April Brown Bag Lunch; Wednesday, April 8, 2020

 Dear Colleague,


If you are a WASO employee and are not a supervisor, a management official, or a "confidential" employee, this message is for you.  If you are a supervisor, a management official, or a confidential employee; or, you don't work in WASO, we share the following information with you as a matter of courtesy.


We cordially invite you as a WASO staff person to join your fellow employees at the NTEU Monthly Brown Bag Lunch for April 2020.  


When:   Wednesday, April  8, 2020, Noon Eastern Daylight Saving Time [Note the new standard day and week -- the 2nd Wednesday of each month]

Where:  Using Teams From Your Computer or Home/Work Phone

Call-in:  In the current environment, we are working out how best to facilitate your participation in this meeting. We will provide details in our reminder notice.


What's On The Agenda: ​Fallout From the COVID-19 Crisis
*    Facility Status -- Comparing notes -- What is the status or your facility in terms of access and any other steps to reduce exposure to COVID-19?
*    Reporting Exposure or Testing Positive  --  If you think that you might have been exposed to COVID -19, what do you do?
*    Sources of Information  --  Where can you find reliable sources of information?
*    Issues from Meeting Attendees  --  What do you want to know about COVID-19, telework, and related actions?
*    Telework  -- Basic rules. --  What the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) says
*    Telework -- Child and Elder Care  --  What the CBA says
*    Telework -- Reporting Best Practices  -- Sharing stories about good ways to treat staff members during this crisis
*    Administrative Leave/Sick Leave -- What the CBA and the new law say
*    Much More

At the mid-point of the “brown bag lunch” meeting, we will ask for your issues or concerns about COVID-19 and teleworking.  We want to ensure that we have identified any actions pertaining to COVID-19, related telework, and any other actions that need explanation or that might be contrary to our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

There are high quality NTEU staff members available to Union members. Union members have access to speak with our talented and experienced NTEU labor lawyers.  Sarah Riger located in DC (sarah.riger@nteu.org) and Arathi Premkumar located in Colorado (arathi.premkumar@nteu.org) - are available to advise you.  Arathi Premkumar and Sarah Riger are planning to participate in to this meeting.

Since we last met, your Chapter 296 leaders have been very busy on your behalf.  We have learned a lot, we have represented your interests in several settings, and we have a lot to report to you on a wide range of issues.  This is true every month. 

Coronavirus. COVID-19 .  Everyone is talking about it.  We would also like to hear from you what steps have been taken at your facility in terms of building access and steps to protect you from exposure to COVID-19.   We will let you know what is happening at the Main Interior Building (MIB).


What do you do if you think that you might have been exposed to COVID-19?  How do you find out if someone else in your facility has been exposed to or has tested positive to COVID-19?  We will let you know.  We will also share what we know about cases in the National Park Service (NPS) WASO.


Where are the best places to go to get useful information about COVID-19?  We will share that information with you.  We will also let you know the caveats that you need to be aware of when using those sources.


What are some of the basic principles in administering telework in WASO?  Does the COVID-19 crisis change those principles/rules?  We will inform you so that you can inform your supervisor, if necessary.  Hint:  Look in your CBA.


The COVID-19 crisis has led to widespread closures of schools and childcare facilities.  This in turn has created issues in balancing teleworking and childcare/eldercare responsibilities.  We will share with you some ideas about how to deal with these circumstances.  The CBA explicitly addresses this issue.  See Article 11, Section 10, page 40 of your CBA


As a Union, we tend to hear a lot about bad practices for telework and other topics.  This communication is good.  It allows the Union to address those concerns and to try to solve them.  We would like to hear from you about good practices in telework and other COVID-19 related activities.  We plan to share that information.  The more that people know about best practices, the better off our offices will be both in terms of morale and effectiveness.


In WASO, there is fairly widespread confusion about when administrative leave can and should be used.  Also, most folks don't know in detail what the Families First Coronavirus Response Act has to say about extra Sick Leave during the Coronavirus crisis.  We will try to illuminate both of these issues, at least a little bit.


If there is time, we will provide updates on other topics.  As always, we will provide plenty of time for both 1) your questions and answers and 2) your comments and suggestions.


All WASO staff members are welcome!  Please join us.  Enjoy lunch with your co-workers while you learn the latest news from Chapter 296.


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