7/1/08: Last Thursday, just before the Congress adjourned for its Independence Day Recess, it passed important legislation that might help some federal employees avoid the current high gas prices while also promoting environmental stewardship.
The Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act was considered on the floor of the House. Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Tom Davis (R-VA) offered an amendment to increase the maximum reimbursement given to federal employees who use mass transit for commuting purposes from $115 to $220/month. The legislation also mandates that agencies offer this benefit. Previous NTEU supported legislation mandated that federal agencies in the Washington metropolitan area offer this benefit and made it at agency discretion elsewhere. NTEU has successfully negotiated this benefit for most of our members outside of Washington, DC. However, about 5,000 federal employees still receive no benefit and others receive less than the full amount.
NTEU will be working with the Senate to win passage of the bill, and is also seeking White House support. Until legislation is enacted, we will continue to aggressively negotiate full transit benefits for NTEU members where our contract does not already provide this benefit.