Legislative NewsMarch 2008: In early March, NTEU leaders from chapters and agencies across the nation assembled to bring the voice of federal workers to Capitol Hill. The conference was a tremendous success. From Maine to California, members of Congress heard directly from NTEU leaders on representational issues of importance to federal employees. From these meetings, members of Congress agreed to cosponsor important pro-federal employee legislation, agreed to work with NTEU on federal employee issues, and pledged to vote against legislation that would cut back on retirement and health insurance. Senator James Webb (D-VA) and Representative John Sarbanes (D-MD) spoke at the conference to outline potential congressional action on federal employee pay, retirement, health care, and labor rights. During the week, hundreds of NTEU members and DHS Secretary
Michael Chertoff also attended NTEU’s Vigil of Lights in honor of deceased Customs and Border Protection Officers. Meetings with members of Congress and staff focused on several issues, including a return of federal labor-management partnerships, federal pay issues, adequate agency funding, opposition to privatization of federal jobs, federal employee health benefits, including opposition to Health Savings Accounts, increasing the level of government contributions under FEHB, and paid parental leave. Issues specifically relating to the SEC that were addressed during the conference included increasing the merit pay budget for the coming year to address attrition and retention issues, and increasing the agency’s matching contributions to SEC employee federal retirement accounts.