Defense 14 Press
July 12th, 2019
3.1% Pay Increase! - A Press Release on June 26, 2019, states that Federal employees would see larger paychecks and many of their agencies, including the IRS, would have more resources under legislation approved today by the House. The Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill, endorsed by the National Treasury Employees Union, would provide a 2.6 percent raise across the board, plus 0.5 percent toward locality pay, for an average increase of 3.1 percent. The raise would equal what is currently proposed for members of the military.
November 27th, 2018
Favorable Arbitration Decision - We recently received a favorable arbitration decision regarding a grievance on the IRS’ decision to deny a member’s performance award for the FY 2016 rating period on the basis of admitted misconduct in an Alternative Discipline Agreement.
NTEU asserted that the IRS violated Article 18, Section 1.C. of the National Agreement when it denied the performance award. Article 18, Section 1.C. and Side Letters provide that an employee who “is the subject of a conduct investigation or has been the subject of a disciplinary action” will not be denied a performance award unless the denial “is necessary to protect the integrity of the Service.” The arbitrator found the denial was not necessary to protect the integrity of the service, in part, because the agency presented no evidence that the public knew or could know of the misconduct.
Senate Finance Committee introduced S. 3246, the “Taxpayer First Act,” which would reform certain administrative practices at the IRS - This new legislation does not include any provisions to alter employee performance management systems, restrict frontline employee awards, or rollback employee due process and representation rights. The two main personnel provisions of interest to NTEU are:
A provision that would prohibit the IRS from hiring individuals who have previously been removed by the agency for misconduct, unacceptable performance, or for violating one of the so-called Ten Deadly Sins under the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998. Unlike past versions of similar language, this change would apply prospectively to any individuals hired after this bill’s date of enactment and would not impact anyone currently employed by the IRS. Earlier language to extend the re-hiring prohibition to individuals who have voluntarily separated following a proposed removal for misconduct or performance is no longer included.
The second provision would require taxpayer notification by Treasury if there is a proposed administrative determination for discipline or adverse action against an IRS employee owing to the individual’s unauthorized inspection or disclosure of a taxpayer’s return or return information.
June 12th, 2018
House Appropriations Committee Approves FY 2019 Spending Bill - Recently, the House Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2019 Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) spending bill which includes funding for various NTEU-represented agencies, including the IRS, SEC and CFPB, as well as government-wide provisions that impact the entire federal workforce.
The full committee made no substantive changes to the subcommittee-approved bill, which would provide the IRS with a total of $11.6 billion for FY 2019, $186 million more than the current FY 2018 enacted level, and notably $481 million above the administration’s request. This includes $77 million to carry out the new tax law that may be allocated to the taxpayer service, enforcement or operations support accounts.
For the SEC, the bill provides an appropriation of $1.66 billion for the Commission to perform its important duties in protecting investors and maintaining market fairness, which NTEU does not believe is sufficient. The bill also funds FCC, FEC and other bureaus of the Treasury Department at expected levels.
We are also disappointed the bill remains silent on providing federal workers with a pay raise for January 2019, and that the measure would place CFPB under the appropriations process. During consideration of the bill, the committee also rejected by voice vote an NTEU-supported amendment from Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) to strike language that weakens financial regulatory agencies.
In advance of the full committee action, NTEU sent a letter to every member of the committee urging support for amendments to increase funding for the IRS and the SEC, to protect the CFPB, and to provide federal workers with a much-needed pay raise for FY 2019 and to extend the current moratorium on new A-76 competitions. A copy of the letter is attached for your review. In a win for protecting federal jobs against administration attempts to outsource federal functions to the private sector, Representative Matt Cartwright (D-PA) successfully added in NTEU-supported language to the bill to continue the A-76 moratorium government-wide for FY 2019.
Prior to full House consideration of the FSGG bill, NTEU will continue to make clear the importance of providing a decent pay increase for federal workers for 2019, ensuring the IRS, SEC and CFPB receive the proper resources for FY 2019 to enable them to carry out their important missions on behalf of the American public, and to oppose any provisions that undermine federal employee workplace protections, and their ability to do their jobs.
Senators Send Letter in Opposition to OPM-Requested Retirement Cuts - On June 13th, 26 Senators sent a letter to Dr. Jeff Pon, the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, opposing the proposed retirement changes OPM sent to Speaker Ryan in early May.
Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), joined by a group of 24 other Democratic Senators and one Independent, has sent a letter to the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Dr. Jeff Pon. Last month, Director Pon transmitted language to Speaker Paul Ryan, that would be needed by Congress to implement through law the administration’s proposed retirement changes. These devastating proposals include increasing FERS employee contributions by approximately 7 percent (translating into a substantial 7% pay cut for all current employees), eliminating the FERS supplement for employees who retire before age 62, including for CBP Officers and other employees subject to mandatory retirement, reducing monthly CSRS and FERS pensions by moving from a high-3 to a high-5 formula, eliminating cost-of-living-adjustments (COLAs) for all FERS retirees, and substantially reducing COLAs for CSRS retirees, threatening federal retiree income security.
The letter, backed by NTEU, pokes holes in OPM’s assertions that federal compensation is higher than that provided in the private sector, and rightfully argues that the proposed cuts are instead about trying to balance the budget on the backs of federal employees. The Senators also make the point that the retirement cut proposals would have a negative effect on the government’s ability to recruit and retain skilled professionals at federal agencies.
NTEU Chapter 14 will continue to work with our congressional allies to block advancement of these harmful retirement cuts.
December 8th, 2017
Government Shutdown Averted...For Now - On Friday, December 8th, Congressional leadership passed a two-week government funding bill last night avoiding a government shutdown. Now all eyes are on December 22nd and whether President Donald Trump and congressional leaders can come to an agreement. How much longer will this foolishness continue?
Last Minute Decisions on Your 2018 FEHB Choice - December 11th is approaching and your weekend plans do not include spending hours poring over boring and unreadable insurance documents, trying to remember the difference between co-insurance and co-payments, trying to translate bi-weekly premium amounts into annual amounts that you can compare to annual deductibles and annual catastrophic spending limits, or on trying to compare 34 health plans in the (well St. Louis) metro area to each other for every ailment affecting everyone in your family. There are better things to do, like watching football games of teams that have a chance to get into the playoffs (not that have an NFL team of our own anymore), getting some Christmas shopping done in the never-ending “after Black Friday” sales, and following the latest sex scandals among the high and mighty. So please accept our friendly reminder that the deadline is almost here! It's important to make selections that make sense for you and your family.
Attention ALL Seasonal Employees on Furlough - Management has alerted us that calls will begin today for your return! Scheduled return date is January 2nd, 2018! Please plan accordingly!
December 5th, 2017
Government Shutdown Imminent - On Friday, December 8th, the current Continuing Resolution (CR) funding federal agencies will expire. Congress must vote to pass a CR, an omnibus appropriations bill, or some combination thereof, and the President must sign the measure into law, to avert a shutdown.
House Republican leaders today postponed action on a short-term CR, as they do not currently have the votes for their planned CR through December 22nd. A faction of the House Republican caucus is instead promoting a CR through December 30th, and talks are ongoing within the caucus to determine what short-term funding measure can pass on the House floor. A Thursday meeting is also currently scheduled between the President and Senate Majority Leader McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Schumer, Speaker Ryan, and House Minority Leader Pelosi. In addition to immediate funding issues, these discussions center on sequestration (the so-called spending caps for FY18 and beyond), the debt limit, funding levels for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2018, and immigration and health care issues.
NTEU is urging Congress and the President to avert a shutdown, and to act so that federal employees are paid on time. NTEU strongly supports Senator Cardin’s (D-MD) legislation, S. 861, that requires all federal employees to receive back pay in the event there is a shutdown. The bill also provides for the availability of leave for those who remain on the job during a shutdown. A similar House bill will be re-introduced this week by Representatives Beyer (D-VA) and Wittman (R-VA).
As we approach Friday’s funding deadline, we will keep you updated on developments.
November 21st, 2017
Please Pardon The Delays - With hurricanes plaguing our southeast, crazy "Tweets" from Capitol Hill and looming government shutdowns, your Chapter Leaders have been monitoring during technical difficulties. But now we're back, answering your e-mailed questions/concerns and will share all the latest & greatest through the media platforms you love!
The Thrift Savings Plan Gets Modernized - Federal employees will soon have more choices in how they manage their Thrift Savings Plan accounts after the president signed the TSP Modernization Act into law. NTEU was a leading advocate for this legislation, which will provide TSP account holders with better withdrawal options and allow them to make the best financial decisions for their families.
This legislation allows active federal employees to make multiple age-based withdrawals and remain eligible for partial withdrawals once they leave government employment. Those who left the federal workforce can make multiple partial post-separation withdrawals. And it allows those receiving monthly payments to change the amount or frequency of their payment at any time, rather than just once a year.
The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board now has two years to implement the changes. NTEU, as a member of the Employee Thrift Advisory Council, is already working with the board to speed up the process and implement the changes as soon as possible.
The TSP Modernization Act had broad bipartisan congressional support and is a victory for federal employees and NTEU.
A Message From The National President
"As we celebrate Thanksgiving, I wanted to take the time to let you know that I am extremely grateful for your service as NTEU leaders.
Choosing to lead the fight for your colleagues and members is no easy job. Because of your dedication and service to NTEU each day, you make a difference in the lives of federal employees in your workplaces and across the nation.
But it’s not just your members who appreciate your hard work. I do, too. I am thankful for your insight, vast knowledge of your agencies, service on bargaining teams and your deep commitment to NTEU.
We’ve faced many challenges this year, and because of the strength of your chapters, we’ve met them head-on. Members look to you for leadership and guidance in presenting a united front to Congress, agency management and the administration. I have no doubt that we will continue to be the strong, loud and proud voice for federal employees.
Thank you for stepping up, thank you for taking on the daily fights and thank you for contributing to NTEU’s continued success. To you and your families, I wish you a safe and very Happy Thanksgiving." - Tony
June 13th, 2017
Admin Leave & Telework Procedures - With the hurricane and wildfire season upon us, many of our bargaining unit employees unfortunately may be faced with a weather emergency sometime in the next few months. We want to reach out to our membership and remind them of two significant provisions in Article 36 (Administrative Leave) and Article 50 (Telework).
First, Article 36, Section 15 of the National Agreement addresses office closures and emergencies. Section 15B states that employees who are prevented by emergency conditions from arriving at work when their post-of-duty is not closed may request administrative leave by submitting Form 10837, Request for Administrative Leave Due to Emergency Conditions, “or other documentation.” Requests for administrative leave should provide information regarding the six factors listed in Article 36, Section 15B. Employees should maintain a complete copy of any such written request, as well as any response from the agency. Chapters should also familiarize their membership with the contract provisions concerning delayed openings and early closures that are set forth in Article 36, Sections 15G and 15H. Should any administrative leave request be denied in violation of the National Agreement, these records will be very useful evidence for any potential grievance or arbitration.
Next, under Article 50, employees who are telework ready (have executed a Frequent or Recurring Telework agreement and also have the necessary equipment and work files at the telework location at the time of the emergency) may be required to telework when the POD is closed due to a weather emergency. However, under Article 50, Section 7A, an employee who is teleworking but is prevented from working by the same emergency condition that closed the office (for example, where a power outage forces the closure of an office, and that same power outage prevents a telework employee from completing his or her work assignments at home), that telework employee will be provided the same amount of administrative leave granted employees who were working in the closed facility. (This same provision is duplicated in Article 36, Section 15F.) The National Agreement states that employees claiming administrative leave under Article 50, Section 7A may be responsible for providing “appropriate documentation in support” of their claims for administrative leave. Accordingly, as a best practice, teleworking employees who are affected by the same conditions that closed the office should inform their supervisors by e-mail or other written means that the emergency condition has impacted the telework site, that the employee is prevented from teleworking, and the employee is therefore entitled to administrative leave for the hours they were prevented from working pursuant to Article 50, Section 7A of the 2016 National Agreement. If the supervisor requests appropriate documentation, news reports of blackouts affecting the area, photos of damage to the telework site, and other similar sources should suffice. Employees should keep a copy of the written documentation in their own records.
April 18th, 2017
Psst! Increase our funding Congress - From WASHINGTON, we understand that 48 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking member of the House Appropriations subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government urging increased funding for the IRS in FY’18. Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) and 47 of his colleagues in the House sent an NTEU-supported letter to the Chairman and Ranking member of the House Appropriations subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government requesting $12.9 billion in funding for the IRS in FY’18. A copy of the letter is attached for your review.
In their letter to the subcommittee which has jurisdiction over funding matters related to the IRS, the members noted recent budget cuts have diminished the agency’s ability to combat identity theft and other types of refund fraud, provide quality taxpayer services and has limited the IRS’s enforcement of tax laws.
The letter notes that providing increased funding for the IRS in FY’18 would help restore taxpayer services to acceptable levels, enable further agency efforts to combat identity theft, and help generate revenue necessary to fund our government.
NTEU Chapter 14 appreciates the strong support for increasing funding for the IRS in FY’18 and was happy to work with Representative Ellison to generate support for his letter. We will continue working with our supporters in Congress to ensure that the IRS is provided with the necessary resources to meet its taxpayer service and enforcement missions.
White House Office of American Innovation - SUMMARY: The White House is establishing an Office of American Innovation to reform the federal government through private sector solutions.
Recently, President Donald Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum establishing the White House Office of American Innovation (OAI). Headed by Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to the President, and consisting of several other senior White House staff, the OAI’s mission is to make recommendations to the President on policies and plans that improve government operations and services, improve the quality of life for Americans, and spur private sector job creation. It is responsible for launching initiatives with a focus on innovation, coordinating implementation of any resulting plans, and creating reports for the President setting forth policy recommendations. In carrying out these activities and producing these reports, the OAI is to gather information, ideas, and experiences from other parts of government, from the private sector, and from other thought leaders and experts outside of the federal government. According to media reports, the innovation group has already been meeting twice a week, and they have already hosted meetings with private sector chief executives whose expertise they hope to tap for the effort. Areas they hope to tackle include overhauling Veterans’ Affairs, improving workforce development and targeting opioid addiction.
NTEU Chapter 14 is concerned that the OAI’s efforts to harness private sector solution will translate into efforts to outsource federal jobs and operations. We have long maintained that federal employees, given the appropriate tools and resources, do the work of the federal government better and more efficiently than any private entity. NTEU will continue to focus our efforts on leveling the playing field, improving the accountability and transparency of contractors within the federal contracting system, and ensuring that frontline federal workers, who are often in the best position to recommend changes to help improve efficiency and save taxpayer dollars, are included in the discussion.
All’s Quiet on the FEHB Front…for now. - The FEHB program would not have been directly affected by the proposal in the House, now abandoned, to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
The FEHB operates under a separate set of laws dating to the 1950s, and the ACA’s main impact on it was to allow adult children to remain on a parent’s coverage until they turn age 26, four years later than the prior cutoff. The FEHB still can be changed either through legislation or through administrative action, though. President Trump has proposed no legislation so far regarding the FEHB nor have members of Congress offered bills on their own. However, such proposals–including potentially shifting more of the premium cost to enrollees–could yet come since the administration has yet to release a full budget proposal. Less substantial changes to FEHB are set by an annual “call letter” from OPM to the insurance industry; that letter was issued in January, as one of the last acts of the outgoing Obama administration, several months earlier than normal. The Trump administration could issue a revised version, since the formal proposals aren’t due to OPM from the insurance companies until the end of May. After that negotiations begin toward specific coverage and premium terms announced in the fall and effective with the following calendar year.
Furlough Lesson from the Past: Uncertainty Is Certain
The furloughs caused by the 2013 “sequestration” budget limits followed the failure of political leaders to agree on other ways to meet deficit targets set in an earlier budget agreement. The response varied widely among agencies because of their budget situations–including sources of funding apart from regular appropriations in some cases. Some didn’t impose any furloughs, and others did, mostly ranging between one and seven days. In general, those days were scattered over several months, although some gave affected employees the option to set their own schedules, within limits. Further, certain positions, mainly involved in security, safety and health, were walled off and those employees were kept at work on paid status; however, there were weeks or months of uncertainty until that was sorted out over who would be furloughed and who wouldn’t. Even when employees knew they were to be furloughed there was extended uncertainty over when and how long; also, some agencies revised their plans several times even after starting furloughs. One outcome of it all was a surge of appeals filed before the MSPB, which ruled that management has wide discretion over furloughs and sided with employees only in a few cases involving agencies not following their own policies. The last furloughs due to a partial government shutdown (one is threatened as soon as late April 2017) also happened in 2013, when a budget was not in place for the October 1 start of the new fiscal year. Again, the response varied by the agency’s funding and certain positions were exempt–but in that case, employees kept on the job were working unpaid. While all employees were later paid for the shutdown period regardless of whether they had stayed on the job, those furloughed due to the sequester permanently lost salary for those days. In each, some 800,000 employees were furloughed, although not necessarily the same ones.
January 24th, 2017
Just after the Inauguration - From WASHINGTON – National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) National President Tony Reardon made statements about the new administrations first official action.
“A hiring freeze will be harmful and counterproductive, increasing backlogs, decreasing service quality and causing more frustration for Americans seeking help from their government,” said Reardon. “Our government depends upon highly-trained and experienced federal workers being able to carry on with their important work. This puts up a substantial roadblock for agencies.”
While President Donald J. Trump held a televised signing, the Executive Order has not been made available to the public so the details are unknown at this point.
“Arbitrary cuts will leave agencies scrambling to serve the public. A hiring freeze takes away the agencies’ ability to make strategic decisions about their workforce,” said Reardon. “The American people rely on the work that federal workers do to protect our food, medicines, our air and water, to safeguard our nuclear weapons and our economy, to assist the most vulnerable senior citizens and young children, and to ensure taxpayers have the help they need.”
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed a series of hiring freezes and concluded that they disrupted agency operations and diminished federal oversight of programs.
A hiring freeze would have the opposite impact than intended and would decrease transparency, efficiency and accountability in the federal government. The loss of mission-critical skills, exacerbated by an impending retirement wave, is also a looming danger.
“Attrition is already taking a heavy toll at many federal agencies as employees depart and there is no replacement to take on the work. Freezing federal hiring could lead to disastrous short-term and long-term impacts and the American people will suffer,” said Reardon.
“Many of our agencies are already experiencing severe staffing shortages as a result of budget cuts and sequestration.”
In other news - The 2017 National Legislative Committee has been chosen! And one of our very own has been chosen to represent the various chapters across our great nation. Please help us in congratulating Sharon Wilbert!
December 20th, 2016
This Year's Celebration? The After Party (huge success) - The 2016 year has come and gone! The After Party in Frontenac was filled with laughs, great food with drinks and dancing! See our "2016 Holiday Party" tab for more details!
OPM Changes Creditable Service Rule – In the news, Effective December 8, 2016, there will no longer be a requirement for creditable service to be “substantially continuous” for career tenure purposes and references to the 30-day break in service rule will be eliminated. As a result, under the new rule, all federal service will be credited toward career tenure regardless of whether or not there is a break in service, and employees will be eligible to receive career tenure after completing three years of total creditable service as described in 5 CFR 315.201(b). Currently, a single break in creditable service of more than 30 calendar days requires the beginning of a new three-year period, except in limited circumstances.
2017 Locality Pay Increase – For St. Louis & St. Charles Missouri and Farmington Illinois it will be 2.18%. The President sent Congressional leaders a second letter transmitting revised alternative locality pay rates for calendar year 2017 for federal civilian workers in the General Schedule. This newer alternative pay plan for locality pay increased the average locality pay rate for 2017 from the previous 0.6% to 1.1%. The across-the-board pay raise will continue to be 1%, translating to an average cumulative pay raise of 2.1% for 2017.
NTEU worked closely with key congressional lawmakers to urge the administration to issue higher locality pay rates for federal employees once it became clear that military personnel would be receiving an average 2.1% pay adjustment in 2017 under the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. The pay parity principle—that ensures the U.S. government pay its military and civilian workers on the same footing—has long been championed by NTEU and federal employee-friendly lawmakers.
It is important to note that the 1.1% locality pay figure is an average number, meaning some areas would receive locality pay increases below this figure, while others would receive locality pay rate increases slightly above this figure.
Names requested of DOE employees on climate change (12/14/2016) – This was an event for which National President Tony Reardon appeared on CNN and ABC. The request that reportedly came from the incoming administration’s transition team to the Department of Energy for the names of individual federal employees who worked on climate change is causing a great deal of concern. NTEU represents many of these employees and they have a lot of questions about what this request means and who is requesting this information. Chapters sent a letter to Secretary Moniz requesting that the names not be turned over and the Department has refused to do so, but that does not mean the issue is resolved.
This morning, Reardon appeared on CNN to discuss the issue and explain why DOE employees are upset and why integrity and independence from politics are so important to their work. Additionally, he taped an interview with Brian Ross of ABC News for a story scheduled for this evening’s edition of ABC News which airs at 6:30 local times. It was stressed that DOE employees are nonpartisan and that civil servants are there to serve the public. This afternoon, CNN, CQ and other media outlets reported that the Trump transition team had disavowed the questionnaire seeking information on individual employees. NTEU is always committed to protecting the rights of our members and we will be vigilant during the change of administrations.
President’s Video Message – On December 13th, 2016, President Obama issued a special message aimed at recognizing and thanking the federal workforce for their dedication to public service and their everyday contributions to the nation. We’ve placed this video on our website for your viewing pleasure. Please see the Video14 portal under the Defense Team tab.
October 25th, 2016
Got a great dress? How about a nice suit?! (fellas) - The 2016 Holiday Party is set! Come to The After Party in Frontenac on December 10th, 2016! See our "2016 Holiday Party" tab for more details!
September 13th, 2016
Results Are In! - The 2016 NTEU Chapter 14 Elections are complete!
President - Pam Sturm - uncontested
Vice President - Nick Pegues - uncontested
Director of Communication - Chris Ziegler - uncontested
Director of Finance - Sylvester Niblett - uncontested
Director of Member Affairs - Hope Flowers - 65
Newly Executive Board
Kevin Flood - 84
Danny Tate - 82
Annette Greenlee - 80
Sharon Wilbert - 72
Silva Fisher-Griffin - 70
Ellen Reis - 68
Evelyn Miller - 68
Marvin Taylor - 59
Director of Member Affairs - Melanie Davis - 30
Merce Roach - 57
Sharon Watson - 52
Skyler Biver - 50
Yvonne Searcy - 24
Beth Ann Klueter
Election Committee Chair
Coming to the Chapter Watch Party on September 26th? Click HERE for Watch Party Details ! !