Union News Archive

03/20/2012
3/20/12: Today, Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), Chair of the House Budget Committee, unveiled his budget for FY 2013. As it did last year, the budget calls for drastic cuts in federal personnel and benefits. Stating that federal employees are “immune from the effects of the recession” and justifying cuts to federal personnel and benefits by saying that the cuts “reflect the growing frustration of workers across the country at the privileged rules enjoyed by government employees,” Representative Ryan’s proposals calls for a 10% reduction in personnel over the next three years through... Read more ...
03/19/2012
3/19/12: Last week NTEU wrote this letter to two key Senate leaders about NTEU’s views on the STOCK Act, which has passed both chambers of Congress in different versions. The STOCK Act originated in response to concerns about insider stock trading by members of Congress. Strong insider trading prohibitions and financial disclosure rules already exist for employees of the Executive Branch. 
Due to a last minute floor amendment from Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), the Senate version of the STOCK Act includes a provision putting the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) Form 450 filings on a... Read more ...
03/14/2012
 3/14/12: For almost a year now, NTEU has led an effort to obtain an increase in the mileage reimbursement for government-related travel from the 51¢ set in January 1, 2011 to account for rising fuel prices since then. NTEU was successful in the first step in this process when IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman raised the allowable mileage reimbursement rate from 51¢ to 55.5¢. In doing this, Commissioner Shulman was acting in his policy capacity over tax regulations, not as the employer of workers at the IRS. In order for this to apply to federal employees a second step is needed, taken by the... Read more ...
03/14/2012
 3/14/12: Earlier today the Senate approved legislation, S.1813, the “Moving Ahead for Progress for the 21st Century Act,” which would reinstate parity between the transit and parking portions of the commuter benefit through 2012 and make it retroactive back to January. 
As you know, in 2010, as part of the “Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010,” Congress included a provision that kept the mass transit portion of the commuter benefit at $230 per month for 2011, preventing a reduction to $125 per month, and keeping it equal to the parking tax benefit... Read more ...
03/13/2012
 3/13/12: NTEU today applauded Senate action in turning aside legislative language that would have extended the current two-year federal pay freeze for another year.
“Rejecting this amendment is clear evidence that many members of the Senate understand the need for shared sacrifice among every group in our society, rather than turning to federal employees for even greater contributions, especially to fund matters unrelated to the federal workforce,” said NTEU National President Colleen Kelley.
If approved, the amendment, offered by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), would have become part of the... Read more ...
03/02/2012

3/2/12: At a spirited rally of hundreds of NTEU members to support federal employees this week, five House members and a senator joined NTEU National President Colleen Kelley in declaring that ‘enough is enough’ when it comes to continuing attacks on the pay, benefits and worth of the federal workforce.

Those members of Congress who support the work of federal employees have “a different vision” than those who attack federal workers, Sen. Ben Cardin said. “It is a vision that expands the middle class.” The crowd of NTEU members that filled both the lower floor and balcony of the... Read more ...
02/21/2012

Unfortunately, however, SEC management is opposing this modest Union proposal. UPDATED 2/24/12 (this article has been updated to respond to inaccurate reporting about this issue in an Ignites article): The Union has received a number of inquiries this winter from SEC employees in the regional offices regarding why the SEC does not provide any sort of benefit to help defray the costs of their fitness center memberships. In fact, the Union's Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiating team has proposed that the SEC provide a fitness center benefit to regional office and Operations Center... Read more ...
02/17/2012

2/17/12: Today Congress passed HR 3630 to extend the payroll tax holiday, provide for an extension of unemployment insurance and fix to doctor reimbursement rates in the Medicare program, by a vote of 293-132 in the House of Representatives and a vote of 60 to 36 in the Senate. The President has said he will sign the legislation.  HR 3630 paid for the unemployment insurance provisions, in part, by increasing contributions to the federal retirement program by 2.3% for new employees hired after December 31, 2012, who have less than five years creditable service.  NTEU opposed the legislation... Read more ...
02/15/2012

 2/15/12: Legislation to extend the payroll tax holiday, extend unemployment benefits, and prevent a cut to physician payments under Medicare had been under consideration in a House/Senate Conference Committee since January.  The House version of this legislation, H.R. 3630, included cuts to federal employee pensions and an additional year of a pay freeze for 2013 to offset the other costs of the bill.  The Senate version did not include the federal employee provisions.

Both sides in the negotiations agreed to drop offsets for the payroll tax extension, but not the extension of... Read more ...
02/14/2012
 2/14/12: The Administration’s 2013 Budget includes pay and benefit provisions similar to those proposed by the President in September as part of his Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction. Specifically, the President proposes to increase employee contributions to all federal employee retirement systems by 0.4% each year for three years, making permanent an increase of 1.2% after three years. The President also proposes eliminating the FERS annuity supplement for new hires who retire before age 62, except those with mandatory early retirement. (Note that this is different from a... Read more ...
02/02/2012
4/25/12: The Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) today issued a complaint against the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging failure to bargain in good faith in violation of federal labor law in connection with the ongoing collective bargaining agreement negotiations with NTEU.
The FLRA is the federal agency charged with enforcing federal labor laws. The FLRA complaint arose out of unfair labor practice claims that NTEU filed last spring.
The duty to negotiate in good faith is the bedrock upon which federal labor law rests. Generally, it is defined as the obligation to participate... Read more ...
02/02/2012

2/2/12: The House of Representatives last night voted to approve H.R. 3835, authored by Representative Sean Duffy (R-WI), to extend the pay freeze on federal employees and members of Congress through 2013.  The bill was brought up under a procedure known as Suspension of the Rules, which prohibits amendments and requires a two-thirds majority to pass. Many members of the House expressed the desire to vote only to extend the pay freeze on their own salaries and not federal employees’, but that option was not allowed by the House Leadership. Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) offered a... Read more ...
02/01/2012

 2/1/12: On January 26, the Senate voted against bringing up HJRes 98, legislation that would have blocked the President from increasing the debt ceiling, by a vote of 44 to 52.  The House had previously voted in favor of the measure.  The Senate’s action allowed the President to increase the debt ceiling by an amount that is expected to be sufficient to cover the rest of the year.  It also allowed the Treasury Department to fully repay amounts owed, but not deposited, into federal pension accounts in the last few weeks that were temporarily used to avoid breaching the debt ceiling.  The... Read more ...
01/31/2012

 1/31/12:  Today, NTEU National President Colleen Kelley submitted a statement to the Senate Committee on Finance urging Congress to immediately renew the monthly mass transit subsidy benefit which expired at the end of 2011. The committee was holding a hearing on expired tax provisions and the negative impact that annual or biannual renewal has on taxpayers and businesses.

In her statement to the committee, Kelley noted that because Congress failed to extend the transit benefit and keep it equal to the parking benefit before the end of 2011, the monthly maximum transit amount had been... Read more ...
01/31/2012

1/31/12: NTEU National President Colleen Kelley agreed with one major conclusion of a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report—that highly-educated federal workers earn significantly less than their private sector counterparts—but cautioned against accepting the report as a definitive statement on federal compensation.

Kelley said that “CBO is clearly the expert on Congressional budget scoring but pay comparisons are not its principal expertise; that is the expertise of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).” BLS data have shown a consistent pay gap of 26 percent in comparable public and... Read more ...
01/30/2012

1/30/12: The U.S. House of Representatives will vote this week, most likely on Wednesday, on a bill, H.R. 3835, introduced by Representative Sean Duffy (R-WI) that would continue the federal employee pay freeze through 2013.  NTEU strongly opposes extending the pay freeze and is urging opposition to this bill. See our letter to all House members here.

Representative Duffy’s bill would also require a pay freeze for members of Congress for 2013. Many members of Congress want to extend their own pay freeze through 2013, but not the freeze for rank and file federal employees. The House... Read more ...
01/25/2012

 1/25/12: Today NTEU submitted testimony for a hearing before the Federal Workforce, US Postal Service and Labor Policy Subcommittee entitled, “Retirement Readiness:  Strengthening the Federal Pension System.”  Don’t be fooled by the title, though. The testimony may be found here.

In announcing the hearing, Subcommittee Chairman Dennis Ross (R-FL) referred to the American people’s outrage at the pension benefits guaranteed “to a bloated federal workforce” and pledged to seek a “more affordable defined contribution plan” for federal workers in place of CSRS or FERS. 

NTEU National... Read more ...
01/25/2012

 1/25/12: NTEU National President Colleen Kelley today sharply criticized ongoing efforts in the House of Representatives seeking additional pay and benefit cuts from federal employees while shielding the wealthiest Americans from any deficit reduction sacrifice.

Those criticisms were contained in testimony submitted to the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce in advance of a hearing on the federal pension system.

“Freezing the pay and increasing the pension contributions for middle class federal workers across the country while continuing to... Read more ...
01/25/2012

 1/25/12: NTEU National President Colleen Kelley today commended 17 House members for their expression of support for the federal workforce in urging a congressional conference committee to oppose additional cuts to federal pay or benefits to pay for an extension of the payroll tax holiday.

“These members of Congress represent many thousands of federal employees and they are well aware of the significant contributions these dedicated working men and women make to our nation,” said President Kelley. “Every federal employee welcomes their support.”

The NTEU leader previously has called on... Read more ...
01/19/2012

 1/19/12: Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a resolution (H J Res 98) to disapprove the third installment of the borrowing authority authorized by the August debt ceiling agreement by a vote of 239-176, mostly along party lines. 

The President sent a request to increase the debt ceiling by $1.2 trillion last week. This was largely a symbolic vote, since even if the Democratically-controlled Senate were to vote to disapprove the increase, the President would veto the bill.  Absent enactment of a disapproval resolution, the debt ceiling will be increased on January 27. 

In... Read more ...
01/18/2012
 1/18/12: The SEC notified the Union today that it is sending out this notice informing all participants in the Expanded Telework Program that it has unilaterally determined that they must give up their individual offices at the agency or else cease their participation in the program.  The TheThe SEC is required under federal labor law to bargain over the impact and implementation of this change, but the SEC has refused to do so. For that reason, NTEU will file an unfair labor practice charge against the SEC this week for violation of the labor statutes. The Union also disagrees with the SEC'... Read more ...
01/16/2012

1/17/12:  This week, the Union filed a national grievance against the SEC for its breach of a Diversity Initiatives Contract that the agency signed with NTEU. The Diversity Initiatives Contract was originally part of a settlement deal to resolve litigation over discrimination in the SEC's compensation practices, and it requires the SEC to implement several basic diversity initiatives at the agency. The SEC's current senior management team, however, has refused to implement the initiatives. 

The Diversity Initiatives Contract requires the agency to take some very basic steps to encourage... Read more ...
01/06/2012

1/6/12:  The Union has received many questions from SEC employees about when they will receive their merit pay adjustments that they earned for their performance during FY 2011. When the President signed the SEC's FY 2012 budget in December, the Union requested that the SEC provide a timely merit increase to SEC employees in January, and also to fund the additional retirement match promised by Chairman Schapiro in 2010. The Union also again requested that the agency commence compensation negotiations with NTEU that are required by law since our compensation agreement expired on September 30... Read more ...
01/06/2012
1/6/12: The White House today announced that its 2013 budget proposal would reflect that the two-year pay freeze for federal employees would end as scheduled. At the same time, the administration proposed only a 0.5 percent pay raise for federal workers.
NTEU National President Colleen Kelley said, “The good news is that the pay freeze is ending, but I am disappointed at the size of the proposed 2013 increase.”
With the pay freeze extending through fiscal year 2012, “I believe federal employees have done their fair share to help address our budget problems, and I have been strongly urging the... Read more ...
01/05/2012

 1/5/12: NTEU National President Colleen Kelley called on House-Senate conferees to oppose offsetting an extension of the current two-month payroll tax holiday with cuts to middle class federal employee pay and benefits.

In this letter to the seven senators and 13 House members, President Kelley said the Senate compromise measure—co-sponsored by Senate leaders of both parties—on extending the payroll tax holiday through February did not contain any such cuts.

“Many federal employees are not even eligible to get the payroll tax reduction because they are not covered by Social Security,”... Read more ...

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