Happy New Year! NTEU Chapter 208 officers and stewards wish our bargaining unit (BU) employees a very happy and healthy 2018. The past year was challenging but our Chapter had a very successful year.
We are pleased that we were able to avoid a Reduction in Force (RIF) although it was an incredibly stressful and resource intensive process for both the agency and NTEU. NTEU honestly believes that avoiding a RIF was largely due to the revised Article 49, in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) dated November 15, 2015, which we bargained and re-negotiated in 2015. This Article allowed us to form a working group at the slightest indication of a RIF, with the goal of avoiding or mitigating a RIF. Thus, we started almost a full year before any employees would have been involuntarily separated (RIFed) to work with management. If we had not had that much time, NTEU believes (and many in upper management have agreed with our belief), we most likely would not have been able to prevent it. We all owe a huge thank you to Jennifer Harling, our very capable Chief Negotiator from NTEU National, as well as our amazing NTEU National field representative, Peyton Diotalevi. Our National office has provided us with excellent legal support in order to ably serve our BU.
In addition to the Article 49 working group, we represented your interests in reorganizations, by attending all hands meetings and labor management partnership meetings, in negotiating the implementation of building and parking lot renovations and office moves, strategic workforce planning, Project AIM, and security matters including the clearance review project and the installation of security cameras in our buildings. We represented BU in Grievances (Article 46), and Arbitrations (Article 47), and accompanied you if you decided to file an EEO complaint in lieu of filing a grievance, and so many other things that we cannot anticipate, but encounter, daily. Rest assured, NTEU is always busy protecting your rights and making sure our BU is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. We want to thank every BU member for the work you do for our agency and our country. We especially want to thank every NTEU Chapter 208 member for their support and for being a part of our Union. It is your support that makes our efforts possible for all of our BU members.
For those BU (both members and non-members) who received a performance award in their most recent paycheck, we would like to note that you most likely received a somewhat larger award in the past two years than prior to the November 15, 2015 CBA. This is again because we negotiated a relationship between the BU performance awards and the supervisory employee performance awards that was included in the revised CBA. Again, thank you to our members who make this possible for all BU. Please note for those members who received awards, the bump due to the negotiated agreement is, in most cased, likely more than a year of your NTEU dues. For those who did not receive awards, this would be an excellent time to reach out to NTEU to discuss managing your career, developing your Individual Development Plan (IDP) and getting the performance appraisal score and performance award that you likely deserve.
NTEU National continues to lobby for all federal employees, telling your story on the Hill in order to change the public narrative about federal employees. Too few Americans understand the full scope of the contributions federal employees make to their daily lives, and NTEU is committed to ensuring that the biased narrative about our hardworking and dedicated federal employees does not go unchallenged.
We join our National President, Tony Reardon, in his hope that our collective voices will pierce the anti-federal employee rhetoric that surrounds Washington, D.C., and more accurate and balanced discussions emerge. And, like Tony, we are resolved to continue to represent you and fight for you every single day.
With the threat of a government shutdown once again on the horizon, NTEU Chapter 208 has been told that the agency has about 7 days of carry over funds available to us.
NTEU National continues to urge elected officials to keep agencies open and federal employees paid and on the job, while championing legislation ensuring federal employees are paid in the event of a government shutdown. The new legislation was introduced prior to our current Continuing Resolution (CR) Wednesday by Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.). The Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act would require that federal workers who are furloughed or forced to work without pay during the shutdown are compensated fully and quickly when the government re-opens, regardless of the next regularly scheduled pay date.
NTEU supports similar legislation from Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) that would also allow those who are required to work during a shutdown to take scheduled annual leave and sick leave while the government remains closed.
“Federal employees should not be punished for someone else’s failures. Interrupting the paychecks and annual leave of federal employees is an insult to the nation’s civil service,” NTEU President Tony Reardon said. “They are middle class workers who have bills to pay, just like everyone else, and we urge Congress to approve this legislation as soon as possible.”
The latest CR, the third one this fiscal year that funds the federal government ends midnight, January 19th. Decisions on defense and non-defense spending levels, disaster funding, immigration, health care issues and other expiring provisions are still on the table.
Please keep in mind that if a shutdown should occur and extend beyond the agency’s carryover, you cannot use your work email or your work computer to get information or transact any work for the agency (unless you are designated by the NRC to continue to work). To ensure your
received important updates in that event, please update your personal email address and phone number to receive urgent test message alerts.
To ensure you receive important updates in the event of a shutdown, please update your personal email address and cellphone number (to receive urgent text message alerts). Stay up-to-date in three steps: 1. Log into NTEU.org. 2. Once on the Members page, click on the ‘Update My Contact Information’ link. 3. Update your information and click the ‘Update’ button.
NTEU has a dedicated shutdown page for its members with breaking news and updates. Check back often for the latest information.
Although NTEU does not provide tax advice, the short answer appears to be that the benefit shouldn’t be affected. If you have questions or concerns, you should consult a tax lawyer. Please see this article in the Washington Post for more information: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/with-new-tax-law-will-employers-continue-to-subsidize-your-commute/2018/01/06/142d1a08-ee4c-11e7-b390-a36dc3fa2842_story.html?utm_term=.05c09cbf3de8
In Case You Missed It Wreaths Across America needs your help. This is a worthy volunteering opportunity. Many show up to support the laying of the wreaths, but few volunteer for the clean-up opportunity. Wreaths Across America desperately needs volunteers to help clean up the wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday, January 20, 2018.
Someone Said: “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” — -Martin Luther King Jr.