The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, which determines funding for, among other things, the SEC and other NTEU-represented agencies and has jurisdiction over government-wide employee issues, has voted to approve its FY 2020 bill. The full Appropriations Committee voted to approve the bill today. NTEU is pleased to inform you that the bill calls for a $175 million increase for the SEC, $100 million over the Administration’s request, which should allow for improved compensation as well as needed staffing increases. NTEU has worked hard to obtain this additional funding over the amount requested by SEC management. You will recall that Chairman Clayton has repeatedly stated that he would be willing to provide substantially improved compensation for SEC employees in FY 2020--provided that the budget allows for it. With even a portion of this House Appropriations increase, which is expected to pass the House and then move on to the Senate, the Chairman should be able to make good on this assertion. Indeed, a general rule of thumb at the SEC is that every additional $10 million dollars is sufficient to cover an additional 1% in salary increases. In light of the historically low pay increase provided to SEC employees in FY 2019, the union will continue to push for a real salary increase in FY 2020, with the full inflation adjustment provided to General Schedule employees as well as Merit Pay.
As you know, the President has once again proposed a pay freeze for federal employees for 2020, while proposing a 3.1 percent increase for the military. According to the Federal Employee Pay Comparability Act, federal employees should receive a 2.6 percent pay increase in 2020 before locality pay is added. The Appropriations bill provides an average 3.1 percent increase to federal employees—2.6 percent across-the-board plus 0.5 percent to be used for locality pay. NTEU fully supports providing pay parity with those serving in the military and is appreciative of Chairman Mike Quigley (D-IL) for including this provision. NTEU also continues to support providing this 2.6% raise to all SEC employees--including those at the top of their grades. Failure to do so will result in further erosion of our salary structure due to inflation, something that the union is committed to oppose.
The bill also continues the ban on funding new outsourcing activities under Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-76 and prohibits funds for being used to implement the administration’s plan to dismantle the Office of Personnel Management. In that plan, the Administration proposes moving human resources policy to OMB and the remaining functions to the General Services Administration (GSA). NTEU continues to have strong reservations about this reorganization proposal since it would put policy regarding the non-partisan federal civil service in the Executive Office of the President and move retirement and health care functions to GSA without providing a cost-benefit-analysis or other information justifying the move.
The legislation also includes language that NTEU wholeheartedly supports which recognizes the assault this administration has carried out on collective bargaining rights and takes steps to ensure agencies fulfill their statutorily-mandated responsibilities to bargain in good faith. This language would prohibit agencies from using funds to implement any term of a collective bargaining agreement that was not mutually and voluntarily agreed to by all parties or following binding arbitration.
Please be assured as Congress continues consideration of FY 2020 funding legislation, NTEU will continue to highlight the adverse impact of the President’s proposed pay freeze, the proposed elimination of OPM, the assaults on employee collective bargaining rights, and the cuts to agency funding that make it harder to recruit and retain talented employees to serve the American people.