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RECENT NEWS:

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

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.

Monday
Sep252017

FALL PREVIEW ON CAPITOL HILL

Although Congress passed a three-month continuing resolution (CR), severe cuts to take-home pay for current employees and pensions for retirees are still on the table.

As congressional leaders and the administration work to reach agreement on a 2018 budget resolution before the Dec. 8 deadline, lawmakers are considering several proposals that would harm federal employees. They include raising the amount that current employees must pay toward retirement; basing future retirement benefits on the average of the highest five years of salary instead of the current three; eliminating the supplement for employees who retire before they start collecting Social Security at age 62; eliminating cost of living adjustments (COLA) for retirees covered by the Federal Employee Retirement System; and reducing COLAs for Civil Service Retirement System retirees.

NTEU is encouraging all members to send a letter today and every week to oppose these proposed pay and retirement cuts. At the same time, NTEU is watching these bills that could affect you:

NTEU Supports

 

Fair Pay and Benefits: Bills in the House and Senate would provide federal employees with an average 3.2 percent raise next year, higher than the average 1.9 proposed by the administration.

Paid Parental Leave: Legislation would provide six weeks of paid leave to federal employees who are new parents.

NTEU Opposes

 

Abolishing Key Agencies: Bills would eliminate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Environmental Protection Agency and Internal Revenue Service.

Gutting Workplace Rights: House bills would eliminate employee due process, appeal and representation rights and curb collective bargaining.

Threats to Financial Regulatory Agencies: A House bill would gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and weaken several NTEU-represented financial regulatory agencies.

Visit NTEU’s Legislative Action Center to make your voice heard on these important issues.

Monday
Sep042017

HAPPY LABOR DAY

Wednesday
Aug302017

Accounts Management Employees Back Pay Arriving

Monday
Aug282017

A Message from NTEU on Hurricane Harvey

Message from the National President

NTEU Announces $30,000 in Matching Grant to Help Victims
Hurricane Harvey Impacting Federal Offices
and Employees


As Hurricane Harvey continues to threaten parts of Texas and Louisiana, NTEU’s thoughts are with the thousands of NTEU members in the storm's devastating path. 

When crisis hits, federal employees are often the first responders, and NTEU is working on multiple fronts to help those impacted by the hurricane’s powerful winds and flooding. 

NTEU is in close contact with our chapters in the affected areas and is working with agencies to ensure all employees are accounted for. We stand ready to deal with any workplace issues employees may encounter as a result of the storm, including administrative leave for office closures and time off to deal with storm damage. Here is information from the Office of Personnel Management about flexibilities, pay, benefits and other topics for affected employees.

NTEU recognizes those members who are required to work during this difficult time, including Customs and Border Protection Officers who were required to shelter in place at Houston's Hobby Airport.

As part of the union's commitment to helping federal employees in times of need, I am announcing a special emergency assistance initiative. NTEU will match—dollar for dollar—up to $30,000 in donations to a special fund that provides emergency assistance to federal employees of NTEU-represented agencies impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

All donations made to the NTEU Fund at the Federal Employees Education and Assistance (FEEA) Fund will be doubled—up to $30,000. FEEA is the only organization that provides emergency assistance solely to federal employees.

To apply for assistanceclick here.

To contribute to the NTEU Fundclick here. Donations can also be made by check made out to “FEEA-NTEU Fund” and sent to: FEEA Headquarters, 1641 Prince St., Alexandria, VA 22314. 

I will provide further updates as information is available. We encourage all federal employees and other area residents to heed local warnings and stay safe as response efforts continue. Please share this information with affected NTEU members.

 

Tony Reardon

National President

Monday
Aug142017

NTEU LAWSUIT SEEKS LIFETIME COVERAGE FOR MEMBERS

Tuesday
Aug082017

2017 NTEU National Convention

NTEU Chapter 67 attends the 2017 National Convention. Our chapter won 2nd overall among 31 agencies and departments in the nation for communication. Congratulations!

  

Friday
Aug042017

Reardon to Congress: Stop Cutting IRS Budget

Washington, D.C – Starving the Internal Revenue Service is counterproductive to deficit reduction and to the public because it hinders compliance with tax laws, makes it harder for taxpayers to reach anyone at the IRS and lowers the amount of revenue available to the federal government, the president of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) told Congress Wednesday.

“NTEU knows any further reductions in funding and staffing will further exacerbate the adverse impact previous cuts have had on IRS’ ability to provide taxpayers with the service they need and enforcement of our nation’s tax laws,” NTEU National President Tony Reardon said in testimony submitted to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government.

The subcommittee held a hearing on the fiscal year 2018 Treasury Department budget on Wednesday morning. NTEU is opposed to the administration’s FY 2018 budget because it calls for reducing IRS funding by an additional $260 million below the FY 2017 enacted level and reducing overall staffing by more than 4,200.

Reardon reminded the panel of the harm already done because the IRS has lost nearly 18,000 employees and $1 billion in operating funds since 2010.

There are fewer IRS professionals available to answer phone calls from taxpayers with questions; meet them in person; assist the poor or elderly with filling out their tax returns; combat fraud; and catch scofflaws.

In 2016 and 2017, Congress provided the IRS with an additional $290 million for customer service and to combat identity fraud, which drastically reduced taxpayer wait times and helped the IRS raise the level of service from 38 percent in 2015 to 72 percent and 79 percent respectively in 2016 and 2017.  The administration’s budget calls for reducing seasonal staffing costs by $239 million for the upcoming tax filing year.

According to the IRS, every dollar invested in IRS enforcement programs generates roughly $6 in increased revenues. In FY 2016, IRS enforcement activities brought in $54.3 billion, down almost $5 billion from the $59.2 billion of FY 2007.

“Without sufficient staffing to effectively enforce the law to ensure compliance with tax responsibilities and combat fraud, our voluntary tax compliance system is at risk,” Reardon wrote. “And as the IRS Commissioner has repeatedly noted, a simple one-percent decline in the compliance rate translates into $30 billion in lost revenue for the government.”

Reardon also testified about the tax gap of $450 billion in taxes that are owed but unpaid. 

“At a time when Congress is debating painful choices of program cuts and tax increases to address the federal budget deficit, NTEU believes it makes sense to invest in one of the most effective deficit reduction tools: collecting revenue that is owed, but hasn’t yet been paid,” Reardon wrote.

Finally, Reardon reiterated NTEU’s strong opposition to the renewed Congressional mandate that the IRS use for-profit private contractors to collect overdue federal tax debt, an idea that failed twice before in 1996 and 2006. It wastes money and increases opportunities for identity theft. It also replaces IRS professionals trained in tax compliance with contractors who work on commission, some of whom are known for treating taxpayers harshly and offering unsound financial advice.

“Subjecting taxpayers that are struggling to make ends meet and can’t afford legal representation to private contractors whose sole motivation is to maximize their own profits at the taxpayers’ expense is simply unfair,” Reardon wrote.

NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 31 federal agencies and departments. 

[Source: http://www.nteu.org/]

Friday
Jun302017

THE PEOPLE'S VOICE 2017 VOL. 1 

Read the NTEU Chapter 67 newsletter entitled 'The People's Voice' to stay informed on national and local news affecting federal employees.

 [Click to view 'The People's Voice 2017 Volume 1'

Wednesday
Jun072017

HANDS OFF STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS SAYS NTEU

[details]The National Treasury Employees Union is urging the Trump administration not to get rid of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. The president’s 2018 budget proposes eliminating the program, which forgives remaining student loan balances for employees who work for a government or non-profit organization. But the administration said the program unfairly favors some career choices over others. NTEU said eliminating the program would prevent agencies from recruiting top talent. (National Treasury Employees Union)

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