McAllen, Texas – Border Patrol agents have made many enemies along the way, anything from cartels, human smugglers, rock throwers, and in some cases the media; however in one station in the El Paso sector agents have come under fire from an unlikely source, their management.
Breitbart Texas traveled to El Paso to meet with the representatives of the Local 1929 chapter of the National Border Patrol Council, a union that represents the men and women in green to see what the issues were. While the local union has a great working relationship with the El Paso Sector, in the case of the Ysleta station which is part of the sector, the relationship with management is hostile at best, union officials said.
“It’s gotten so bad that at the Ysleta Station that I felt there was no other option than to go to the media,” said Stu Harris, a spokesman for the union. “It’s absolutely horrible.”
As representatives of the agents in the sector, Harris, Rob Russell, and other union representatives work to make sure that the contractual obligations that were negotiated between the agency and the members are kept. However in the case of Ysleta the management, primarily Patrol Agent in Charge Alfredo Esquivel, has not allowed that to happen, they said.
According to various documents, Esquivel and other under him are accused of using his position to retaliate against union members and refuse to work with them on the dozens of grievances and other complaints filed.
Ysleta station had 300 agents, while the nearby El Paso station has 350 agents; in contrasts during the past 12 months the El Paso station has had one grievance filed, while at the Station agents have filed 25 grievances to date not counting other cases in arbitration.
“Management wants to do what they want to do and they refuse to work with us,” Harris said. “It’s their way or the highway.”
In one of the most recent cases, an agent who had reason to believe he had been exposed to tuberculosis tried to file a form with his supervisor documenting the possible exposure in case further action was needed. However, the supervisor refused to take the form, Harris said adding that he would take whatever action was needed to make sure the case was documented.
When the union sees a violation of law or regulation, they fight for the agent taking the case all the way to arbitration against the agency in what becomes a lengthy and expensive process, said Rob Russell, another spokesman for the union.
The cost of the arbitrations is typically split between the agency and the union, but the money paid by can still range from $4,000 to $6,000 or even more that the government ends up paying with taxpayer money.
“Morale is at the lowest that it’s ever been,” Russell said. “Our agents are looking for work in other places right now … We don’t have leadership; we have plenty of managers but no leaders.”
Breitbart Texas reached out to the Ysleta Station in order to talk to Patrol Agent in Charge, Alfredo Esquivel, for comment but calls and messages were not returned. Calls made to the El Paso sector public affairs office were not returned as well.