Union News Archive

05/04/2011

5/3/11: Unless Congress acts in the very near future, the federal government will soon come up against a statutory limitation on its borrowing authority to pay obligations it has already incurred. The Treasury Department has notified Congress that it intends to begin borrowing from federal pension funds on May 16, in order to meet financial obligations until legislation increasing the debt ceiling is enacted.

Current law allows the Treasury Secretary to use funds that are dedicated to the Civil Service Disability and Retirement Fund and the G Fund of the Thrift Savings Plan to pay debts... Read more ...
04/29/2011

4/29/11: In response to a national grievance filed by Chapter 293 in February, the SEC last week delivered to the Union a summary data set for the performance ratings that were distributed to employees in connection with the recently completed pilot of the SEC’s new, so-called “Evidence-Based Performance Management System” (the “EBP System”). Although some managers have released top-level ratings averages to some of their employees, the Union has compiled more detailed EBP System ratings data here, so that employees may place their own performance ratings into a more meaningful context by... Read more ...
04/20/2011

 4/20/11: NTEU has launched an effort to obtain a mid-year increase in the mileage deduction for business-related travel to account for rising fuel prices. While it is unusual to have a mid-year adjustment, the Union will press the point that we are in unusual circumstances and that the current allowable level is inadequate for business and for government employees who use their vehicles for work. Very clear facts back us up on this. 

As part of our effort, NTEU National President Colleen Kelley has written this letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, who in his policy capacity has... Read more ...
04/15/2011

4/15/11: Yesterday, Congress approved the FY 2011 budget compromise, which will fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year on September 30. This budget, which contains $38 billion in cuts to the discretionary budget demanded by the House, includes a $74 million increase over the FY 2010 budget for the SEC. For that reason, we are pleased to announce that the SEC will now implement its previous agreement with the Union to provide a 1.875% "equivalent share" merit pay increase to all SEC employees who received an acceptable rating for the performance period ending October... Read more ...
04/14/2011

 4/14/11: Federal employees knocked out of the workforce because of a job-related injury should not be forced to exchange workers’ compensation benefits for payments from a retirement plan that the injured worker never had the chance to properly fund, NTEU National President Colleen Kelley told a House subcommittee in submitted comments.

Such a result “would cause grave economic hardship to many disabled workers,” President Kelley wrote to the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce.

The subcommittee has undertaken a review of the Federal Employees... Read more ...
04/14/2011

 4/14/11: Yesterday the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved by voice vote H.R. 828, the “Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2011,” which requires the federal government to fire federal employees if they have a tax debt.  In advance of the hearing, NTEU wrote to every member of the committee outlining our opposition to the legislation. In our letter, we noted that requiring federal employees who are already facing a two-year pay freeze and a potential unpaid furlough, to immediately pay back taxes or be terminated is unfair, especially in light of the fact that... Read more ...
04/14/2011
 The civil service in the United States is one of the best in the world, but it cannot survive if drastic cuts in personnel and resources are instituted as proposed in the House Budget Resolution passed this year, NTEU National President Colleen Kelley warned in this letter to House members.
President Kelley urged members to oppose H. Con. Res. 34, the budget resolution advanced by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee. The House is expected to vote on the resolution this week.
The document contains undisguised frontal attacks on federal workers, including proposing... Read more ...
04/12/2011

 4/12/11: Just days after federal employees dodged furloughs due to the inability of Congress to pass appropriations bills, they find themselves the unfair object of attacks on two fronts in the House of Representatives, NTEU National President Colleen Kelley said yesterday.

President Kelley was highly critical of efforts to move legislation through the House Oversight and Government Reform that would require federal employees who owe taxes to be fired, no matter the reason. The committee vote on H.R. 828—which would apply that penalty to federal employees, with members of Congress... Read more ...
04/12/2011
4/12/11:  The 2011 budget legislation unveiled by lawmakers this morning has $38 billion in overall cuts, but the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission will receive increases over their 2010 budgets of $74 million and $34 million, respectively. This will place the SEC's budget at $1.185 billion for FY 2011.
These budgetary increases were necessary due to the fact that the SEC and the CFTC have increased responsibilities under the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory law that was passed by the last Congress. The SEC in particular added 300 new employees... Read more ...
04/09/2011

4/9/11: The President has signed a short-term continuing resolution while lawmakers consider a spending bill for the remaining months of fiscal 2011 thus averting a potentially disastrous government shutdown.

Early this morning, OMB issued this memorandum to federal agency heads stating that an agreement had been reached and "at this time agencies are instructed to continue their normal operations." The President has signed a seven-day stop gap funding measure today to keep the government open until the FY 2011 spending bill is passed. Congress is expected to take action by Friday.

The... Read more ...
04/08/2011

4/8/11: NTEU National President Colleen Kelley today said NTEU is “strongly in support of” bipartisan legislation that would result in federal workers furloughed in a government shutdown receiving retroactive pay for the duration of their forced absence.

“The hundreds of thousands of federal employees who would be forced from their jobs through no fault of their own deserve this legislation, and NTEU will press hard for its enactment,” said President Kelley.

The measure is H.R. 1429, the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act, co-sponsored by Rep. James Moran (D-Va.), Gerald... Read more ...
04/08/2011

4/8/11: “More than 800,000 federal employees are facing an impending and open-ended furlough with no assurance they would be paid for the forced time off when it ends,” said NTEU National President Colleen Kelley. “Now, reportedly, some members of Congress are proposing an additional $1.3 billion in pay cuts for rank-and-file federal employees as part of a budget deal on 2011 spending. 

“Federal employees are already facing a two-year pay freeze and loss of pay during the shutdown,” said President Kelley. “Meanwhile, members of Congress will be paid even if the government shuts down... Read more ...
04/07/2011

4/7/11: In a letter to members of both the House and Senate, NTEU National President Colleen Kelley today called on lawmakers in Congress to ensure that federal employees will not lose pay due to a government shutdown.

In her letter, President Kelley warned that if Congress and the administration are not able to reach an agreement, up to 2 million federal employees could be furloughed. If that happens, Kelley requested that Congress “make its intention clear” to pay all furloughed employees by including such language in a fiscal 2011 appropriations bill.

While employees “excepted” from... Read more ...
04/05/2011

4/6/11: The fiscal 2012 budget proposal advanced yesterday by the chairman of the House Budget Committee, Rep. Paul Ryan (Wisc.), is a regressive document that unfairly targets the federal workforce and would severely weaken the ability of federal agencies to serve the public, NTEU National President Colleen Kelley said today. “I cannot imagine that anyone who understands the important and necessary role the federal government plays in the life of our country and in improving the lives of all Americans would support these proposals,” President Kelley said.

The Ryan proposal would impose a... Read more ...
04/05/2011

4/6/11: We at Chapter 293 know that everyone is worried about the very real possibility of a government shutdown on Friday. The Union would like to provide you with detailed information about the SEC's contingency planning, and for that reason we have repeatedly requested this information from the SEC over the past several weeks. However, despite the Union's repeated requests, the agency has refused to provide a detailed briefing to your representatives at the Union. In fact, for weeks we have received from the agency no information at all that is related to the shutdown.

We are extremely... Read more ...
04/05/2011

4/6/11: Last August, the SEC announced changes to 5 C.F.R. Section 4401.103, the “Outside Employment and Activities” rule, which included a new provision that required SEC employees to seek "prior approval" from the agency before engaging in a wide range of outside activities such as writing, speaking and employment -- whether those activities were related to the SEC or not. As you may recall, the Union objected to the new version last fall on the grounds that it was overly broad and constituted an improper prior restraint on SEC employees' First Amendment rights. As a result of further... Read more ...
03/24/2011

 3/24/11: NTEU National President Colleen Kelley yesterday took sharp issue with a legislative effort to eliminate the defined benefit portion of the annuity earned by federal workers under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). In this letter to all senators, President Kelley said S. 644, introduced by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), “is based on a great deal of misinformation.”

The NTEU leader said it is incorrect to say that federal employees receive far more generous retirement benefits than private sector employees; and similarly not true that the FERS system is underfunded. On... Read more ...
03/19/2011

3/18/11: As a key House subcommittee begins its examination of the proposed fiscal 2012 budget for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the leader of the union representing the SEC workforce this week emphasized the critical importance to the nation’s economic health of adequate funding for this vital agency.

“The SEC currently oversees more than 10,000 public companies and thousands of other entities, and now has important new responsibilities flowing from much-needed financial regulatory reform,” said NTEU National President Colleen Kelley.

She made these comments as the... Read more ...
03/17/2011

 3/21/11: On Friday, President Obama signed the short term Continuing Resolution (CR) that will keep the federal government running through April 8. The bill was passed by the Senate on Thursday, and by the House on Tuesday. The signature came on the day the previous CR was set to expire.

The CR, the sixth of the fiscal year, cuts federal spending by roughly $6 billion from the current level, and provides funding for the government through April 8. It will maintain SEC funding at 2010 levels for the time being.

Aids for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner... Read more ...
03/11/2011

3/11/11: Last year, the Union obtained an agreement permitting SEC employees to join the Treasury Department Federal Credit Union (TDFCU). The TDFCU is now offering the following loan programs to federal employees/members. Thanks to Chapter 293 steward Pat Copeland from IM for all of her hard work to get TDFCU membership for SEC employees! From TDFCU:

TDFCU has been serving Federal Government employees for over 76 years. We appreciate long term relationships with our members and wish to minimize the impact of a government showdown on our Federal Government employees/members and potential... Read more ...
03/10/2011

3/10/11: NTEU National President Colleen Kelley today offered strong support for legislation to help address rising prescription drug prices for federal employees by increasing oversight of the operations of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). Essentially, PBMs negotiate prices with drug manufacturers.

The measure, offered by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), also would increase transparency in drug pricing for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), which is the largest employer-sponsored health care plan in the nation, with more than eight million enrollees.

The Lynch bill, H... Read more ...
03/10/2011
3/10/11: Yesterday the Senate rejected two long term spending bills that would have provided government funding for the remainder of the fiscal year. The Senate first rejected 44-56 a House-Republican passed bill (H.R.1) that would fund government programs for the balance of FY ’11 at a level $57.5 billion below current spending, and almost $100 billion below the President’s FY ’11 request. NTEU strongly opposed H.R. 1 during House consideration of the bill because of the devastating impact it would have on the ability of federal agency’s to complete their missions and urged Senate rejection... Read more ...
03/05/2011

3/4/11: On Thursday the President signed a short term spending bill that will keep the government running for two more weeks after the current funding measure was set to expire on Friday, March 4. 

The measure, known as a Continuing Resolution (CR), cuts roughly $4 billion in discretionary spending while extending funding authority for the government by two weeks, from March 4 until March 18. Many of the cuts in the spending measure will be to earmarks and to programs, many of which are supported by the Administration, and thus enjoyed bipartisan support and easy passage.

The CR was... Read more ...
03/05/2011

3/4/11: Federal officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty were honored Wednesday night at a candlelight vigil held by NTEU, which represents 26,000 Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employees. Joining NTEU National President Colleen Kelley and hundreds of union members at the annual Vigil of Lights was Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and CBP Commissioner Alan Bersin, along with CBP assistant commissioners. The vigil was at the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.

“This year the names of two CBP Officers have been... Read more ...
02/25/2011

2/25/11: NTEU Chapter 293 today filed a national grievance against the SEC seeking to compel the agency to provide meaningful, transparent information, in a timely fashion, regarding the distribution of performance ratings to employees in connection with their performance in the last part of FY 2010.

Last July, the SEC pressed ahead with its launch of its new performance management system in the Division of Enforcement and the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations. This was to be a "dry run" of the system, during which SEC managers would rate most Enforcement and OCIE... Read more ...

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