Union FAQ

If you have a question that does not appear below, please send an email to one of your Local officers or representatives.

Who are we and what do we do?

Please see About 2789.

I just received a proposal for a suspension; What do I do?

Union members should immediately contact a Local representative for assistance.

You only have ten days to respond to a proposal for discipline so do not delay or you risk losing your opportunity to respond.

I believe I have an issue that should be grieved. What do I need to do and what is the timeframe for filing?

Immediately contact a Local representative at your location.

The timeframe for filing a grievance is 30 days from the date the incident/violation occurred or the Union/employee became aware of the incident/violation.

Why do Border Patrol Agents need a Union?

Border Patrol Agents need a Union to represent their interests at all levels of labor negotiations and political processes. There are many times when certain (not all) management officials attempt to use agents and circumstances for their own political gain within the organization. This is not unlike certain situations in the private sector. However, more alarming is that agents will be used as scapegoats for political correctness.

It was not unusual in the past for Border Patrol management to "throw an agent to the wolves" to appease special interest groups such as the American Friends Service Committee, La Raza, or the California Rural Legal Assistance League. Many of these groups have deceiving names for a reason. All advocate open borders and/or the return of California (known as Aztlan) to Mexico, using whatever means necessary, including filing false allegations of abuse. They regularly make unsubstantiated allegations of civil rights abuses against agents in an attempt to slander and defame the US Border Patrol. This places a very heavy burden on management and administration officials who, at times, forfeit their personal integrity. 

Do we represent all Agents?

Yes; the National Border Patrol Council is the only lawful and legally recognized representative of Border Patrol Agents. We expand representation of Border Patrol Agents by aligning with the PORAC (Police Officers Research Association of California) LDF.

What would happen if nobody volunteered to run the NBPC?

The NBPC would become just a bank account.  The NBPC requires volunteers to administer the daily business, represent employees, respond to agency correspondence, etc. Far too many members do not realize the Union is only as strong as the members.  If every member recognized the importance of being an active participant in their Union, then members would be better educated and more likely to prevent many of the unsafe working conditions that we face on a daily basis.  Being an active participant no longer means attending the monthly Union meetings.  The NBPC has gone to great lengths to make information available to every member and to make it easier than ever before to contact a national or Local officer and Local representative. There are some issues that cannot be discussed in public forums, but members are free to contact NBPC committee members or Local officers at any time to discuss an issue or ask questions.

What is the budget for Local 2789?

Local 2789 operates under an annual budget approved by the membership. 

How do I become a member of the NBPC?

Contact a Local Representative at your assigned duty location.

Why doesn't the NBPC or Local 2789 ask for input from the members before negotiating policies?

The NBPC does ask for input from the members before negotiating policies. The information is typically posted on the website unless restricted by policy. Due to time constraints imposed by the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), the NBPC typically only has thirty (30) days from the date they receive notice of a change to respond to the proposed changes and for this reason, the NBPC relies upon input from local leadership.

Under to the CBA, Local 2789 only has ten (10) days to respond to a notice of change. Therefore, we typically seek input from certified Union representatives before responding to any proposed change. We expect our Union representatives to communicate with members at their assigned locations.

Do non-dues paying members receive service from the union?

Only to the minimum extent as required by law where the NBPC is designated as the exclusive representative and the non-member is not authorized their own representative.

Does the NBPC provide union benefits?

You may obtain access to a significant level of union benefits through the American Federation of Government Employees and the AFL/CIO   There are several benefit providers and programs available through AFGE, all of which can be viewed on the AFGE website.  

There is another agent or a civilian at my station trying to sell me insurance, stocks, a 401k plane, etc...  Who are they?

They are independents who are not endorsed by the NBPC.  Most likely, they are conducting unauthorized business on government property, but you should contact your Local Union representative for a determination.  If it is an employee conducting the business, contact your Local Union officials to handle the matter. 

Click here to visit the AFL/CIO benefits page to learn more about benefits available only to Union members.

Click here to visit the AFGE benefits page to learn more about benefits available only to AFGE Union members.

Do some of my dues go toward political contributions?

NO!  AFL/CIO, AFGE, NBPC, and your Local are prohibited by federal law from using dues for political contributions.

AFGE and AFL-CIO do make political contributions, but these contributions are from funds created by VOLUNTARY contributions from members.  AFGE has a Political Action Committee (PAC) which is where they generate the funds to support various candidates. 

In other words, do not believe the fictitious rumors that the Union is using your dues to contribute to political campaigns because Federal Law prohibits it!  If you are interested in contributing to the AFGE PAC Fund, please visit the AFGE site to learn more.

The Lead Station Representative or Station Representatives have been negotiating with management at our station and changing policies and/or working conditions without our knowledge.  Is this appropriate and if not, what can I do?

Lead Station Representatives and Station Representatives may negotiate with management when delegated by the executive board.  

If significant changes are being made and you believe the executive board is not aware of the changes, please contact one of your executive board members to discuss the matter.

If I transfer to another sector, can I remain a member of the Local I left?

No, contact the gaining Local to have your membership transferred.

The NBPC is not responsible for the termination of dues; the member and HRMO are solely responsible for terminating dues. 

The NBPC cannot cancel membership; only the agency has the authority to do so after the employee authorizes the cancellation on form SF-1188. Requests to terminate dues allotments are effective the first full pay-period following September 1, if the request is received in the Servicing Human Resource Office by September 1.

Locals are not informed of those individuals who transfer or are promoted and cannot refund membership dues that were inadvertently paid to the Local following a transfer or cancellation of membership. 

If your dues were not terminated after properly submitting an 1188 or after transfering to a non-bargaining unit position, contact a mission support specialist for assistance. The Union does not receive any reports regarding employees transfering out of the bargaining unit or submitting an 1188.

Why is the NBPC affiliated with the AFL-CIO?

In order to remain the exclusive labor organization for agents, all National Border Patrol Council locals are required to maintain affiliation with the following organizations:  AFL-CIO and AFGE.  If we were to sever affiliation, the NBPC would lose all its assets, third-party legal insurance, as well as exclusive representative status and be placed into trusteeship, whereby AFGE national representatives (non-BP) would assume control of your union and your representation.  The AFL-CIO per capita is paid for by AFGE and as of 2006, amounted to $0.54 per month per member (or $6.48 per year).

Although NBPC is opposed to the shameless promotion of illegal aliens by the AFL-CIO, the NBPC must work through internal measures to change the position of AFL-CIO or risk jeopardizing our status (as explained above).  Since AFL-CIO represents over 11 million workers in the United States, the NBPC only represents a very small amount; thereby making us the overwhelming minority.  In order for change to occur, the NBPC must convince AFGE, the various Councils within AFGE, and other Unions affiliated with AFL-CIO to oppose AFL-CIO efforts that promote illegal immigration. 

What about FLEOA or Wright & Co. Insurance?

The NBPC has historically recommended all agents supplement their Union membership with professional liability insurance to provide an extra layer of protection for civil matters.  Currently AFGE also offersprofessional liability insurance which is comparable to the insurance offered by Wright & Co.  The policy is underwritten by Evanston Insurance Company, who has a financial rating from the A.M. Best of "AX" (excellent).  Click here to find out more about the AFGE policy.

FLEOA is designed for federal law enforcement officers who have no collective bargaining rights and exclusive representative (Union).  FLEOA is a great option if you have no collective bargaining rights and they do a tremendous job of representing the interests of criminal investigators and Air Marshals.

NBPC officers and representatives frequently hear members mistakenly stating how FLEOA offers the same coverage as the NBPC and/or a Local for less money.  Although it is true FLEOA does cost less than being a member of the NBPC, the coverage is significantly different. In late 2006, one executive board member conducted research on the coverage offered by FLEOA and Wright & Co. and compared it to the coverage offered by NBPC.  In conducting the research, a representative from Wright & Co. was contacted and questions about coverage were asked. A majority of the responses were "I do not know", but then they directed the officer to read the specimen benefit plan.  After reading the document, it was possible to determine the coverage provided to use in completing the chart below.

In addition, the officer contacted a FLEOA Vice President and spoke with him directly.  The officer explained the purpose of the call was to gather information about FLEOA to compare the coverage. The FLEOA VP stated that FLEOA does not want NBPC members to drop the Union and join FLEOA.  He said all of the FLEOA Directors realize the importance of the NBPC and admitted that FLEOA is not designed to support our membership.  Nevertheless, the following chart was created to show the differences between FLEOA, Wright Inc., and NBPC Local 1613. After creating it, the NBPC officer asked the FLEOA VP to verify the validity of it before it was published.  The following chart represents any and all changes recommended by the FLEOA Vice President (click on the chart to view a larger image).

Union Member Rights

The following information was taken directly from the Department of Labor (DOL) website.

The standards of conduct provisions of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA), among other statutes, guarantee certain rights to members of unions representing Federal employees and impose certain responsibilities on officers of these unions to ensure union democracy, financial integrity, and transparency. The Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) is the Federal agency with primary authority to enforce many standards of conduct provisions. If you need additional information or suspect a violation of these rights or responsibilities, please contact OLMS at 1-866-4-USA-DOL. You should also refer to 29 CFR 457.1 - 459.5, and your union's constitution and bylaws for information on union procedures, timelines, and remedies.

Union Member Rights

Bill of Rights- Union members have:

  • equal rights to participate in union activities

  • freedom of speech and assembly

  • voice in setting rates of dues, fees, and assessments

  • protection of the right to sue

  • safeguards against improper discipline

Collective Bargaining Agreements - Union members (and certain nonunion employees) have the right to receive or inspect copies of collective bargaining agreements.

Constitutions, Bylaws, and Reports - Unions are required to file an initial information report (Form LM-1), copies of constitutions and bylaws, and an annual financial report (Form LM-2/3/4) with OLMS. Unions must make these documents available to members and permit members to examine the records necessary to verify the financial reports for just cause. The documents are public information and copies of reports are available from OLMS and on the Internet at www.union-reports.dol.gov.

Officer Elections - Union members have the right to:

  • nominate candidates for office

  • run for office

  • cast a secret ballot

  • protest the conduct of an election

Officer Removal - Local union members have the right to an adequate procedure for the removal of an elected officer guilty of serious misconduct.

Trusteeships - A union may not be placed in trusteeship by a parent body except for those reasons specified in the standards of conduct regulations.

Protection for Exercising CSRA Rights - A union or any of its officials may not fine, expel, or otherwise discipline a member for exercising any CSRA right.

Prohibition Against Violence - No one may use or threaten to use force or violence to interfere with a union member in the exercise of his or her CSRA rights.

Union Officer Responsibilities

Financial Safeguards - Union officers have a duty to manage the funds and property of the union solely for the benefit of the union and its members in accordance with the union's constitution and bylaws. The union must provide accounting and financial controls necessary to assure fiscal integrity.

Prohibition of Conflicts of Interest - A union officer or employee may not (1) have any monetary or personal interest or (2) engage in any business or financial transaction that would conflict with his or her fiduciary obligation to the union.

Bonding - Union officers or employees who handle union funds or property must be bonded to provide protection against losses if their union has property and annual financial receipts that exceed $5,000.

Labor Organization Reports - Union officers must:

  • file an initial information report (Form LM-1) and annual financial reports (Forms LM 2/3/4) with OLMS.

  • retain the records necessary to verify the reports for at least five years.

Officer Elections - Unions must:

  • hold elections of officers of local unions by secret ballot at least every three years.

  • conduct regular elections in accordance with their constitution and bylaws and preserve all records for one year.

  • mail a notice of election to every member at least 15 days prior to the election.

  • comply with a candidate's request to distribute campaign material.

  • not use union funds or resources to promote any candidate (nor may employer funds or resources be used).

  • permit candidates to have election observers.

Restrictions on Holding Office - A person convicted of certain crimes may not serve as a union officer, employee, or other representative of a union for up to 13 years.

Loans - A union may not have outstanding loans to any one officer or employee that in total exceed $2,000 at any time.

Last Updated by DOL: 07/27/04