Union News Archive

09/20/2013
When:  On Tuesday, October 15, 2013, from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EST, NTEU Chapter 293 will hold its annual member meeting. At the meeting, members will vote on ratification of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). (Members in Washington may want to arrive between 11:30 AM and 12:00 PM to ensure that their names are checked prior to 12:00 PM.
09/18/2013
9/18/13:  Yesterday, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released this guidance regarding a possible government shutdown that would impact agencies funded through Congressional appropriations, including the SEC. As you know, current funding authority for federal agencies will run out on September 30, the end of the 2013 fiscal year. No individual agency funding bills have been enacted so far for fiscal year 2014, which is less than two weeks away. 
The House of Representatives was scheduled to vote last week on a Continuing Resolution (CR) that would fund the entire federal government... Read more ...
09/11/2013
In a move that will have a significant, long-term impact on the SEC's culture, SEC Chair Mary Jo White appears to be moving the SEC further towards a two-class pay and benefits system that provides SEC managers with bigger raises, better retirement benefits and more perquisites. In September, Chair White announced at a managers-only town hall meeting that the agency will be providing several special new perquisites to managers only this fall:

Additional Supplemental Retirement Match of 3% (Frontline Staff Will Receive 1%)

A $500 Annual Reimbursement for Professional Dues (Frontline... Read more ...
09/11/2013
9/11/13: The Union has fought for over a decade to establish a supplemental retirement match for all employees at the SEC – and the agency has repeatedly promised a 2% match to frontline staff for seven years, but has broken that promise. For that reason, management’s decision this week to provide a 3% supplemental match to managers only has angered many frontline employees. Indeed, the harm to morale caused by management’s latest move can only be fully understood in the context of the agency's tireless efforts since 2002 to block the Union from obtaining this important benefit for all SEC... Read more ...
09/03/2013
9/3/13: Friday, the President called for a one percent pay increase for the federal workforce for FY 2014. The pay raise is scheduled to be effective January 1, 2014.  This brings to an end a three-year freeze on federal pay.  While no further action is needed for the raise to go into effect, NTEU is working to prevent any Congressional action to block it.
As you know, in the weeks ahead, Congress must pass a budget for FY 2014 and increase the debt limit. During these deliberations, NTEU will press Congress to remember that federal employees already have contributed some $114 billion toward... Read more ...
07/18/2013
7/18/13: Legislation has been introduced in the House by Rep. Grimm, H.R. 2288, the “Commuter Parity Act of 2013,” and in the Senate by Sen. Schumer, S. 1116, the “Commuter Benefits Equity Act of 2013,” that would create permanent parity between the transit and parking portions of the commuter benefit.
As you may remember, earlier this year, as part of the “American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012,” Congress included NTEU supported language that restored the mass transit portion of the commuter benefit to the same level as the benefit for parking, to $245/month.  However, because the increase in... Read more ...
07/18/2013
7/18/13: As the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee prepares for another hearing today to consider testimony related to the May Treasury Inspector General For Tax Administration’s (TIGTA) report on the handling of tax-exempt status requests, more evidence is coming out that confirms that IRS employees had no political motivation and did not single out only one political ideology for extra scrutiny.
A recent letter from the Oversight Committee’s Ranking Minority Member Elijah Cummings to Committee Chairman Darrel Issa provides additional evidence that IRS employees did not act with... Read more ...
07/09/2013
7/9/13:  Today, the SEC sent out notices to SEC employees informing them about a data breach involving their personally identifiable information (PII), including the names, dates of birth and social security numbers of individuals who worked for the SEC prior to October 2009. The Union has requested a briefing on this issue, and has also requested that the agency provide one year of credit monitoring services to all affected employees who request it.
What we have been told so far is that this breach occurred in 2009, when a former SEC employee, who had access to employee lists with PII as... Read more ...
06/28/2013
6/28/13:  To All Chapter 293 Stewards and Executive Board Members:
As you have probably heard by now, the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP) Factfinder issued his report regarding our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations on Monday of this week.
The Union has not yet reported on this development to the SEC employees we represent because I have been engaged in discussions with Chair White about possibly reaching immediate agreement on this contract and issuing a positive joint message about the agreement. This deal would involve the SEC giving us some additional provisions... Read more ...
06/27/2013
6/27/13:  NTEU Chapter 293 has formally requested bargaining with the SEC over two new commuter programs, a bicycle program that would provide subsidies to SEC employees who regularly commute to work via bicycle, and a parking program that would allow SEC employees to pay for parking on a pre-tax basis.
Both of these programs would benefit SEC commuters. The parking subsidy program is one that NTEU has successfully implemented in the IRS and OCC.
"We hope that the SEC will bargain over these programs in good faith," Chapter 293 President Greg Gilman noted this morning. "We submitted the... Read more ...
06/27/2013
6/27/13: In a landmark ruling yesterday, the US Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”). Application of this law prevented legally married same-sex employees at federal agencies such as the SEC from enjoying the same benefits extended to other married employees. Going forward, these employees will receive those benefits, such as spouse coverage under federal health insurance.
In the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy noted:
"By creating two contradictory marriage regimes within the same state, DOMA forces same-sex couples to live as married for the purpose of... Read more ...
06/06/2013
6/6/13: This week, NTEU Chapter 293 requested a briefing and an opportunity to bargain over changes that the SEC is proposing to make to the Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP). The changes primarily would impact the application process, and it is unclear at this time whether they would lead to a decrease in agency approvals of student loan repayment applications.
Although the Union and the SEC have not yet agreed upon the agency’s proposed changes to the SLRP application process, they have agreed on some improvements to the SLRP. These improvements include a new waiver process that will... Read more ...
06/06/2013
6/6/13: The Union’s compensation negotiating team was pleased when SEC Chair White yesterday endorsed the basic concept proposed by the Union that “salary inequities” between similarly situated employees at the SEC should be corrected. In fact, for several months, NTEU’s compensation negotiating team has urged the SEC’s Office of Human Resources to agree to the Union’s proposal to establish a joint labor-management committee to address salary inequities at the agency. The Union’s compensation team is comprised of NTEU attorneys Steve Keller and Anna Gnadt, NTEU Chapter 293 President Greg... Read more ...
06/06/2013
6/6/13:  An independent fact-finder this week asked for an additional two weeks to finalize his decision on the impasse in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations between the SEC and the Union. When the fact-finder issues his decision, it will be submitted to the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP) for final resolution. The FSIP is an independent federal adjudicator that will impose an agreement upon the parties because they were unable to reach an agreement in a collaborative fashion.
“Bringing a contract negotiation to the FSIP is the equivalent of bringing a dispute to... Read more ...
06/06/2013
6/6/13: This week, NTEU invoked formal arbitration after the SEC denied the Union’s national grievance over the SEC’s refusal to implement retroactive transit benefits, as well as the agency’s refusal to bargain over the issue – despite the fact that agencies such as the FDIC have already provided the retroactive benefit to their employees. The Union has made attempts to compromise on this issue, but the SEC’s Office of Human Resources has continued to refuse to discuss it.
The Union filed its national grievance last April when the SEC refused even to come to the table and bargain with its... Read more ...
06/01/2013
6/3/13:  In a case that should be of interest to SEC investigators, an independent federal arbitrator last week reversed a 2011 discipline imposed by SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro against an SEC non-management attorney for the handling of a minor anonymous tip concerning Bernard Madoff. The arbitrator’s decision sustained the grievance filed by NTEU on behalf of the attorney. The arbitrator reversed a 3-day suspension without pay as well as all resulting adverse impacts against the attorney, finding that the SEC had violated Section 34 of the Union’s Collective Bargaining Agreement by improperly... Read more ...
04/23/2013
4/23/13:  The SEC has unilaterally implemented a 360 degree review program for managers. This program differs in key respects from the program that the Union originally negotiated with the SEC in 2009. Because the Union believes that the current management-created 360 program does not have sufficient safeguards to ensure confidentiality, we recommend that employees not participate in this voluntary program.
In 2009, the Union and the SEC entered into an agreement regarding 360 reviews of managers. Under the agreement, all non-management employees were supposed to be afforded an opportunity to... Read more ...
04/22/2013
4/23/13:  Late last week, the Union filed with the Federal Labor Relations Board an unfair labor practice (ULP) charge against the SEC for its refusal to bargain over important changes to its office space policy. Under the SEC’s new policy, many SEC professionals will be required to double up in smaller offices. The Union is concerned about the negative impact that this new policy will have upon employee morale, recruitment and retention of highly skilled professionals, and the efficiency with which the SEC will be able to meet its mission in the future. Under the law, the SEC is required to... Read more ...
04/21/2013
4/23/13:  Today the Union published further demographic data concerning the ratings the SEC recently distributed to non-management employees at the agency for the FY 2012 rating period, based upon more detailed information provided by the SEC. You can review the Union’s data here.  
As the Union has previously reported, under the SEC’s so-called “evidence based” performance management system, employees may receive a rating of from “1” to “5.” These five categories roughly correspond to the five-level grading systems we have all experienced in the academic arena, with a “5” corresponding to an... Read more ...
04/17/2013
4/17/13: On Monday, legislation requiring the federal government to fire federal employees if they have a tax debt failed to garner the necessary number of votes for passage in the House of Representatives.  The legislation, H.R. 249, the “Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2013,” was considered on the Suspension Calendar, which requires a two-thirds majority vote of the members present for passage.  The final vote was 250-159, thus falling short of the necessary votes needed.  House rejection of H.R. 249 is a reversal from the previous Congress, which approved identical legislation... Read more ...
04/15/2013
4/15/13:  On Friday, NTEU Chapter 293 filed a national grievance against the SEC over its refusal to implement retroactive transit benefits, as well as the agency’s refusal to bargain over the issue -- despite the fact that other agencies, such as the FDIC, have already provided the benefits to their employees.
A few months ago, Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA), which amended the law governing qualified transportation fringe benefits. Specifically, it amended the amount of the transportation subsidy that may be provided to an employee by an employer and which... Read more ...
04/15/2013
4/15/13: The Union today served bargaining proposals to SEC management regarding the SEC’s unilateral decision to cease all reassignments of Grade SK-13 Compliance Examiners to Grade SK-14 Staff Accountant positions.
A few weeks ago, without prior notification to SEC employees' Union representatives and apparently without consultation with OCIE management, the Office of Human Resources sent this notification to SEC managers informing them that the agency’s past practice of reassigning Grade SK-13 Compliance Examiners to a Grade SK-14 Staff Accountant positions would be discontinued... Read more ...
04/09/2013
4/9/13: Next week the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 249, the “Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2013,” which requires the federal government to fire federal employees if they have a tax debt.  
In advance of House consideration, NTEU has sent this attached letter to every representative detailing our opposition to the legislation.  In our letter, we note that requiring federal employees who are already facing a potential three-year pay freeze and unpaid furloughs, to immediately pay back taxes or be terminated, while exempting members of Congress, is unfair, and may ultimately... Read more ...
03/05/2013
3/5/13: Today NTEU sent this letter to every member of the House of Representatives opposing H.R. 933, an FY 2013 Continuing Resolution (CR) introduced yesterday by the House leadership that would freeze agency funding at FY 2012 levels, maintain the devastating cuts mandated by sequestration that went into effect on March 1, and extend the pay freeze on federal employees through the end of 2013.  The House is scheduled to vote on the bill as early as this Thursday.
 In our letter, we noted that freezing agency funding for most agencies for the remainder of the fiscal year at roughly their FY... Read more ...
02/12/2013
2/12/13: The union has received a lot of questions about telework when a storm occurs. Here are some answers...
Q:  I have a recurring telework agreement and I was scheduled to telework on a day when my office was closed for all or part of the day due to a storm. Am I required to telework as usual?
A:  Yes. Generally, if you were scheduled to telework you should telework as usual.
 
Q:  What if I was scheduled to telework when my office was closed, but I was unable to do so due to a power outage or some other problem related to the storm? Do I still have to telework?
A:  No. You should... Read more ...

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