May Brown Bag Lunch; Wednesday, May 13, 2020, -- Topics: COVID-19 Pandemic, Return to the Office Issues, Telework, Administrative Leave, Child/Elder Care, and Related Topics

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 May 2020.  

When:    Wednesday, May 13, 2020, Noon Eastern Daylight Saving Time

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

Call-in:   We ill be using TEAMS for this meeting.  The first thing to do is to get out of VPN/Pulse mode.  TEAMS meetings work much better when not on VPN/Pulse.  Then click on the icon below.  If you are unable to join the TEAMS meeting at Noon Eastern Daylight Saving Time, don't worry, we will provide meeting notes.  Assuming that you are successful in joining the meeting, to avoid too much clutter on all of our screens, please turn off your camera.  Also please mute your microphone (if it is not muted already) unless you are speaking.  Please make use of the chat function .  Please bear with us as we try this new approach. 

Here is the link to the meeting on Wednesday.


In the event that we have problems with the TEAMS Video meeting approach as a whole, we will use a conference call backup.  If that happens, WE WILL LET YOU KNOW and use the following information for the meeting   Call-in:  877-958-6756  Passcode: 8296505.  PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO USE THE CONFERENCE CALL AND TEAMS SIMULTANEOUSLY.  Doing so will cause problems with the TEAMS approach

What's On The Agenda: ⠀ ‹Fallout and Recovery From the COVID-19 Crisis
*    Preliminary Thinking on How NPS Will Approach COVID-19 Long-term --- The Union Role
*    Returning to the Office  --  General and Facility-Specific Topics That Need to be Addressed Ahead of Time
*    Telework -- Child and Elder Care  --  Updates
*    Issues from Meeting Attendees  --  What do You Want to Know About COVID-19, Returning to the Office, Telework, and Related Actions?
*    Ethics Rules -- Clarification
*    NTEU National President's Message to NPS Employees -- A Report and a Clarification
*    The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) Remains in Force
*    Chapter 296 Website Update
*    Much More

At the mid-point of the “brown bag lunch” meeting, we will ask for your issues or concerns about COVID-19, returning to the office, 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).  We also want to ensure that relevant issues are raised and discussed prior to any return to the office.

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 ( and Arathi Premkumar located in Colorado ( - 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.  The Pandemic is both an emergency and a long-term factor in it how we do our work.  The Union will share with you what we learned at last week's Labor Management Relation Committee Meeting regarding NPS' current preliminary thinking on how to approach the pandemic. 

The Union and WASO Management agree that before returning to the office, both WASO-wide and facility-specific decisions need to be made.  We will explain the Union's role in all of this.  For the Union to be successful on your behalf, we need to hear from you what the issues are.  What do you think and what have you heard are the topics that need to be addressed?  At the meeting, we will share some of the topics that we have already heard and brainstorm with you on other ideas.  In order to protect the anonymity of people making suggestions, we will couch this discussion in terms of ideas/concerns that we have heard and we will not record this portion of the meeting.

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.  Issues relating to childcare and eldercare will not end with the end of the school year.  We will share with you what we have learned about the current thinking on this topic.

The standard Departmental Ethics rules remain in force.  There has been some recent confusion regarding the personal use of government computers.  We will provide clarification.

We will report on NTEU's National President Tony Reardon's message to NPS employees.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) remains in force.  We will will provide some examples in the areas of telework and performance evaluation.

We will share some exiting news about the NTEU Chapter 296 web site. 

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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