Union News Archive

10/22/13:  Last week, union members who were present at NTEU Chapter 293's Annual Meeting voted overwhelming, by a 99.5% margin, to ratify the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The contract is now subject to "agency head review" by Chair White for a thirty-day period. We expect it to be in effect in mid-November.
10/9/13: Early this summer, the SEC stated that, beginning this year, new employees would be granted a waiver from the one-year service requirement for participating in the Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP). These waivers would have permitted new employees to participate in the program during their first year at the SEC.  The SEC has now reversed course.  In new guidance issued just a few weeks ago, the SEC is now instructing managers that an SLRP waiver may only be granted if: (i) the employee was offered a waiver “as a recruitment incentive prior to joining the SEC”; or (ii) in... Read more ...
10/9/13:  Last week, the SEC reported to the Union that the implementation of the 1% retirement match that the agency agreed upon in the FY 2013 compensation agreement will be delayed until at least the end of 2013. Union officials expressed their frustration with the continuing delays. Today, the Union filed a national grievance to compel compliance with the parties’ 2012 memorandum of understanding (MOU) on this issue.
The SEC signed the FY 2013 compensation MOU almost one year ago, in December of 2012. This contract included a new 1% retirement match, to be implemented in June 2013,... Read more ...
9/24/13:  The Union was pleased to participate in today's announcement to OCIE staff of the new SK-14 examiner position. The creation of this new position has been something the Union has pushed for since 2011.
In 2011, the Union was notified by several employees of an issue within OCIE that impacted attorneys working as Compliance Examiners. Although these employees had a JD, the SEC was unwilling to reclassify them to an SK-14 Attorney Advisor position, despite their experience. At the time, the only sure path to an SK-14 position was to seek reclassification to a Grade 14 Staff Accountant... Read more ...
9/24/13: The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) today announced an average increase of 3.7 percent in 2014 health premiums for federal employees and retirees.
“Higher health premiums are yet another financial hardship for federal employees and retirees in these tough economic times,” said NTEU National President Colleen M. Kelley. “Any increase in premiums places an undue burden on federal employees given the freeze on federal pay, unpaid furloughs and now the threat of a government shutdown.”
In announcing the 2014 premium rates for plans under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program... Read more ...
When:  On Tuesday, October 15, 2013, from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EST, NTEU Chapter 293 will hold its annual member meeting. At the meeting, members will vote on ratification of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). (Members in Washington may want to arrive between 11:30 AM and 12:00 PM to ensure that their names are checked prior to 12:00 PM.
9/18/13:  Yesterday, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released this guidance regarding a possible government shutdown that would impact agencies funded through Congressional appropriations, including the SEC. As you know, current funding authority for federal agencies will run out on September 30, the end of the 2013 fiscal year. No individual agency funding bills have been enacted so far for fiscal year 2014, which is less than two weeks away. 
The House of Representatives was scheduled to vote last week on a Continuing Resolution (CR) that would fund the entire federal government... Read more ...
In a move that will have a significant, long-term impact on the SEC's culture, SEC Chair Mary Jo White appears to be moving the SEC further towards a two-class pay and benefits system that provides SEC managers with bigger raises, better retirement benefits and more perquisites. In September, Chair White announced at a managers-only town hall meeting that the agency will be providing several special new perquisites to managers only this fall:

Additional Supplemental Retirement Match of 3% (Frontline Staff Will Receive 1%)

A $500 Annual Reimbursement for Professional Dues (Frontline... Read more ...
9/11/13: The Union has fought for over a decade to establish a supplemental retirement match for all employees at the SEC – and the agency has repeatedly promised a 2% match to frontline staff for seven years, but has broken that promise. For that reason, management’s decision this week to provide a 3% supplemental match to managers only has angered many frontline employees. Indeed, the harm to morale caused by management’s latest move can only be fully understood in the context of the agency's tireless efforts since 2002 to block the Union from obtaining this important benefit for all SEC... Read more ...
9/3/13: Friday, the President called for a one percent pay increase for the federal workforce for FY 2014. The pay raise is scheduled to be effective January 1, 2014.  This brings to an end a three-year freeze on federal pay.  While no further action is needed for the raise to go into effect, NTEU is working to prevent any Congressional action to block it.
As you know, in the weeks ahead, Congress must pass a budget for FY 2014 and increase the debt limit. During these deliberations, NTEU will press Congress to remember that federal employees already have contributed some $114 billion toward... Read more ...
7/18/13: Legislation has been introduced in the House by Rep. Grimm, H.R. 2288, the “Commuter Parity Act of 2013,” and in the Senate by Sen. Schumer, S. 1116, the “Commuter Benefits Equity Act of 2013,” that would create permanent parity between the transit and parking portions of the commuter benefit.
As you may remember, earlier this year, as part of the “American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012,” Congress included NTEU supported language that restored the mass transit portion of the commuter benefit to the same level as the benefit for parking, to $245/month.  However, because the increase in... Read more ...
7/18/13: As the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee prepares for another hearing today to consider testimony related to the May Treasury Inspector General For Tax Administration’s (TIGTA) report on the handling of tax-exempt status requests, more evidence is coming out that confirms that IRS employees had no political motivation and did not single out only one political ideology for extra scrutiny.
A recent letter from the Oversight Committee’s Ranking Minority Member Elijah Cummings to Committee Chairman Darrel Issa provides additional evidence that IRS employees did not act with... Read more ...
7/9/13:  Today, the SEC sent out notices to SEC employees informing them about a data breach involving their personally identifiable information (PII), including the names, dates of birth and social security numbers of individuals who worked for the SEC prior to October 2009. The Union has requested a briefing on this issue, and has also requested that the agency provide one year of credit monitoring services to all affected employees who request it.
What we have been told so far is that this breach occurred in 2009, when a former SEC employee, who had access to employee lists with PII as... Read more ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...