April 24, 2012
NTEU Urges Reform, Not Cuts to Workers' Comp Benefits
NTEU is taking action after a report from the DHS Office of the Inspector General found that millions of dollars are being misspent because of poor management of claims filed by CBP employees under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA).
In a letter to key members of Congress, President Colleen M. Kelley said the right course of action is to reform FECA rather than to cut this program that is particularly important to CBP employees.
"Compared to most other federal and private sector employment, there are serious risks of injury [at CBP]," wrote Kelley. "Safety must and should be priority one… But reality is that every day, CBP employees will be injured on the job. This is why FECA is such an important protection for CBP employees."
NTEU has strongly opposed government-wide FECA cuts proposed in the 21st Century Postal Service Act (S. 1789). More
Physical Fitness Pilot to Roll Out in Limited Locations
NTEU and CBP have reached an agreement over a pilot program that provides employees the opportunity to do physical fitness during work hours.
Rollout of the Physical Fitness Pilot Program will be staggered, with implementation first in Buffalo, N.Y., followed by Miami; Rio Grande Valley/Laredo, Texas; and Seattle/Blaine, Wash. All bargaining unit employees in these ports of entry will have up to three hours of approved duty time each week to work out.
As the pilot is implemented, a joint NTEU-management team will address any issues that arise and conduct a review of the program’s success, which will be used to expand it nationwide.
NTEU Expands Participation in Surge Capacity Force
Agriculture Specialists and CBP Technicians will be among those employees who can volunteer to join the Surge Capacity Force (SCF) and help prepare for and respond to catastrophic events. Initially, CBP’s SCF proposal was geared exclusively to non-uniformed employees, but NTEU pushed for the inclusion of Agriculture Specialists and CBP Technicians.
|Tornado debris in Alabama photo courtesy of FEMA
Eligible employees must complete their probationary period, be employed by CBP for 12 consecutive months, have no pending performance or disciplinary actions, complete five online Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) courses and commit to participate in the force for at least one year.
A provision in the 2006 Post-Katrina Emergency Reform Act mandated the creation of a force of non-FEMA DHS employees that FEMA can deploy to help respond to a catastrophic disaster.
Uniformed employees, such as CBP Officers and Seized Property Specialists, are already eligible to volunteer for FEMA’s Emergency Support Functions program when FEMA requests CBP’s assistance.
Get workplace news delivered to your inbox.
If you have received the NTEU DHS Update from a friend, sign up for your own