As you are now aware, the Service has provided a 10-day response time to the furlough proposal. Typically, after we have requested information we are also allowed an extension to analyze the data that we have received and compile a written response. In this case, the furlough letter offers the caveat, “Because of the mandatory fiscal constrictions the Agency is challenged with, no extensions to the written and oral reply periods will be granted.” In our opinion, this is one more tactic that CBP in Washington, DC has adopted to shove this adverse action down our throats. Other ways that they have eroded our appeal rights is by denying requests for information (by the locals and NBPC) valuable in showing that this action is not solely to “promote the efficiency of the service” and failing to negotiate the terms of the furlough with NBPC, and refusing to negotiate with Local 2366.
Rest assured that Local 2366 is advocating for all interested dues-paying members who are challenging the furlough. The process for having the Union represent you is easy. Simply get in touch with a Local 2366 steward (there should be an updated list on each station’s Union board) and fill out a designation form provided by the steward. The steward will take care of the request for information and extension, and submit a written reply on your behalf. Your designated steward will also request a time to appear before a deciding official with you to contest the action. You will have to attend this reply. Your steward will prepare you for the oral reply beforehand. The reply is brief and takes only a short period of time, 5-10 minutes.
If you do intend to contest the furlough, you must do so IMMEDIATELY! Members of the bargaining unit (non-supervisors) only have FIVE DAYS LEFT (until March 17, if you were forced to sign the document on the 7th) to challenge this adverse action. Obviously, it does take some time to generate the documents for your appeal, so the sooner you designate a steward as your representative, the better. If you have any questions, contact a Local 2366 steward.