Plexi glass- This was a long struggle to accomplish anything. We went back and forth with the agency to provide some sort of barrier between our employees and the traveling public. The entire world is preaching social distance but obviously that is impossible due to the nature of our job. We inspect documents, we go “hands on”, we provide medical attention, it is an understatement to say we don’t social distance. Our only other form of protection is to create a barrier between us and the travelers.
After many discussions with management, OSHA, CDC, and the Board of County Health we were able to get approval for plexiglass to be installed. Quotes from vendors and contractors have been gathered from both NTEU and management as measurements and project plans are being drafted. The idea is to not just have something that is a barrier from being exposed, it’s to have another layer of protection from actual physical attacks from subjects intending harm to our employees.
FFCRA- An amazing achievement of NTEU was the Implementation of the FFCRA. It grants 80 hours of additional sick leave to employees effected by Covid-19. After reviewing this amendment of various emergency leave laws Chapter 105 took it a step further. We ensured that once all department of Labor claims were approved the hours used in the FFCRA would be restored just as regular leave would be for any OWCP claims. This further allows the use of FFCRA later in the year for other reasons related to Covid-19
Hazard pay Grievance- NTEU brought the fight to CBP stating that the privilege of hazard pay should be forwarded to our officers due to our constant exposure. Our duties make it close to impossible to protect ourselves from Covid-19 exposure. Because of this fact our employees are placed in harm’s way daily. This should be enough to justify hazard pay but the agency disagrees. If the agency refuses to do what’s right, then NTEU will take action! On 05/29/2020 NTEU filed a Grievance to secure hazard pay for the employees that are being placed in harm’s way daily.
Media: When the level of the fight changes so does the game plan. All the issues we have been dealing with have been coming from headquarters. Because these shortsighted decisions have been coming from such a high an level, we needed to make sure our employees are heard. Nationwide NTEU chapters have done 22 News interviews. Of these interviews Chapter 105 did 17. We were interviewed by such media outlets as CNN, NBC, Channel 10 News, Breitbart, law enforcement today, Telmundo, Univision, The Union Tribune, Congressional Times, KOGO 760 and many more. Just recently our success was realized when the Commissioner dropped a letter on CBP.gov addressing our Chapter directly. Days later Headquarters agreed to meet with NTEU in order to discuss our demands.