NTEU Supports Federal Employees Under Attack

Federal employee rights and benefits are under attack.

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The collective bargaining agreement at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) expired. HHS proposed to eliminate 21 entire articles from the contract, including articles governing alternative work schedules, telework, performance appraisals, awards, and transit subsidies. HHS also proposed to exclude over 40 subjects from the grievance procedure. After only 2 ½ days, the HHS "bargaining team" declared an impasse, ending the "bargaining." This dispute will likely come before the Federal Service Impasse Panel, the panel that resolves disputes between federal agencies and unions representing federal employees. The panel's members are appointed by the President.

NTEU is pursuing measures on Capitol Hill, such as filing a bad-faith bargaining unfair labor practice grievance, in addition to the pending executive order lawsuit.

HHS' proposals mirror those that were unilaterally implemented at the Department of Education. Other NTEU represented agencies could be next. 

Open Season Ends December 12

Don't forget that "open season" for federal employees ends at midnight on Monday, December 12, 2016. Open season is the time when you can change your health, dental, and vision plans and create a healthcare flexible spending account without a qualifying life event. OPM has a countdown clock, along with more information on open season here.

NTEU members get FREE access to the awesome Washington Consumers' Checkbook Guide to Health Plans, which lets you see how the plans compare on price and features. If you want Guide access and have not yet joined, please contact NTEU Executive Vice President Amer Al-Mudallal directly at 202-566-2789 to process your membership form. Since Guide access is provided through NTEU's national website, and membership-form processing normally takes some time, we'll need to handle your form specially to ensure you get full access to the NTEU website before the deadline.

If you've already joined but still do not have access, please contact NTEU's national membership coordinator Margaret Allen at 202-572-5500, provide her your name and full social security number, and let her know that you need access soon to the NTEU website members-only materials.

In addition to the Guide to Health Plans, members also save money through a bunch of discounts provided by NTEU. If you take full advantage of these discounts, you can effectively offset the entire cost of your yearly membership.  Click here to see a complete list of member benefits in this PDF.

 

Open Season & Consumers' CheckBook Guide to Health Plans

Become a member  and get free access!

Become a member and get free access!

Don't forget that "open season" started this week. You can now change health, dental, and vision plans, and start, change, or end your federal savings account (FSA-Feds). You must make your selection by December 12, when open season ends. After that, you can only make changes with a "qualifying life event."

If you are a dues-paying member of NTEU, you get free access to the Washington Consumers' Checkbook's Guide to Health Plans by joining NTEU Chapter 280 at this page. Then, when you receive your NTEU membership number, get access to the free Guide to Health Plans benefit by clicking here.

If you're having problems getting access to the member's-only section of the NTEU.org website, it may be because NTEU does not have your social security number or has not yet issued a membership number. Please contact NTEU Membership Records Coordinator Margaret Allen at 202-572-5500, ext. 7004 to find out about your membership status and get access.

Why is NTEU Suing OPM?

Image courtesy Nextgov.com (AP Photo by Susan Walsh)

Image courtesy Nextgov.com (AP Photo by Susan Walsh)

Members periodically inquire about why NTEU is suing the U.S. Office of Personnel Management over the massive data breach, thought to be perpetrated by Chinese hackers. The lawsuit was filed to protect members’ constitutional right to informational privacy, which OPM violated by failing to properly secure the records, despite numerous warnings about security deficiencies from OPM’s inspector general.

How bad was the problem and what did OPM know and conceal? A House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform report, "accuses OPM of misleading the public and Congress about the breaches to play down the fallout — criticizing the agency for its claims that the two cyber attacks were not connected and not proactively announcing the first breach when it was uncovered in 2014," according to The Washington Post. The article also notes that the problem was imminently preventable, noting that "numerous inspector general reports ... raised the alarm about the agency's digital security before the hacks," according to The Post.

Among other relief requested by NTEU in its lawsuit, NTEU wants the court to order OPM to provide lifetime credit monitoring and identity theft protection for any NTEU member affected by the cyber attacks and to take corrective measures to improve its information technology security. Lifetime credit monitoring is the least the government should do for this instance of gross OPM negligence. We all devote our lives to protecting human health and the environment, so we should be able to expect that the Office of Personnel management is protecting our information, and if they aren't, that they take care of protecting us after the breach.

But OPM doesn't want to protect you. Rather than OPM stepping up and doing what's right and providing long-term credit monitoring, OPM is seeking to dismiss the NTEU lawsuit. Oral argument on the OPM Motion to Dismiss is scheduled oral argument for Oct. 27. More on the NTEU lawsuit here.