NTEU Chapter 296 Legislative Roundup

 

NTEU Chapter 296 Legislative Roundup

2018-06-24

Click on "More Details" at the bottom of the post  to get the summary with all of the attachments (50 page pdf file)

 

Topics:

Executive Orders

NPS News

House Actions

Senate Actions

White House Actions (other than the executive orders)

 

Executive Orders

 

NTEU is deeply concerned about the three executive orders issued by the President on May 25, 2018. These executive orders ignore statutory requirements, and are designed to gut the collective bargaining process in the federal sector, and to eliminate the ability of elected individuals to effectively represent their co-workers.

 

First: EO on official time –EO 13837:

 

  • eliminates time for union representatives to ensure that the agency is living up to its contractual obligations and eliminated time for employees to contact members of Congress about workplace issues, pay, benefits, and conditions.

 

Second: EO on collective bargaining – 13838:

  • creates a “labor management group”: that will dictate agencies’ bargaining proposals, directs agencies to unilaterally impose proposals if unions don’t agree to agency proposals, and more

 

Third EO on “Streamlining removals”

  • Excludes performance appraisals, awards, QSIs and incentive payments from grievance procedures, giving agencies total discretion in these areas.

  • Excludes removals from the grievance procedure, and more . . . so much more.

 

 

What these mean:

  • Elimination of rights like AWS, telework, fair promotions, fair appraisals, equitable overtime assignments and transit subsidies because those rights cannot be enforced.

  • Undermine due process protections that are critical to ensuring that the government operates based on merit systems principles, not patronage and favoritism.

 

What NTEU is doing:

  • To date, we have alerted members, filed a lawsuit, are building support on Capitol Hill against the EOs, prepared our bargaining strategy and engaged with the media.

  • NTEU worked to educated Capitol Hill on the harm these executive orders will have on federal employees and the public. Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-8) organized a letter on behalf of 21 House Republican members opposing the EOs and asking the President to rescind them. Representative Elijah Cummings (MD-7) rallied House Democratic leadership also urging the White House to reverse course on the Eos.

  • On June 8: NTEU filed a motion with the court asking that the challenged executive order provisions be preliminarily enjoined. If granted, this motion would prevent the unlawful sections of the orders from being implemented until the court has a chance to evaluate fully NTEU’s legal arguments.

  • June 15th NTEU expanded the legal challenge to the Executive Orders. The Judge consolidated the lawsuits by NTEU and other federal unions into once case (a decision that NTEU supports). The court is expected to issue a ruling by the end of July.

  • June 19th: 45 Democratic Senators sent a letter urging the administration to rescind these Eos.

 

What Members can do:

  • Urge your members of Congress to co-sponsor legislation, S. 2340 and H.R. 4878, to reinstate the labor-management forums that President Trump abolished last year

  • Use NTEU’s Action center to contact Congress. It’s fun, easy, and takes almost no time!

http://action.nteu.org/?2

 

 

Find the NTEU talking points memo on our website at:

http://www.nteu296.com/executive-orders-attack-federal-employees-and-federal-unions.html

 

 

Related articles:

https://www.nteu.org/eo-member-message

https://www.nteu.org/media-center/news-releases/2018/06/14/hill-letters-on-eos

https://www.nteu.org/executive-order
https://www.nteu.org/manage-my-chapter/executiveorder

https://www.govexec.com/management/2018/06/federal-judge-consolidates-executive-order-lawsuits-schedules-hearing/149134/?oref=top-story

 

 

 

Senate Committee Ranking Members Respond to Trump Executive Orders by Standing with Federal Employees

 

Summary:

Following the President’s issuance of the three Executive Orders (EOs) on May 25th, NTEU has been working to educate Capitol Hill on the harm these actions will have on federal employees, as well as on federal employee labor organizations and your day-to-day representational duties. Earlier this week, 45 Senate Democrats sent a letter asking the President to rescind the EOs and to direct agency and department heads to cease and desist from abrogating existing collective bargaining agreements. Now three additional Senators, Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Ranking Members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and HSGAC Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, respectively, sent their own letter requesting the same of the White House.

 

More Info:

SenateRnkngMbrsResptoTrumpEOs(Attach).pdf

 

SUMMARY:  Senate Democrats respond to the May 25 Trump Executive Orders by asking the White House to rescind them. 

 

Following the President’s issuance of the three Executive Orders (EOs) on May 25, NTEU has been working to educate Capitol Hill on the harm these actions will have on federal employees, as well as on federal employee labor organizations and your day-to-day representational duties. Today, 45 Senate Democrats sent a letter asking the President to rescind the EOs and to direct agency and department heads to cease and desist from abrogating existing collective bargaining agreements.

 

NTEU appreciates the strong support of these Senators on behalf of frontline federal employees and their existing workplace rights. NTEU will continue to urge members of Congress to oppose the EOs, and to instead demonstrate support for federal workers by cosponsoring NTEU-supported legislation to get labor representatives back at the table collaborating constructively with agencies (S. 2340 and H.R. 4878), and to oppose administration proposals to freeze pay and slash retirement benefits.

 

More info:

letter from45 Senate Democrats to the president:

06.19.2018 Letter to President Trump on Federal Worker EOs.pdf





SUMMARY: Twenty-four federal employee unions ask the Office of Special Counsel to proactively investigate retaliation against labor relations employees who push back against implementing the Trump Executive Orders that violate the law.



Yesterday NTEU, along with 23 federal employee unions, sent a letter to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) out of concern about potential retaliatory action against agency labor relations professionals who continue to engage in good faith bargaining as required under the Federal Service Labor-Relations Statute and ignore the new requirements in the Trump Executive Orders (EOs) that violate the law. The letter requests OSC to be proactive in investigating retaliation, as well as implied threats of retaliation, taken against agency labor relations employees who push back against carrying out these EOs and to remind federal employees that they can blow the whistle on violations of law, rule or regulation by contacting the Inspector General or the Office of Special Counsel.

 

More Info:

Letter from Senators to Director of OPM

SenateLtronRtrmtCuts(Attach)(2).pdf

 

 

 

SUMMARY:  House legislators are responding to the May 25th Trump Executive Orders by asking the White House to rescind them. 



Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-8) organized a letter on behalf of 21 House Republican members opposing the EOs and asking the President to rescind them. Representative Elijah Cummings (MD-7) rallied House Democratic leadership also urging the White House to reverse course on the EOs.

 

More Info:

Letter from Republican Representatives

LegislatorsRespondtoTrumpEOs(Attach 1)(1).pdf

Letter from Democratic Representatives

LegislatorsRespondtoTrumpEOs(Attach 2)(1).pdf

 

 

SUMMARY: Three high-ranking senators from committees overseeing issues affecting federal employees say the president's May 25 executive orders diminish the lawful rights of the men and women of the U.S. civil service and should be rescinded.

 

 

More Info:

https://www.nteu.org/media-center/news-releases/2018/06/22/three-more-senators-join-call-to-rescind

 

 

 

 

NPS NEWS

 

National Park Service 
The House Appropriations Committee has provided $3.25 billion for FY19, an increase of $53 million above the current level. The bill includes a $175 million increase to address longstanding, deferred maintenance needs across park service facilities. Overall, these funding levels are good news for the Park Service, as the administration’s original request was only $2.7 billion. NTEU has worked with committee staff to point out that more funding for staffing, not less, is needed for the ever-increasing numbers of visitors to the parks.

 

 

 

 

HOUSE ACTIONS:

 

SUMMARY:  The House Budget Committee has approved a fiscal year 2019 budget that includes cuts to federal employee retirement benefits.

Specifically, the Chairman’s FY 2019 budget plan calls for:

• Increasing required Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) employee contributions by approximately 6 to 7 percent. Most FERS employees would absorb over a 6 percent pay cut, decimating their wages and ability to provide for their ongoing financial obligations and their families, particularly following recent years of pay freezes and meager pay increases.

• Eliminating the FERS supplement for employees, which is currently provided to those who retire before they can collect Social Security benefits. This will make it necessary to work longer, and create an impossible financial situation for those required by law to retire early, including federal law enforcement.

• Eliminating the FERS defined pension benefit, leaving the federal community ill-prepared for, and unable to retire, forcing many employees to work longer


More Info:

NTEU’s letter to budget committee:

HsBudgCmteAprvsFY19BudRes(Attach)(1).pdf

 

 

 

SUMMARY: Today, H.R. 2229, the All Circuits Review Act, cleared the House, and is headed to the President for enactment.

 

Sponsored by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), H.R. 2229, the All Circuits Review Act, cleared the House of Representatives today, and is now headed to the President for enactment. The bill originally cleared the House in October 2017, but earlier this month, when it was passed by the Senate, an amendment was made, requiring subsequent House passage.

 

One of the important changes in the NTEU-supported Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 was the right to appeal final orders or final decisions of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) regarding whistleblower retaliation complaints to any U.S. Court of Appeals. Before this bill, such appeals could only be filed in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. Out of 243 whistleblower appeal cases heard by that court over several years, whistleblower employees only won three cases. A chief reason NTEU pushed hard for all circuit review is that it provides a friendlier employee appeals avenue.

 

The 2012 legislation also authorized all circuit review for the Director of the Office of Personnel Management to petition for review of an MSPB order or decision regarding a federal employee whistleblower complaint. However, the compromise in the legislation was that the provision had a sunset clause, and all circuit review was only authorized for two years. In 2014, Congress extended the authority for an additional three years. However, it expired on November 27, 2017. Congress has now acted to make all circuit review authority permanent, retroactive to November 26, 2017. The measure is headed to the President for enactment.

 

 

 

 

SUMMARY:  The House Budget Committee has approved a fiscal year 2019 budget that includes cuts to federal employee retirement benefits.  

 

Specifically, the budget recommends that federal employees make greater contributions to their defined benefit plans, following a recommendation from the 2010 National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility, which recommended a six percent increase. It also seeks to end the “FERS Supplement,” which pays the equivalent of Social Security for those who retire before age 62. There is also language that proposes that the federal workforce transition from a defined benefit pension to a defined contribution pension, suggesting that only Social Security and the Thrift Savings Plan would provide retirement income for federal employees.

 

More info:

Letter from NTEU to budget committee members

HsBudgCmteAprvsFY19BudRes(Attach)(1).pdf

 

 

 

 

 

Summary: Today, Representative Steve Womack, chair of the House Budget Committee, released budget materials for a possible fiscal year 2019 budget. 

 

Representative Steve Womack (R-AR), chair of the House Budget Committee, has released a proposed budget plan for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019. As of today, the House Budget Committee is scheduled to consider and vote on the plan starting tomorrow. Several Republican members have shared concerns with the budget plan, and it is not known at this time whether or not there will be enough support from legislators for this budget plan to advance and pass on the House floor. Senate consideration of a FY 2019 budget also remains uncertain.

 

More info:

NTEU outline of House budget blueprint

FY19HsBudgBlueprint.doc

 

 

 

 

SUMMARY:  The House of Representatives has cleared a rescissions package, heralding spending showdown to come.

 

Yesterday, the House of Representatives cleared H.R. 3, the Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act, by a vote of 210-206. Requested by the White House on
May 8th using the presidential rescission authority under the 1974 Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act, the approximately $14.7 billion package of spending cuts, introduced and shepherded by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), derive from unspent agency funds.

 

More Info:

NTEU summary of rescissions package

 

 

 

 

SENATE ACTIONS:

 

 

SUMMARY:  Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the FY19 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill which contains funding for the IRS, SEC, CFTC and contains several provisions impacting agencies and employees government-wide.

 

Regarding government-wide provisions, NTEU has advocated on Capitol Hill given the combination of pay freezes and meager pay raises in recent years, and a robust economy, for Congress to reassert its pay-setting role and to provide a January 2019 pay increase, despite the President’s call for a pay freeze. NTEU is pleased that the FSGG bill provides an average pay increase of 1.9% for 2019, comprised of a 1.4 % across-the-board pay increase and 0.5 % for increases to locality pay rates (rates vary by specific locality pay area).

 

More info:

SenateAppropsPassesFY19FSGGBill.docx

 

 

 

 

 

SUMMARY:  A Senate Appropriations Subcommittee has advanced a bill that includes several key federal workforce items, including a federal employee pay raise.

 

A Senate Appropriations Subcommittee has advanced the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations measure which includes government-wide federal employee items.

 

Traditionally, this is the measure that carries the General Schedule (GS) federal employee pay raise. In recent years, Congress has remained silent on a pay raise, allowing White House- proposed pay raises to be implemented and enacted instead. However, as you know, the administration has proposed a pay freeze for January 2019. NTEU has advocated on Capitol Hill given the combination of pay freezes and meager pay raises in recent years, and a robust economy, for Congress to reassert its pay-setting role and to provide a January 2019 pay increase. The administration and Congress have also recently acted upon, and are on track to provide, a 2.6 % pay raise for military personnel in 2019.

 

more info:

NTEU summary of bill:

SenateActiononFedWrkfrcItems.doc

 

 

 

 

SUMMARY:  Senate passes National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2019 that contains provisions affecting federal workers government-wide.  The measure now goes before a conference committee to resolve differences in the House and Senate- passed bills.

 

As I reported earlier, section 1123 of the Senate bill would increase the amount of Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments (VSIPs) from $25,000 to $40,000 and allows this figure to be adjusted for inflation. NTEU strongly supports this provision, as it is essential to proper workforce reshaping, and the dollar amount having been frozen for so many years no longer functions as a true incentive.

 

However, both the House and Senate bills contain a provision providing direct hiring authority for college graduates and post-secondary students. NTEU opposes this provision due to the elimination of veterans’ preference and the limited notice requirement for internal candidates who could miss out on potential promotional opportunities in their home agencies. NTEU welcomes the next generation to federal service; however, we believe their hiring should be done under the merit system principles, with veterans’ preference and public notice to guard against a career civil service from becoming comprised of only political appointees, and the family and friends of those in leadership positions.

 

 

More Info:
NTEU Summary of NDA FY 2019

Senate passes FY19 Defense bill 061818.doc

 

 

 

SUMMARY:  Yesterday, 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.

 

 

 

 

SUMMARY: Today, the White House released its Government Reform and Reorganization recommendations, which impacts several agencies with members represented by NTEU including FDA, HHS, USDA, DOE and CFPB.

Today, the White House released a report detailing its plans to reorganize the executive branch entitled, “Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century: Reform Plan and Reorganization Recommendations.” This report is in response to the President’s March 2017 Executive Order directing the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to propose a comprehensive plan to reorganize federal agencies. The report highlights 32 proposals, which impact the following agencies with employees represented by NTEU: Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

 

More info:

WHAnnouncesAgencyReorgPlans.doc

 

 

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  • National President Tony Reardon, joined by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, will be leading HHS Read more
  • October "Third Thursday" Brown Bag Lunch; Thursday, October 18, 2018, -- Topics: Preparing Read more
  • Big news on the executive orders. The core elements of the president’s anti-employee executive ord Read more

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  • The House Appropriations Committee has provided $3.25 billion for FY19, an increase of $53 million a Read more
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  • NTEU has prepared talking points on the recent Executive Orders (EOs) for use in chapter meetings an Read more
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