How Soon We Forget…

Only months ago, the Border Patrol faced one of the most devastating pay crisis in its history.  After years of pressure from outside forces, it became clear that the battle to save AUO had been lost.  The financial impact to agents’ and their families would have been so severe it was almost unthinkable.

It quickly became apparent that the Pay Reform Act was our only hope.  Realizing this, Union President Brandon Judd visited Sectors nationwide expressing support for the Act and answered questions from concerned agents.  After a careful review of the facts it was widely considered to be the best option, and with good reason.

Here are a few more facts to think about if you find yourself wondering if it was the right thing for us:

1.  Your base pay is now 125% of your grade and step if YOU choose it.  It is codified in law and cannot be dangled over your head.

2.  Budget cuts and sequestration are right around the corner.  Again, your BP Pay CANNOT be touched.

3.  LEAP, just like AUO, is gone with a swipe of a pen.  This is the only place left to cut salary (as we learned with AUO) for agencies on LEAP.

4.  Preserves your pay while on leave (like excludable AUO).  Ask the agents on FEPA how beneficial this is.

It is not lost on ANYONE that we took a significant pay cut.  The Pay Reform Act will at last stabilize our pay system, allowing agents to earn nearly what they did prior to the erosion of AUO.  However, what we have gained is even more than this.  Free from constant worry, agents can now confidently make financial decisions and plan for their futures.  I for one am thankful that the AUO debacle is over.  Why would we want to start all that over again with LEAP or anything else?





  1. Brandon

    So what will my pay check look like when I request the 10 hour day, and then get selected for an other agency detail working 8 hour days? Will I have to stay at work wasting time for those remaining two hours, or will I be able to go home and still get the pay I put in for? All pay reform accomplished was to strip the agent’s ability to determine how long his work day is.

    • Mike Cox

      Disagree. It let’s the agent determine how long his work day will be. the law states that you get your 25 percent for the first 90 days when you go on a detail. After that, you will go to zero.

        • Marty Aguilar

          What has the incentive for details ever been? If management won’t pay mileage or per diem (which they haven’t done in Spokane Sector for a couple years now) there’s no financial incentive. Details have always been about career advancement. The financial perks in the past were just that; perks. Not promises. We can’t expect anyone in management to give two craps about our pay.

          • casey miller

            “Details have always been about career advancement.” That’s bull shit. If that was the case then no one should be able to do a specific detail more than once.

          • Marty Aguilar

            It’s not bullshit. If I want to go spend a year at the academy, the opportunities to earn AUO were so minimal, I’d make almost no money. With this, at least the first 90 days would be extra. There are no financial incentives NOW to go to the Academy. There’s no lodging, per diem, or mileage being paid out. And that’s WITH the AUO system we have now. Details to sector are administrative. No AUO at all. Details to other agencies don’t constitute AUO. Any extra time spent working would have to be overtime preapproved. You take the details (or should) for the experience, work schedule, or resume building.

          • Mike Cox

            Details are weighed very heavily in the Merit Promotion Matrix. If you want to promote in the BP, you had better take every detail you can get!

          • Mike Cox

            You are right Casey, details are meant to develop our agents and get a job done. Out of the three sectors I oversee and the other sectors I have worked in, I have never seen the blatant favoritism or pure laziness, whichever it is, when it comes to developing agents careers that exists in Blaine Sector. Chief Harris seems to be on board with this culture, which says to me, Chief Harris is worried about Chief Harris.

          • casey miller

            “Details are weighed very heavily in the Merit Promotion Matrix. If you want to promote in the BP, you had better take every detail you can get!”…. So guys that don’t want to promote should not be allowed to go on details then…Right???

  2. Matt Zurcher

    I am happy that every 3 to 6 months I don’t have to tell my kids we have to sell the house. Better to have this than strictly base salary.

    • Mike Cox

      Exactly! Agents up here still believe that there was another alternative to base salary. When AUO was being ripped apart in hearings, the senators were asking why the hell should I be paying overtime to someone on the northern border when there is no work to be done.

      We can attack that statement if we want, but it is a waste of time. They do calculations on arrests per agent, period.

  3. Marty Aguilar

    Brandon, the detail question is a good one and I hope there’s a good answer for it. My guess would be we would be able to work 10 hours. But you could HIP or wash your truck, or do VLC’s or stuff like that. As far as pay reform stripping you of your ability to decide how long your day is: if you have to go after 8 hours, you can. You just have to make up the two hours over the rest of the calendar year. Those can be done in 15 minute increments.

  4. Juan Reyes

    Did no one read this shit before it got signed? I was joking in my other post, but if it’s how you’re explaining it, this IS in fact, bullshit!! Those of us on a task force are going to get 25% for only 60 days and then go to zero percent thereafter? FUCK THAT!! (The bill says advanced training though, it doesn’t specify detailed agents) We’re only going to be able to accrue 240 hours of comp time. At the rate that I’m going, I’ll be over 500 hours. What happens after we go WAY pass the 240? It definitely looks like we’ve lost a lot more than the 5% that we gained.

    I didn’t chose to do a detail for the money, but I definitely don’t go the dentist to get my prostate punched either!!! So, what benefit is there for those on detail or on a taskforce? How will it work after the eight hours shift or 80 hour pay period? Comp time or overtime pay (as per 5 USC 5542)? Will we then have to work as scheduled overtime?

    • Mike Cox

      Who is your Dentist?

      The details they are referring to are academy, HQ details. The GAO review will put everyone on 25% so it won’t be an issue.

      We didn’t get 5% back. We got 25% back guaranteed by law. Remember, in January we were going to be sent home after eight hours, or maybe given the 45 act for shift change. When the dust settled, the 45 act would go away and us on the NB would be straight time.

      Newer agents would have had their retirement benefits sharply reduced. If you were getting 45act, you wouldn’t get it on a/l and s/l, another positive on pay reform.

      • Juan Reyes

        I like how the dentist comment was important ha. Kind of like asking the Chief of the Border Patrol about “take home” ammo… Well, if we’re currently at a mandatory voluntary 20% rate, and we’re going to 25%, I’m no mathematician or anything, but that means we’re getting 5%. I’m not looking at the fundamental theory of the 25%. We’re at 20% and we’re going to 25%.
        Well, academy and HQ details are definitely out of the question for me as it is (sucks for agents wanting to do them though!), but if they keep the taskforce guys the same as everyone else, we shouldn’t be TOO bad. We can still try to wipe some of the shit off from this end of the stick.

  5. Brandon

    If we are discussing academy details, why hasn’t our union filed on the Academy for their violation of the GSA lodging per diem policy. Currently, the Academy will “allow” a detailed agent to stay in a dorm room, or they will reimburse agents up to HALF the legal GSA lodging rate. The Academy will NOT let wives or children stay in the dorms. ANY agent over the age of 20 with a wife and/or children must face a financial hardship to take a career-enhancing academy detail, or forsake their wives and/or children for up to 10 months. WHY isn’t our union SCREAMING over this and demanding to bargain for FULL per diem? Agents have been stripped of mileage to and from Carlsbad and Roswell, the only two barely livable commuting cities. Agents have lost AUO while detailed to the academy and now have to cross their fingers for charity overtime. Agents are treated like trainees and NOT allowed to step foot on FLETC while under arms, even while detailed as a firearms instructor. Now Agents have to live in trainee dorms without their families or pay out of pocket for the privilege. If the union thinks this is the “best deal” it can come up with for it’s agents (eerily similar to it’s pay reform advocating), I think I’d prefer to put my union dues towards off-post housing.

  6. Brandon

    I’m just relieved my local union stewards didn’t tell me that I was free to quit the Patrol and seek employment elsewhere if I didn’t like the current academy detail policy.

  7. Brandon

    Marty: that idea actually makes me want to go back for another three years at the academy. I only got to talk to one illegal during that time, and he was at the Artesia DMV…

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