Compensation Problems at SEC Continue in FY 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, 2011. To date, however, SEC senior management has refused to engage with your Union representatives over these requests. Last month, NTEU filed two compensation-related national grievances against the SEC, and the Union will file another Unfair Labor Practice with the Federal Labor Relations Authority soon if the SEC continues to refuse to come to the bargaining table.

The SEC's refusal to discuss important compensation issues cannot be explained by this year's budget. Indeed, unlike most federal agencies this year, the SEC received a substantial increase in its budget, from $1.1 billion in FY 2011 to $1.3 billion in FY 2012. In fact, your representatives from NTEU's Legislative Affairs Department in Washington worked very hard last year to ensure that the SEC received adequate funding to meet its mission objectives.  

The continuing inability of the agency's senior management team to address fundamental human capital problems at the SEC remains perplexing. This is not a persistent problem at the other federal financial regulators that NTEU represents, all of which have all already reached agreements with the Union concerning FY 2012 compensation for their employees. For example, late last year, NTEU finalized agreements with meaningful compensation increases for employees at the FDIC, OCC, and NCUA.

According to NTEU compensation negotiators, senior management in these other financial regulators understands that, with the ongoing federal employee pay freeze and the incessant attacks upon federal employees and their critical work for our nation, it is more important than ever to take the steps that they can to reward the hard work of their employees.

Morale issues at the SEC are even worse today than in other agencies, as was reflected by the SEC's near-last place showing in the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey last year. This low morale is due in part to attacks and scrutiny related to the financial crisis. But the SEC's morale problems have been greatly exacerbated by SEC senior management's own decisions, including its foot-dragging over last year's pay raise. SEC employees will recall that senior management waited until the very end of FY 2011 to provide a relatively small 1.9% merit increase for FY 2010 performance that was negotiated by the Union -- and this only occurred after the Union threatened litigation over the issue. 

As you are asked to do more and more to meet our agency's important mission every day, the Union will continue to press the SEC to live up to its compensation obligations to its employees.