Update on COVID-19 and Sandia Impacts

Email from Sandia National Labs, Employee & Labor Relations Specialist, to OPEIU Local 251 President:

Good Morning. I want to connect on the message below and how this impacts leave benefits for OPEIU represented employees.

As you know, per our side agreement on leave benefits in the CBA, the agreement specifically lists out the eligible reasons to take Personal Absence. Care of an ill family member (TRC 430 – Incidental Family Care) is among the current eligible reasons for Personal Absence hours. In addition, Paid Family Leave (TRC 423 – Paid Family Leave 70%) is utilization of one’s own personal sickness absence to care for a family member(s) with an Family Medical Leave (FMLA) qualifying event (family member and qualifying even as defined by the Family Medical Act, and under Article 27, Paragraph 5).

Specifically in response to the State of New Mexico’s temporary mandate for school closures due to the current COVID-19 situation, when telecommuting and flexible work schedules are not an option for OPEIU represented employees impacted by the unexpected closures, we have elected to temporarily expand the use of Personal Absence (TRC 430 – Incidental Family Care) to include care for a family member due to a school or daycare closure. In addition, the use of Paid Family Leave (TRC 423 – Paid Family Leave 70%) at 70% of pay is temporarily expanded to include care for a family member if schools or daycare facilities are closed. By Sandia policy, the Paid Family Leave benefit can be supplemented with vacation or vacation buy (if available) to reach 100% of pay.

Given this is an unusual and temporary situation and OPEIU is close enough to having a “me too” on these benefits, I will NOT at this time be requesting that we negotiate over the temporary addition of this eligible reason for Personal Absence (Incidental Family Care), or Paid Family Leave. Instead, we have elected to provide OPEIU represented employees the same temporarily expanded benefits that I’ve noted above (and noted below) because what OPEIU currently has in the way of these benefits is essentially the same as the non-represented population, and our Management team believes that this this is the right thing to do at this time.

Please note, for Personal Absence, this is NOT 40 NEW hours, rather it decrements out of their existing 40 hour limit for the year.

And again, this expansion of the benefit is only temporary specifically in response to the COVID-19 situation and the current state mandate. The temporary changes to Incidental Family Care and Paid Family Leave will be effective March 16, 2020, through April 3, 2020.

Thank you


New Email and Cell Number

Full-Time Designee and President, Kelley Allen, has a new email and phone number! 

Effective Thursday, December 12, 2019, please use the following number to reach President Allen with any union-related questions:  (505) 659-7312.

Also, please use the following email address for any union-related business:  local251president@gmail.com

Thank you!

OPEIU Local 251 Executive Board Members


Ratified Constitution & Bylaws - Oct 2019 - go to "Members Only" to view

Click on Local 251 Constitution & Bylaws to view the entire ratified document and to review the tally sheet of votes recorded for each article.

OPEIU Free College Benefit

Apply for the OPEIU Free College Program today!


Congratulations Jolene Tapia!


“I want to personally thank the union for giving me the opportunity to further my education and receive my Associates Degree for Business Management. I highly recommend for all OPEIU Local 251 that have not received their Associates or Bachelor’s degree to please consider utilizing all of the wonderful opportunities and benefits that the Union has to offer all of us members.

As a student it was a great experience of completing the entire 2 year degree online through Eastern Gateway Community College based out of Ohio. The counselors and IT staff are all very personable and very nice to work with. I had no issues with any classes. I know you will love it as much as I did.”


In Solidarity,

Jolene Tapia

OPEIU Local 251 Member


OPEIU members and their family members are eligible to get a degree for FREE through the OPEIU Free College program. Visit freecollege.opeiu.org to apply before the Fall Semester deadline on Oct. 14.


NEU - Nonprofit Employees United

OPEIU represents many nonprofit social service and advocacy members.  We’ve created an organizing campaign called NEU—Nonprofit Employees United—to reach out to unorganized nonprofit staff.  NEU provides organizing space for people in this sector interested in building a workplace union.  Here’s how you can help spread the word about this campaign: Check out the  NEU website at www.nonprofitemployeesunited.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by accessing links on the website. Please encourage your friends and family to share!

In solidarity,

Kelley Allen & Phyllis Rutka

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