Union News Archive

In the aftermath of the covid-19 pandemic, NTEU member-led band, G.O.A.T. Rodeo is reuniting to rock for a great cause: helping the people of Ukraine.
On Thursday, May 5, the G.O.A.Ts will perform at LawRocks – Washington, D.C. for Ukraine.  The event starts at 7:30 p.m. at Pearl Street Warehouse.  Ticket sales and donations will go toward the U.S. Ukraine Foundation (https://usukraine.org/).
Chapter 293 member Stacy Puente is a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Attorney Adviser in Washington, D.C., whose alter ego moonlights as the lead vocalist and keyboardist for G.O.A.T. Rodeo. “We... Read more ...
Yesterday evening, NTEU Chapter 293 and SEC management finally reached a final agreement on the ground rules for negotiating a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) at the SEC. Today, the union named its bargaining team for those negotiations, which will commence during the week of April 25.
Last fall, the union and management both noticed each other of their intent to reopen the CBA at the SEC to make modifications. The current CBA expired in early January 2022. After more than six months of wrangling over the “ground rules” for these negotiations, and just two days before the parties... Read more ...
Yesterday, the Senate confirmed two of President Biden’s nominees to the three-member Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB or Board), Raymond Limon and Tristan Leavitt. The nominations were supported by NTEU. 
Raymond Limon is the chief human capital officer for the Interior Department with federal HR experience at the State Department and Office of Personnel Management. Tristan Leavitt is general counsel for the MSPB, where he’s also served as the agency’s acting chief executive for the last several years while the Board hasn’t had any members. 
As you may know, the MSPB lost its only... Read more ...
Senator Rick Scott
This week, Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, released his policy agenda for Republicans to enact should they win Senate and House majorities this fall. While Senator Scott said his agenda is separate from his work chairing the party’s campaign arm, he also said that it’s “important to tell people what we’re [going to] do.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has declined to release a GOP agenda heading into the midterms.  According to media reports, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) plans to release his own agenda in the... Read more ...
Student Loan Program
Last October, the Department of Education ("DOE") announced sweeping changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness ("PSLF") Program, under which federal employees may have the remainder of their student loans forgiven completely after they have made regular payments during ten years of public service. Previously, the PSLF Program failed to deliver on its promise to ease the burden of student loan debt for almost all employees at the SEC. DOE is now running a "limited PSLF Waiver Program" under which many of those employees who did not qualify in the past will now qualify. This waiver program... Read more ...
Senate Wing
With government funding set to expire tomorrow night, February 18, 2022, the Senate passed the Continuing Resolution (CR), HR 6617, which would extend funding for FY 2022 through March 11, 2022.  President Biden is expected to sign the bill and prevent a government shutdown.  Recently, House and Senate Appropriations Committee leaders reached an agreement on top-line funding amounts and sent funding allocations to the 12 Appropriations Subcommittees, who are currently drafting their respective FY 2022 funding bills and negotiating various provisions. 
As Congress and the White House continue... Read more ...
Talk to the Hand
Last week, the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment, which is co-chaired by Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, published its first report to the President, which we encourage all of you to review here. One critical recommendation is for federal agencies to recognize that, collectively, the federal government is the largest employer in the U.S., with more than 3.3 million employees.  For that reason, the Task Force concludes that federal agencies should act as a “model employer” by facilitating worker power through executive action and “... Read more ...
Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a favorable, unanimous decision in AFL-CIO v. FLRA, a case involving NTEU and other unions that protects unions’ right to bargain over many management-initiated changes to working conditions. Under the court’s decision, agencies must bargain over any management-initiated change except those having only a minor, “de minimis” impact. 
NTEU and two other unions challenged an adverse Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) decision issued on September 30, 2020, that limited labor organizations’ bargaining rights. The FLRA in this 2... Read more ...
With government funding set to expire on February 18, 2022, the House passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) that would extend funding for FY 2022 through March 11, 2022. The CR will provide additional time for Congress to negotiate a final spending agreement. To date, the House has passed 9 of the 12 appropriations bills and the Senate has not passed any. Congressional leaders agreed to the third CR this fiscal year only after getting closer to an agreement on overall spending levels. This agreement will now provide time for negotiating allocations for each of the 12 appropriations bills and a... Read more ...
Today, the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment, which is chaired by Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, released its first report to the President that includes over 70 recommendations to the President to promote worker organizing and collective bargaining for federal employees, as well as other public and private sector employees.  Among other things, these recommendations include ensuring agencies provide new employees with information about their union, including how to contact them; eliminating barriers that prevent union organizers from... Read more ...
SEC Chair Gary Gensler has now made it clear that he intends to pursue an aggressive, anti-employee agenda in his negotiations at the agency over SEC employees' pay, benefits and work-life programs. In the past two weeks, he has sought to cast aside over twenty years of negotiating history between the SEC and its own workforce by trying to compel the union to combine bargaining over the parties’ Compensation Agreement and the entirely separate Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”). This move constitutes a transparent attempt by Mr. Gensler to increase his leverage over his own employees... Read more ...
With the SEC’s implementation of Chair Gensler’s new policy eliminating the existing COVID Admin Leave program for SEC employees with dependents, the union has received numerous inquiries from employees about the option for Bright Horizons “back-up care” to fill gaps in care for children and elders. The union received a briefing from the SEC’s Office of Human Resources on this issue yesterday. We now have the following updates for your planning purposes:
•    First, you should be aware that Bright Horizons does not accept enrollees for back-up care if they have COVID, have been exposed to... Read more ...
Each Labor Day in the modern era, we have barbecues and give lip service to American workers, without really thinking about the sacrifices that they actually made just a couple of generations ago to ensure a decent and prosperous future for their children and grandchildren. This Labor Day weekend, let's actually remember everything that the labor movement has done to protect employee health and safety over the past century. Remember, for example, the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire over 100 years ago and its aftermath. 
In March 1911, a fire swept through the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in Greenwich... Read more ...
Chapter 293's Election Committee has provided the results of the 2021 chapter elections.
The winner of the contested election is:
Executive Board Representative, MIRO:  Sean O'Neill
The results of the uncontested elections are:
President:  Greg Gilman;
Vice President:  Lance Alworth;
Secretary:  Melissia Buckhalter-Honore;
Treasurer:  James Guigliano;
Executive Board Representative, ARO:  Tenita Thomas;
Executive Board Representative, BRO:  Dan Barry;
Executive Board Representative, CHRO:  Andrew O'Brien;
Executive Board Representative, DRO:  Joni Marks;
Executive Board Representative, FWRO... Read more ...
Since Chair Gensler’s notice last week regarding his agreement with the union to extend “use or lose” annual leave into 2022, the union has received a number of questions about the issue from SEC employees, so we are providing an update.
This latest extension means that any SEC employee who has use or lose leave from 2020 and/or 2021 (i.e., annual leave above the 360-hour annual carryover) is not required to use it all by the end of leave year 2021 (January 1, 2022). The carried over leave will not be forfeited, but will instead remain as category 020 annual leave for use by the employee. If... Read more ...
As the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant gathers steam across our nation and children under age 12 remain ineligible for vaccination, new SEC Chair Gary Gensler announced today that, effective on September 7, 2021, he is unilaterally terminating the program under which SEC employees have been permitted to use a limited amount of administrative leave for dependent care while working remotely. The union has notified Gensler that the SEC has an obligation to bargain over both the decision to change this seventeen-month old program, as well as what such a change would look like. For that... Read more ...
COVID Update
The union has been fielding many questions and concerns from SEC employees regarding the agency's office opening status at this stage of the global coronavirus pandemic. We are providing this update to you on the SEC’s overall COVID-19 status. 
Voluntary Return
The union has been in discussions with management regarding permitting SEC employees to return to the office on a voluntary basis. We expect an announcement from management on this issue soon. Our position on voluntary return has been clear. If SEC employees want to return to their respective SEC offices on a strictly voluntary basis,... Read more ...
This is an update on important pandemic-related news, including the results of the recent union survey on SEC operating status issues related to the ongoing pandemic (“Pandemic Survey”) that we recently administered, as well as our ongoing discussions with SEC management on any changes to our operating status.
As you all know, our current mandatory telework status extends at least until September 7, 2021, which is the Tuesday after Labor Day. As we have reported to you, in light of improving public health metrics, including the availability of Covid-19 vaccines to adults and some, but not all... Read more ...
“In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
FSAFeds has provided further information on new FSA flexibilities permitted during the pandemic under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Notice 2021-15 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Two big takeaways:
As the union previously reported, there will be a new Special Enrollment Period (SEP) from June 2, 2021 to June 30, 2021, during which participants may increase or decrease their current 2021 elections, or even enroll in FSAFeds for the first time for 2021. For those who may not know, FSAFeds allows employees to save considerable money by... Read more ...
The Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Refugee Resettlement are currently seeking federal employees to volunteer to serve on details at the southern border to help care for and place children who cross into the U.S. unaccompanied by adult family members. The Office of Personnel Management is partnering with HHS to promote the program, and is encouraging federal managers to allow interested employees to volunteer. Several Chapter 293 union members at the SEC have answered this call:  Jordan Baker (NYRO), Alethea Bard (OIA), Mary Farrell (BRO), Jared Jarvis (LARO), Alicia... Read more ...
The union has continued to receive many questions about “use or lose” annual leave. Here is an update on the issue.
What Are the Basic Rules for Use or Lose Leave?
Federal employees are permitted to carry over from one leave year to the next a maximum amount of annual leave. Generally, federal employees may carry over up to 240 hours of annual leave. At the SEC, in late 2018 the union negotiated the right to carry over up to 360 hours of annual leave.
“Use or lose” annual leave is the amount of accrued annual leave that is in excess of that 360-hour maximum annual leave limitation for carry... Read more ...
This week, OPM provided NTEU with information on new FSA flexibilities permitted under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Notice 2021-15 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.  These flexibilities include allowing full carryover for a health care flexible spending account (HCFSA) and Limited Expense FSA (LEX FSA); extending the grace period for a dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA); and permitting care for dependents through age 14 for 2020 and 2021 under a DCFSA.
In addition, OPM is working with the FSAFEDS contractor, Health Equity,... Read more ...
"I recently represented an employee that was hired under the disability hiring authority at the Federal Aviation Administration. This employee had performed satisfactorily for a number of years, but once her first level supervisor changed, her working conditions also dramatically changed.  Other employees were encouraged to report on the mistakes of this employee, and she was singled out for minor errors, which arguably can be attributed to her disability.  Ultimately, management reprimanded the employee for a raft of pretextual missteps.  Enter the union.  As a federal employee, I always... Read more ...
History of the Student Loan Repayment Program at the SEC
The road to the Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) began back in the 1990s, when NTEU’s national Legislative Department won legislation in Congress affording the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) a wide range of recruitment and retention flexibilities that they could offer federal agencies, including student loan forgiveness. Subsequently, NTEU's Legislative Department worked closely with OPM to ensure the issuance of regulations giving this discretionary authority to federal agencies.
The SEC, however, did not opt to create a... Read more ...