DOES FMLA COVER ABORTION AND TRAVEL TO GET AN ABORTION? 

We want to pass along a very thoughtful piece from the folks at FMLA INSIGHTS that attempts to answer that.  Click here for a link.

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BARGAINERS BEWARE OF THIS BEGINNER’S BLUNDER

As we have noted before, one way a union can stop an agency from rocketing through bargaining just to get the dispute before the FSIP is to file a ULP alleging that the agency engaged in bad faith bargaining. If the Panel is populated with people who respect the law, which it has not always been, then it should reject jurisdiction until the ULP is resolved. If it does not and issues a decision, the ULP can be a way to have the FSIP-imposed deal voided and the prior agreement terms enforced retroactively until a new deal is signed. However, this strategy depends on the union drafting the grievance or ULP charge properly.  For example, …  Continue reading

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WHEN HAIR TRUMPS URINE

An agency suspended a firefighter for 30 days who tested positive for illegal drugs after being selected in a random test. Because the employee was absolutely convinced that he had not used drugs, he tried to prove that the urine sample produced a false positive and/or that his sample had become mixed up with another employee’s. Consequently, along with his written reply he provided the result of a private test he had done of his hair that showed he had not used drugs at any recent time. He also asked the agency for a portion of the urine it tested so that he could have a private DNA test run on it. The agency refused to release any of the urine citing HHS rules that prohibit DNA testing on urine samples collected for drug testing. So, that left it up to the judge and MSPB itself to decide what to do. Continue reading

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REMEMBER THIS AFGE AWOL DECISION

One of the reasons we activated Fedsmill was to overcome the disadvantage regional and local union leaders are at when they have no way to hear about case victories from other unions.  That hobbles them and it can be terminal for the employee whose career hangs in the balance. For example, when an employee in a Florida VA cemetery was AWOL 21 times over a 100-day period the agency suspended him for 14 days. (The employee also had a zero balance of annual, sick, and FMLA leave during those 100 days.) When the case got to arbitration, … Continue reading

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CBP SCREWS EMPLOYEE WITH ITS ADMINISTRATIVE INCOMPETENCE

CBP reassigned an employee from the Bahamas to Houston. Trying to be extra careful about the costs of the move the employee inquired whether he could be reimbursed if he shipped his POV himself. In response, CBP explained that he could arrange for his own shipping, but he would only be reimbursed up to the amount that the Government would have incurred, estimated to be $9652.05, and only for allowable expenses. Then, after the employee incurred the costs, SURPRISE!!! CBP refused to pay a dime of that $9,652.05 claiming that it was wrong when it originally advised him that he would be reimbursed. Here are the details and some advice about what to do if you or a co-worker is also victimized by bad advice from an agency. Continue reading

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THE LEVEL 2 PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL TRAP

The word is quietly passing around among managers urging those agencies that have an appraisal system with a level between Fully Successful and Unacceptable for each element to abolish that rating level. It is commonly called Minimally Successful or Minimally Acceptable level.  Abolishing it makes it easier to fire employees because it removes a critical protection employees now have. Here is a brief description of what that protection is and what unions can do if the agency tries to abolish the rating level. Continue reading

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ARBITRATORS CAN’T, BUT UNION REPS CAN

FLRA just issued a decision overturning an arbitrator’s decision on how to award back pay for unpaid overtime that highlights a very powerful club unions have in these cases. After deciding the agency had failed to pay about 130 employees for the extra few minutes a day they worked beyond their eight hours, the arbitrator decided to give each employee the same amount of overtime by averaging and approximating the total extra hours worked and using the agency’s recommended locality pay chart for everyone irrespective of where they worked. That worked out to be $2,182.13 per person, to which he added a uniform amount for liquidated damages. The Agency was delighted with this averaging and approximating approach because it saved it the very expensive effort of calculating every employee’s individual back pay amount. But the union filed exceptions claiming that the arbitrator violated law by taking this “averaging and approximating” shortcut to calculating backpay. When the FLRA agreed with them, it handed the union a huge club with which to squeeze the employer into settlements on group back pay cases.  Here is how that would work. Continue reading

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MSPB CHANGES SIXTH DOUGLAS FACTOR’S MEANING

If a union rep cannot undermine the agency’s evidence that the employee committed the alleged disciplinary infraction, then s/he uses the “Douglas Factors” to argue that even though guilty the employee’s penalty should be mitigated or reduced. MSPB just made it harder to use them successfully. Here’s what the Board did and how unions can adjust. Continue reading

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$63 MILLION PAYOUT COMING YOUR WAY

FEDSCOOP has reported that the courts have approved this multi-million dollar settlement covering those folks damaged by the privacy hack of OPM files.  Here is the FEDSCOOP story and a link in it to the court document will give you an idea of who will be getting this money.   

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THIS IS OUR TIME: HOW WOMEN ARE TAKING OVER THE LABOR MOVEMENT

There is a very thought-provoking USATODAY article by this same title posted on MSN that we want to bring to your attention. Check it out here.

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