Union News Archive

August 3, 2012 emails
August 17, 2012 email from Lacey Dingman to management.
A little over a year after giving the following special Labor Day message on September 5, 1960, President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 10988 granting collective bargaining rights to federal employees:
May I offer my congratulations to the members of organized labor on this 1960 Labor Day.
American labor has insisted upon, and won, the highest wages and best working conditions in the world. You have not been content to sit still and let well enough alone. You have shown that high living standards can be won within the context of freedom.
Yours has been a pragmatic movement basing... Read more ...
9/5/12:  In a decision last week, an independent federal arbitrator ruled that SEC management in the New York Regional Office ("NYRO") violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement ("CBA") between the SEC and NTEU by reassigning a part-time Staff Accountant and mother of two to a full time schedule. The arbitrator ordered the agency to restore her prior part-time schedule.
The grievant in this case, Jacqueline Fine, is a Grade 14 Staff Accountant in the NYRO who worked for a number of years for the SEC on a half-time schedule. Ms. Fine took maternity leave a couple of years ago after the birth... Read more ...
8/23/12: Last week, NTEU Chapter 293 filed a national grievance against the SEC seeking an order compelling the agency to stop its use of the numerical ratings from the FY 2011 pilot run of the so-called "evidence based" performance management system ("EBP"). The Union expects that it will be necessary to take this matter to arbitration.
Last year, as part of an agreement with the Union to permit the agency to move forward with a "pilot run" of the EBP system, the SEC agreed that it would not use the numerical ratings for any official purpose:
“The 5-level numerical ratings generated under... Read more ...
8/22/12: Yesterday, the White House issued its alternative pay plan which would implement a 0.5% pay raise for civilian federal employees in January 2013.  However, the White House has asked Congress to delay the effective date of the raise until the expected CR expires, which is anticipated to be March 31, 2013.
It is disappointing that federal employees may have to wait until April 1, 2013, to see a pay raise.  Congress is expected to pass a CR funding the government from October 1, 2012 through March 31, 2013, when it returns in early September.  NTEU has successfully fought back efforts... Read more ...
What Are “Performance Management” and “Pay for Performance” Systems and How Does the SEC Intend to Use Them?
“Performance management” and “pay for performance” (the latter sometimes referred to as “merit pay” at the SEC) are frequently used interchangeably.  Although they are often linked, they are actually different.  Performance management systems relate to how agencies develop, monitor, and rate employee performance as part of an overall effort to manage and measure agency performance.  Pay for performance systems deliver performance-based raises and/or bonuses based on performance ratings... Read more ...
8/23/12: The last week of scheduled mediated negotiating sessions between the SEC and NTEU over the Collective Bargaining Agreement ("CBA") came to an end earlier this month. The SEC failed to come to agreement with the Union's bargaining team on several issues that are important to SEC employees. The parties will now take the negotiations to the Federal Service Impasses Panel to seek an order resolving the remaining disagreements between the parties.
The CBA negotiations have now been going on for sixteen months, and it will likely take months more to bring them to a conclusion. The original... Read more ...
8/23/12: The recent independent survey of the SEC regarding the agency's new, so-called "evidence-based" performance management system ("EBP") clearly demonstrates what SEC employees have been talking about for the last couple of years around the water cooler:  the new system is too complicated, time consuming, vague and subjective. Furthermore, the SEC's staff does not find it to be fair and credible, which is the foundation of any successful performance pay system. By a very large margin, SEC employees believe that this poorly designed system simply does not work. In fact, the data on the... Read more ...
8/23/12:  The results of an SEC employee survey about the SEC's so-called "evidence based" performance management system ("EBP") are in -- and the SEC received a failing grade.
Last year, the Union negotiated an agreement with the SEC concerning a second "pilot run" of the EBP for the 2011 rating year. As part of that agreement, the parties agreed that an independent expert would review the EBP, including by conducting a survey and focus groups at the agency, and report back to the SEC and the Union.  By overwhelming numbers, SEC managers and staff reported that the proposed new system lacks... Read more ...
8/2/12: Earlier today the Senate Finance Committee approved legislation, the “Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act of 2012,” that would extend a number of tax provisions that have expired or will expire at the end of this year, including a provision that would reinstate parity between the transit and parking portions of the commuter benefit through December 31, 2013 and make it retroactive back to January 1, 2012. 
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... Read more ...
8/1/12: As you are aware, NTEU and BJ’s Wholesale Club has teamed up to offer a discount on BJ’s annual memberships.  The August enrollment period for our members to take advantage of this discount has been extended through September 30, 2012.
BJ’s is a discount wholesale club that offers discounted prices on over 6,500 different products and services.  The BJ’s Wholesale Club/NTEU member receives many benefits through this special offer from BJ’s such as, but not limited to the following:

$10 off the annual Membership Fee (for new members or renewals); the fee is normally $50 for Inner... Read more ...
8/1/12: Yesterday, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 828, the “Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2011,” which requires federal employees to be fired if they have a tax debt. 
NTEU believes that requiring federal employees, already subject to a two year pay freeze, to be terminated if they cannot immediately pay back taxes is unfair, and would only serve to increase the likelihood that the government will never receive the taxes it is owed.
In a letter to House members in advance of the vote, NTEU stated its opposition to the bill noting federal employees were not immune to... Read more ...
6/28/12: A conference committee working on the Transportation bill, H.R.4348, has reached agreement on that bill.  The NTEU-supported phased retirement proposal for federal employees is included in that conference agreement.  Under this proposal, which was also included in the President’s FY 2013 budget, federal agencies would have the discretion to permit employees who are eligible for retirement to work a reduced schedule while simultaneously collecting a portion of their retirement benefit.
Under the pending conference agreement, federal employees opting for phased retirement (with their... Read more ...
6/25/12:  SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro today posted this notice to all SEC employees as part of a settlement with the Federal Labor Relations Authority of a bad faith bargaining unfair labor practices charge against the agency.
In this case, the FLRA alleged that the SEC engaged in what is known as “surface bargaining” in connection with its negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the Union. "Surface bargaining" is bad faith bargaining without a real intent to reach agreement. The FLRA alleged, among other things, that the SEC needlessly prolonged CBA bargaining by... Read more ...
6/20/12: The SEC this week entered into a settlement agreement with the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) and the National Treasury Employees Union resolving an unfair labor practices complaint filed against the SEC. The matter had been scheduled for an evidentiary hearing on June 26. The SEC agreed to enter into the settlement after receiving the FLRA's evidence and witness list, which indicated that the FLRA intended to call SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro as well as Jeff Risinger, the SEC's former Director of the Office of Human Resources (OHR) and Chief Human Capital Officer, who would... Read more ...
6/6/12: This week, the Federal Labor Relations Authority issued another unfair labor practice complaint against the SEC for failure to bargain with the union over changes to employees' job duties in the Los Angeles Regional Office (LARO). The matter has been scheduled for an evidentiary hearing on August 29, 2012.
The case involves management's changes to the duties of several employees in the LARO. According to the FLRA's complaint, the agency implemented these changes without sufficient prior notice to the union and an opportunity to bargain. In addition, the complaint alleges that... Read more ...
6/6/12: The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government approved its FY 2013 appropriations measure today. The bill does not allocate funding for a 2013 federal pay raise, but also does not require a pay freeze for 2013. It includes a small $50 million increase in the SEC's budget over FY 2012.
 As you know, the President has recommended a 0.5% pay increase for civilian federal employees in FY 2013.  The fact that the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee bill is silent on the 2013 pay raise is not an issue at this time. NTEU... Read more ...
6/4/12:  Late last week, NTEU National President Colleen Kelley sent this letter to President Obama urging opposition to a proposal to use federal employee pension contribution increases to offset student loan interest rate reductions.  The proposal came in the form of a letter from House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Whip, John Kyl to the President.
In her letter, Kelley pointed out that federal employees have already contributed $60 billion to deficit reduction through a two year pay freeze and another $... Read more ...
5/30/12:  A new report released this week by the Partnership for Public Service shows that federal employees’ satisfaction with their compensation is dropping, but also that levels of satisfaction vary widely between federal agencies. The report provides further evidence of persistent problems with human capital management at the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Partnership’s new report compares the SEC directly to another similarly situated financial regulator, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Employees at the FDIC, which was the highest-ranked Best Places to Work large... Read more ...
5/30/12: Over the past year, the SEC has quietly transformed its Employment Relations unit in the Office of Human Resources. Many of the new staffers, including several managers, who now work in this important office come from another agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). These changes may be shifting the culture of the SEC towards the more negative DHS approach to managing human capital.
The Employment Relations unit has an important impact upon your worklife. It is responsible for dealing with relations between the SEC... Read more ...
5/16/12: Yesterday, Congressman Barney Frank gave a speech on financial regulation at the SEC at the invitation of NTEU Chapter 293. During his visit, Congressman Frank also accepted an award from the Union.
Frank visited the Boston Regional Office for the lunch event which was videocast to all of the SEC's other regional offices and headquarters in Washington, D.C. He spoke for about an hour on a broad range of topics, including the necessity of strong financial regulation, the causes of the 2008 financial crisis, and the need for a strong Volcker rule. Hundreds of employees from around the... Read more ...
5/15/12: There is no place in the highway funding bill currently under discussion by House-Senate conferees for a provision to change federal pensions to fund that measure, NTEU National President Colleen Kelley told conferees in this letter today.
“Further cuts to federal compensation will seriously impair the government’s ability to attract or retain talented employees and should not even be under consideration in this conference committee,” wrote President Kelley.
The NTEU leader was responding to reports that one or more of the conferees had raised the idea of providing savings for S.... Read more ...
5/11/12: Congress must ensure that parity is reinstated between the transit and parking portions of the commuter benefit in final highway funding bill providing relief to America’s employees facing high commuting costs, NTEU National President Colleen Kelley said in a letter this week to conferees negotiating the bill.
“The mass transit commuter benefit provides much needed relief in the form of reduced commuting costs for many working people, including tens of thousands of federal employees who rely on public transportation to get to and from work,” wrote Kelley.
Parity between the two... Read more ...
5/11/12: The House of Representatives’ approval yesterday of the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012 (H.R. 5652) represents yet another attack on the federal workforce and advances an unfair and illogical partisan budget that fails to address what the American people want or need, said NTEU National President Colleen Kelley.
“The latest budget measure pushed by House leadership assaults Americans’ sense of fairness by undercutting vital services and singling out middle class federal employees to yet again foot the bill,” said Kelley. “Rather than making a serious attempt to... Read more ...
5/11/12:  The SEC informed NTEU this week that the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) will be available for SEC employee participation soon, probably as early as next week. NTEU Chapter 293 strongly encourages all SEC employees to take this important opportunity to provide feedback about the agency by responding to this confidential survey.
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is already administering the FEVS governmentwide. This survey initative has been in place since 2002. It measures employees' perceptions of whether, and to what extent, conditions that characterize... Read more ...