted (Sec. 1A3). The IRS must provide notice to the three Chapters with the most impacted employees not less than five (5) days prior to the formal discussion. The notice will include the business division and the number of employees impacted at each location, as well an agenda that includes the general subject matter of the meeting. Those three Chapters will determine which steward will represent NTEU in the formal discussion.
While the agency has a right to determine the location of orientation sessions, such a determination cannot diminish the Union’s rights under Section 1E1-4 (e.g., to show a video at the orientation, to meet with employees privately for 30 minutes, etc.). In Section 9C, the IRS must provide NTEU with copies of every Request for Proposal that could result in the loss of work for bargaining unit employees (a request for proposal initiates the process for procuring outside vendors to perform work at IRS facilities). We sought language to obtain information concerning contractors and the possibility that work being performed by bargaining unit employees was being outsourced. NTEU won an arbitration case involving IT’s retention of contractors after it had reorganized its desk-side support operation. During bargaining the agency told NTEU negotiators that it had “no plans” to hire contractors to perform desk-side work. Months later, IT computer specialists in the bargaining unit were being directed to train the new contractors to do the work they previously had done. While no one lost a job, they lost detail and overtime opportunities. Under the new language, NTEU will be able obtain information about potential contractors before they are in place, and provide NTEU with the opportunity to bargain to the extent required by law.
Article 9 – Stewards and Official Time
At the outset of bargaining, IRS proposed to eliminate the distinction between official time and bank time, lump them together, and then slash the number of hours that stewards could use to represent employees by nearly 40%. In addition, IRS proposed that all union travel be eliminated. The IRS failed at these attempts. Instead, NTEU won this article in nearly every respect. The system under which the Chapters will be allocated bank time based on its prior year’s use will be implemented (Section 2G) incentives to reduce bank time will remain (Section 2H6); and disincentives for Chapters with a high per capita rate that have been in the contract for 4 years now will remain (Section 2G).
One considerable change in Article 9 is the parties’ agreement (set forth chiefly in the Side Letter) to use technology to increase efficiencies and drive down official and bank time. For its part, the IRS committed to mandating the business divisions to combine formal discussions. We believe that doing so will decrease the instances in which a Chapter would need to send a steward to 20 or 30 meetings that are scheduled for different times but on the exact same issue (and thus reduce official time). To further promote electronic meetings, the IRS is obligated to supply each Chapter with computer equipment (an additional laptop) that will be used by the Chapter to participate in formal discussions via OCS, “Live Meeting” or via teleconference (Section 3). Whatever technology is used, it must be live, not recorded so steward will retain a right to interact in the discussion. The Chapter stewards will be provided training materials on the functionality of these programs. The parties also created a “National Official Time Oversight Committee” to address the efficiency gains that should occur as a result (Section 6). If the efficiency gains are made, it should reduce both the per capita rate of both official and bank time (see Section 1, Side Letter) and travel costs (Section 4 of Side Letter).
The parties agreed to continue existing provisions under which stewards are reimbursed for travel (Section 8). We added language that would permit the local parties, by mutual agreement, to hold meetings via telephone or other electronic means (where otherwise the meeting will be face to face.
In an effort to reduce costs, language was added under which stewards will attend the National NTEU training that is geographically closest to them unless some other training is less costly based on comparing air, per diem and lodging costs. The IRS wanted union stewards to also compare the time cost as part of that analysis. The IRS withdrew its proposal on that issue. It also agreed that Service Center Chapters would be exempt from the provision because of the special track we have each year in Las Vegas; as such, those stewards will have the Article 9, Section 6 trip, paid by IRS, and any incentive trip paid by IRS, to attend the Las Vegas training regardless of where they work geographically.
Article 11 – Facilities
We had sought language under which every Chapter would be given toner cartridges and paper for use with IRS-supplied equipment. In the face of Panel opposition to altering the status quo, we withdrew that language. It became clear to us that we were not going to win that issue, and did not want to risk losing what we have. We did win, however, rights for released seasonal stewards to gain access to the IRS buildings that are in the Chapter’s jurisdiction so they are not treated as strangers to the workplace upon their release (Section 20). The IRS will also continue to provide Chapters with bound versions of the contract (Section 5).
Article 12 – Performance Appraisals
There were several important provisions in Article 12 that we retained after IRS sought to eliminate the language. The first was in Section 4J2, under which full-time Union stewards can work 120 hours to receive an annual appraisal. Not only did we retain the 120 hour language, but it was modified to state overtime work could also count toward the 120 hours so long as it is “ratable.”
In Section 9B and C, NTEU won new language that will require any supervisor, who monitors calls of telephone employees and decides to use one or more of those monitored called as an evaluative recordation with the employee, to notify the employee of any other calls it listened to determine whether the selected calls were a “reasonable and representative sample” of the employee’s work – the current standard in Article 12. Under this language, for the first time managers will be forced to advise employees of all of the calls they listened to on the day that they “found fault with a recorded conversation.” This language should enable the Union to determine, based on the calls that were evaluated and calls that were not evaluated – whether the manager was targeting contacts where errors were present or was adhering to the contract by reviewing a “reasonable and representative sample” of the employee’s work.
In addition, NTEU won the issue of Section 4L “counseling,” that IRS had sought to drastically weaken. Under IRS’ proposals, managers would have little obligation to counsel employees when they become aware of performance deficiencies, which would have made it easier for the Employer to take performance-based actions (e.g., a PIP) against employees. Instead, Section 4L will remain unchanged.
In Sections 13 through 21, the parties conformed language addressing the former TEPS system to the MEPS system that has been in use for two years.
Article 13 – Merit Promotion
Few changes were made to Article 13, as neither side was able to gain traction for significant changes in the fact-finding process in February and March 2014. NTEU and IRS are now in the process of revisiting and revising CJE questions under Section 5B to better tailor the questions to specific occupations. NTEU is also pursuing grievances that challenge the job-relatedness of CJE questions in particular promotion actions.
Article 15 – Reassignments
Much of Article 15 was rolled over. The neutral factfinder did adopt new language the IRS had proposed in Section 5 (Part 2) under which IRS may reassign a hardship eligible employee from one position in the business division to another position within that same business division so long as the position is in the same series, grade and position description as the employee’s current position, even if there is no vacant position there. However, if the employee seeking such a hardship transfer is above the journey level of the position, the employee may only be reassigned to a position at the journey level. The language imposed by the neutral fact-finder also made such reassignments non-grievable. This exception is consistent with the rule in Article 15, Section 5B. We will be monitoring what IRS does in reassigning hardship eligible employees under this new language.
NTEU won language in the dispute resolution process for Article 15 bargaining – the neutral must rule on assertions by NTEU that the IRS has failed to provide information in response to a request (Section 3A). NTEU also obtained language extending temporary telework arrangements that are made on account of a hardship for up to one (1) year (Section 8B).
Article 16 – Details
We successfully retained language in this article concerning the selection process for details, rights for the performance of higher-graded duties and non-competitive promotions while fending off an effort by the IRS to gain sole discretion to determine when it would detail employees, who it would select for such details, and how long the details will last.
Article 18 – Awards
Despite sequestration that was implemented in FY 13, and the IRS’ continuing budget constraints, NTEU retained a healthy NPAA awards program. For the next three (3) years (until the agreement is reopened at the mid-term), the IRS will pay into the NPAA fund not less than 1% of the total bargaining unit salaries from the prior fiscal year, an amount that is about $43 million a year based on current staffing levels. In addition, the concept of parity was adopted both up and down – the NBU awards pool must be funded at the same rate as the BU pool. The Employer may reduce the funding level only in response to a “significant unforeseen adverse event impacting the budget and occurring during the course of the year.
We also obtained language on when NPAA awards will be paid. The neutrals’ recommendations in March 2014 that stated the IRS could pay awards in the performance year (fiscal year) in which they occur, or in any subsequent fiscal year (such as two or three years later). We strongly disagreed with any language that would permit the IRS to pay awards two or three years after the performance year had concluded – awards are intended to reward employees for their most recent high performance. At FSIP, we obtained language that the IRS will pay NPAA awards in the same fiscal year as when the performance was made or in the first quarter of the following fiscal year, unless an unforeseen adverse event significantly impacts its obligation to make payment then, and even in that circumstance, not later than the end of the subsequent fiscal year.
With respect to the QSI program, we had little leverage to continue the current collective bargaining agreement which contains a target participation rate of 10%. It is contrary to government-wide regulations, and the IRS refused to continue to agree to be obligated from a contract standpoint to grant QSIs as it has since 2009. In 2009, the IRS only agreed to a 10% mandated QSI target after NTEU had filed a series of national grievances based on evidence that QSIs were being distributed in a manner that constituted disparate impact race discrimination. To remedy those claims, the IRS agreed to a 10% target to ensure a higher participation level.
At this table, NTEU worked vigorously to retain language that would have obligated IRS to grant QSIs at a lower level, but IRS refused to be bound to guarantee any QSI awards. Not only did IRS not want to be obligated to grant QSIs in any given year, it wished to continue the eligibility criteria in the current contract (must have had an outstanding performance appraisal in 3 of the last 4 years, and not have been granted a QSI in the last 78 pay periods) that do not exist in the regulations. We refused to agree to any process that would continue existing contract obstacles to employees being eligible for a QSI or make the eligibility criteria even more burdensome without a guarantee by the agency that it would commit to distribute any QSIs at all. Instead, we reached an agreement under which the regulations will control. As of this coming October 1, and pursuant to the regulations, employees who are rated outstanding in their current appraisal and who have not had a QSI granted to them in the preceding 52 week period, are eligible for a QSI. The IRS stated it will continue a QSI program and grant eligible employees a QSI, consistent with its budget constraints. Come this October, we will be monitoring what the IRS does with QSIs very closely. If we see similar, arbitrary QSI patterns that led to NTEU’s previous national grievances, we will pursue such action again.
Article 21 – Retirement
NTEU won language extending the benefit from 6 years to 10 years of retirement for employees to participate in a retirement planning program on administrative time. Even though the IRS sought to eliminate the interactive aspect of the program, we obtained language under which the program will continue to offer “individualized, interactive” retirement counseling for employees.
Article 22 – Work Schedules
The parties agreed to modify Section 2D2 to reflect the new regulation governing eligibility for health insurance (where the seasonal employee’s seasonal agreement is for less than 6 months, he or she will still be certified as eligible if they work 130 hours per month or more for at least 90 days).
Article 23 – Hours of Work
We agreed to memorialize the practice under which gliding employees will have a default start time of 7:30 AM (day shift employees) where there is a late opening for weather or other emergency situations (Section 5B2). Employees are free to reach agreement with their managers for a different start time. For the purpose of voting, employees on a gliding schedule must notify their managers no less than 24 hours before the voting day as to what their start time will be that day.
For employees on AWS covered by Exhibit 23-1, the IRS will consider requests by employees to fill AWS slots that become open in between the semi-annual periods (Section 6B1). Determinations as to whether to grant the request will be made by IRS based on the criteria in Section 6A-E (of Exhibit 23-1). Any denials will not be grievable.
We agreed to simplify the sign-in, sign out procedures for employees on gliding schedules, after evidence was presented that employees on a gliding schedule at other agencies were required to notify their managers when they arrived. The neutral indicated he was inclined to agree that there was a reporting requirement. As such, we agreed in Section 8 that gliding employees will notify their managers of their start time either prior to the start of the work day or within 15 minutes of reporting; such notice may be communicated electronically and such employees may use Outlook to notify their manager of start times for the entire week. The parties also reached agreement to add language for religious compensatory time requests in Section 10. Employees must obtain prior approval to work religious comp time, in writing, and include a description of the religious observance, as well as the dates and times the employee must abstain from work and the dates and times the employee plans to make up for the absence (Section 10C, 1-3).
Article 24 – Overtime
While NTEU proposed to significantly increase local bargaining over what the local parties agree constitutes “equitable distribution” of overtime, we did not win that language in fact-finding. We still believe it represents the best solution to the years of litigation between the parties over the distribution of overtime and are baffled that the IRS does not wish to undertake this effort even as it loudly complains that official and bank time are too high. Instead, it is clear that disputes over the sufficiency of notice of overtime opportunities given by managers to the Chapters and the distribution of overtime will continue. In Section 2D, we agreed that where an employee volunteers to work overtime but subsequently is not able to perform that work, the employee will notify the IRS “normally within 24 hours in advance of the overtime,” that the employee is not able to perform the overtime work.
Article 27 – Health and Safety
The IRS is now obligated to post “active shooter” and emergency egress plans for each POD (Section 1F). Safety and Advisory Committee (SAC) meetings have been retained. In 2012, we agreed that these meetings would be held electronically to reduce travel costs. While SAC meetings may be held face-to-face for participants in the commuting area, the parties agreed to continue the proscription on travel and per diem for the meetings (Section 3A-C). Section 11 was modified to reflect the new regulation governing eligibility for health insurance (where the seasonal employee’s seasonal agreement is for less than 6 months, he or she will still be certified as eligible if they work 130 hours per month or more for at least 90 days). In this section we also added language to reflect that these same rules apply to intermittent and temporary employees (they are also eligible for health insurance if they work 130 hours per month or more for at least 90 days).
Article 30 – Training
NTEU defeated the IRS’ efforts to tie the funding of training obligations to its budget. Instead, current training procedures were retained and refined, including the reimbursement of accreditation costs, CPA and CLE courses and dues for professional organizations. NTEU also won a right to review, at each mid-term bargaining table where management has proposed changes in work procedures that would require new training, the right to review the training that the IRS plans to use to roll out the initiative (Section 2E). If NTEU believes that additional appropriate arrangements should be raised, it will have the right to put those issues on the table before the change may be implemented.
Article 31 – Leave Sharing Program
In Section 1B, the parties modified the definition of “family” to reflect the change in the law, which now extends certain statutory benefits to “domestic partners” including same-sex and opposite sex partners who are in a “committed relationship” as defined by law. In Section 2E, language was added that the Leave Bank will accept leave donations year-round from employees. In Section 3B2, Leave Transfer Program, if the employee does not receive an adequate number of hours of leave, the parties must agree to expand the target audience.
Article 32 – Annual Leave
NTEU won language that delinks the granting of advanced annual leave solely for serious health conditions. Instead, all employees who meet the criteria (e.g., has completed the probationary period, is not on a leave restriction letter, has an advanced annual leave balance of 40 hours or less) will be eligible for advanced annual leave (Section 6A). Employees may not have an outstanding advanced annual leave balance of more than 40 hours at any given time. As an exception to the 40-hour limitation, employees will be granted additional advanced annual leave due to a serious health condition of the employee; or to care for a family member as defined in Exhibit 33-1 (expanded to include domestic same-sex and opposite sex partners in a committed relationship) (Section 6B).
Article 33 – FMLA Leave
NTEU obtained new language in Section 3B under which employees will be provided a copy if their position description and afforded an opportunity to discuss with their manager the essential functions of their position (one of the requirements in the medical certification required for FMLA leave approval is “a statement that the employee is unable to perform one or more of the essential functions of his or her position”; Section 3C5). Under this provision the employee will have a right to know what the Employer deems the essential functions of the position to be.
In Section 3I, language was added that clarifies the employee will receive administrative time to obtain a second medical opinion if directed by the agency. Section 3L was obtained by NTEU to ensure any denial of a request for FMLA is put in writing and provided to the employee within five (5) workdays.
Article 34 – Sick Leave
NTEU’s goal was to obtain a contract right for employees to obtain advanced sick leave for bereavement purposes. Unbelievably, several employees who had a death in the family were denied advanced sick leave for bereavement and funeral arrangement purposes. We won language that now specifically addresses this right (Section 6A2 and 5).
Article 36 – Excused Absence (Administrative Leave)
NTEU won a number of important rights in this article. In Section 2A, NTEU expanded the general rule under which employees are granted up to three (3) hours of administrative time to vote on the day of the election to days on which there is “early voting.” In other words, if the employee is unable to vote on election day (and thus receive admin time to do that) because he or she is on official IRS business (travel, for example) and is unable to vote by absentee ballot, under the new language the employee will be afforded up to three (3) hours of administrative time to engage in “early voting” so long as the early voting hours are the same as or exceed the voting hours on election day. Section 2B reiterates the language in Article 23, Section 5B2 regarding gliding schedule employees and emergency closures. Section 4, Professional Examinations, was updated to reflect current IRS positions and certifications. NTEU won language that grants admin time for employees who are in the computer field to take specialized professional examinations.
The parties agreed to adopt language from federal regulations that grants employees who return from active duty military service to five (5) days of excused absence each time they return from active duty (Section 7). Section 12 updated and modified language regarding the bone marrow and organ donation process. Language addressing admin time to travel, for testing and for the actual procedure were expressly added even though it was implicit in the prior language. The IRS sought language that there be some proof of the employee’s approval to be a donor (Section 12C), which does not require any medical records. In Section 14 we obtained language that expressly grants employees court leave in accordance with federal regulations.
In Section 15B, the parties agreed that employees requesting admin leave where they are unable to report to work on time because of emergency conditions may use Form 10837 or other documentation (such as an email). The IRS had sought to require all employees use Form 10837. In Section 15E, language was added under which employees who are on LWOP when there is an office closure will receive pay for that day (i.e., admin leave) provided they are in work status the day before or after the scheduled LWOP day. The parties also agreed to add language on early closures and delayed openings: if there is an Open with Early Departure” announcement, all employees working in the office will receive admin time from the time of the early departure to the end of their TOD (Section 15G). If the employee has special circumstances that warrant leaving the office even earlier than the established departure time (such as lives in an area prone to flooding), the manager may grant that employee admin time to leave the office prior to the announced departure time. Employees who are on scheduled leave for the entire day but choose to come in to the office because of a “delayed opening” may do so and receive admin time for the hours of the delay, and the annual leave for the time they work will be cancelled.
Article 38 – Disciplinary Actions
In Articles 38, 39 and 40, the IRS proposed to eliminate any travel for union stewards to attend oral replies. It failed to win any language that would alter the current travel rules (which are set forth in Article 9, Section 8). In addition to other types of discipline, the Union will now receive copies of any alternative discipline agreements simultaneous with their issuance to employees (Section 8A). Where the Union has provided a signed designation of representation, the IRS will provide an un-sanitized copy of the decision letter to the Union on the same day that it is provided to employees (Section 8A3).
Article 39 – Adverse Actions
Language that was agreed to in Article 38 was added to Article 39 — where the Union has provided a signed designation of representation, the IRS will provide an un-sanitized copy of the decision letter to the Union on the same day that it is provided to employees (Section 7A3).
Article 40 – Unacceptable Performance
The same language regarding designation of representation was also agreed to in Article 40 (Section 7C).
Article 41 – Employee Grievance Procedure The IRS sought to eliminate travel for any grievance step meetings – even Step 3 meetings. The IRS failed to win any provisions that would curtail steward travel for Step 3 meetings. The current rules regarding travel will continue to apply. (Section 7). For Step 1, one steward may attend the meeting. Travel and per diem is not authorized. However, if the parties are co-located, at the option of either party the meeting may be held face-to-face. (Section 7A2).
The IRS withdrew a provision under which all mass grievances filed by Chapters would have to be filed with the applicable SCR. Instead, the current process that permits the Chapter to file a mass grievance (where the issue impacts two or more divisions) with the Executive in either Division. In Section 5C4, we agreed that mass grievances alleging violations of Article 13 would be filed with the first level Executive from the operating unit within the division which posted the vacancy announcement. Article 13 grievances on behalf of a single employee will be filed at the second step (Territory or Department manager) at the operating unit within the business division where the vacancy was posted.
Article 42 – Institutional Grievance Procedure
We agreed in Section 4 that participation by Chapter presidents in any step meetings on National institutional grievances will be by telephone. This has been the practice for several years.
Article 45 – DEEOAC
In its proposals, the IRS sought to eliminate all local DEEOA committees and have them rolled into the four national Operating Division DEEOACs. Because of the continued important work performed at the local level in these committees, we refused to agree to that change. IRS ultimately withdrew its proposals to eliminate local committees, so they will continue. The parties clarified that travel and per diem would continue to not be authorized for these committees (in the 2012 National Agreement, travel was restricted in Article 9 but language authorizing travel had been left in Articled 45 and 46). Campus DEEOAC meetings may be held face to face for participants in the commuting area (no travel and per diem will be paid for those meetings as well.)
Article 46 – Local LMRC
The parties clarified that local LMRC meetings would continue to be held telephonically. Campus LMRC meetings may be held face to face for participants in the commuting area (no travel and per diem will be paid for those meetings as well.) The business operating divisions that will convene Business Improvement Committees were delineated (W&I; SB/SE; TEGE; and LB&I). BIC meetings will be telephonic unless the parties agree otherwise.
Article 48 – Furloughs
The parties agreed to separate a shutdown furlough (where the agency or the entire government is closed because funding is no longer available via an appropriations law or a continuing resolution) from administrative furlough (e.g., the furloughs that occurred following sequestration in 2013), which may only be imposed for such cause as will promote the efficiency of the service. The parties agreed that for administrative furloughs, there would be an expedited negotiation process, and the parties would address all issues that were not expressly covered by Article 48, such as the provision under which all contract deadlines would be extended for each day of a furlough (Section 2B3). Bargaining would be concluded within 90 days of the date on which the IRS provides NTEU with notice of the furlough. Any impasse that may arise in negotiations would be resolved by a neutral mediator/factfinder pursuant to Article 47, Section 2.
Article 50 – Telework
NTEU secured an expansion of Frequent telework (those who work at a telework site for more than 80 hours a month). We added a number of occupations to the list of those eligible for Frequent telework, including tax computation specialists and tax compliance officers in Appeals; tax consultants in SPEC (W&I); social scientists (except those in TEGE); tax computation specialists in LB & I; and disclosure technical advisors, government liaison analysts and disclosure specialists in PGLD have all been added to the list (Section 2F). In addition the parties’ current pilot for telework for Customer Service Representatives grew out of discussions the parties had at the term table.
The mileage restriction was extended from 125 to 150 miles (Section1A2). Section 5A1, regarding employee responsibilities was modified to address instances where managers were requiring employees on recurring telework to itemize in painstaking fashion every matter they would work on at the telework site. Under the new language employees will only have to provide the “general type or scope of work to be performed” at the telework site. In Section 5A3, the use of OCS was added to the contract, but the use of the “presence” and instant messaging functions will continue to be voluntary on the part of telework employees.
In Section 7, the IRS pressed hard for language that would require employees who could perform work at the telework location to do so in the event of an office closure – even on days on which the employee was not scheduled to telework. We fought that concept for months but the neutral indicated he was not inclined to accept that employees who enjoy telework would have no obligation to work at all – even if they had the means to do so – where weather or other emergency conditions closed the POD and non-teleworking employees were granted admin leave for the day. In the face of a likely negative ruling, we agreed to terms that we believe are fair. First to be considered “telework ready” the employee must have the equipment and the work to be able to work at the telework site when the POD is closed (Section 7B). To be obligated to work on a closure day when the employee is not scheduled to telework that day, the Employer must announce no less than 60 minutes prior to the start of the employee’s tour of duty that the office is closed. If the agency fails to do that, there is no obligation to telework during the closure (Section 7D). If employees do not have sufficient work to perform at the telework site during the closure day, the employee will be granted administrative leave for the remainder of the day.
Article 53 – Miscellaneous
The only dispute in this article concerned transit subsidies (Section 10). The panel of neutral factfinders ruled in March 2014 that the language should contain a provision under which the IRS will not be obligated to pay transit subsidies retroactively. That language will be in the next contract but not impact our right to address the most recent change in the law that grants employees increased transit subsidies retroactive to January 1, 2014. We also agreed that inflationary adjustments would be implemented no later than 60 days from the date on which IRS gets notice from the Department of Transportation of the change. We convinced IRS to withdraw its proposal that it could suspend or terminate the transit subsidy program at any time, following negotiations.
Article 54 – Duration and Termination
The contract will be in effect for six (6) years and have a limited reopener (each party may open five (5) articles and propose two new articles) for negotiations that would be conducted after the parties exchange proposals on September 29, 2017. The reopener agreement would be implemented on October 1, 2018. The end of term reopener negotiations will be in 2020 for implementation of a successor agreement on October 1, 2021.
Article 55 – Reasonable Accommodation
NTEU secured an important new article and process for employees seeking a reasonable accommodation. The parties agreed to language describing the interactive process from the time the employee first seeks an RA to the Employer’s decision as to whether the RA would be granted (Section 2). Any grievances over these issues may be filed as a streamlined arbitration (Section 2B).