Union Opposes SEC's Unilaterally Issued Telework Survey


11/4/10:  The SEC today unilaterally commenced distribution of a highly subjective and unscientific opinion survey as the chief metric for assessing the success of the Expanded Telework Program. This survey was created "in house" by HR employees at the SEC. Last year NTEU filed a national grievance to prevent the SEC from utilizing this flawed opinion survey, or any data derived therefrom, in this fashion, and as a result, the agency agreed not to do so without Union agreement. The agency has now moved ahead unilaterally with the survey. The Union will once again file a national grievance, this time alleging an unfair labor practice.

For this reason, NTEU is urging all SEC employees not to respond to SEC surveys regarding telework, as the Union has serious concerns that the data derived from such surveys may be improperly utilized to cut back on the telework benefits that NTEU has fought hard to make available at the SEC.

Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiated for you by NTEU, the SEC may utilize "work product measures of groups of participants" to measure the success of the Expanded Telework Program. Under the contract, however, these metrics are required to be "based upon verifiable and objective standards." The data generated by the opinion surveys created by the SEC could never be considered to meet this standard. And yet, the surveys are the only method that the SEC has chosen to measure the success of the program.

The SEC's surveys are poorly drafted. Furthermore, there are problems with the SEC's methodology. For example, the agency permits supervisors and non-teleworking employees to provide their opinions about their teleworking coworkers on an anonymous basis. Without controls, though, this would allow employees to participate in the surveys more than once. It also would allow supervisors and others to express misleading opinions about the Expanded Telework Program which have no basis in fact, but which the Union would subsequently be unable to test or probe. It is difficult to understand how the agency could view such a survey methodology as likely to create "verifiable and objective" data about the telework program at the SEC. It is more likely to generate subjective data that the agency could attempt to use to cut back on this successful program.

NTEU has tried to work with management to resolve the question of Expanded Telework Program metrics, but management has refused to move on a single issue with respect to its use of fundamentally flawed opinion surveys. The Union urges all employees not to respond to telework surveys that they receive.