Last week, Chair Gensler’s disagreements with the union over negotiations for our new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and pandemic return to office (RTO) issues both went to litigation before the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP).
After five all-day mediation sessions before a federal mediator at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), Chair Gensler’s team refused the union’s efforts to reach a compromise on any of the primary areas of disagreement remaining in our CBA dispute. For example, the Chair continues to make unreasonable demands regarding telework, including requiring frequent, mandatory, in-office “community days” for all employees, eliminating the highly successful Remote Telework Program piloted during Chair Clayton’s tenure at the agency during the Trump administration, and including a broad list of types of work that Gensler deems “not suitable” for telework—but which employees have been successfully performing from home for the past two and half years.
Similarly, in the separate RTO mediation at FMCS, Chair Gensler’s team continued to insist upon frequent, mandatory, in-office “community days” for all employees and to provide no exceptions to Covid in-office requirements for employees with underlying conditions putting them at higher risk for severe COVID, or who live with family members with such underlying conditions. In fact, Chair Gensler has not moved at all with respect to any issues related to RTO.
“We remain disappointed that Chair Gensler appears to be unwilling to make any serious effort at compromise on issues of importance to his own workforce,” NTEU Chapter 293 President Greg Gilman remarked over the weekend. “Unfortunately, it appears that litigation is the only remaining option at this point.”