Collective Bargaining Agreement (December 6, 2013) Changes

Highlights of the new OCC NTEU Compensation Agreement

Below are highlights (article by article) of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, ratified December 6, 2013 by OCC NTEU members. Except for the compensation article, which we are leading with here, the highlights of the remaining articles are numerical.

Article 39 – Compensation and Benefits

  • Section 1 provides Fair and Reasonable pay increases for 2014 and 2015
    • Funding for merit salary increases in 2014 and 2015 has been set at 3.1% of employees’ salaries for each pay pool, with individual employee pay increases tied to the matrix negotiated in 2011.
    • The OCC base salary structure will be increased by 2% each year in 2014 and 2015.
    • Overall funding for merit bonuses has been set at 0.9% of employees’ salaries in each pay pool for 2014 and 2015, including mandatory bonuses, with a minimum of 1% for employees rated as “4,” and 0.5% for those rated as “3 high.”
    • The OCC must use any unspent money from funding for special increases on either merit increases or merit bonuses, with a minimum of 50% of unspent special increase funds directed to merit increases.
  • Section 4 – 401k Program: The OCC will continue its automatic annual contribution of $1000 to each employee’s 401k plan, plus its automatic contribution of 4% of salary each pay period, in addition to the 1% matching contribution.
  • Section 5: Employees will continue to receive payments from their "life cycle account" of $1,000. However, due to changes in law, only $500 may be directed to your healthcare or dependent care Flexible Spending Account (FSA).
  • Section 6: Premium subsidies of the bi-weekly Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) will increase to a maximum of $65 per pay period.
  • Section 7: Beginning with travel in Fiscal Year 2015, payments under the Travel Stipend Program will begin at $40 on the 55th night and increase to $50 on the 81st night.
  • Sections 8 and 9: During the term of the agreement, the OCC will also seek to increase employee Life Insurance and Dental coverage (upon expiration of the current vendor agreements).

Article 3 - Employee Rights

  • Added language requiring that OCC ethics policies and rules comply with applicable laws and regulations, and that OCC supplemental ethics requirements will be issued consistent with guidance and regulations issued by the Office of Government Ethics.

Article 8 – Performance Evaluation

  • Section 3: Employees will receive more timely and more meaningful feedback on their performance, as any performance-related feedback provided to, and prepared by the rating official that would be considered when evaluating an employee’s performance on any performance element must be shared with the employee, normally within 15 workdays.
  • Section 4: During the interim review, an employee will be informed if the Rating Official has identified a change in the employee’s performance that would result in a reduction in the employee’s summary or element rating from that assigned in the prior year.
  • Section 9: The OCC and NTEU will continue our joint workgroup to study and develop findings and recommendations on improvements to the performance management system used to determine employees’ merit pay, including establishing clearer connection between performance objectives and skills, validating, eliminating and/or weighting various job skill elements, and clarifying the nexus between pay and performance. The Article may be reopened within 90 days of the completion of the work of the workgroup.

Article 11 – Merit Promotions

  • Section 2: Employee advancement to Step 2 is now included under merit promotion procedures.
  • Section 8: Clarifies when screening panels may be used during the promotion process, and clearer requirements to ensure the fair consideration of all best qualified candidates during the interview process.

Article 12 – Career Ladder Advancement

  • Section 3:
    • includes requirements for management to explain how an employee progresses through a career ladder, including what criteria will be applied to move from one level to another.
    • The criteria will be applied fairly and consistently to employees in the same positions.
    • Employees will also receive a copy of the position description for the higher level, and supervisors will discuss what must be done by the employee to be considered to have demonstrated the ability to perform at the higher level. more clearly identify what an employee must do to meet the requirements for a career ladder promotion.
    • Employees will be provided with necessary training and/or assignments which will allow him/her to demonstrate the ability to perform at the next higher level.

Article 13 – Details and Special Assignments

  • Section 2: Clearer standards for when an employee will be eligible for a temporary promotion for performing duties at a higher band level.
  • Section 4: requirement for timely action by the supervisor and point of contact to endorse or not endorse an employee expression of interest submitted through the Opportunities Board.

Article 14 – Reassignments

  • Section 2: Procedures for requesting voluntary reassignment through the voluntary transfer list have been expanded to include not only changes in location, but also local changes to a different position or unit, or changes with another qualified employee through a “job swap.”

Article 15 – Office Space Allocation

  • Section 1: Management originally proposed significant reductions in space allocations for employees in field and satellite office, which NTEU opposed. The parties ultimately agreed to establish a joint working group, comprised of equal numbers of management and Union representatives, to study space allocation in these offices and make recommendations on appropriate standards to the OCC-NTEU Labor-Management Forum in June 2014.

Article 16 – Work Schedules

  • Section 4: When an employee is required to work or attend training on their normal flex day, a new option has been added so that he/she can convert to a maxiflex schedule for that pay period, allowing the employee to earn and use credit hours so as to provide more flexibility in rescheduling another day off.
  • Section 7: Credit Hours may now be both earned and used in 15 minute increments

Article 17 – Overtime and Compensatory Time

  • Sections 1 and 2: Comp time may now be both earned and used in 15 minute increments.
  • Section 9: For FLSA exempt employees, a new procedure has been added to provide pay for comp time that cannot be used within the 26 pay period limit because of business exigencies. [By law, FLSA non-exempt employees must be paid for any unused comp time.]

Article 18 – Assignment of Work

  • Section 3 provides clearer procedures for examiners to volunteer and be selected for open examination assignments.

Article 19 – Telework

  • Section 1K: Supervisors will approve or deny each request for telework in a timely fashion. When a telework request is denied or cancelled, the supervisor will provide written notification to the employee, explaining the reason(s) for the decision. Supervisors’ decisions on telework will not be arbitrary, discriminatory, or in bad faith and will be made in a fair and equitable manner.
  • Section 2C: Clarifying appropriate tasks and procedures for approval of telework requests.
  • Section 8: New procedures for maintaining confidentiality of employee medical documentation submitted in connection with requests for medical telework.

Article 20 – Part-time Employment

  • Section 10: Added a provision for either party to reopen this article following issuance of regulations by OPM on the new Phased Retirement Program.

Article 21 – Travel

  • Section 10: Added requirements and procedures governing compensatory time for travel.

Article 22 – Leave

  • Section 3: New procedures for maintaining confidentiality of employee medical documentation submitted in connection with requests for sick leave or FMLA leave.

Article 26 – Probationary and Trial Employees

  • Section 2: Rating officials must meet with employees serving probationary or trial periods at least once each quarter to provide performance feedback.

Article 33 – Dues Withholding

  • Section 3: Added requirements for reinstatement of dues withholding for members returning to the bargaining unit after a temporary detail or assignment outside the bargaining unit.

Article 37 – Union Access

  • Section 6: The Union will be provided the opportunity to post announcements on the OCC’s digital signage system.

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