Government Shutdown Looms...Again

Roll Call is reporting that another government shutdown and furloughs may be in the works.

The article notes that "congressional negotiators had been making good progress but the White House has not been constructive." The story quotes staffers who say that it will be difficult, given the state of negotiations, "to meet the April 28 funding deadline and thus a short-term continuing resolution would be needed."

But Democratic leaders, ....

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Stressed About Everything That's Going On?

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NTEU, AFGE, and EPA’s Headquarters' Employee Counseling and Assistance Program (ECAP) are sponsoring "Alternative Methods to Reducing Stress," a free seminar in Observance of Stress Awareness Month.

Date:  April 25, 2017
Time:  Noon - 1:30 p.m.
Location:  William Jefferson Clinton South Building, Room 5213

With your 30 minute lunch period, management approved an additional 60 minutes for the seminar.  Therefore, you do not need to take leave to attend or make up the time at the end of the day. We recommend, however, that you inform your supervisor you will be away for the entire 90 minutes. If s/he has any questions about the authority, show her/him this article or suggest s/he contact Krysti Corbett in EPA's Labor & Employee Relations, the advisers to management.

For more information, please contact Wayne White, at 202-564-7914 or send an email to white.wayned@epa.gov.

March for Science This Saturday, April 22 at 2:00 p.m.

The March for Science organizers released the march route and schedule today. They plan to start the march near the Washington Monument and march along Constitution Avenue to the U.S. Capitol. The organizers have a whole-day affair planned , but if you just want to come to the march, that's in the afternoon. The organizers would like to get an idea of how many people are coming, so please register here.

NTEU members meet at 1:30 p.m. at the corner of 14th Street and Jefferson Drive, S.W. for a group photo. Click for directions.

NTEU members meet at 1:30 p.m. at the corner of 14th Street and Jefferson Drive, S.W. for a group photo. Click for directions.

NTEU members are meeting at 1:30 p.m. on the southwest corner of Jefferson Drive and 14th Street, S.W. near the Capital Bikeshare station. We'll assemble at 1:30 for a group photo. Please be on time so that you can be in the photo.

At 1:50 p.m. we'll walk down to the March start, which is at the corner of 15th Street and Constitution Ave., N.W. The march starts at 2:00 p.m.

If you're interested in the speeches and teaching sessions, you'll need to come in the morning. The march itself starts at 2:00 p.m. Here's the complete schedule:

  • 8:00 am: Grounds open
  • 9:00 am: Teach-ins start
  • 10:00 am: Main stage rally program begins
  • 1:30 pm:  NTEU Meets for Group Photo
  • 2:00 pm: March begins!
  • 5:30 pm: Dinner (tickets are $40)

You can find more details on the March for Science's website here.

CR Update: Congress Needs to Get it In Gear, Soon

EPA's current funding expires, with much of the federal government's, on Friday, April 28th. Both Congress and the President must act in order to prevent a government shutdown due to a lapse in appropriations.

Congressional leadership and the administration are in negotiations regarding appropriations legislation that would keep federal agencies operating for the remainder of fiscal year 2017, which ends on September 30. With Congress heading into a two-week recess....

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Metro SafeTrack Surge #14 & Workplace Flexibility

Metro's SafeTrack Surge #14 starts soon on the northern end of the Green Line. Metro will conduct Surge #14 as a "shutdown" to reduce the duration of the project and mitigate the impact to customers elsewhere along the Green Line.

Surge #14 will be conducted in two phases. The overall surge will run from Saturday, April 15, through Sunday, May 14. As part of SafeTrack, NTEU Chapter 280 negotiated additional workplace flexibility with management including schedule flexibility, telework for new employees, and delayed arrivals, which may be available for NTEU 280 bargaining unit employees. Additionally, Chapter 280 recently negotiated the MaxiFlex schedule for bargaining unit employees.

During phase 1, from April 15 through April 29,...

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Federal Budget Update

President Trump submitted a supplemental request to Congress for fiscal year (FY) 2017 funding. Current FY 2017 funding expires on April 28th.

Congress is scheduled to be in recess the weeks of April 10th and 17th, leaving only five legislative days upon their return before funding expires. Congress must either pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) or pass eleven remaining appropriations bills before this date. Failure to act will cause another government shutdown.

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EPA Cuts Would Threaten Public Health and Safety

Washington D.C. –  Among the 3,200 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) jobs that would be eliminated under the 2018 budget outline proposed by the White House Thursday are committed civil servants who help enforce clean air and clean water laws, said Tony Reardon, National President of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU).

“The proposed cuts at the EPA show a clear disdain for the mission of the agency. The work of EPA employees has led to noticeable and verifiable improvements in our country’s natural resources,” Reardon said. “A cut of this size is a huge step backwards in environmental safety and health and puts at risk the health of American citizens today and that of future generations.”......

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First Amendment & Social Media Rights of Federal Employees Repeat Session

We received rave reviews for the recent First Amendment & Social Media Rights of Federal Employees "Lunch & Learn," so we're offering it again!  NTEU Chapter 280 and AFGE Local 3331 are jointly sponsoring a second presentation on the First Amendment Rights of Federal Employees, this one at EPA's Potomac Yard offices in Crystal City.

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  • When:  April 26, 2017, noon - 1:00

  • Where:  Room 4340 South, EPA's Potomac Yard Offices, 2777 Crystal Drive, Arlington (Crystal City)

  • Register Here (space is limited)

Our speakers include Jeff Ruch of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Jeff is the Executive Director of PEER and an attorney with expertise in federal First Amendment rights. Joining Jeff will be Sydney Glass from AFGE's national office, who will be covering social media.

We know many of you have been concerned about what you can and cannot say in the new administration. Bring your lunch and find out!  The room has limited seats, so please register here.

Threats to Federal Employees

Report threats to report.EPA.threats@epa.gov or call 888-546-8740. In immediate danger? Dial 911.

Report threats to report.EPA.threats@epa.gov or call 888-546-8740. In immediate danger? Dial 911.

Ever get a threatening phone call, email, or get threatened in-person? The Office of Inspector General set up an email address to report threats.

If you or your colleagues are in immediate danger, call 911. If there's no immediate danger, report the threat to report.EPA.threats@epa.gov.

Messages sent to the email address will be automatically forwarded to EPA Office of Inspector General's Office of Investigations supervisors, the National Threat Coordinator and the Office of Inspector General Hotline. This will ensure that the appropriate investigative takes place, even after hours and on weekends, if necessary.

If the threat comes by snail mail, make sure you preserve the letter in the condition you received it so that the OIG can examine it for fingerprints. If the threat came by voicemail, please save the voicemail so that the voice can be analyzed. If the threat came by carrier pigeon, save the pigeon. You get the idea:  preserve the evidence.

You can also always call the IG at 888-546-8740.

Been Here Before and Survived

Now is not the only time that an administration has been hostile to clean water, clean air, science, and cleaning up toxic messes. During the Reagan administration we also suffered attacks, budget cuts, and overall hostility from our political leadership to the EPA's mission. But we survived and continued protecting human health and the environment after the end of the administration.

To cheer up your Friday, here are a couple photos from the archive of some of the dark-humor t-shirts of the day.

A common reference at the time to Administrator Anne M. Gorsuch, who was cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to provide agency records to Congress.

A list of political appointees who did not survive the administration and a reference to one of Ms. Gorsuch's quotes.

According to a 1983 Washington Post article, "EPA employees say their shirt, which originated in the agency's Denver regional office, is a hot item among the agency's career staff, and its popularity has spread to other quarters as well. 'We've had requests from the Hill and the White House, usually through some other organization,' said Mike Burns, an employee in the EPA's hazardous-waste division. 'I guess they don't feel comfortable just calling up and asking for one.'"

If you have any similar humorous historical photos that might help folks cope with looming cuts and attacks on the agency's mission, please feel free to send them to info@nteu280.org and we'll try to post them.

AFGE/Sierra Club Rally to Save the Environment

Our sister union, AFGE Local 3331, is jointly sponsoring a rally to save the environment with the Sierra Club outside EPA Headquarters. NTEU is supporting AFGE in this rally and encourages you to use your lunch time to attend.

Rally takes place from noon - 1:00 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, March 15, outside the WJC north & south buildings on the 12th street side. Wear your NTEU Chapter 280 t-shirt, if you have one!

Any time in excess of your normal lunch period is considered non-work time and should be accounted for through leave, credit hours, or other absence time.

Maxiflex!

Frequently employees ask what they get for their dues. They get a lot.

NTEU and its predecessor unions negotiated compressed and flexible schedules, part-time-employment flexibility, and many other workplace benefits. We take many of these benefits for granted now, not remembering that they’ve been hard-fought at the negotiating table by unions, with the agency frequently opposing these improvements. One those improvements are implemented, however, many managers find they love them as much or more than their employees.

If you are a dues-paying member, you learned back in January that NTEU Chapter 280, along with AFGE Local 3331, successfully negotiated a version of the MaxiFlex schedule with EPA headquarters management. The Headquarters Maxiflex Pilot Program agreement was signed on January 24, 2017, and is supposed to be implemented soon, we're told.....

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VERAs & VSIPs

As a result of the repeated attacks on federal employees from Capitol Hill, a number of members have contacted us and asked what options the agency might have to reduce the size of the federal workforce. To be clear, we have no information that anyone is planning any of these reductions, but we are posting this information because of the inquiries we received.

In the past, the agency typically avails itself of a number of options before resorting to involuntary reductions in force or RIFs. Typically those options include:

  • attrition through retirements and normal separations
  • Voluntary Early Retirement Authorities (VERA)
  • Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP)

Before you dismiss the impact.....

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A Day Without A Woman

March 8 is International Women's Day. To observe the day, the Women's March organizers have suggested that:

  • women refrain from paid and unpaid work
  • people refrain from shopping in stores or online. Exceptions include local small businesses and women-owned businesses that support us (#GrabYourWallet)
  • wear red in solidarity
  • male allies lean into care giving on March 8th, and use the day to call out decision-makers at the workplace and in the government to extend equal pay and adequate paid family leave for women

Should you want to participate by taking the day off, please make sure you submit a leave form and request either unpaid leave, annual leave, compensatory time off, or credit hours used. For comp time and credit hours you must first have accumulated those hours before they can be used.

The organizers are calling this a "strike." Please keep in mind that federal workers cannot strike without the risk of being fired. If you want to make a statement and refuse pay for the day, then you should request leave without pay.

NTEU Rally Location Change

The NTEU Legislative Rally will now take place on the U.S. Capitol EAST Front Lawn, (Directly across the street from the U.S. Supreme Court). The rally goes from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Employees can utilize their lunch period to attend the rally.

Any NTEU Chapter 280 bargaining unit employee who attends will receive an NTEU Chapter 280 t-shirt. In order to get the t-shirt, however, please pre-register, below, so we can bring a shirt for you.

Name *
Name
Will You Attend Rally? *
T-shirt Size *

Cuts are coming, but......

....the question is:  when? 

You've probably seen the Greenwire story covering the budget cuts at EPA announced by the White House today. But while the White House wants to significantly cut EPA, there are a number of procedural obstacles in their way that would delay those cuts, hopefully into the next fiscal year. Here's why.....

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First Amendment Rights of Federal Employees

NTEU Chapter 280 and AFGE Local 3331 are jointly sponsoring a "Lunch & Learn" presentation on the First Amendment Rights of Federal Employees. Our keynote speaker is Jeff Ruch of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Jeff is the Executive Director of PEER and an attorney with expertise in federal First Amendment rights. We'll cover social media, talking to the press, and publicly discussing what you know as an EPA employee.

We know many of you have been concerned about what you can and cannot say in the new administration. Bring your lunch and find out!

  • When:  March 9, 2017, noon - 1:00

  • Where:  Room 2530, WJC North Building

The rules are different for attorneys and non-attorneys. We intend to cover this distinction as part of the presentation. We hope you'll bring your lunch and join us for this important event.

Please RSVP by clicking this link and entering your information. Space is limited in the room and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis, with priority to those who pre-register.

This Lunch & Learn presentation is a joint presentation of AFGE Local 3331 and NTEU Chapter 280.

(updated at 12:10 p.m. with new room number)

New York Times Wrong About EPA Unions

EPA has five different unions, all with its own leadership, something that the New York Times incorrectly overlooked in a recent story. The unions at EPA include the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the National Association of Government Employees (NAGE), the Engineers and Scientists of California (ESC), and the National Association of Independent Labor (NAIL). Each of these five unions is organized differently, some with "chapters" and some with "locals."  The authority of chapters and locals varies according to the constitution and bylaws of each union.

NTEU Chapter 280 represents "professionals" at EPA headquarters. Put another way, we represent all people who have a job that requires positive education. If your job requires that you have a degree, you're in the NTEU Chapter 280 bargaining unit, although not a member unless you join. If your job does not require a degree, then at headquarters you are in the AFGE Local 3331 bargaining unit, even if you have a degree. The test is whether or not your degree is required by your job. At EPA headquarters, therefore, there are two unions:  NTEU Chapter 280 and AFGE Local 3331.

The NY Times story incorrectly reported that the AFGE Council President represented all EPA employees. This is wrong.  Mr. John O’Grady, a biochemist in EPA's Region 5 office and President of the AFGE Council at EPA, only represents AFGE bargaining unit employees. The Times story overlooked all the employees represented by NTEU, NAIL, NAGE, and ESC. At headquarters, NTEU Chapter 280 represents approximately 1700 professionals. Nationwide, NTEU represents even more.

We expect more from the NY Times. We hope the Times runs a correction of this error.