Union News Archive

04/26/2012
4/26/12: Congress must act quickly to reinstate parity between parking and mass transit benefits and provide much needed relief to hard-working, middle class Americans, NTEU National President Colleen Kelley told a House committee today.
“Many working people, who use public transportation to get to and from work, rely on the transit benefit which has provided much needed relief in their commuting costs. Many of these workers are struggling in the current economic climate, and a reduction in these benefits is imposing a severe financial burden on them,” stated Kelley.
Kelley submitted her... Read more ...
04/25/2012
9/5/12: The SEC and NTEU recently jointly announced fitness center discounts for SEC regional offices. While the Union agreed to offer input on these modest discounts as an interim solution for regional employees, we are continuing to pursue a fitness center subsidy as a better longterm answer for the regions.
For more than a year, the Union's Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiating team has repeatedly proposed that the SEC provide a fitness center benefit to regional office employees, to encourage a healthy lifestyle at the agency. Our preferred approach to this issue is for the agency... Read more ...
04/19/2012
4/19/12: Multiple Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Resolutions have been introduced in the Senate. Yesterday, the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) unveiled his own proposal.  His outline, which is not expected to be introduced as legislation, mirrors proposals the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission plan put forward in late 2010.  
The Simpson-Bowles deficit commission plan was a comprehensive deficit reduction proposal that included revenue increases as well as entitlement reforms but is also not likely to be approved by the Senate. The Simpson-Bowles plan recommended... Read more ...
04/19/2012
4/19/12: The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a business meeting yesterday at which they reported out HR 4363, which sets up a phased retirement program for federal employees. This idea was first suggested in President Obama’s FY 2013 budget and was included in the Senate Transportation bill, S. 1813. 
The phased retirement program allows federal employees in CSRS or FERS to enter a gradual, phased retirement status at the end of their careers, with certain stipulations.  The employees receive income from their part-time salary and a prorated, defined benefit pension. ... Read more ...
04/18/2012
4/18/12: The SEC's Office of Human Resources today informed Union officials that SEC employees who are given an intra-agency, voluntary transfer to another AD group will not be permitted to maintain their previously established Expanded Telework Program schedules. OHR informed NTEU that it is now advising all managers at the SEC not to permit any employee to retain their Expanded Telework Program schedule when they are granted a reassignment, even in cases where management might be willing to exercise discretion to allow an employee to remain on his or her established telework schedule. This... Read more ...
04/17/2012
4/17/12: NTEU National President Colleen Kelley today applauded long-delayed action by the General Services Administration (GSA) to raise the mileage reimbursement rate to 55.5 cents per mile for federal workers who use their personal vehicles in the performance of their duties. NTEU has been seeking such a step from GSA since the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) raised the rate from 51 cents per mile in 2011.  
“With average gas prices at or approaching four dollars a gallon in some parts of the country, this overdue increase will make a significant and important difference in the travel costs... Read more ...
04/02/2012
4/2/12: Last week, the SEC's Office of Human Resources sent out this SEC Today communication concerning the recent trial run of the new, so-called "evidence-based" performance management system. This message has generated some confusion and a lot of questions from employees. 
In its communication, OHR asserted that it "is using the numerical ratings in conjunction with information gathered from focus groups, surveys, and interviews to evaluate and refine the system." OHR then went on to state that its "preliminary findings show that the EBP system is a marked improvement over the previous SEC... Read more ...
03/23/2012
3/26/12: Over the past several months, NTEU has noted a marked rise in formal disciplinary actions against SEC employees. This trend is disturbing -- not only due to the increased volume of cases, but also because of the nature of the matters. More and more often, the Union is seeing cases that previously would not have been handled as formal disciplines. Union leadership feels that you should be aware of this troubling workplace trend.
One aspect of the trend involves managers who are seeking formal discipline against employees for performance related issues, and/or disagreements with... Read more ...
03/23/2012
3/23/12: Earlier this week, NTEU Chapter 293 formally requested from the SEC the ratings data related to SEC management's "evidence based" performance management system. As in past years, the Union has requested detailed information regarding ratings broken down by office, division, regional office, position, grade, race, ethnicity, gender and age.
Making the ratings data available to employees is absolutely essential to establish transparency in the system. Without publishing the ratings data, employees would be unable to place their own ratings into a meaningful context. We are working to... Read more ...
03/23/2012
3/23/12:  Yesterday, the Senate passed the House version of the STOCK Act to enhance transparency by elected officials and senior government executives. The legislation has been modified to accommodate privacy concerns NTEU raised for bargaining unit employees concerning the publication of their OGE Form 450 information to the public.
The STOCK Act was originially proposed in response to concerns about insider stock trading by members of Congress. Both the House and Senate original versions of this bill included a provision to compel all trade and holdings disclosures by Congress and senior... Read more ...
03/22/2012
3/22/12: Yesterday, the House Budget Committee approved a budget resolution for fiscal year 2013 offered by Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI).  The budget sets the discretionary spending cap at $1.028 trillion, some $19 billion below the spending cap agreed to by both houses last August.  The budget was approved by a committee vote of 19-18, with two Republicans voting with the Democrats against the budget.
Before the vote, NTEU sent this letter to each member on the committee, urging a “No” vote on the proposal.  Representative Ryan’s budget seeks to extend the federal employee pay freeze... Read more ...
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 ...

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