Union Requests Formal Bargaining over SEC's Termination of Reassignments of Examiners to Staff Accountant Positions


4/15/13: The Union today served bargaining proposals to SEC management regarding the SEC’s unilateral decision to cease all reassignments of Grade SK-13 Compliance Examiners to Grade SK-14 Staff Accountant positions.

A few weeks ago, without prior notification to SEC employees' Union representatives and apparently without consultation with OCIE management, the Office of Human Resources sent this notification to SEC managers informing them that the agency’s past practice of reassigning Grade SK-13 Compliance Examiners to a Grade SK-14 Staff Accountant positions would be discontinued immediately. Prior to this change, the past practice, which had been in place for over a decade, was to permit Grade SK-13 Compliance Examiners to be reassigned to a Grade SK-14 Staff Accountant position, provided that they had the requisite accounting credentials pursuant to this policy.

This change to the past practice is harming morale in OCIE. Compliance Examiners were told when they were hired that they would have promotion potential to Grade SK-14. Many OCIE Compliance Examiners relied upon the old policy to their detriment, spending their own time and money to obtain the necessary accounting credits to seek a reassignment, only to learn that policy has now been changed before they received their reassignment. The new policy creates two classes of employees in the OCIE program, which will likely cause recruitment and retention problems.

Upon learning of the SEC’s unilateral change, Union representatives reached out to both OHR and OCIE senior management to seek a resolution of this issue. The Union recommended that the agency commit to making regular competitive postings which would allow existing employees to continue to seek a promotion to Grade 14. It also recommended that management work together with the Union to use the SEC’s independent classification authority to create a new SEC Compliance Examiner series with career ladder promotion potential to Grade 14.

Due to the fact that we have not seen action on this important issue, today the Union requested formal bargaining over the impact and implementation of this policy change. The Union has made the following proposals:

  1. As an appropriate arrangement, the SEC will agree to competitively post an SK-14 Staff Accountant position in an  OCIE office whenever an existing SK-13 Compliance Examiner in that office has the requisite accounting credentials per the old policy, and has served as a grade SK-13 Compliance Examiner for a period of at least one year;
  1. The SEC will agree that all existing OCIE Staff Accountants in grades lower than SK-14 will be permitted to continue on their existing career ladders up to SK-14;
  2. As an appropriate arrangement, the SEC will agree to mitigate the impact and implementation of its termination of the Staff Accountant Reassignment Policy and Practice by reimbursing all OCIE employees for all accounting courses that they took in reliance upon the Staff Accountant Reassignment Policy and Practice; and
  1. The SEC will also agree to engage in pre-decisional collaborative bargaining with NTEU pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 7106(b)(1), under President Obama’s Executive Order 13522, to create a special SEC Compliance Examiner series with a career ladder to Grade SK-14, as an exercise of the SEC’s independent classification authority. This new series would take into account employees’ SEC experience, relevant industry experience, JD, and/or accounting training/experience.

We will continue to keep you posted on the progress of our work to correct this problem. Thank you to the dues paying members of the Union who make this work possible.