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NTEU ACTION CENTER
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.

Friday
Jul072017

Support for Federal Pay and Pensions Grows

9 Republicans in the House join more than 100 House Democrats in their support for federal employees. In a letter that was sent on June 17 to the House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Keven McCarthy, it was noted that over 30% of all federal employees are military veterans. Also, noting that such changes would break a promise made by the United States to current and retired employees.

Federal employees have already suffered pay freezes, reduced pay increases, increased contributions to retirement, and unpaid furloughs. The letter cited past legislation that has already cost $182 billon to federal employees.

The President’s FY 2018 budget proposal would:

  • Increase retirement contributions by 6% with no additional benefit. This equals an immediate and permanent 6% pay cut.
  • Reduce (CSRS) or eliminate (FERS) the cost of living increase for current or future federal retirees.
  • Adjust the retirement calculation from the highest 3 years of salary to 5 years. Which would lower your expected retirement payments.

At the end of the letter the 9 House Republicans state; No one needs to remind us of the deficit and debt problem our nation faces, but federal employees are an easy political target. In more ways than one, they have already repeatedly given at the office.”

With growing support for the federal workforce, it is somewhat assuring to know that attempts to go after pay and pensions again will be met with bi-partisan resistance.

Tuesday
Aug252015

Legislative efforts reflect a push to limit rights, workplace protections

Full articlePersistent congressional efforts to cut back workplace protections for federal employees advanced when the House voted to dilute due process rights for Department of Veterans Affairs employees.

Wednesday’s debate was similar to one last year when Congress approved a law that included an even harsher attack on due process for VA Senior Executive Service members. That effort and this one also are part of a growing push on Capitol Hill to limit the rights, pay and workplace protections for feds across the government.

                                           [Source: Joe Davidson Washington Post]

Tuesday
Jun302015

The President Signs Bills that Modernize U.S. Trade Policy

Thursday
Jun182015

New Leave Flexibility for Parents

Tuesday
Jan272015

Call to modernize leave policies for federal employees

Pointing out the fact that the U.S. lags behind almost every country in ensuring some form of paid parental leave, and that workplace flexibilities help in recruiting and retaining employees, the President issued an Executive Memorandum directing agencies to ensure that their policies offer 240 hours of advanced sick leave in connection with the birth or adoption of a child or for other sick leave eligible uses.  In addition, the memo directs agencies to offer the maximum amount of advanced annual leave permitted by law for bonding with a healthy newborn or newly adopted child.  Sick and annual leave as described in the memo have generally been available at the discretion of the manager.  The memo should make it easier for federal employees to take advantage of these flexibilities.  OPM is tasked with issuing guidance on these directives within 60 days. 

             The memo also urges agencies to consider offering access to programs that provide affordable emergency backup dependent care.  Finally, the memo directs agencies to use discretionary flexibilities to the maximum extent possible.

             The White House also indicated that the President will be sending legislation on paid parental leave for federal employees to the Hill in the near future.  While NTEU supports the President’s memo on paid parental leave, those actions are limited by federal law.  New law is needed for a paid parental leave program that will provide the same kind of benefit enjoyed by parents in the rest of the developed world.  Since 2003, Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) has introduced bills, supported by NTEU, to provide paid parental leave to federal employees.  We look forward to the President’s version.   I will provide updates as they become available.

 

                                                                                     - Colleen M. Kelley NTEU National President

Tuesday
Dec162014

IRS Funding Cut for fifth consecutive year

I am deeply disappointed in Congress’ decision to slash the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) budget to $10.9 billion—a reduction of 3 percent. In fact, this is the fifth consecutive year that Congress has cut the IRS budget, while staffing declines and workloads mount. These cuts are devastating to the IRS’ ability to accomplish its mission. The original House-passed bill, which would have funded the IRS at an irresponsible $9.8 billion, a reduction of $1.5 billion below the current level, made it nearly impossible for the Senate to keep its proposed increase of $236 million in the final bill.

Since the IRS collects 93 percent of the revenue that funds all of government, this should be of grave concern to every American. Congress has made it very difficult for the IRS to operate effectively and for employees to do their jobs. NTEU was very vocal in its objections to these cuts and will now work with the agency to minimize the impact on the IRS workforce. 

                                                                            -Colleen M. Kelley NTEU National President

Tuesday
Dec162014

Federal pay 

On a positive note, H.R. 83 ensures that federal employees will receive a 1 percent pay raise in January. While this is far less than you deserve, until this bill was approved, there were no guarantees that the president’s recommended raise would remain in place. NTEU believes the increase should be higher and that remains a top priority for the union. I am grateful for the leadership of Sen. Barbara Mikulski who worked to ensure the federal pay raise would remain intact.

                                                                            -Colleen M. Kelley NTEU National President

Tuesday
Dec162014

Congressional Failure

As the fiscal brinksmanship continues, so does NTEU’s fight for the resources you need to do your jobs. Given the critical work performed by you and your colleagues, it is extremely frustrating that some in Congress continue to insist on cuts to agency budgets and employee compensation. NTEU is here to speak for you on these critical issues and to ensure that your concerns are brought to the attention of lawmakers. As we prepare for the coming session of Congress, you can be sure that we will continue to fight for fair pay and appropriate funding.

                                                                            -Colleen M. Kelley NTEU National President

Wednesday
Oct082014

Vote in 2014! It could impact your job, pay, benefits, and retirement!

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