For the last decade, other agencies have tapped the Border Patrol for help with the Mexican criminal population. We were proud to help out and had a few agents who would step up and assist with wire taps, translating documents, etc. When one of our Hispanic agents was assigned to the Skagit Valley task force, he kicked ass as an undercover agent and was able to penetrate deeper into the drug organizations due to his playing the part. Make no mistake, all of the agents we assigned to these task forces did outstanding work. This started a trend of other agencies specifically requesting Hispanic, Spanish speaking agents for these details. Prior till now, the Chief would select the best qualified BORDER PATROL AGENT for the detail. This change concerns us for obvious reasons. Below is our Demand to Bargain with the Agency over this change.
September 26, 2014
Dan M. Harris, Jr.
Chief Patrol Agent
2410 Nature’s Path Way
Blaine, WA 98230
Re: Demand to Bargain Regarding Changes to Selection Criteria for the DEA Detail
On September 9, 2014, a customary detail solicitation for the Drug Enforcement Agency was announced by management via email. On September 23, 2014, the same position was re-announced with significant changes to the selection criteria. This criterion is used to select the best qualified agent for the detail.
The Union considers some of these changes confusing and others alarming; due to the fact that they would exclude the vast majority of bargaining unit agents. For ease of reference I will list the changes and the addition of new criteria to the detail solicitation.
• Ability to testify in court proceedings
This statement is confusing because we were lead to believe the ability to testify in court proceedings was a condition of employment.
• Spanish Language Fluency
o Ability to text in Spanish
o Ability to interview Spanish speaking subjects
o Ability to transcribe Spanish language phone calls
There is currently a Spanish language proficiency standard in the Border Patrol. By adding this criterion, it is clear to the applicant that only a native Spanish speaker or an agent with expert Spanish language skills is suitable for this detail. We find this alarming because this kind of training and/or requirement has never existed in the Border Patrol, the DEA or any other federal law enforcement agency.
• Willingness to commit to DEA for one year
The Union is confused by this statement because the applicant putting in for this detail acknowledges the one to two year obligation. This statement raises the question that there may be undefined commitments that are not explicitly stated in the announcement.
The Union demands to bargain over these changes in working conditions. Never before has an agent been held to such standards for this detail. These changes exclude a vast majority of Border Patrol agents for this career enhancing detail and ability to promote their career.
The following initial bargaining proposals are submitted at this time:
1. Hold in abeyance the new selection criteria until all agents are provided the training to meet such criteria.
2. Provide tuition for Blaine Border Patrol agents to attend advanced Spanish classes at local colleges or language centers.
3. Provide access to the Rosetta Stone internet web application for all Blaine Sector Border Patrol agents.
The aforementioned are initial bargaining proposals and are by no means all inclusive. The Union intends to bargain over this change to the fullest extent of the law, including all attendant third party proceedings. Please contact me at your earliest convenience to set a time to meet and discuss these proposals or with any questions or concerns. I can be reached at (360) 441-1067 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. or via e-mail at email@example.com If I’m unavailable, please contact Local 2913 President Michael Cox for additional assistance in this matter.
Christopher P. Ramey
NBPC/AFGE Local 2913
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