1/18/12: The SEC notified the Union today that it is sending out this notice informing all participants in the Expanded Telework Program that it has unilaterally determined that they must give up their individual offices at the agency or else cease their participation in the program. The TheThe SEC is required under federal labor law to bargain over the impact and implementation of this change, but the SEC has refused to do so. For that reason, NTEU will file an unfair labor practice charge against the SEC this week for violation of the labor statutes. The Union also disagrees with the SEC's decision because it will result in an unnecessary expenditure of taxpayer funds to move these employees.
TThe Expanded Telework Program allows participants to telework more frequently, usually for three or four days per week. There are approximately 100 SEC participants in the Expanded Telework Program, most of whom work in the Division of Corporation Finance, where the nature of their work allows them to work from home more often.
The Union has notified the SEC that it recognizes that the agency may need to double up or hotel employees who are participating in the Expanded Telework Program in the event of a space shortage. The agency’s decision to do so now, however, makes little sense because there currently is no such shortage of office space at Headquarters, where the vast lion's share of participants in the Expanded Telework Program are located.
Furthermore, the SEC is currently seeking to terminate the Expanded Telework Program in the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations with the Union. Given that there is not a critical office space shortage at the agency, the Union has strongly urged that the SEC wait until the CBA bargaining process is completed (probably this summer) before making the decision to force these employees to double up, to first see what the outcome of that dispute will be. Wasting money now on an unnecessary office move involving 100 employees makes very little sense, under the circumstances. In effect, the agency is demanding that it spend money on a large move to accommodate 100 participants in the Expanded Telework Program, while simultaneously seeking to eliminate the very same program.
The Union also has brought these facts to the attenion of the Office of the Inspector General, which is charged with identifying and eliminating wasteful spending at the SEC.
The Union urges participants in the Expanded Telework Program to continue their participation in the program. NTEU intends to fight for this program at the Federal Service Impasses Panel, if necessary, and we believe that we will win.