Union News Archive

02/15/2012

 2/15/12: Legislation to extend the payroll tax holiday, extend unemployment benefits, and prevent a cut to physician payments under Medicare had been under consideration in a House/Senate Conference Committee since January.  The House version of this legislation, H.R. 3630, included cuts to federal employee pensions and an additional year of a pay freeze for 2013 to offset the other costs of the bill.  The Senate version did not include the federal employee provisions.

Both sides in the negotiations agreed to drop offsets for the payroll tax extension, but not the extension of... Read more ...
02/14/2012
 2/14/12: The Administration’s 2013 Budget includes pay and benefit provisions similar to those proposed by the President in September as part of his Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction. Specifically, the President proposes to increase employee contributions to all federal employee retirement systems by 0.4% each year for three years, making permanent an increase of 1.2% after three years. The President also proposes eliminating the FERS annuity supplement for new hires who retire before age 62, except those with mandatory early retirement. (Note that this is different from a... Read more ...
02/02/2012
4/25/12: The Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) today issued a complaint against the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging failure to bargain in good faith in violation of federal labor law in connection with the ongoing collective bargaining agreement negotiations with NTEU.
The FLRA is the federal agency charged with enforcing federal labor laws. The FLRA complaint arose out of unfair labor practice claims that NTEU filed last spring.
The duty to negotiate in good faith is the bedrock upon which federal labor law rests. Generally, it is defined as the obligation to participate... Read more ...
02/02/2012

2/2/12: The House of Representatives last night voted to approve H.R. 3835, authored by Representative Sean Duffy (R-WI), to extend the pay freeze on federal employees and members of Congress through 2013.  The bill was brought up under a procedure known as Suspension of the Rules, which prohibits amendments and requires a two-thirds majority to pass. Many members of the House expressed the desire to vote only to extend the pay freeze on their own salaries and not federal employees’, but that option was not allowed by the House Leadership. Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) offered a... Read more ...
02/01/2012

 2/1/12: On January 26, the Senate voted against bringing up HJRes 98, legislation that would have blocked the President from increasing the debt ceiling, by a vote of 44 to 52.  The House had previously voted in favor of the measure.  The Senate’s action allowed the President to increase the debt ceiling by an amount that is expected to be sufficient to cover the rest of the year.  It also allowed the Treasury Department to fully repay amounts owed, but not deposited, into federal pension accounts in the last few weeks that were temporarily used to avoid breaching the debt ceiling.  The... Read more ...
01/31/2012

 1/31/12:  Today, NTEU National President Colleen Kelley submitted a statement to the Senate Committee on Finance urging Congress to immediately renew the monthly mass transit subsidy benefit which expired at the end of 2011. The committee was holding a hearing on expired tax provisions and the negative impact that annual or biannual renewal has on taxpayers and businesses.

In her statement to the committee, Kelley noted that because Congress failed to extend the transit benefit and keep it equal to the parking benefit before the end of 2011, the monthly maximum transit amount had been... Read more ...
01/31/2012

1/31/12: NTEU National President Colleen Kelley agreed with one major conclusion of a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report—that highly-educated federal workers earn significantly less than their private sector counterparts—but cautioned against accepting the report as a definitive statement on federal compensation.

Kelley said that “CBO is clearly the expert on Congressional budget scoring but pay comparisons are not its principal expertise; that is the expertise of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).” BLS data have shown a consistent pay gap of 26 percent in comparable public and... Read more ...
01/30/2012

1/30/12: The U.S. House of Representatives will vote this week, most likely on Wednesday, on a bill, H.R. 3835, introduced by Representative Sean Duffy (R-WI) that would continue the federal employee pay freeze through 2013.  NTEU strongly opposes extending the pay freeze and is urging opposition to this bill. See our letter to all House members here.

Representative Duffy’s bill would also require a pay freeze for members of Congress for 2013. Many members of Congress want to extend their own pay freeze through 2013, but not the freeze for rank and file federal employees. The House... Read more ...
01/25/2012

 1/25/12: Today NTEU submitted testimony for a hearing before the Federal Workforce, US Postal Service and Labor Policy Subcommittee entitled, “Retirement Readiness:  Strengthening the Federal Pension System.”  Don’t be fooled by the title, though. The testimony may be found here.

In announcing the hearing, Subcommittee Chairman Dennis Ross (R-FL) referred to the American people’s outrage at the pension benefits guaranteed “to a bloated federal workforce” and pledged to seek a “more affordable defined contribution plan” for federal workers in place of CSRS or FERS. 

NTEU National... Read more ...
01/25/2012

 1/25/12: NTEU National President Colleen Kelley today sharply criticized ongoing efforts in the House of Representatives seeking additional pay and benefit cuts from federal employees while shielding the wealthiest Americans from any deficit reduction sacrifice.

Those criticisms were contained in testimony submitted to the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce in advance of a hearing on the federal pension system.

“Freezing the pay and increasing the pension contributions for middle class federal workers across the country while continuing to... Read more ...
01/25/2012

 1/25/12: NTEU National President Colleen Kelley today commended 17 House members for their expression of support for the federal workforce in urging a congressional conference committee to oppose additional cuts to federal pay or benefits to pay for an extension of the payroll tax holiday.

“These members of Congress represent many thousands of federal employees and they are well aware of the significant contributions these dedicated working men and women make to our nation,” said President Kelley. “Every federal employee welcomes their support.”

The NTEU leader previously has called on... Read more ...
01/19/2012

 1/19/12: Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a resolution (H J Res 98) to disapprove the third installment of the borrowing authority authorized by the August debt ceiling agreement by a vote of 239-176, mostly along party lines. 

The President sent a request to increase the debt ceiling by $1.2 trillion last week. This was largely a symbolic vote, since even if the Democratically-controlled Senate were to vote to disapprove the increase, the President would veto the bill.  Absent enactment of a disapproval resolution, the debt ceiling will be increased on January 27. 

In... Read more ...
01/18/2012
 1/18/12: The SEC notified the Union today that it is sending out this notice informing all participants in the Expanded Telework Program that it has unilaterally determined that they must give up their individual offices at the agency or else cease their participation in the program.  The TheThe SEC is required under federal labor law to bargain over the impact and implementation of this change, but the SEC has refused to do so. For that reason, NTEU will file an unfair labor practice charge against the SEC this week for violation of the labor statutes. The Union also disagrees with the SEC'... Read more ...
01/16/2012

1/17/12:  This week, the Union filed a national grievance against the SEC for its breach of a Diversity Initiatives Contract that the agency signed with NTEU. The Diversity Initiatives Contract was originally part of a settlement deal to resolve litigation over discrimination in the SEC's compensation practices, and it requires the SEC to implement several basic diversity initiatives at the agency. The SEC's current senior management team, however, has refused to implement the initiatives. 

The Diversity Initiatives Contract requires the agency to take some very basic steps to encourage... Read more ...
01/06/2012

1/6/12:  The Union has received many questions from SEC employees about when they will receive their merit pay adjustments that they earned for their performance during FY 2011. When the President signed the SEC's FY 2012 budget in December, the Union requested that the SEC provide a timely merit increase to SEC employees in January, and also to fund the additional retirement match promised by Chairman Schapiro in 2010. The Union also again requested that the agency commence compensation negotiations with NTEU that are required by law since our compensation agreement expired on September 30... Read more ...
01/06/2012
1/6/12: The White House today announced that its 2013 budget proposal would reflect that the two-year pay freeze for federal employees would end as scheduled. At the same time, the administration proposed only a 0.5 percent pay raise for federal workers.
NTEU National President Colleen Kelley said, “The good news is that the pay freeze is ending, but I am disappointed at the size of the proposed 2013 increase.”
With the pay freeze extending through fiscal year 2012, “I believe federal employees have done their fair share to help address our budget problems, and I have been strongly urging the... Read more ...
01/05/2012

 1/5/12: NTEU National President Colleen Kelley called on House-Senate conferees to oppose offsetting an extension of the current two-month payroll tax holiday with cuts to middle class federal employee pay and benefits.

In this letter to the seven senators and 13 House members, President Kelley said the Senate compromise measure—co-sponsored by Senate leaders of both parties—on extending the payroll tax holiday through February did not contain any such cuts.

“Many federal employees are not even eligible to get the payroll tax reduction because they are not covered by Social Security,”... Read more ...
12/19/2011

12/19/11: The Senate on Saturday followed the House in approving an omnibus spending bill to keep the government funded for the rest of the fiscal year. In a series of votes the House and Senate also passed a short-term continuing resolution that will keep the government operating while the full year funding bill is prepared for presidential signature. The president is expected to sign the legislation.

The fact that a government shutdown has been avoided is clearly good news for federal employees, agencies and the country. However, many agencies are being shortchanged in the final funding... Read more ...
12/16/2011

12/16/11: A final 2012 funding bill has been agreed to by a House and Senate Conference Committee and the full House and Senate are expected to approve it before midnight tonight, which would prevent a government shutdown. 

Congressional leaders have also indicated that if there are unexpected delays in getting the bill passed and signed by the President by tonight’s midnight deadline, they would consider a short term Continuing Resolution to keep the government operating until final action on the full year appropriations measure could be completed. 

During the talks, an additional $20... Read more ...
12/15/2011

12/15/11: In the omnibus spending bill proposed by the House of Representatives yesterday, the SEC would receive a budget of $1.3 billion for FY 2012. This would represent a substantial increase over the approximately $1.11 billion budgeted for FY 2011. It is, however, less than the approximately $1.4 billion requested by the SEC and previously passed by Senate appropriators.

NTEU has been working hard on Capitol Hill to obtain an increase. Now it will be up to House and Senate negotiators to work out a deal on the omnibus spending bill to cover most government expenditures for FY 2012,... Read more ...
12/14/2011

 12/14/11:  Most agencies are currently funded by a Continuing Resolution that will run out at midnight, Friday, December 16th.  Because Congress has not completed work on FY 2012 funding bills there could be a partial government shutdown at that time. The SEC's budget has not yet been approved by Congress.

Agencies will begin contacting employees today and plan to provide informal determinations of excepted or non-excepted employees by Friday with formal notice no later than Monday. SEC will be commencing this process this evening.

Agencies with FY 2012 funding legislation in place... Read more ...
12/13/2011

 12/14/11: Yesterday, by a vote of 234-193, the House of Representatives passed HR 3630, a bill that offsets an extension of the payroll tax holiday with huge cuts to federal employee pay and benefits. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration there. NTEU sent this letter to each House Member in anticipation of the vote, and sent this letter to every Senate office opposing passage of this bill yesterday. 

 Sen. Ben Cardin and Reps. Chris Van Hollen and Jim Moran will be participating in a conference call Wednesday with the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association... Read more ...
12/13/2011

 12/13/11: Last week, in this attached letter to the House leadership, a coalition of fifty members of the House of Representatives urged that any year end legislation include language maintaining parity between the parking and mass transit portions of the transportation fringe benefit. Without congressional action, the transit portion of the transportation benefit would revert to $125 per month from its current level of $230, at the end of the year.

In their letter to House leaders, the coalition noted that failing to maintain parity between the transit and parking benefits would result... Read more ...
12/13/2011

 12/13/11: Last Spring, NTEU launched an effort to obtain a mid-year increase in the mileage deduction for business-related travel to account for rising fuel prices from the 51¢ set in January 1, 2011. While it is unusual to have a mid-year adjustment, NTEU wrote this letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, who in his policy capacity has the authority to make a mid-year adjustment in the mileage reimbursement rate. The Union pressed 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... Read more ...
12/13/2011

12/13/11:  Commissioner Luis Aguilar was sworn in to a second SEC term by Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey last week in a ceremony at SEC Headquarters in Washington. He was reappointed by President Obama on October 24, 2011 for a term that ends on June 5, 2015.

In what many observers believe to be a first for the SEC, Commissioner Aguilar invited the frontline staff to join him at his swearing-in ceremony. A large number of SEC staffers crowded into the Auditorium Foyer at Headquarters for the occasion.  

“I am both honored and proud to have the opportunity to continue to serve as... Read more ...

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