Legislative Roundup December 2018

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NTEU Chapter 296 Legislative Roundup

This legislative round contains political information. Under the Hatch Act, federal employees
should not participate in partisan political activities while on duty or in a federal building.
However, you can use NTEU’s Action Center to take action on these items (not while on
duty): https://www.nteu.org/legislative-action/priority-issues

The legislative roundup is a compilation of the various communications from NTEU National
including the ebulletin, communications from NTEU President Tony Reardon, NTEU Political
Insider, Status Call, and whatever else they send us. It is intended to answer the question:
So, what does NTEU do outside of our chapter?


NTEU has been following the government shutdown ups-and-downs quite a lot. (I think they sent about 4,391 updates on it.) I just included the latest update from December 13. NTEU will continue to strongly press Congress to prevent a partial government shutdown and approve a pay raise for federal employees for 2019. At the same time, NTEU will work to ensure Congress provides prompt pay for the thousands of frontline federal employees who would be furloughed in the event of a shutdown

 Visit NTEU.org, login and update your personal email and cell phone under the “Manage Account” yellow box on the top of the page.


Item 01:

SUMMARY: Question about Use time that has been scheduled and a possible shutdown:
Q. If an employee has properly scheduled “use-or-lose” annual leave before the start of the third biweekly pay period prior to the end of the leave year, but is unable to use some or all of the scheduled leave because of the furlough, does the furlough constitute an “exigency of the public business” that would permit an agency to restore the leave after the beginning of the new leave year?

A. Employees in this situation should make every effort to reschedule “use-or-lose” annual leave for use before the end of the current leave year. However, if this is not possible due to a lapse in appropriations, agency heads (or their designees) are encouraged to use their discretionary authority to restore any lost annual leave by determining that the employee was prevented from using his or her leave because of an exigency of the public business— namely, the need to furlough employees because of the lapse in appropriations.   

Item 02:
Summary: ELECTION Results and we should all stay involved
The election may be over, but NTEU’s political and legislative involvement has just begun! Check out the last Political Insider blog update of 2018 to read up on some of the new members of Congress who will be taking the oath to serve on Jan. 3.  Many of these incoming members are former federal employees themselves or have worked with federal workers when serving in the military.
However, just because new legislators may be more likely to support federal employees doesn’t mean our work is over. Battles over agency funding, pay increases, pension cuts, and workplace rights are looming. It’s still so important to keep up with Legislative Action Center updates and to stay aware of what your congressional delegation is doing on behalf of federal employees. Even if you live in a congressional district where your representative always votes with NTEU, stay in touch to thank them and to keep them updated on your agency workplace.
And, you should consider donating to TEPAC.  As NTEU’s political action committee, TEPAC helps support the candidates who support the issues you care about: pay, pension and your voice in the workplace.  
Stay tuned for next year’s quarterly Political Insider updates where we’ll be back to talk about presidential primary kickoffs and other preparations for 2020!

Item 03:
SUMMARY: Ebulletin
NTEU’s Ebulletin covers the shutdown, new locality pay areas in 2019, and new Hatch Act guidelines.

Item 04: Shutdown
SUMMARY:  An update is provided on government funding for Fiscal Year 2019 for agencies currently operating under a Continuing Resolution.

Item 05: Legislation
SUMMARY: An official cost estimate has been released for an official time bill.   
(NTEU strongly opposes any legislation to limit or restrict official time given its essential role in providing representation to frontline workers.)

Item 06:
Summary: OSC Clarifies Guidance After NTEU Raises Concerns
After new Hatch Act guidelines on what federal employees can discuss at work were issued, NTEU immediately raised concerns causing the Office of Special Counsel to issue a clarification. The guidelines broadly cautioned federal employees from discussing ‘impeachment’ and ‘the resistance’ while at work, on duty, or in uniform. OSC clarified that Hatch Act investigations are supposed to be fact specific.

While NTEU appreciated the clarification, we remain concerned that broad, general guidance can lead to confusion among employees. We intend to closely monitor the implementation of this guidance to make sure individual employees are not adversely impacted, National President Tony Reardon said.

Meanwhile, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland and the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Special Counsel Henry Kerner urging him to rescind the guidance. Cummings said the guidance is a radical departure from past guidance and is certain to have a chilling impact on federal employees.

Item 07:
Summary: NTEU's letter to OPM asking about ongoing protection for 2015 data breach victims sent a message. OPM has now announced plans to extended contract coverage for enrollees in identity theft protection and credit morning services through June 30, 2019, as the agency shops for new contracts

Item 08:
Summary:  NTEU’s publication Status Call
has updates on: Customs Border Protection and expanded bargaining, the anti-union executive orders, IRS overtime grievances, OPM Data Breach appeal, and premium pay denials

Item 09: Pay
SUMMARY:  OPM is issuing the final rule to establish six new locality pay areas in 2019.


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