...Defense 14 storms Capitol Hill
For Federal Employees...
For A Stronger Union 2017 - Chapter 14
Chapter Leaders on the Hill
At the 2017 Legislative Conference, your Chapter 14 leaders met with your representatives of Congress from both Illinois and Missouri. The Legislative team this year, included Legislative co-chairs Evelyn Miller and Sharon Wilbert, your Chapter President - Pamela Sturm, Executive Vice President - Nicholas Pegues, Chief Steward - Chris Ziegler, Director of Member Affairs - Hope Flowers and Chapter Stewards - Danny Tate and E. Gene Miller.
Representatives for the Illinois delegation met with representatives from Congressman Mike Bost, Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin. Representatives for the Missouri Delegation met with Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay and representatives for Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt. Missouri Congresswoman Ann Wagner and Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer failed to allow NTEU to meet with them. At each visit, we outlined the set legislative agenda for the week and also expressed how we “their constituents” are affected by the policies being introduced and made law that are harmful to federal employees. We further explained that an additional $1 billion dollar cut will continue to negatively affect us as federal employees in our professional and private lives.
Within the next few weeks, we hope to follow-up with our representatives while they are on a recess from Capitol Hill and remind them of our legislative agenda.
Chapter 14 Leaders convene with Senator Claire McCaskill
Chapter 14 Leaders convene with Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay
Chapter 14 Leaders convene with Senators Tammy Duckworth & Richard Durbin
Director of Member Affairs & Legislative Coordinator share ideas with Congressman Clay
Chapter 14 President & Legislative Coordinator with Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton and Tony Reardon
More than 350 federal employees from around the country attended NTEU's 2017 Legislative Conference in Washington D.C., urging Congress for fair pay, secure pensions, and a commitment to agency missions, affordable health insurance and workplace fairness.
The theme for this years’ conference, “FOR A STRONGER UNION,” serves as a clarion call for NTEU delegates, who visited members of Congress to demand action on NTEU’s legislative priorities. Activities for the three day conference also included training workshops and a rally Thursday on the west lawn of Capitol Hill.
During the opening session, Wednesday morning, NTEU National President Tony Reardon stated, “there is no better way to preserve and promote our democracy than by making sure that working Americans have the freedom to build and join strong unions and work together for dignity, respect, justice and fair treatment.”
Congressman Mike Quigley (from Illinois), Congressman Joe Crowley (from New York) joined President Reardon for the opening session. Crowley is chair of the House Democratic Caucus and a member of the House Ways and Means committee. Quigley is the Democratic Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government.
Quigley encourage the NTEU leaders to battle back against efforts to denigrate the value of the federal workforce. “What you do matters. I need to make government as efficient as possible and I need to make what you do as meaningful as possible and have you treated appropriately and paid appropriately and treated with the respect your deserve.”
Congressman Crowley said it is important for NTEU members to remind their members of Congress about the service they perform every day as a way to combat plans to shrink the workforce. “We the American people trust you in running the day-to-day operations of government so implicitly that we don’t even think about it.”
Crowley also said, “This is both a badge of honor but also a curse in that the work you do can be taken for granted because we just trust it will be there and you will be there when we need you.”
“Today we fight for our agency missions and for the services we provide to the public,” Reardon said. “One strong union dedicated to the success of another strong union.”
NTEU’s legislative agenda was set earlier this year by the union’s Legislative Advisory Committee. It includes supporting a federal pay raise, opposing cuts in retirement and health care programs, protecting due process rights and fighting for adequate funding to help agencies accomplish their missions.
Reardon acknowledged the challenges when a new administration takes office, especially one that institutes a hiring freeze and threatens deep workforce reductions. And there are proposals in Congress to wipe out entire agencies, cut employee retirement benefits and weaken collective bargaining.
“So we need to fight harder, to defend our work and our rights,” Reardon said. He commended federal employees for maintaining their commitment to public service, even when their profession is under attack.
“Yet in the midst of all this uncertainty, Social Security checks are delivered, tax refunds are processed, new medicines are approved, Ponzi schemes are shut down and so much more,” Reardon said. “You don’t see these things on the nightly news or on your Facebook feed, but it is the people at this conference that have our backs and keep our country running smoothly day in and day out.”
Reardon encouraged the NTEU members to reach out to members of Congress in their districts and use personal stories about their work to gain support for federal employee issues and agency budgets.
“Federal employees do their best every day and in the process of doing just another day’s work, you make history, you change the world,” Reardon said.
Executive Vice President with NTEU National President Tony Reardon
Chapter 14 Leaders convene to map out Hill visits
Legislative Advisory Committee vote on 2017 Priorities
Legislative Coordinator Sharon Wilbert shares thoughts with NTEU Media
Chief Steward Chris Ziegler & Steward E. Gene Miller meet with office of Tammy Duckworth
Taking The Fight Home
“Because of what you do every day, every American has a better future,” the NTEU leader said. “But today, too many federal employees like many middle-class Americans, are working harder than ever but are not able to make ends meet,” President Reardon said.
Earlier in January, NTEU’s Legislative Advisory Council set the union’s agenda for the rest of this year. More than 350 NTEU members attending the legislative conference this week will advocate for the union’s five goals: Protecting federal retirement from egregious attacks, seeking adequate funding for agencies in fiscal year (FY) 2017, fighting for a fair and meaningful federal pay raise, safeguarding federal health benefits and beating back efforts to eliminate workplace rights and weaken federal unions.
NTEU members are proud of the work they do on behalf of their country, but not everyone in Congress appreciates the sacrifices made by the federal workforce, President Reardon said. “We can change that dynamic."
The NTEU leader continued by saying, “We’re working for a better future, not just for ourselves, but for the citizens of this great country you serve so diligently each day. That is why you signed up for federal service.”
"If federal employees don’t speak up, some in Congress may never understand, much less appreciate, the work they do or treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve," Reardon said.
“Between pay cuts and increased retirement contributions, federal workers have contributed more than $182 billion towards budget savings,” he said.
“NTEU has blocked many attempts to do even more damage, but the pressure is relentless and that is why we must raise our voices together in unyielding resistance to actions that would harm the federal workforce."
What we have is an organization...a Union, that loves its employees and will continue to fight on your behalf. You, as a federal employee, have enough to worry about in servicing the American Public. Not to mention, the service with limited resources, limited or frozen pay and constant Congressional bashing. We appreciate your hard work and will continue to press the issues important to your work-life and home-life.
- NTEU Chapter 14