During the conference call to our Delegates Offices on January 7th (mentioned in the previous post), we also discussed Facility Closures and Telework issues.
We informed those on the call with us that the facility can close frequently for weather issues and weather related issues (snowfall, ice storms, weather related power outages), but also for Executive Order days of mourning, Executive Order holidays, low water pressure, power losses (non-weather related), etc. We discussed that apparently the contractor failed to include additional funds for these closures in their bid, so DOS has stated the will not reimburse LDRM for the closures. As such that means we don’t get paid. We continued by discussing how that could quickly become a hardship during a period of bad weather, and that employees would lose wages by no fault of their own and that the loss in hours actually increases the damage that high insurance premiums do to our pay as we lose H&W for unpaid time as well. They were already partially aware of this issue due to helping us in winning Christmas Eve as a paid day off, hopefully their assistance pays off for all closures as we additionally pointed out that the Passport Center down the road gets paid for all their closures. We’ll keep you posted.
Last but not least of the issues we discussed was the problems with the teleworking network. We reported that employees no longer have the option of going in to the facility to work as capacity has been capped to 40% due to COVID-19. So now when employees have network issues they can possibly take 2 hours downtime, if they are approved to, then use vacation time or take the rest of the day unpaid. We gave them the example of the day that Citrix was having major issues and very few people were actually able to work, albeit very slowly. We informed them that many of you were forced to take vacation or use LWOP.
It was also mentioned, for the sake of doing our due diligence, that several members were unhappy about being required to work when the facility is closed. To us the issue is double bladed; yes you are being required to work when everyone else is off, but you are receiving pay for work while others cannot. Either way we hope to hear back about answers to everything addressed, and when we do we will let you know.