Last week, the House of Representatives passed a Fiscal Year 2020 (FY 2020) spending bill by a vote of 224 to 196 that included funding for a number of agencies where NTEU represents employees, including the SEC, IRS, Bureau of Fiscal Service, Treasury Departmental Offices, Bureau of Engraving & Printing, Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Election Commission. Earlier that week, NTEU sent a letter to members of the House of Representatives urging them to support this bill, reject amendments that cut agency funding and support other amendments to support employees at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Trade Bureau.
The bill also includes the following NTEU-supported provisions:
- Overturning the President’s proposed pay freeze and providing an average 3.1 percent pay increase for federal workers (2.6 percent across-the-board increase plus 0.5 percent for locality pay), which would be equal to that proposed for members of the military.
- Prohibiting the reorganization of OPM, which would move core employee policy divisions to the White House and most of the agency’s functions to the General Services Administration, thereby eliminating OPM’s independent authority to ensure a non-partisan career civil service and moving retirement and health care policy and administration to an agency without any experience in that area. NTEU is also concerned about the lack of information provided on the proposal.
- Prohibiting agencies from implementing any collective bargaining agreement that was not mutually and voluntarily agreed to by all parties or the result of binding arbitration, which would help address the administration’s assault on collective bargaining rights and ensures that agencies fulfill their statutorily-mandated responsibilities to bargain in good faith.
Regarding agency funding, NTEU-represented agencies received adequate funding to meet their missions and serve the American people. Under the bill, the SEC would receive a $175 million increase, $100 million over the administration’s request, which would allow for improved compensation as well as a needed increase in staff.
While timely House passage moves the SEC closer to being funded for FY 2020 and these pro-employee provisions closer to becoming law, the lack of a broader agreement on government spending remains as a potential roadblock to final passage. Moreover, the Senate has not yet passed any of its spending bills for FY 2020. In addition, the administration has issued a Statement of Administration Policy expressing its views on the House-passed FSGG bill and its opposition to the level of spending in the bill, the employee pay increase, the ban on the OPM reorganization, and the protections for collective bargaining agreements, among other things. The union will update you on further developments as Congress continues to consider appropriations for FY 2020.