12/23/10: Upon the request of Chapter 293, SEC management has now communicated to Union leadership that the mass transit benefit for SEC employees will be immediately reinstated at $230 per month. The full $230 subsidy will be available in February. The Union is also continuing to discuss with management the possibility of some form of retroactive reimbursement of the subsidy for the month of January.
Last week, when the President signed the “Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010,” that legislation included a one-year extension of the mass transit benefit of $230 per month which was slated to drop to $120 without congressional action. NTEU strongly advocated for the extension of this important benefit for employees, including federal workers, who use public transportation to and from work. We also pushed for the SEC to quickly extend the benefit as soon as the Tax Relief law was signed.
This monthly transit subsidy permits employers to subsidize their employees as much as $230 per month, or $2,760 per year, in public transportation benefits. Before the NTEU-supported provision was included in the tax law, SEC employees were only eligible to receive the former maximum of $120 per month, or $1,440 per year.
"The Union applauds the SEC for agreeing to take the lead on this important issue, and for serving as an example for the private sector," Chapter 293 President Greg Gilman stated this morning. "During a holiday season when middle class federal workers are facing salary freezes and the possibility of furloughs, the last thing that they needed is a substantial reduction in their transit subsidy."
The importance of this subsidy cannot be gainsaid. The United States currently uses approximately 25% of the world’s total annual oil output, but our nation represents only approximately 5% of the world’s population and holds less than 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves. Clearly, conservation measures are vitally important to our energy future.
Furthermore, the modest $230 per month public transit subsidy encourages workers not to drive their cars into the city, reducing carbon emissions. Lessening commuting greenhouse gasses in our cities, which cause increasing environmental damage, should remain a critical priority across the government.