NTEU Joins Coalition Urging President to Reject Proposals Harmful to Government Service


1/14/11: The nation’s largest independent federal union joined a coalition of 15 organizations in a letter to President Obama calling on the White House to reject proposals that would cut federal civilian retirement and health benefits, freeze federal pay and reduce the federal workforce by 10 percent. See the letter here.

“These proposals send the wrong message about public service at a time when it is critical for the federal government to retain and recruit talented and knowledgeable employees to address today’s complex challenges,” said NTEU National President Colleen Kelley. NTEU has been leading the charge against these harmful proposals from the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

The letter, which was signed by employee and management groups alike, asks the president to reject these proposals and exclude them from the Fiscal Year 2012 budget proposal. The letter refutes each proposal, explaining why such actions would be harmful to the federal workforce and agencies’ ability to accomplish their missions.

For example, proposed changes to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) would guarantee “additional cost-shifting onto an enrollee population that has suffered major increases in premiums over the past several years,” the letter states.

Additionally, “Cutting the federal workforce by 10 percent is more about politics than good human resource management,” particularly when 60 percent of all federal workers will be eligible to retire in the next five years, the letter says. “We can ill-afford to lose our most talented and experienced employees at a time when we are facing unprecedented crises,” the letter stated.

“In light of the growing number of critical challenges being tasked to federal workers, the government cannot afford to make substantial reductions to the earned compensation of individuals who have dedicated their careers to public service. For that reason, we urge you not to include these ill-conceived proposals in your FY 2012 budget recommendations to Congress.”