Brothers and Sisters,
As promised, the "Retention Incentive Agreement" has been reviewed by the UDLC attorneys and here is what they said.
The attorneys advised that the contract is within OPM regulations and that there were no "poison pills" hidden within. A contract is required when a bonus is issued in anything more than bi-weekly instalments, and that legally the agency would not be allowed to give a onetime lump sum. Since the payments are quarterly we, the receiving employee, must be on notice of the terms of payment, per Title 5 USC Section 5754.
There were two areas of concern that were discussed. First was that section 7-A was a bit arbitrary and nonspecific, but not enough so as to cause concern. Second was section 9, which could cause individuals who are high on the pay scale to not receive some or all of the bonus, as it would put their pay at or above executive level. We do not believe this would affect any of our UDLC members. Please review your copy of the contract to see what I am referring to, with section 7-A, and section 9.
So after discussing this subject with Chairman Curry we have proffered the following advice.
Firstly, this is a contract/agreement and as such it is up to you to decide if you want to sign it or not. NO ONE CAN OR SHOULD BE FORCING OR PERSUADING YOU TO SIGN OR NOT TO SIGN THIS FORM, AS THAT WOULD BE TANTAMOUNT TO COERCION. The agency has given a due date and you have until that date to make the decision, sign or decline and turn it in.
Secondly, the choice is yours on signing and accepting this retention incentive bonus. We, the UDLC Board of Directors, are not going to tell you which way to choose. That is completely a personal decision. Our attorneys have said that there is little to no risk to the employee who signs the agreement. If there were a true risk to the employee, the Board of Directors would be advising each member of such and taking action to reduce or eliminate said risk, but there is no such risk.
We know many of you are upset, as are we, at what many perceive as a pittance of a retention bonus, especially when we know that they could have authorized up to 10%, as opposed to 5% that they gave us. We know many of you are upset over the belief that the bonus should have been done on a graduated percentage scale, starting with the smallest percentage at the Chief’s level and the lion's share at the officer’s level and we agree.
We are not planning on having a vote on whether we should collectively sign or not sign this contract because a vote would be conducted through the udlc.com website and as of yesterday we had less than half of our UDLC membership registered on the udlc.com website. A vote with those numbers would not be a true representation of actual majority, and therefore would not show the true wishes of the membership body and as such, we would be remiss to make such a vote.
Our primary goal is to look out for the membership and as such, we sent the contract to the attorneys for review and are reporting back to the membership their findings. Again, there seems to be little to no downside to signing; contractually speaking. We believe that signing this contract is a personal decision made individually, that only you can make based on your personal beliefs. Keep in mind that we, the Board of Directors, stand behind you whether you decide to sign the agreement or not.
Sergeant Jay Cassetta
Vice Chairman FOP/UDLC