Cutting Federal Pension System Would Add to Nation’s Retirement Crisis

The administration’s forthcoming budget proposal for 2018 is expected to include devastating cuts to the retirement benefits of federal employees, marking yet another unwarranted attack on middle-class civil servants that the National Treasury Employees Union will strongly oppose.
 
The proposed changes will cut the pay of federal employees by increasing their retirement contributions repeatedly for consecutive years. This would easily negate....

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Congressional Review Act

Roll Call ran an interesting article today on the Congressional Review Act and its possible use beyond the CRA's normal 60-legislative-day limit. Recall that the CRA allows Congress to veto an agency's rule before the rule goes into effect, provided that Congress acts to veto it before the end of 60 legislative days.

The article notes....

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What's Better Than Chocolate? Paid Parental Leave.

This Mother’s Day, what’s better than flowers and chocolate?

Paid parental leave.

Every day, we ask our mothers to do more than their fair share. Now let’s give them the respect they deserve and the time they need to stay healthy, bond with their children, and be successful at home and in the workplace.

Join NTEU in standing behind the mothers who are also dedicated federal employees.

Visit NTEU.org to support paid parental leave.

Photos from Today's Thank-You Event

Nice to see so many people here on a Friday when many people are teleworking or on their compressed work schedule day off. Here are a few of the photos, courtesy of NTEU....

Pioneering Fulltime Telework at EPA (Part 2 of 2)

Since my first installment of Pioneering Fulltime Telework at the EPA back in October of 2016, there have been a lot of changes across the federal government. For the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is likely that we will be doing more with less in the years to come – smaller budgets, smaller staff, and a smaller physical footprint.

Thomas Edison said: “The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” Fulltime telework has value – actually a lot of value – if it is used. The smallest expansion of fulltime telework at the EPA could save millions of taxpayer dollars while meeting and exceeding the business needs of the Agency.

Imagine if EPA encouraged just 20% of its workforce to fulltime telework, it would slash nearly 1% of its annual budget – some $45.6 million!....

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Shutdown Averted: Congress Passes Spending Bill

From NTEU National.....

The Senate today followed the House in approving a [spending package] to fund the federal government though the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year. The president is expected to sign the measure before funding expires Friday night. Passage of this bipartisan spending bill eliminates the threat of another government shutdown for the next five months.

While NTEU is pleased that the $18 billion in cuts originally proposed were not part of the final agreement, many federal agencies remain underfunded and understaffed after several years of cuts and inadequate funding. 

As the debate shifts to the fiscal 2018 congressional budget, NTEU is pressing for adequate and stable funding for the federal government so that agencies have the resources they need and federal employees are not left anxious with another shutdown countdown.

In the passed spending bill, the Environmental Protection Agency received an $81.4 million decrease from fiscal year 2016 (FY16). EPA was operating on a continuing resolution, allowing it to spend at FY16 levels. The $81.4 million budget cut amounts to approximately a 1% spending reduction.

Potomac Yard Stress Reduction Seminar

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

Date:  May 4, 2017
Time:  12:15 - 2:00 p.m.
Location:  Potomac Yard Room S-5261

You do not need to take leave to attend, or make up the time at the end of the day for this seminar when combined with your lunch period. We recommend, however, that you inform your supervisor you will be away for the entire time.

If your supervisor has any questions about the authority to allow attendance for the entire time, 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.

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.