October 27, 2003
TO: FDA Chapter Presidents
RE: National Grievance on PEP Changes
SUMMARY: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) denied the grievance filed by NTEU on behalf of all bargaining unit employees regarding changes to employees’ performance evaluation plans (PEPs) to include an endorsement of the ten department-wide management objectives, including contracting out.
As many of you are likely aware, in September 2003, NTEU filed a grievance against the FDA alleging that the agency violated the parties’ collective bargaining agreement by failing to notify NTEU of the proposed changes to PEPs; had committed an unfair labor practice by refusing to bargain with NTEU over those changes; and violated federal law requiring sufficiently precise and specific criteria as to performance standards. A copy of that grievance is attached for your reference.
Recently, the agency notified NTEU that it had concluded that “the facts do not support [NTEU’s] grievance.” First, according to the agency, the changes are not substantial and do not result in an adverse impact on bargaining unit employees. The agency stated further that: “[T]he requirement that employees effectively support their supervisors’ performance (i.e., organization goals) is a longstanding practice.” Second, the denial of the grievance also provides that the performance plans are “clearly ‘covered by’” the collective bargaining agreement and therefore the agency had no obligation to bargain the changes. Finally, the agency maintains that the sentence indicating that employees are familiar with and effectively support the requirements of supervisors’ performance contract as it applies to their specific responsibilities is sufficiently precise and specific. A copy of the agency’s decision is attached for your review.
NTEU has the right to appeal the decision to arbitration and is currently considering this option. I will keep you advised as to our next step. If you have any questions or concerns about this issue, please contact Barbara Sheehy, National Negotiator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Colleen M. Kelley