Union News Archive

06/28/2013
6/28/13:  To All Chapter 293 Stewards and Executive Board Members:
As you have probably heard by now, the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP) Factfinder issued his report regarding our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations on Monday of this week.
The Union has not yet reported on this development to the SEC employees we represent because I have been engaged in discussions with Chair White about possibly reaching immediate agreement on this contract and issuing a positive joint message about the agreement. This deal would involve the SEC giving us some additional provisions... Read more ...
06/27/2013
6/27/13:  NTEU Chapter 293 has formally requested bargaining with the SEC over two new commuter programs, a bicycle program that would provide subsidies to SEC employees who regularly commute to work via bicycle, and a parking program that would allow SEC employees to pay for parking on a pre-tax basis.
Both of these programs would benefit SEC commuters. The parking subsidy program is one that NTEU has successfully implemented in the IRS and OCC.
"We hope that the SEC will bargain over these programs in good faith," Chapter 293 President Greg Gilman noted this morning. "We submitted the... Read more ...
06/27/2013
6/27/13: In a landmark ruling yesterday, the US Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”). Application of this law prevented legally married same-sex employees at federal agencies such as the SEC from enjoying the same benefits extended to other married employees. Going forward, these employees will receive those benefits, such as spouse coverage under federal health insurance.
In the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy noted:
"By creating two contradictory marriage regimes within the same state, DOMA forces same-sex couples to live as married for the purpose of... Read more ...
06/06/2013
6/6/13: This week, NTEU Chapter 293 requested a briefing and an opportunity to bargain over changes that the SEC is proposing to make to the Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP). The changes primarily would impact the application process, and it is unclear at this time whether they would lead to a decrease in agency approvals of student loan repayment applications.
Although the Union and the SEC have not yet agreed upon the agency’s proposed changes to the SLRP application process, they have agreed on some improvements to the SLRP. These improvements include a new waiver process that will... Read more ...
06/06/2013
6/6/13: The Union’s compensation negotiating team was pleased when SEC Chair White yesterday endorsed the basic concept proposed by the Union that “salary inequities” between similarly situated employees at the SEC should be corrected. In fact, for several months, NTEU’s compensation negotiating team has urged the SEC’s Office of Human Resources to agree to the Union’s proposal to establish a joint labor-management committee to address salary inequities at the agency. The Union’s compensation team is comprised of NTEU attorneys Steve Keller and Anna Gnadt, NTEU Chapter 293 President Greg... Read more ...
06/06/2013
6/6/13:  An independent fact-finder this week asked for an additional two weeks to finalize his decision on the impasse in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations between the SEC and the Union. When the fact-finder issues his decision, it will be submitted to the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP) for final resolution. The FSIP is an independent federal adjudicator that will impose an agreement upon the parties because they were unable to reach an agreement in a collaborative fashion.
“Bringing a contract negotiation to the FSIP is the equivalent of bringing a dispute to... Read more ...
06/06/2013
6/6/13: This week, NTEU invoked formal arbitration after the SEC denied the Union’s national grievance over the SEC’s refusal to implement retroactive transit benefits, as well as the agency’s refusal to bargain over the issue – despite the fact that agencies such as the FDIC have already provided the retroactive benefit to their employees. The Union has made attempts to compromise on this issue, but the SEC’s Office of Human Resources has continued to refuse to discuss it.
The Union filed its national grievance last April when the SEC refused even to come to the table and bargain with its... Read more ...
06/01/2013
6/3/13:  In a case that should be of interest to SEC investigators, an independent federal arbitrator last week reversed a 2011 discipline imposed by SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro against an SEC non-management attorney for the handling of a minor anonymous tip concerning Bernard Madoff. The arbitrator’s decision sustained the grievance filed by NTEU on behalf of the attorney. The arbitrator reversed a 3-day suspension without pay as well as all resulting adverse impacts against the attorney, finding that the SEC had violated Section 34 of the Union’s Collective Bargaining Agreement by improperly... Read more ...
04/23/2013
4/23/13:  The SEC has unilaterally implemented a 360 degree review program for managers. This program differs in key respects from the program that the Union originally negotiated with the SEC in 2009. Because the Union believes that the current management-created 360 program does not have sufficient safeguards to ensure confidentiality, we recommend that employees not participate in this voluntary program.
In 2009, the Union and the SEC entered into an agreement regarding 360 reviews of managers. Under the agreement, all non-management employees were supposed to be afforded an opportunity to... Read more ...
04/22/2013
4/23/13:  Late last week, the Union filed with the Federal Labor Relations Board an unfair labor practice (ULP) charge against the SEC for its refusal to bargain over important changes to its office space policy. Under the SEC’s new policy, many SEC professionals will be required to double up in smaller offices. The Union is concerned about the negative impact that this new policy will have upon employee morale, recruitment and retention of highly skilled professionals, and the efficiency with which the SEC will be able to meet its mission in the future. Under the law, the SEC is required to... Read more ...
04/21/2013
4/23/13:  Today the Union published further demographic data concerning the ratings the SEC recently distributed to non-management employees at the agency for the FY 2012 rating period, based upon more detailed information provided by the SEC. You can review the Union’s data here.  
As the Union has previously reported, under the SEC’s so-called “evidence based” performance management system, employees may receive a rating of from “1” to “5.” These five categories roughly correspond to the five-level grading systems we have all experienced in the academic arena, with a “5” corresponding to an... Read more ...
04/17/2013
4/17/13: On Monday, legislation requiring the federal government to fire federal employees if they have a tax debt failed to garner the necessary number of votes for passage in the House of Representatives.  The legislation, H.R. 249, the “Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2013,” was considered on the Suspension Calendar, which requires a two-thirds majority vote of the members present for passage.  The final vote was 250-159, thus falling short of the necessary votes needed.  House rejection of H.R. 249 is a reversal from the previous Congress, which approved identical legislation... Read more ...
04/15/2013
4/15/13:  On Friday, NTEU Chapter 293 filed a national grievance against the SEC over its refusal to implement retroactive transit benefits, as well as the agency’s refusal to bargain over the issue -- despite the fact that other agencies, such as the FDIC, have already provided the benefits to their employees.
A few months ago, Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA), which amended the law governing qualified transportation fringe benefits. Specifically, it amended the amount of the transportation subsidy that may be provided to an employee by an employer and which... Read more ...
04/15/2013
4/15/13: The Union today served bargaining proposals to SEC management regarding the SEC’s unilateral decision to cease all reassignments of Grade SK-13 Compliance Examiners to Grade SK-14 Staff Accountant positions.
A few weeks ago, without prior notification to SEC employees' Union representatives and apparently without consultation with OCIE management, the Office of Human Resources sent this notification to SEC managers informing them that the agency’s past practice of reassigning Grade SK-13 Compliance Examiners to a Grade SK-14 Staff Accountant positions would be discontinued... Read more ...
04/09/2013
4/9/13: Next week the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 249, the “Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2013,” which requires the federal government to fire federal employees if they have a tax debt.  
In advance of House consideration, NTEU has sent this attached letter to every representative detailing our opposition to the legislation.  In our letter, we note that requiring federal employees who are already facing a potential three-year pay freeze and unpaid furloughs, to immediately pay back taxes or be terminated, while exempting members of Congress, is unfair, and may ultimately... Read more ...
03/05/2013
3/5/13: Today NTEU sent this letter to every member of the House of Representatives opposing H.R. 933, an FY 2013 Continuing Resolution (CR) introduced yesterday by the House leadership that would freeze agency funding at FY 2012 levels, maintain the devastating cuts mandated by sequestration that went into effect on March 1, and extend the pay freeze on federal employees through the end of 2013.  The House is scheduled to vote on the bill as early as this Thursday.
 In our letter, we noted that freezing agency funding for most agencies for the remainder of the fiscal year at roughly their FY... Read more ...
02/12/2013
2/12/13: The union has received a lot of questions about telework when a storm occurs. Here are some answers...
Q:  I have a recurring telework agreement and I was scheduled to telework on a day when my office was closed for all or part of the day due to a storm. Am I required to telework as usual?
A:  Yes. Generally, if you were scheduled to telework you should telework as usual.
 
Q:  What if I was scheduled to telework when my office was closed, but I was unable to do so due to a power outage or some other problem related to the storm? Do I still have to telework?
A:  No. You should... Read more ...
02/11/2013
2/12/13: This week the SEC released these FY 2012 performance management system results. The numbers reveal a sharp disparity between how SEC managers rate their own performance versus how they rate the performance of their subordinates. The union has fielded a number of inquiries from staff across the nation about this odd and unexpected trend. In a credible system, achieving a particular rating should be no more difficult for one group of employees as compared to any other. However, the SEC's own data suggests that under its so-called "evidence based" performance management system, this is... Read more ...
02/11/2013
2/12/13: In the past few weeks, the union and management Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiating teams met with a mediator to attempt to resolve the remaining differences over a new labor contract at the agency. Unfortunately, after several days of mediated negotiating sessions, the parties were unable to reach agreement on any of the remaining articles subject to negotiation. All of these issues will now have to be resolved by the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP). The parties will submit briefs in the coming weeks, the mediator will draft a report, and the matter will be... Read more ...
01/15/2013
1/15/13:  Today the House rejected an amendment offered by Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) to the Hurricane Sandy Relief bill (H.R. 152) that would have offset the cost of the bill by instituting an across the board 1.63% spending cut to federal agencies, including those represented by NTEU.
NTEU strongly opposed this amendment and in advance of House action today, NTEU sent this letter to every member of the House detailing the adverse impact that further funding reductions to NTEU represented agencies would have, and urging them to reject it.
NTEU was happy to see that the House rejected this... Read more ...
01/09/2013
1/9/13:  Effective January 1, 2013, GSA has increased the gas mileage reimbursement rate for federal employees to 56.5 cents. 
NTEU has been continually working to obtain a fair and accurate mileage deduction for business-related travel.  Last April we were able to convince the General Services Administration (GSA) to account for rising fuel prices by raising the rate from 51¢ to 55.5¢ a mile. This mid-year adjustment was unusual, but NTEU believed it was needed.  Federal employees should not be under-reimbursed for their government travel at any time, but especially now when they continue... Read more ...
01/07/2013
1/7/13:  The Union has notified the SEC's Office of Human Resources that SEC employees expect the transit subsidy to be increased to the new maximum level of $240 per month, in accordance with new legislation passed by Congress in connection with the Fiscal Cliff negotiations, and as is required under the terms of our collective bargaining agreement.
The CBA provides that the SEC will pass on to its employees any increase in public transit benefits or reopen the agreement for further negotiations. NTEU is prepared to deal with further negotiations if necessary, but the SEC should do the right... Read more ...
01/02/2013
1/2/13: Yesterday, the House of Representatives took up legislation extending the pay freeze for federal employees and members of Congress through the end of 2013.  H.R.6726 was considered on the House suspension calendar and could not be amended.  The bill passed the House by a vote of 287 to 129 but will not be considered by the Senate.   
The bill’s supporters in the House wanted to make sure they were on record opposing a pay increase for members of Congress in 2013. It is disappointing, however, that the bill’s authors decided to include an extended pay freeze for rank and file federal... Read more ...
01/02/2013
1/2/13: The fiscal cliff deal approved by both the House and Senate includes NTEU-supported language that would reinstate parity between the transit and parking portions of the commuter benefit through 2013 and make it retroactive to January 1, 2012. 
As you know, in 2010, as part of the “Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010,” Congress included a provision that kept the mass transit portion of the commuter benefit at $230 per month for 2011, preventing a reduction to $125 per month, and keeping it equal to the parking tax benefit.  Unfortunately,... Read more ...
12/21/2012
12/21/12:  As the year closes, please remember to donate your "use or lose" leave to the Leave Bank, where it can be put to good use providing leave to your co-workers who have exhausted their own sick leave due to illness or medical emergency. All you need to do is send an email to Jack Waller in OHR, at wallerj@sec.gov, and tell him that you want to automatically donate any use or lose leave that you would otherwise forfeit. Thanks for your generosity.

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