Union News Archive

12/10/2008
12/10/08: A group of five senators has written to President Bush asking him to withdraw his late-November executive order stripping collective bargaining rights from Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) employees represented by the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU).
The senators said they “reject the view that union membership undermines a worker’s ability to effectively perform his or her job functions, particularly in regard to national security issues.”
The signers are Sens. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), who organized the letter; Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Edward... Read more ...
12/09/2008
12/9/08: The ongoing efforts of NTEU to increase awareness about the important contributions federal workers make to our nation were recognized December 4 by PR News, which awarded the union with an honorable mention in its 2008 Nonprofit PR Awards competition for NTEU’s “Federal Employees…They Work For U.S.,” national public service campaign. Click the eagle to see the public service announcement.
Launched in July, the union’s first-ever public service campaign utilizes media relations, grassroots efforts and television and radio public service announcements (PSAs) that feature actual... Read more ...
12/08/2008
12/8/08: Late in the day on December 5, 2008, OPM announced that it will allow federal employees to submit belated enrollments or changes in FEHBP, FEDVIP and FSAFEDS through January 2009. The prior deadline for the open season period was today, December 8. However, after it became apparent that numerous changes in insurance coverage in the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Standard Option plan for nonnetwork elective surgeries were confusing and unclear, OPM extended the period.
NTEU believes this was the right decision. A few weeks ago, NTEU urged enrollees to read the fine print in their insurance... Read more ...
12/05/2008
12/8/08: In NTEU's latest national victory for SEC employees, a federal Arbitrator has ruled that all Securities Compliance Examiners in grades 11, 12 and 13 are now eligible to receive higher pay rates for their overtime work. Under the Arbitrator's decision, these employees are also eligible for back pay and damages. The SEC has not yet indicated if it will attempt to appeal this decision to the Federal Labor Relations Authority.
"The Union hopes that the SEC will opt to rectify its improper FLSA classification of these employees, rather than pursuing an appeal, so that they may earn the... Read more ...
12/04/2008
12/4/08: Even as key congressional leaders expressed their outrage — one called it “a power grab by the executive branch,” — employees of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were being notified by their agency the White House stripped from them workplace rights they have enjoyed for more than 30 years without incident or negative impact on the public.
NTEU National President Colleen Kelley called the issuance at this late stage of the administration of an executive order revoking long-held collective bargaining rights, “a gratuitous slap in the face that makes these... Read more ...
12/03/2008
12/3/08: NTEU learned yesterday that President Bush issued an Executive Order (EO) pursuant to Section 7103(b)(1) of Title V that excludes thousands of federal employees in various agencies from the collective bargaining provisions of the FSLMRS. That section of the labor statute authorizes the President to exclude agencies or agency subdivisions from coverage of the statute if the President determines that the agencies or subdivisions are primarily engaged in intelligence, counterintelligence, investigative or national security work and the collective bargaining provisions in statute cannot... Read more ...
11/20/2008
11/20/08: In very strong terms, NTEU National President Colleen Kelley has taken sharp issue with a proposed Office of Personnel Management (OPM) rules change which she said would represent an extraordinary and completely unwarranted expansion of agency authority to indefinitely suspend federal employees without pay.
In detailed comments submitted to OPM, President Kelley argued that OPM's proposal “would permit agencies to suspend an employee indefinitely for a myriad of alleged offenses, while investigating — at the agency’s leisure — whether removal is appropriate.” She added: “The impact... Read more ...
11/19/2008
11/19/08: NTEU has provided the incoming Obama administration transition team with a variety of recommendations aimed at significantly improving the delivery of government services to the American people. The document, entitled "Refocusing Federal Agencies on Mission-Critical Issues: The Federal Employees’ View," offers NTEU’s recommendations for both administrative and legislative actions impacting a wide array of challenges facing the nation—from reviving the economy to strengthening security and, perhaps most importantly, restoring the faith of the American people in their government. “... Read more ...
11/07/2008

11/7/08: Beginning on Monday, November 10, NTEU members will again have access to Consumers' Checkbook’s Online Guide to Health Insurance Plans for Federal Employees. All NTEU members who are currently participating, or are planning to participate, in the Federal Employees Health Benefit (FEHB) plans are eligible to use this online guide.
The guide is available through NTEU’s web site, NTEU National's Website, in the “Member Benefits” section throughout Open Season (November 10 – December 8, 2008). The online guide was developed by Consumers’ Checkbook, a nonprofit organization that has... Read more ...
11/05/2008
11/5/08: NTEU views the Obama presidency as a major opportunity to turn the public conversation toward a much-needed discussion of how federal agencies may best serve the public, NTEU National President Colleen Kelley said today.
“Federal agencies have been understaffed and underfunded and federal employees have been marginalized by the current administration,” said Kelley. “As our new president prepares to lead our country, NTEU stands ready to work with him and the congressional leadership on ways to strengthen federal agencies to help them better meet their critical missions and serve the... Read more ...
10/14/2008
President's Perspective, October 2008: The recent national merit pay arbitration settlement between NTEU and the SEC is the latest milestone in the union’s continuing efforts to resolve fundamental problems with the agency’s pay for performance system. While we still have considerable ground left to cover, it is important to recognize the positive changes that have occurred at the agency as a result of the union’s efforts.
The settlement provides salary increases and $2.7 million in monetary relief to all employees aged 40 and over and to all African-American employees in grades 8 and above... Read more ...
10/14/2008
On October 29th, at the SEC Disability Employment Awareness Month Celebration, the SEC will announce the formation of a Veterans Committee. The Veterans Committee principal founder is Susan Schneider, veteran and union steward in OCIE, HQ. Veterans are recognized by the EEO office as an affinity group, and the committee formation has been supported by Chairman Cox and Human Resources and is being sponsored by Commissioner Casey. (Note - the Veterans Committee is not a special emphasis program, which are designated solely by the President through an Executive Order and supported by the EEO... Read more ...
10/14/2008
Kathy Cash has had an interesting journey on her way to becoming an NTEU member; she was told by SEC management that she couldn’t join, but she fought her way in.
This is Kathy’s second stint with the Commission. She originally came to work at the Los Angeles Regional Office in the 1980s, and then left for a couple of years to go to the Federal Trade Commission. She returned in late 1992 as a legal technician, and then became secretary to the Regional Director. After that Director left, Kathy became a Program Support Assistant, and she was working in that capacity when we unionized.
That’s... Read more ...
10/14/2008
Gilman Visits LARO
In September, Chapter 293 President Greg Gilman visited the Los Angeles Regional Office. While there, he met with individual members and leaders regarding various matters. He also attended a luncheon for LARO members, at which he made a representational presentation concerning merit pay, the pay raise, telework and other issues. The LARO event was well attended. Thank you to LARO members Kathy Cash, Sue Hannan, Karen Matteson and John Britt.
Upward Mobility Committee Moves Forward
The Upward Mobility Committee recently met with management officials to discuss the adoption... Read more ...
10/14/2008
Pending legislation to provide federal employees with domestic partners the same access as married employees and their spouses to participate in benefit programs would underscore the federal government’s traditional role as a model employer, NTEU National President Colleen Kelley told a Senate committee on September 23.
Traditionally, the private sector is encouraged, but not mandated, to adopt employee benefit programs in place in the federal government through its good example and resulting market forces as the nation’s largest employer, Kelley said. However, she said, in this situation we... Read more ...
10/14/2008
On September 25, 2008, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced premium increases for enrollees in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP) for 2009. According to OPM, the average cost of premiums for FEHBP will rise by 7 percent in 2009. The average share of the premium paid by federal employees and retirees will increase by 7.9 percent. Like last year, OPM tapped into FEHBP’s reserve funds and used 3.1 percent of the reserve fund to keep premium increases from reaching double digits.
NTEU regrets that OPM did not do a better job leveraging the size of the FEHBP to get a... Read more ...
10/14/2008
October is the open period for enrolling in the new union-negotiated Leave Sharing Program at the SEC.
Under this new program, participating employees will donate one pay period’s worth of annual leave each year to a “Leave Bank” – typically 6 or 8 hours – and that leave will be available to assist any participant who needs additional leave to deal with a medical emergency faced by the employee or his or her family member. In the event of such a medical emergency, any participant who has used up all of his or her sick leave and annual leave may apply to the Leave Bank Board for additional... Read more ...
10/14/2008
NTEU’s persistent efforts to provide federal employees with a much-deserved higher pay raise paid off on September 30 when the president signed into law H.R. 2638, a $600 billion continuing resolution package that included an average 3.9 percent federal pay raise for 2009. This NTEU-sought pay raise is a full percentage higher than the president’s original budget request of 2.9 percent earlier this year.
The Senate passed the continuing resolution bill on September 28 after the House approved it on September 24. It was necessary to pass a “continuing resolution” because Congress had not... Read more ...
10/14/2008
NTEU has reached a favorable settlement agreement with the SEC calling for payment of a total of $2.7 million to African-American employees and employees ages 40 and older who suffered discrimination under the agency’s embattled merit pay program. The settlement also provides for current salary adjustments for these employees. In addition, it includes provisions for the SEC to execute a Memorandum of Understanding with Chapter 293 that will implement a variety of initiatives focused on diversity issues at the agency, which were recommended by Chapter 293 President Greg Gilman.
NTEU National... Read more ...
10/06/2008
10/6/2008: I am pleased to be able to tell you that NTEU has reached a favorable settlement — including $2.7 million in back pay, as well as salary adjustments — in resolution of its grievances challenging the lawfulness of the SEC’s arbitrary and subjective merit pay program.
Most obviously, hundreds of employees will receive back pay and current salary adjustments under the settlement, but in the broader picture, this is a major victory for all SEC employees, and will serve everyone well moving ahead.
I say that this is a victory for all SEC employees because it exposed the inherent... Read more ...
10/06/2008
10/6/08: I wanted to provide further detail about the comprehensive settlement agreement, announced today by NTEU National President Colleen Kelley, that NTEU has signed with the SEC involving our national grievances alleging discrimination in the SEC’s "pay for performance" program from 2003 through 2007. While this is a significant achievement on behalf of those employees who will receive a monetary settlement, it is also an important step in establishing a fair pay system for all SEC employees.
Here are the details:
Under the agreement, the SEC will pay a total sum of $2.7 million to... Read more ...
10/02/2008
10/2/08: On the evening of September 30, 2008, the President signed into law H.R. 2638, the Fiscal Year 2009 Continuing Resolution package just prior to the end of the fiscal year. The new public law is PL 110-329 and contains the 3.9 percent pay raise and numerous other NTEU-backed provisions reported earlier.
This law funds agencies for programs covered by the nine unfinished appropriations bills (including the Treasury Department) at 2008 levels until enactment of their bills or until March 6, 2009, whichever comes first. The Departments of Homeland Security, Defense, and Veteran Affairs... Read more ...
09/29/2008
9/29/08: NTEU’s persistent efforts over the past year to provide federal employees with a much-deserved higher raise in 2009 have paid off.
The House and Senate have approved a continuing resolution including an average 3.9 percent pay raise for federal employees. The NTEU-sought figure is a full percentage higher than the president's budget request of 2.9 percent.
“This action sends the right message to the women and men of the federal workforce— namely, that their continuing contributions to the well-being of our nation are recognized and appreciated,” said NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley... Read more ...
09/29/2008
9/29/08: On September 25, 2008, OPM announced premium increases for enrollees in FEHBP for 2009. According to OPM, the average cost of premiums for FEHBP will rise by 7 percent in 2009. The average share of the premium paid by federal employees and retirees will increase by 7.9 percent. Like last year, OPM tapped into FEHBP’s reserve funds and used 3.1 percent of the reserve fund to keep premium increases from reaching double digits.
NTEU regrets that OPM did not do a better job leveraging the size of the FEHBP to get a better deal for enrollees. Enrollees in some plans, such as Blue Cross/... Read more ...
09/25/2008
9/25/08: An average seven percent increase in 2009 health care premiums for federal employees and retirees covered under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) indicates that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is still not doing an adequate job in leveraging the weight of the largest health plan in the United States to keep costs down.
“The need to leverage the size of FEHBP becomes even more apparent,” said NTEU National President Colleen Kelley recently remarked, “when you take into account that OPM once again dipped into the plan’s cash reserves to hold down the... Read more ...

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