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.

Rally at U.S. Capitol

Please join NTEU members from across the country as we rally at the U.S. Capitol for fair pay, a secure retirement, and respect.

The rally happens:

when:  Thursday, March 2, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
where:  U.S. Capitol, West Front Lawn

Use your lunch time to rally. Anytime over your normal lunch period is considered non-work time and should be accounted for through leave, credit hours, or other absence time.

We really need you to come for this. Now, more than ever it's important that EPA employees stand together.

NTEU 280 Appoints Scientific Integrity Officer

NTEU Chapter 280 led the effort for EPA to recognize scientific-integrity principles in the 90s. The Chapter's efforts ultimately led to Administrator Carol Browner agreeing to the Principles of Scientific Integrity in 1999. These principles include ensuring that employees:

  • perform work of the highest integrity;
  • represent their own work fairly and accurately;
  • represent and acknowledge the intellectual contributions of others;
  • avoid financial conflicts of interest and ensure impartiality in the performance of scientific duties;
  • be cognizant of and understand the specific programmatic statutes that guide their work;
  • accept the affirmative responsibility to report any breach of these principles; and
  • welcome differing views and opinions on scientific and technical matters as a legitimate and necessary part of the process to provide the best possible information to regulatory and policy decision-makers.

The principles, above, apply also to EPA management and political officials. Given recent attacks on science, the Chapter is now creating a Chapter Scientific Integrity Officer. The Officer will be responsible for leading the Chapter's scientific-integrity committee, meeting with EPA scientific-integrity officials, identifying suspected scientific-integrity violations, and updating the Chapter's Executive Board on scientific-integrity issues. 

By placing this renewed emphasis on scientific integrity, Chapter 280 will ensure its scientist members are protected from attacks for doing their job, and will help ensure that EPA continues protecting human health and the environment.

If you are a member of Chapter 280 and are interested in serving on the Chapter's Scientific Integrity Committee, please email a statement of why you are interested to President Diane Lynne by clicking here.

No Heat? You Can Telework!

Many of you received an email from facilities and/or your management over the last couple of days about the lack of heat in certain parts of the William Jefferson Clinton North and South buildings. We are told that the heating outage will not be resolved until next week. That means it will get mighty cold in your office and make it uncomfortable or unsafe to work there.

So what can you do?

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Hiring Freeze Guidelines

On Tuesday, January 31, the U.S. Offices of Personnel Management (OPM) and Management and Budget (OMB) issued supplemental guidance on President Trump's recent hiring freeze memorandum. The memorandum supplements prior guidance issued January 25, 2017.  The new memo lists a number of exceptions to the hiring freeze.  The following exceptions potentially apply to EPA:....

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Out of the Lab and Into the Streets

On April 22, 2017, scientists in San Francisco and Washington, DC, will take to the streets in support of science and scientific integrity. According to the March's website:

The March for Science is a celebration of our passion for science and a call to support and safeguard the scientific community. Recent policy changes have caused heightened worry among scientists, and the incredible and immediate outpouring of support has made clear that these concerns are also shared by hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Mischaracterization of science as a partisan issue, which has given policymakers permission to reject overwhelming evidence, is a critical and urgent matter. It is time for people who support scientific research and evidence-based policies to take a public stand and be counted.

To find out more about the march, visit the march's website here.

Seth Low, Former Chapter Senior VP Passes Away

seth low.jpg

Seth Low, longtime member and former Senior Vice President of NTEU Chapter 280 passed away recently. Seth served Chapter 280 as the Senior VP, a former Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (now Office of Land and Emergency Management) Steward, and Editor of the Chapter’s old Inside the Fishbowl newsletter from October 2003 to June 2006.

Seth provided guidance and advice to NTEU Chapter 280 members on a broad range of subjects, including the Collective Bargaining Agreement, grievances, and civil rights processes and procedures. He was especially proud of helping members resolve issues without needing to file a grievance.

Seth participated in NTEU National training for leadership, representation, and steward programs and provided a sympathetic ear to employees with workplace issues. NTEU continues to grow and strengthen due to the individual efforts of people like Seth, who step forward into leadership roles to help safeguard the rights of fellow employees.

Chapter 280 expresses its sincere condolence to Seth's family.