Congressional Letter in Support of Feds

Yesterday, 102 Members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), strongly opposing the assaults on federal pay and retirement contained in the administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget proposal.

Calling the administration’s proposals that impact the take-home pay and retirement benefits for current federal employees and retirees “destructive,” the legislators asked both congressional leaders to block any effort to bring such proposals to the House floor for votes. They pointed out that no other group has been asked to sacrifice more for deficit reduction than the federal workforce.

Federal employees have already been deprived of $182 billion in pay and benefits. The FY 2018 budget would add another $149 billion in cuts.

We appreciate these members’ support in fighting to stop pay and retirement cuts, and for holding Congress accountable to keep its promises to its workforce and retirees. Clearly, these members of Congress recognize the valuable service provided by our members to the nation. NTEU will continue to work with these members to “oppose any effort to balance the budget on the backs of public servants,” as the legislators wrote in their letter

To learn more about the budget and legislation, please visit the NTEU legislative action center.

 

Administrator Pruitt to Testify on Proposed Cuts at EPA

According to Politico, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will testify before the House Appropriations Interior-EPA subcommittee on Thursday, June 15 at 1 p.m. The Committee's website confirms this here.

According to Politico, "appropriators have already indicated they will not cut away EPA's budget as severely as the White House's proposal, particularly on state grants and popular programs cleaning up the Great Lakes, the Chesapeake Bay and other regions."

Of course, even if the cuts are half as bad as what is proposed, a 15% cut could be devastating to EPA's programs, personnel, and ultimately environmental protection.

POSTPONED: Discussion with EPA's Scientific Integrity Official

***DUE TO AN ILLNESS, DR. GRIFO HAS POSTPONED TUESDAY'S DISCUSSION***

original message: 

NTEU 280 encourages its members to join EPA's Scientific Integrity Official, Dr. Francesca T. Grifo, to discuss scientific integrity issues that concern them. The discussion occurs June 6, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. EDT in Room 5020, William Jefferson Clinton North Building.
 
In addition to Dr. Grifo, EPA’s Whistleblower Ombudsman, Steven Alderton, will also be there to discuss his role and share information related to the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act.

For more details, visit the Intranet announcement here.

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.