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* Please contact NTEU Chapter 67 at 801-620-6511 with any questions you may have.

Friday
Jun292018

The People's Voice 2018 Vol. 1 is now available

Take a moment to update yourself on issues that affected all federal employees with NTEU Chapter 67's e-magazine/newsletter titled 'The People's Voice'.

[Click to open your copy of 'The People's Voice']

Tuesday
Jun052018

NTEU Files Lawsuit Challenging Executive Orders

Washington, D.C. – Today, the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) filed a lawsuit challenging provisions in two of the three executive orders issued a week ago by President Donald Trump.

“NTEU believes the president exceeded his authority in several provisions of his executive orders,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon. “The president cannot unilaterally change federal law.”

Specifically, the NTEU suit challenges provisions in two of the three executive orders that conflict with the Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA). 

The executive order relating to the use of official time by labor organization attempts to paint a picture, through rhetoric and misleading characterizations, that such time is not used for furthering the effective operations of a federal agency. In fact, the CSRA expressly provides that a union and an agency should negotiate for official time that is “reasonable, necessary and in the public interest.”

In the federal sector, such time allows employees to fight harassment, discrimination and unsafe working conditions. These are examples of situations that were resolved using official time and illustrate why representation for federal employees is critical:

  • Ensuring that deaf and hard of hearing and visually impaired employees have the equipment they need to perform their jobs as customer service representatives;

  • Securing time of protections for overworked Customs and Border Protection Officers, so that they can get needed rest to properly enforce border security and have time to spend with their families;

  • Negotiating and enforcing fair promotion procedures so that employees can fairly compete for advancement opportunities based on their qualifications, not other non-merit factors, like their relationship to or with someone, ensuring that federal agencies are not engaging in nepotism and that the public can be assured that those selected to implement our federal laws and programs are qualified;

  • Battling race and age discrimination in the federal workplace;

  • Challenging government efforts to intrude on employees’ privacy; and

  • Demanding that the government safeguard the personal information provided to it.

Despite the numerous ways the use of official time safeguards the nation’s federal civil service, the executive order attempts to place arbitrary limits on its use. Such a directive conflicts with Chapter 71 of the CSRA which allows for the negotiation of reasonable amounts of official time as negotiated between an agency and a labor organization.

“Official time ensures frontline employees have a safe place to go to report on the job harassment, discrimination, unfair retaliation and if they seek to disclose waste, fraud and abuse that is occurring internally at agencies,” Reardon said. “It provides a check and balance on agency leadership, allowing frontline workers to have the ability to seek accountability from agencies, and ensuring they operate in a legal, transparent and fair manner on behalf of the public in implementing and administering federal laws and programs.”      

There is a second section in that same executive order that attempts to prohibit an employee on official time from speaking to their members of Congress to share their perspectives and ideas to improve workplace conditions and agency operations for the public.  

“The law specifically gives federal employees the right to share their concerns and workplace perspectives with Congress, and any attempt to ban that flow of information cannot stand,” Reardon said. 

The NTEU suit maintains that such a prohibition is contrary to Chapter 71 of the statute which permits unions to bargain for official time to direct their concerns directly to lawmakers.

In the executive order regarding the removal of federal employees, the president once again exceeded his authority in the provision calling for a performance improvement period of no more than 30 days. Chapter 43 of the CSRA requires a reasonable period for an employee to improve, and the length of that period is tied to the type of job and the nature of the alleged poor performance involved.

“The idea that these executive orders will make the workforce more efficient, cost-effective to taxpayers and improve the morale of federal employees is absurd,” President Reardon said. “Any organization’s success is dependent on a workplace where employees feel valued and respected, and the president’s orders show that in his administration federal workers are neither.”

NTEU’s lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and asks the court to declare these portions of the orders unlawful and to enjoin the president and his subordinates, including the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, from enforcing them. 

NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 32 federal agencies and departments.

Source: www.NTEU.org

Sunday
May272018

Three Executive Orders Attack Federal Employees and Federal Unions

A Message from NTEU

Three Executive Orders Attack Federal Employees and Federal Unions

Friday the administration made clear its animosity toward federal employees and our union. The president signed three executive orders aimed at reducing the role of federal employee unions, as well as the labor and due process rights of individual federal employees, including changes to official time, union offices and the disciplinary process. 

Through these executive orders, the administration has sent its strongest signal yet that it believes federal employees are dispensable and that your access to union representation should be greatly diminished.

NTEU is thoroughly analyzing each executive order for its adherence to federal law and our contracts. It is important for you to know that an executive order can’t supersede a statutory obligation or collective bargaining agreement. 

In a sign of its disregard for employees and their representatives, the administration conducted a perfunctory "briefing" with NTEU and other unions at 5:15 p.m., on Friday afternoon but did not release the actual orders until nearly 6:30 p.m. In the meantime, it had released an inflammatory fact sheet to the media several hours earlier.

National President Tony Reardon released the following statement to the media Friday afternoon:

The trio of executive orders being released today amount to an assault on federal employees, the nation’s civil service laws and federal unions. Rather than promote efficiency in the federal sector, the administration is demanding federal workers lose their ability to challenge unfair, arbitrary and discriminatory firings and other actions. This would begin the process of dismantling the merit system that governs our civil service.

NTEU will closely review the orders. In the meantime, it is worth remembering that many of these federal employees are on the job over this holiday weekend protecting our borders, ensuring our food supply is safe and welcoming visitors to our national parks.

As our analysis continues and we consider all our options—legal and congressional—be assured that NTEU is still on your side fighting for your rights. Nothing in these executive orders changes that.

More information will be shared as it becomes available.  www.NTEU.org

-- 

Everyone is encouraged to register to vote and reach out to their representative in Congress. Let them know what you think about these particular executive orders and the administrations budget proposals for 2018.

Get matched up with your Representative on key issues to federal employees at: NTEU Action Center

Wednesday
Apr112018

FEVS is Coming Your Chance to Share Your Opinions

Message from the National President

                                                                                                               April 10, 2018

In a departure from last year, the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) will be open this year to ALL eligible employees. This is an opportunity I encourage you to take.

The annual survey, which last year was limited to a random number of federal employees, is your chance to directly, frankly and honestly share your thoughts and perspectives on the your workplace. 

FEVS is being rolled out to employees in two waves between May and mid-June. Agencies have a six-week administration period for their employees. The survey is voluntary and anonymous.

Additionally, some employees will be asked to participate in a pilot survey testing out changes to some of the survey items and definitions and adding new topics. The pilot responses will be used to consider changes to the survey moving forward.

By answering the survey, you can weigh in on staffing shortages, lack of resources, compensation, management and leadership issues, and any challenges and frustrations you face in trying to get your job done.

Why should you take the survey when past results don’t often seem to drive change? The short answer is that the results are often read and acted upon by Congress, particularly by legislators serving on oversight committees, and are reported in the press. But there are other considerations:

  • The survey is open to all employees. So, if you and other frontline employees choose not to take it, the results skew toward the managers’ answers.
  • There are occasions when the survey results show something alarming leading to congressional hearings.
  • The annual Best Places to Work in Government rankings are released later this year. These are based on FEVS data and covered closely by the media, which often focuses on low agency rankings.

The data is useful to NTEU, as well. It supports arguments we make in Congress for additional funding, it supports positions we take at the bargaining table, and it provides real data we can use in discussions with management.

The survey is administered by the Office of Personnel Management and takes about 25 minutes to complete. Your supervisor should provide you with duty time to take the survey.

Thank you for taking the time to assess your workplace through FEVS, and thank you for the work you do every day.


Tony Reardon
National President

Tuesday
Feb272018

President’s Budget Proposal Threatens Federal Employees and Undermines Civil Service

Washington, D.C. – Federal employees reading the administration’s budget proposal would not recognize themselves in the misleading description of workers who should be paid less, while paying more for their benefits and retirement.

“This document grossly distorts the current state of the federal workforce. They are not overpaid and underworked; they are middle-class Americans dedicated to public service and supporting their families,” said Tony Reardon, National President of the National Treasury Employees Union. “I look forward to offering a fact-based rebuttal to these proposals, after which Congress and the American people will stand and defend our civil servants by giving them the tools and resources they need to do their jobs.”

The budget contains a familiar laundry list of anti-federal employee proposals: blocking an across the board raise in 2019; slowing an employee’s career progression; making workers pay more toward retirement, which shrinks paychecks; lowering pensions; diminishing the government’s share toward health insurance; cutting sick and annual leave; weakening due process protections; and cutting worker compensation benefits.

Blocking a modest pay adjustment in 2019, as called for in the regular economic analysis based on private-sector pay adjustments Congress relies upon, would make federal employees fall further behind their private sector counterparts and damage our government’s ability to recruit and retain skilled workers.

According to the Department of Labor’s Employment Cost Index, private industry wages have increased an average 10.4 percent over the last five years, while federal employees have risen 6.9 percent over the same time.

“Federal employees are not Washington insiders. They live in every state and U.S. territory, just trying to earn a living, pay their bills, and save for their senior years,” Reardon said. “Pay freezes only chase the best and brightest workers to the private sector, where many of them can earn significantly higher salaries and avoid the demoralizing attacks from elected officials.”

NTEU instead supports legislation giving federal workers a 3 percent adjustment in 2019.

Overall, the administration suggests that federal employees give up $68 billion over 10 years through cuts to their health and retirement benefits, which would be on top of the $200 billion already slashed since 2011.

“Why is it that after passing a massive tax cut for wealthy Americans, politicians go looking for savings on the backs of federal employees?” Reardon said.

The budget also contains alarming language, under the guise of maximizing employee performance, that would eliminate protections against unfairly removing federal employees from service.

“It is unfortunate that the president’s newfound affection for due process does not extend to all of the men and women who work for the federal government, not just those in the West Wing,” Reardon said.

It has become a common refrain in some quarters to claim that the General Schedule is outdated and lacking measures and flexibilities to reward performing federal employees and discipline or remove those who aren’t, Reardon said.

“In fact, the General Schedule has built-in provisions to reward good employees and deal with poor performers. The real problem is that federal managers are not trained in their use, or simply decide not to use them, or Congress has not provided agencies with the funding to do so,” he added. NTEU has long supported additional federal manager and supervisor training as a way to use these tools more effectively.

NTEU will oppose the budget’s call to dramatically reduce agency budgets and any reform that has as its stated goal a reduction in the size of the federal workforce. Many agencies, like the Internal Revenue Service and Customs and Border Protection, are already understaffed.

“They say a president’s budget is a statement of vision. If so, then this administration envisions a civil service that is based on political fealty, not merit; a weakened federal workforce; federal agencies that can’t keep up with taxpayer demands; and more and more taxpayer services being delivered by for-profit corporations, not public servants,” Reardon said.

NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 32 federal agencies and departments. [www.NTEU.org]

Tuesday
Feb132018

2018 Legislative Conference

NTEU members from across the country descended on Washington D.C. to meet face-to-face with our elected representatives.

Chapter 67's representatives went to talk to the Utah delegation regarding issues that affect all of us. Proper agency funding/staffing, increased pay and a secure retirement were among the topics discussed.

Our goal is to make everyone aware of the difficulties that federal employees face everyday and to provide a path forward.

While most of the Congressional aides or representives we met with seemed to understand the core issues, we will need to stay vigilant. The best way to do that is by speaking up and hold them accountable by voting.

Employees are proud Americans that are working to protect our citizens and institutions.

Tuesday
Jan162018

Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday
Jan012018

HAPPY NEW YEAR - 2018



Dear NTEU Members, 

What a year! Before we leave 2017 behind, I wanted to say thank you to every NTEU member for being part of the union and for the work you do as a member of this great nation's federal workforce.

We had some very difficult times in 2017, including legislative attacks on your pay and benefits, ongoing shutdown threats and a series of unimaginable natural disasters. But we stood strong, we stood together, we fought back and we helped those in need.

We were successful in stopping harmful changes to your retirement, and we even had legislative victories. We brought a lot of new contracts into the workplace­­, preserving and expanding your rights.

NTEU continued its ongoing efforts to tell your story and change the public narrative about federal employees. Too few Americans understand the full scope of the contributions federal employees make to their daily lives, and we will not let a biased narrative about you go unchallenged.

Like many of you, I approach a New Year with a mixture of anticipation, hope and renewed resolve. What I anticipate in 2018 is the continued strength of NTEU members working together for each other and for our country. I hope that our collective voices will pierce the anti-federal employee rhetoric that surrounds Washington, D.C., and more accurate and balanced discussions emerge. And, I resolve to continue my 25+ years of representing NTEU members and fighting for you every single day.

I am looking forward to celebrating NTEU’s 80th anniversary in 2018. Our union has been protecting federal employees since 1938, and we have built a strong, powerful network of dedicated chapters and chapter leaders. They draw on all the experience and knowledge gained over eight decades to provide the best representation in the federal sector. In 2018, we begin to write the history of our next 80 years, and I know it is one for which we will all be proud.

I wish you and your families a healthy and happy New Year, and I look forward to working with each of you in 2018 to keep our federal workforce strong and to provide you with the resources you need to serve our country.

Tony Reardon
NTEU National President

Tuesday
Nov282017

THE PEOPLE'S VOICE 2017 VOL. 2

[Available now, click image to view]

Wednesday
Oct112017

Feds facing $32B pay, pension hit: Time to bite back? 

In a worst-case scenario on Capitol Hill, federal and postal workers could be hit by changes that would permanently cut their take-home pay, make voluntary or mandatory early retirement more costly and eliminate the FERS retirement program for future hires. But there is light, maybe, at the end of the tunnel. If you flex your political muscle.

In addition to increasing employee contributions to the FERS plan (by 1 percentage point each year for six years) the budget resolution would gradually decrease the government’s share of employee-retiree health premiums. Currently, agencies pay an average of 72 percent of the total premium. Under the new budget plan, government contributions would be linked to the cost of living, gradually lowering them while forcing workers and retirees to pay a larger portion of the total premium.

When and if the budget plan is approved — and the Senate would have to agree — the government would eliminate the supplemental benefit for employees who retire before age 62 (when they become eligible for Social Security). Those supplement payments can be worth thousands of dollars. Many federal workers — law enforcement officers, firefighters and others in high-stress jobs — are forced to retire at age 57. The financial hit to them would be very serious.

There have been efforts, under both Republicans and Democrats, to reduce federal worker/retiree benefits for years. Unions, professional associations and groups representing retirees have successfully fought them off. But this year may be different.

Richard G. Thissen, president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, said the budget “sets the stage for broken promises, lower paychecks and less retirement and health security” for workers and retirees.

National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon said it’s “a mean-spirited” effort to make active and retired feds pay for proposed tax cuts for the wealthy. He said feds have already lost $200 million in the name of deficit reduction and through the three-year federal pay freeze.

The Senate is taking a different budget path. When its plan is passed, it will have to be reconciled with the very different House package later this month. So the nail-biting will continue for a while. Meantime …

The good news, if you can find any from this, is that the House vote approving the budget package was close: 219-206. Nine members did not vote!

Which is where you come in.

The vast majority of federal workers are not inside the Beltway. Not even close. Feds live, work and vote in every city, town and county in the U.S. They are a major presence from Alaska and Oklahoma to North and South Carolina. And Texas. And Florida. And California. And New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana. Just about everywhere, except maybe Vermont. In some places — Ogden,Utah and Huntsville, Alabama — the government is the employer. And local merchants who depend on the federal salary (and retiree) dollar know it. But it wouldn’t hurt to remind them. And your member of Congress. If they voted for you, thank them (using your home computer to generate the email). If they voted against, you let them know that you are out there (as in back home) and watching closely. And eagerly awaiting the next election.

So who are your potential pen pals? NARFE provided its members with a link showing how members voted. If your particular member either voted “yea” or didn’t vote, you might want to contact him/her (off duty) by phone, email or both. Here’s the link.

By: Federal News Radio

Mike Causey @mcauseyWFED

NTEU67.org note:

Quickly contact your congressional representatives using the NTEU Action Center at www.NTEU.org

30 percent of federal employees are veterans. Veterans, firefighters, law enforcement, border patrol, government/federal servants are all affected by this. These people were made a promise if they spent their lives in government service they would get certain benefits. To pull the rug out from under them now is absurd and would not be tolerated by a private entity.

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