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On April 6, 2020, CBP abruptly canceled the reduced work schedules negotiated between NTEU and CBP at the port level. The adjusted schedules, tailored to meet the needs of port employees and port officials during a deadly pandemic, were a smart, common sense step to help protect the health and safety of all CBP employees, our families, and the general public.

We are in the midst of a global pandemic and public health officials strongly recommend that people stay home as much as possible to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. CBP employees are on the frontlines and there are currently more than 200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the CBP workforce. Many more are quarantined. There is now a consensus that the virus can spread from asymptomatic individuals. Reducing the weekly hours of each employee at the port means safer distancing between employees and reduces the frequency of interactions between employees and with the traveling public. That reduces the potential for the transmission of the virus.

A steep reduction in traffic and activity at the ports makes it possible to fully operate the port with fewer employees. The cooperation that led to the adjusted schedules was a model of how our federal government can operate with efficiency and effectiveness when labor and management work together. Granting employees paid administrative leave was a strong sign that CBP management valued the frontline workforce and placed their health and safety as a top priority. Rescinding the schedules has, unfortunately, squandered that goodwill. The decision must be reversed.

We, the undersigned employees of Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations, request that DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf and CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan, immediately rescind this decision and allow the ports to develop reduced schedules that put a priority on the health and safety of their workforces without jeopardizing port operations.

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* 1. I stand with NTEU in supporting CBP employees. 

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