(January 6, 2024) On January 5, 2024 NWSEO filed a Union grievance pursuant to Article 10, section 11.B of the parties’ collective bargaining agreement over the agency’s failure to timely reimburse employees for travel and permanent change of station (PCS) expenses following the implementation of the Business Applications System (BAS). This grievance was filed on behalf of 25 bargaining unit employees who are impacted by this issue.
The failure to reimburse these employees for the travel expenses they incurred between August and November 2023 violates Article 23, Section 2 provision of the collective bargaining agreement which states: Employees required to travel by Management shall receive per diem or subsistence expenses and other allowable travel expenses subject to applicable laws and regulations. Under the Federal Travel Regulations reimbursement was due within 30 days, and late payment fees must be paid if reimbursement is not timely.
Among the outstanding reimbursements due are payment for PCS expenses for employees. The failure to timely pay these PCS expenses, including expenses related to the sale or purchase of a home, violates Article 39; Section 1: Employee Relocation and Section 2: Relocation Expenses Related to Sale and / or Purchase of Residence.
The failure to make timely payment of these expenses also violates the promises made to union officials during the consultations and negotiations over the implementation of BAS. More specifically, an official of the Office of Human Capital Services assured NWSEO in an August 28, 2023 email that “travelers should receive disbursements in sufficient time to meet travel card billing cycles without incurring penalties.” NWSEO was also assured during negotiations on September 27 that the BAS payment blackout period would only last 25 days and therefore payment would be made in time to pay the government credit card. This was not the case, and many employees had to use their personal funds, at some hardship, to timely pay their government credit cards because of the agency’s failure to live up to its commitments.
“This situation is completely unacceptable, we can not have employees bearing the costs of government travel and PCS by using their personal funds to pay for expenses, in some cases to avoid negative impacts to their credit. Management must make this right and we will fight this until our people are paid in full.” says President JoAnn Becker.
NWSEO is committed to fighting for fair opportunities for our employees. We appreciate all of our members who support our organization.