12/4/13: This afternoon, the union filed a national grievance against the SEC for its failure to implement the new professional dues reimbursement program provided in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The new CBA contains a provision requiring the SEC to reimburse SEC employees for their eligible professional dues, “up to $400 per year.” Eligible dues include dues for maintaining licenses or memberships that are required in order to be employed in an SEC position (for example, attorneys’ and CPAs’ dues), or that, as a practical matter, the SEC encourages employees to hold (for example, Certified Fraud Examiners).
During ongoing discussions with the SEC’s Office of Human Resources (OHR) regarding implementation of the new CBA, the union has repeatedly requested that the OHR partner with it to develop a simple application form for immediate implementation of the professional dues reimbursement program. OHR delayed addressing the issue for several weeks. This morning, OHR finally notified the union that the SEC would not implement the dues reimbursement program until late spring or summer of 2014. Furthermore, OHR also indicated for the first time that the SEC would not accept reimbursement applications for dues that were paid prior to the November 2013 effective date of the new CBA.
The dues reimbursement program provides for reimbursement of professional dues, “up to $400 per year,” without reference to the effective date of the CBA. The intent behind this provision, which was drafted by the union’s negotiating team, was to allow SEC employees to obtain reimbursement for dues incurred during any year in which the CBA was in effect, including all of 2013. In fact, there are numerous examples in the CBA of other provisions that are explicitly tied to the effective date of the CBA – but no such language was used in connection with the professional dues reimbursement program.
“We regret that the SEC is not living up to its agreement on dues reimbursement,” NTEU Chapter 293 President Greg Gilman noted this afternoon. “SEC employees have already experienced nearly three years of delays in getting this program established during negotiations with management. Further delay at this point will be a big disappointment for the hard working frontline professionals at the agency.”