December membership meeting

Our next and last membership meeting of the year is set to take place on Wednesday, December 7, 2022, at 6:30 pm at the union’s office located at 801 Kings Way in Del Rio, Texas.

Topics for the meeting include:

  • Grievance updates
  • 2023 Budget review/consideration
  • Drug-Free Workplace Program
  • Disability retirement coverage
  • Voluntary OT changes
  • OSHA complaints re: BPPCs
  • PFP updates
  • In-sector swap program
  • EOD problems for new bargaining-unit employees
  • TAK phones and bodycams

USBP fails to properly equip BP Processing Coordinators

On October 12, 2022, the National Border Patrol Council filed five OSHA complaints — one each in Tucson, El Paso, Del Rio, Laredo, and Rio Grande Valley Sectors. The complaints focused on the U.S. Border Patrol’s (USBP) failure to provide appropriate body armor for Border Patrol Processing Coordinators (BPPC).

Except for two stations, BPPCs are not issued or assigned their own body armor. They have to check out body armor from the armory, basically left to choose from whatever might be available. If nothing is available, they have to find another BPPC whose shift is about to end and “hotswap” the armor — in other words, hot, sweaty body armor gets handed over to the oncoming shift to wear.

Aside from the body armor and carrier never being sanitized or washed, the body armor also is not properly sized to the BPPCs. OSHA requires that when an employer determines body armor is the way they will protect the workforce from gunshots, it is PPE and must be provided, used, and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition. Dirty, smelly plates and plate carriers are anything but sanitary.

We await the outcome of OSHA’s inquiry and will provide updates.

Recent updated CDC guidance, COP remains an option

On September 16, 2022, you may remember receiving the below email at work from CBP regarding an update to guidance for those employees who get exposed to or test positive for COVID-19.

In the email, they explained that if someone is exposed (regardless of vaccination status) and they don’t have symptoms or a positive test, the employee continues to come to work unless they start showing symptoms or test positive. Weather and safety leave is no longer an option.

However, if someone tests positive, the agency wrote, “Sick Leave (SL) is the appropriate duty status, but other personal leave can be substituted for SL (annual, earned compensatory time, LWOP, etc.),” incorrectly implying that continuation of pay (COP) is no longer an option.

Unsurprisingly, they left out useful information, which is just another example of different offices within CBP failing to communicate with each other. We flagged this for CBP HRM, and as expected, they do not plan on sending out a clarification email, so it once again falls on the NBPC to make sure the workforce is properly informed.

To be clear, COP remains an option for employees, even though it’s not listed in that table.

If you test positive with an at-home test, immediately schedule a follow-up PCR test at a mobile lab or get an appointment with your doctor so you can be tested via a test that DOL will accept. If you wait too long, you might test negative via that test after previously testing positive with an at-home test, which means you won’t be able to use COP. Once you have a positive PCR test or a medical report from your doctor, fill out a CA-1 on ECOMP.

Check out a post from earlier this year for instructions on how to submit a CA-1 via ECOMP.

Mandatory overtime ending PP 21

Local 2366’s executive board spoke with Chief Owens this week and requested that we further reduce or end mandatory overtime altogether in Del Rio Sector.

Since a lot of traffic has shifted to other sectors, it should allow us to get back to a more “normal” schedule — whatever that is — and put more agents in the field to do the real work of the USBP. We’re still busier than we’ve ever been, so there’s plenty of work to do in the field.

Chief Owens agreed, so effective Pay Period 21, mandatory overtime will no longer be required in Del Rio Sector. This means agents still need to work the one required OT shift for the current six-week block (PPs 18-20). After that, overtime will be available on a voluntary basis.