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NTEU at Work

The Month in Media

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Visit NTEU in the News and our press releases to see how NTEU is making news today.

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NTEU Makes Headlines


Coverage of NTEU's position and work on behalf of federal employees was included in nearly 60 media stories in January and February.


The Sources

Here are just some of the media that mention NTEU:

Washington Post

New York Times

Wall Street Journal

Boston Globe

Washington Times

Associated Press

Bloomberg News

Reuters

Federal News Radio

Federal Daily News

FedSmith

GovExec

Washington Post

Federal Times

USA Today

New York Times

New York Chief-Leader

The Hill

Federal Computer Week

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tax Analysts

Tax Notes

National Journal

BNA/Government Employee Relations Report

Credit Union Times

Roll Call

Wall Street Journal

The Fiscal Times

CNNMoney

Associated Press

MSNBC.com

CNN

C-SPAN

CyberFEDS

Politico

Accounting Today

Marketplace

Reuters

NPR

Accounting Web

Bloomberg

Forbes

Washington Times

Huffington Post

Fiscal Times

UPI

Businessweek

Bloomberg Businessweek

"While the pay freeze has finally thawed, 1 percent increases are not adequate, and we have set our sights on a higher pay raise for 2016."

NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley
Federal employees are seeking better pay and benefits from Congress
Washington Post
Feb. 5, 2015  

NTEU was vocal about the need for a higher pay raise for federal employees and to avert a shutdown at the Department of Homeland Security also made headlines. With the tax filing season well underway, numerous outlets reported on NTEU's message that underfunding the IRS harms all taxpayers. President Kelley also took to the airwaves to discuss the union's legislative priorities.

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January/February Headlines

• President Colleen M. Kelley raises awareness of the consequences of IRS budget cuts in radio interviews. Read the clips »

• President Kelley defends the union and IRS employees in a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal. Read the clips »

• NTEU worked diligently to avert a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security and to protect employees who would have been harmed. Read the clips »

• While the federal pay freeze is finally over, NTEU believes federal workers deserve higher increases to keep pace with living costs. Read the clips »

 IRS budget cuts lead to reduced taxpayer services and less revenue for the country, NTEU reiterates as the tax-filing season gets underway. Read the clips »

 NTEU backs new legislation that would repeal a pension contribution increase for new employees. Read the clips »

 The year begins with two moves that could make the federal workplace more family-friendly for new parents. Read the clips »

 NTEU's Legislative Conference and a new NTEU-backed bill benefiting veterans who join the federal workforce make news. Read the clips »


Radio Interviews




Radio Interview: Taxpayer services will be poor this filing season (NPR)
Jan. 20, 2015

Radio Interview: The incredible shrinking IRS (
Federal News Radio)
Jan. 7, 2015

Letter to the Editor



IRS Employees Have Cooperated (Published in the Wall Street Journal)
Your Feb. 7 editorial "End of the IRS Investigation?" urges against any pay increase for IRS employees until there is "a full accounting of who ordered the harassment of President Obama's critics." The editorial also takes some gratuitous and inaccurate shots at the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents rank-and-file nonsupervisory employees at the IRS and 30 other federal agencies.

These employees aren't in a position to order anybody to do anything. During the IRS investigation led by Rep. Darrell Issa, numerous NTEU members provided voluntary, non-subpoenaed sworn statements. Two NTEU members voluntarily testified before the House Oversight Committee for several hours in a public hearing facing a bank of TV cameras and reporters.

Feb. 12, 2015

By Colleen M. Kelley
NTEU National President

DHS Shutdown

Furloughed, but not forgotten: Congress pushes DHS shutdown pay (Federal News Radio)
In case of a Friday shutdown at the Department of Homeland Security, the House and Senate have both proposed bills that would give retroactive pay to the agency's 30,000 furloughed employees.

The National Treasury Employees Union, which represents a majority of Customs and Border Protection's employees, supports the bill.
"The large majority of Customs and Border Protection employees represented by NTEU will be required to work without pay until a shutdown ends.  That is outrageous treatment for the brave employees we entrust with keeping our country safe and we join with Senator Cardin to try to avoid it," NTEU President Colleen Kelley said.

Feb. 25, 2015

Local impacts if funding for Department of Homeland Security isn't approved (
WIVB-TV (Buffalo, N.Y.))
If Congress doesn't approve funding for the Department of Homeland Security by Friday, customs officers will be required to report to work without pay.
When the government shutdown in 2013, National Treasury Employees Union Chapter 154 President, Paul Kwiatkowski said it was tough for many officers.

"Some weren't able to pay their mortgage. Some weren't able to pay their credit cards. They were getting calls from creditors. Some tried to take out loans, but they couldn't get it done in time. It's a tough situation," Kwiatkowski said.

Feb. 25, 2015

Senate plans vote on funding bill to avert DHS shutdown (
Federal Times)
The Senate plans to vote on a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security that does not block President Obama's executive actions on immigration, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Colleen Kelley, the president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said in a letter Feb. 13 that Congress must solve the funding impasse and avoid a shutdown.

"No one wins if this political standoff continues. The American people do not win if the Department of Homeland Security is shut down, even if its employees continue to work," Kelley said.

Feb. 25, 2015

Bipartisan bill would provide back pay in event of Homeland Security shutdown (Washington Post)
A bipartisan House measure would provide back pay to Department of Homeland Security employees if the agency partially shuts down Saturday because of a lapse in congressional funding.

National Treasury Employees Union president Colleen M. Kelley offered support for the legislation and called on Congress to quickly pass a full-year funding bill for Homeland Security. "It is unthinkable that once again, DHS employees are facing a shutdown," she said in a statement Tuesday.

Feb. 25, 2015

8 Ways a Shutdown Would Damage Homeland Security (
GovExec)
The Homeland Security Department will shut down Friday at midnight without congressional intervention, though many lawmakers think it is not that big of a deal.

"Most DHS employees are middle-class Americans," said National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley on Tuesday. "In fact, many live paycheck to paycheck. Most cannot afford to go without pay. They will find it hard, if not impossible, to make mortgage payments, pay credit-card bills and even feed their families."

DHS employees recently ranked among the bottom among federal agencies for workplace satisfaction, and saw the largest drop off of any agency in 2014. Being among the 14 percent of employees told their work is not important enough to warrant coming in during a shutdown, or being forced to work without pay, will certainly not help those figures.

Feb. 24, 2015

Cardin introduces retroactive pay bill for DHS employees (
Baltimore Sun)
As the Department of Homeland Security braces for the possibility of a shutdown at the end of the week, Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin introduced legislation on Tuesday that would provide retroactive pay for any workers furloughed because of a lapse in funding.

"The large majority of Customs and Border Protection employees represented by NTEU will be required to work without pay until a shutdown ends," said Colleen M. Kelley, national president of the National Treasury Employees Union. "That is outrageous treatment for the brave employees we entrust with keeping our country safe and we join with Senator Cardin to try to avoid it."

Feb. 24, 2015

Welch rips GOP over Homeland Security budget (Burlington (Vt.) Free Press)
As a Friday federal bill deadline approaches, Rep. Peter Welch is criticizing Republican leaders for balking on presenting and passing a budget for the Department of Homeland Security not tied to immigration reforms.

The president of the National Treasury Employees Union praised Welch for speaking out on Tuesday. The union represents 25,000 DHS employees, 300 of whom work in Vermont. Union President Colleen Kelley said many of the workers are members of the middle class.

"They have everyday bills to pay, along with mortgages, college tuition and expenses for their children and support for elderly parents," Kelly said in a statement. "Many live paycheck to paycheck like many Americans. They want to do their jobs. That is why they chose federal service in the first place."

Feb. 24, 2015

Congressional delegation urges Homeland Security funds (
Associated Press)
Vermont's Congressional delegation on Tuesday urged Congress to pass a budget for the Department of Homeland Security before the current appropriation expires on Friday causing a possible shutdown of part of the department.

Colleen Kelley, the president of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents about 300 CBP workers in Vermont, said Congress needs to avoid a shutdown.

"CBP employees are middle-class workers," Kelley said in a statement. "They have everyday bills to pay, along with mortgages, college tuition and expenses for their children and support for elderly parents."

Feb. 24, 2015

The DHS needs a morale boost (
Marketplace.org)
The latest skirmish in Congress's never-ending budget battles comes at the end of this week, when funding for the Department of Homeland Security dries up --unless Congress can agree on a compromise to keep it running.

"People are very stressed out," says Nicole Byram, president of the National Treasury Employees Union chapter in Savannah, Georgia and a Customs and Border protection officer. "People are very anxious. Everyone kind of has this feeling of, oh no. Not again."

Feb. 23, 2015

DHS hurtles toward shutdown as funding bill stalls (Federal Times)
The Department of Homeland Security continues to hurtle toward a partial shutdown as funding legislation stalls in Congress and lawmakers continue to be at odds over a new bill.

Colleen Kelley, the president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said in a letter Feb. 13 that Congress must solve the funding impasse and avoid a shutdown.

"No one wins if this political standoff continues. The American people do not win if the Department of Homeland Security is shut down, even if its employees continue to work," Kelley said.

Feb. 23, 2015

DHS staff would remain on job with no pay if Congress does not fund agency (
Washington Post)
Once again, it is federal employees who could take a hit because Uncle Sam can't get his budget act together.

"It's hard to fathom that in the United States, an employer would stop paying someone and require them to continue working because the board of directors had an issue with the company president," said Youssef Fawaz, a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) import specialist and a vice president of the National Treasury Employees Union chapter in Detroit. "This would be illegal if it happened in the private sector. It's a sort of indentured servitude."

Fawaz and his colleagues want no rerun of the 16-day partial government shutdown in October 2013.

Feb. 22, 2015

Beware of the Unpaid TSA Agent (
National Journal)
The next government shutdown may already have its poster child: The unpaid airport screener.
And the shutdown wouldn't be painless for those DHS workers, most of whom would not get paid for the hours they put inâ€"at least, not until the shutdown ends.

"A lot of the [Customs and Border Protection] officers here are very concerned about it," said Barry Kleinman, president of the National Treasury Employees Union chapter of CBP employees in Philadelphia. "We're middle-class people, and people rely on their paychecks every week. Some people live paycheck-to-paycheck. They have mortgages, they have children, they have families."

Colleagues are constantly approaching Kleinman, who is a CBP officer, asking questions: "'What's happening? ... Are we going to get through this?' And I tell them it's up in the air."

Feb. 20, 2015

DHS Funding Deadline Looms (GovExec)
National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley has written a letter to members of Congress asking them to fund the Homeland Security Department, so its workforce does not have to risk missing paychecks.

"Employees who continue to work during a shutdown will be working without pay even though their family's financial obligations continue," Kelley wrote. "And employees who are furloughed may ultimately lose pay they need and are counting on."

Feb. 18, 2015

Union head urges end to DHS funding standoff (
Federal Soup)
The head of the National Treasury Employees Union last week sent a letter to members of Congress urging them to tackle the budget impasse that threatens a shutdown at Department of Homeland Security when a short-term funding measure expires at the end of the month.

Kelley also said training for new Customs and Border Protection officers will have to be suspended during a shutdown, and that the agency would not be able to hire new personnel to address staffing shortages.

"Employees who continue to work during a shutdown will be working without pay even though their family's financial obligations continue," Kelley said. "And employees who are furloughed may ultimately lose pay they need and are counting on.

Feb. 17, 2015

Back to top


Federal Pay


Aggressive Lobbying on Pay Issues (GovExec)
Two major federal employee unions have gathered for their annual legislative conferences, and while their styles may be a bit different, one thing is clear: they are both hitting Capitol Hill aggressively on behalf of their members' job security, resources, pay and benefits.

NTEU President Colleen Kelley was much less combative, but her message was similar: Sequestration has "shackled agencies in myriad other ways" in addition to hiring freezes, furloughs and decreased training, she said during that union's conference last week. "If Congress does not adequately fund our agencies, we will fail in our efforts to deliver on our missions, period."

Feb. 11, 2015

Obama budget points to fall in federal pay compared with private sector (
Washington Post)
When President Obama told federal employees "I have your back" last week, it was an important statement of support for a workforce that has been demoralized for years.

"There's this uncertainty. It boggles my mind," said Youssef Fawaz, an import specialist with Customs and Border Protection, part of DHS, and a National Treasury Employees Union leader in Detroit. "I don't understand how we're willing to risk our security, our country's borders, over a political issue."

Feb. 8, 2015

Federal employees are seeking better pay and benefits from Congress (
Washington Post)
"These days, a pay raise for federal workers is never a given," Kelley said. "While the pay freeze has finally thawed, 1 percent increases are not adequate, and we have set our sights on a higher pay raise for 2016. The NTEU is supporting legislation in the House and Senate --the FAIR Act --that would provide a 3.8 percent raise for federal workers. As you know, the president's budget was introduced [Monday] recommending a 1.3 percent raise. NTEU thinks it should be higher, and we made that one of our 2016 priority issues."

Feb. 5, 2015

Chaffetz Open to Pay Raises if NTEU Helps Reform Work Rules (Tax Notes)
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said February 4 that he supports the idea of a raise for IRS and other federal employees but that first he needs the National Treasury Employees Union's help to reform employment rules so that managers can more expeditiously discipline and fire wayward federal workers.

NTEU President Colleen Kelley said she wanted to continue the conversation with Chaffetz but otherwise panned his plea. "I've heard him say this before," Kelley told reporters after Chaffetz's speech. "I think what he was asking us to do is not even really something about what we do."

Feb. 5, 2015

Chaffetz supports a federal pay raise, but wants something in return (
Federal News Radio)
"This person right here can come see me anytime," Chaffetz said, gesturing to NTEU's national president Colleen Kelley. "I want all of us to be part of the solution, not part of the problem."

Chaffetz was followed on the podium by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the oversight panel, who painted a starkly different picture. While Chaffetz received polite attention from the NTEU audience, Cummings got an enthusiastic standing ovation as he walked on the stage.

"It seems like you are at war," he told the crowd, listing the recent pay freezes, sequestration and the government shutdown. The next chapter could be worse, he said.

Feb. 4, 2015

Top Republican: Federal employees deserve pay raise (Federal Times)
The Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee thinks most federal employees are good workers â€" and they deserve a pay raise.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, wouldn't say whether he agrees with President Obama's proposed 1.3 percent pay raise for 2016, but he did say federal employees should not lose ground as inflation erodes their salaries.

Chaffetz spoke at the National Treasury Employee Union's annual legislative conference in Washington, D.C., Feb. 4, asking federal employees to help him root out bad apples and push for meaningful changes in their agencies.

Feb. 4, 2015

Oversight Leaders From Both Parties Endorse Pay Raise for Feds (GovExec)
The chief House members with oversight of the federal workforce at a conference Wednesday expressed their legislative priorities for dealing with civil servants, with both agreeing on the idea of a pay raise but differing drastically on other initiatives. 

NTEU National President Colleen Kelley said after his speech she wanted to maintain an open dialogue with Chaffetz -- the lawmaker had said Kelley "can come see me anytime" -- but a discussion of "bad apples" was a bad way to start the conversation.

Feb. 4, 2015

NTEU Troops Blitz Congress Seeking 3.8 Percent Pay Raise, End to Sequestration (
GovExec)
NTEU President Colleen Kelley in her keynote blasted sequestration for leading to "furloughs, hiring freezes, [and] a drastic scaling back of employee training." The across the board budget cuts--set to return in fiscal 2016 under the 2011 Budget Control Act--have "shackled agencies in myriad other ways," she said.  "If Congress does not adequately fund our agencies, we will fail in our efforts to deliver on our missions, period."

Reporting that NTEU had expanded with almost 1,700 additional members in the past year, Kelley said much of the union's legislative work had involved blocking "bad bills" that harm morale through such proposals as hikes in retirement contributions.

Feb. 3, 2015

Obama Budget Pushes Paid Parental Leave, Phased Retirement (
GovExec)
President Obama's fiscal 2016 budget supports increasing flexibility for civilian federal workers through benefits like paid parental leave and phased retirement, in addition to a 1.3 percent pay raise for next year.

Some federal employee advocates were not thrilled with the president's 1.3 percent pay raise proposal, which is slightly more than the 1 percent raise in 2014 and 2015.

The National Treasury Employees Union called the recommended 1.3 percent pay boost "inadequate," but applauded the White House for seeking an end to sequestration, which returns to full strength in fiscal 2016.

Feb. 2, 2015

NTEU Backs Federal Employee Pay Raise Bills (Credit Union Times)
The National Treasury Employees Union, which represents employees at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, endorsed bills in the House and Senate that would provide a 3.8% salary increase to all federal employees.

"We applaud Sens. Schatz and Cardin and Rep. Connolly for proposing to give federal employees a fair pay raise," NTEU National President Colleen M. Kelley said. "After salary freezes, furloughs and a government shutdown, it is time for federal employee pay to get back on track. These two bills would also help narrow the widening disparity between federal and private-sector pay."

Jan. 14, 2015

Back to top

IRS Funding Cuts



Cutting IRS staff leads to cutting taxpayer services and collections (
Washington Post)
When writing checks to the Internal Revenue Service, taxpayers might wish Uncle Sam had a much smaller appetite. Yet they know that putting him on a severe diet means Sam can't get his job done.

The diet Congress has imposed on the IRS means taxpayers not only have to pay up, but they also have to put up with additional hassles. Cuts to IRS staff mean cuts in service to taxpayers.

"It is time for Congress to put taxpayers first," said NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley, "and give the IRS the resources it needs to serve the public."

Feb. 26, 2015

IRS struggles to handle fraudulent tax returns under smaller budget (Federal News Radio)
The IRS, which has 16,000 to 17,000 fewer employees than it did five years ago, is in a bind to meet both of those goals, and as a result, awards billions in fraudulent claims. That's a problem that will only get worse unless Congress raises IRS' budget to allow for new hires, according to the National Treasury Employees Union.

"As criminals become more sophisticated and tech-savvy, Congress must help the IRS stay ahead of the lawbreakers and identity thieves," NTEU President Colleen Kelley said in a press release. "Now is not the time to cut funding for an agency that collects 93 percent of the federal government's revenue. Congress must increase the [fiscal year] 2016 budget."

Feb. 24, 2015

IRS lost $6B to identity theft tax fraud, finds audit (
Fierce Government)
The Internal Revenue Service paid out about $6 billion to one million fraudulently-filed tax returns in 2013, finds a recently released Government Accountability Office report. But some groups are saying that number could have been a lot lower if the IRS was funded properly.

The National Treasury Employees Union issued an email statement Feb. 23 saying reduced funding for the IRS over the last few years has caused the slip in enforcement of tax fraud.

"Now is not the time to cut funding for an agency that collects 93 percent of the federal government's revenue," the statement says. "Congress must increase the 2016 budget for IRS, which is struggling to fulfill its mission after suffering five straight years of budget cuts."

Feb. 23, 2015

IRS Welcomes Jump in Taxpayers Using Its Website (GovExec)
The Internal Revenue Service on Thursday announced that visitors to the website IRS.gov have risen by 20 percent over last year's rate, and that the percentage of taxpayers filing electronic returns climbed to 96 percent.

On Friday, the National Treasury Employees Union issued a statement again warning that the IRS "will face jammed phone lines and long hold times during the President's Day holiday," noting that the agency estimates it will be able to answer only 43 percent of inquiries.

"The agency's struggle to provide the best telephone customer service it can will also highlight the need for Congress to provide the IRS with the resources it needs to serve the taxpaying public in a satisfactory manner," NTEU National President Colleen Kelley said.

Feb. 13, 2015

Reductions in Force at IRS if Sequester Continues, NTEU Warns (
Tax Notes)
The IRS may have to implement reductions in force (RIFs) in 2016 if budget sequestration remains in effect, National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley told reporters at a press briefing February 3.

"Not this year, not this year," Kelley said of the potential layoffs resulting from budget sequestration mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011. But "unless enough employees voluntarily leave, I do think" the agency will face RIFs in 2016, she said.

Speaking to union leadership at the NTEU's annual legislative conference earlier in the day, Kelley said, "If Congress does not act to fund our agencies, we will fail in our efforts to deliver on the missions of the agencies, period."

Feb. 4, 2015

The president's 2016 budget request: Internal Revenue Service (Fierce Government)
The Internal Revenue Service is requesting an 18 percent increase in its fiscal 2016 budget over this year's enacted level after four years of declining budgets.

The National Treasury Employees Union, the largest independent federal worker union, applauded the IRS's request to bulk up customer service.

"The $12.9 billion…would help restore funding for important taxpayer service and enforcement activities that have been slashed in recent years," NTEU President Colleen Kelley said in a Feb. 2 emailed statement.

Feb. 4, 2015

Treasury Workers' Union: IRS, Other Agencies on a 'Starvation Diet'
(Wall Street Journal)
Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, sounded the warning at the opening session of the group's legislative conference in Washington, which was attended by hundreds of the 150,000 employees the group represents at 31 agencies and departments, including the IRS and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

"If Congress does not adequately fund our agencies, we will fail in our efforts to deliver on our mission. Period," Ms. Kelley said, calling funds in recent years at "starvation diet" levels. NTEU members in town for the conference planned to meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to make their case.

The union, while applauding Mr. Obama's plans to boost funding for agencies, said the 1.3% pay raise he proposed for federal civilian employees didn't meet its 3.8% goal â€"an amount Ms. Kelley said workers deserve after having their pay frozen more than once and receiving a cumulative two percent raise in the past five years.

Feb. 3, 2015

Furloughs again loom for some federal employees at IRS and DHS (
Washington Post)
Budget uncertainty. Furlough fears. Work now, get paid later.

This was on the minds of federal workers attending the National Treasury Employees Union legislative conference on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. Meeting a day after President Obama released his fiscal 2016 budget proposal, they complained about its slight 1.3 percent federal pay-raise proposal. But they also worry about other budget issues that could hit federal workplaces.

"The roof is caving in at the IRS," NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley told the conference. "The IRS has suffered five consecutive years of budget cuts --$1.2 billion dollars --and by the end of this year will have lost 16,000 to 17,000 employees since 2010."

Feb. 3, 2015

NTEU to Congress: End agency 'starvation budgets' (CyberFEDS)
More than 300 National Treasury Employees Union members are storming Capitol Hill this week to lobby lawmakers on key issues important to the union.

The first issue -- and probably the most pressing one -- is to end sequestration and restore agency funding from the "starvation diets" of the last few years. This includes full FY 2015 funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which was only funded through the end of this month because of disagreements over immigration policy. Both NTEU President Colleen Kelley and Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, who opened the legislative conference, said holding DHS hostage for a political agenda is unacceptable.

Feb. 3, 2015

IRS workers hope to sway Congress to reverse budget cuts (
Federal News Radio)
With the 2015 tax filing season upon us, long lines have become the norm at the IRS walk-in center in downtown Atlanta, said Terry Scott, the National Treasury Employees Union representative for center employees, tax collectors and others in Georgia.

Kelley also plans to be on Capitol Hill a lot in the coming weeks. She is trying to schedule a meeting with Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), head of the House subcommittee that oversees the federal workforce, and Sen. Ron Johnson (R- Wisc.), the new chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and an outspoken advocate of smaller government.

Kelley said she is encouraged by President Barack Obama's budget plan for fiscal 2016, which would boost IRS funding by 18 percent.

Feb. 3, 2015

Budget cuts could shut the IRS down temporarily (
CBS News)
Budget cuts could force the IRS to shut down operations for two days later this year, furloughing employees and interrupting taxpayer services.

"IRS employees are doing their best to handle the rising demand for their services, but they will simply not be able to keep up," said Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union. "I have urged the IRS not to make any decisions on furlough days this early in the fiscal year and to work with us to find other alternatives."

Jan. 16, 2015

IRS shutdown possible amid budget cuts, agency chief says (Washington Post)
The Internal Revenue Service might shut down and send its employees home for a few days this summer if it can't find a "reasonable way" to close an anticipated budget gap, according to the agency's chief.

The National Treasury Employees Union, which represents IRS workers, has criticized Congress for reducing the agency's budget for a fifth consecutive year.

"Today, the IRS is struggling to keep the lights on," NTEU president Colleen M. Kelley said in a statement this week.

"Not only do these cuts threaten our voluntary tax-compliance system, they also reduce the ability of the IRS to continue to collect 93 percent of our nation's revenue."

Jan. 16, 2015

IRS Hits Filing Season Feeling Stretched Beyond Capacity (
GovExec)
Gearing up to process more than 230 million fiscal 2014 tax returns, the Internal Revenue Service appears to be creaking under a heightened workload and reduced staff.

NTEU National President Colleen Kelley in a statement said, "The nation, along with the IRS workforce, is suffering from the $1.2 billion worth of budget cuts the IRS has endured since fiscal year 2010. It is appalling to me that only half of the callers will be able to get through to a customer service representative during this filing season, that Taxpayer Assistance Centers will be forced to turn people away and that millions of people who file paper returns will see their refunds delayed."

Jan. 14, 2015

Deteriorating IRS Service Causes Pain for Taxpayers, Report Says (
Bloomberg)
Congress has handed the IRS more work and less funding, leading to a decline in taxpayer service, the tax agency's independent in-house critic said in a new report.

"Refunds will be delayed, especially for taxpayers who file paper returns or for taxpayers with errors or questions on their returns," Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents IRS workers, said in a statement yesterday. "Tax cheats will have an easier time evading what they owe."

Jan. 14, 2015

Taxpayer Advocate Report Highlights Decline in Taxpayer Services, Promotes Taxpayer Bill of Rights (
Accounting Today)
National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson released her 2014 Annual Report to Congress, which expresses concern that taxpayers this year are likely to receive the worst levels of taxpayer service since 2001 when the IRS implemented its current performance measures.

In response to the report, National Treasury Employees Union president Colleen M. Kelley said, "The nation, along with the IRS workforce, is suffering from the $1.2 billion worth of budget cuts the IRS has endured since fiscal year 2010. It is appalling to me that only half of the callers will be able to get through to a customer service representative during this filing season, that Taxpayer Assistance Centers will be forced to turn people away and that millions of people who file paper returns will see their refunds delayed."

"To absorb these cuts, the IRS has raised the possibility of a shutdown, forcing employees to serve unpaid furlough days and putting a ‘closed' sign out for taxpayers. Ongoing budget cuts are unsustainable. Congress must end this cycle and begin investing in the IRS," Kelley said.

Jan. 14, 2015

Report: Congressional budget cuts devastating IRS (
Federal Times)
Repeated congressional budget cuts have devastated the IRS --and it is only going to get worse, according to a new report.

Colleen Kelley, the president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said in a statement the IRS budget now stands at its lowest level since fiscal 2007 even as taxpayers and responsibilities continue to increase.

"We will do everything we can to prevent these draconian cuts from resulting in hardship to frontline employees who provide vital services to taxpayers. Starving the IRS hurts more than just the agency's workforce, it hurts all taxpayers," Kelley said.

Jan. 14, 2015

Koskinen: Furloughs possible for IRS employees (Federal News Radio)
Employees of the Internal Revenue Service should plan for a possible agency shutdown, warned IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in an e-mail to the entire agency yesterday.

Since Congress passed the new budget, he said his agency worked with the National Treasury Employees Union to navigate their bargaining agreement and plan for the worst.

"I have urged the IRS not to make any decisions on furlough days this early in the fiscal year and to work with us to find other alternatives," wrote NTEU president Colleen Kelley in response to Koskinen's message.

Jan. 14, 2015

IRS chief warns of refund delays, poor customer service this tax year (
FOX News)
Taxpayers could see delays in getting their refunds this year -- as well as "unacceptable" customer service -- as the IRS commissioner warns budget cuts are forcing the agency to cut back.

"IRS employees are doing their best to handle the rising demand for their services, but they will simply not be able to keep up," said Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union. "I have urged the IRS not to make any decisions on furlough days this early in the fiscal year and to work with us to find other alternatives."

Jan. 14, 2015

IRS Will Shut Last Overseas Taxpayer-Assistance Centers (
Bloomberg)
The Internal Revenue Service is closing the last of its overseas taxpayer-assistance centers, saying that years of budget cuts have forced it to end a popular program designed to help U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad.
But union officials said budget cuts imposed on the IRS in recent years have hampered its ability to enforce the tax code and warned that the current move will ultimately cost the Treasury revenue.

"Tax cheats will find it easier to evade paying what they owe," Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said in a statement last week.

Jan. 14, 2015

IRS Head Says Budget Cuts Could Force 2-Day Agency Shutdown (Associated Press)
Budget cuts could force the IRS to shut down operations for two days later this year, resulting in unpaid furloughs for employees and service cuts for taxpayers, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said Tuesday.

"IRS employees are doing their best to handle the rising demand for their services, but they will simply not be able to keep up," said Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union. "I have urged the IRS not to make any decisions on furlough days this early in the fiscal year and to work with us to find other alternatives."

Jan. 13, 2015

IRS to lose tax collectors, do fewer audits in 2015 (
USA Today)
The Internal Revenue Service will lose 1,800 tax collectors through attrition and do 46,000 fewer audits this year because of congressional budget cuts to the tax agency, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told IRS employees Tuesday.

Colleen Kelley, the president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said the cuts were "appalling" and will hurt taxpayers.

"IRS employees are doing their best to handle the rising demand for their services, but they will simply not be able to keep up," she said. She said taxpayer services would be hurt -- especially to elderly, disabled and low-income taxpayers who may not have Internet access -- and that "tax cheats will have an easier time evading what they owe."
Jan. 13, 2015

IRS: Budget cuts could cause agency shutdown (
The Hill)
Facing a new round of budget cuts, the IRS plans to delay information technology improvements, audit fewer taxpayers and send out refunds more slowly, the agency's chief said Tuesday.

Colleen Kelley, the president of the NTEU, blasted Congress for the budget cuts in a Tuesday statement, but also suggested the union wouldn't easily agree to potential furlough days for employees.

"I have urged the IRS not to make any decisions on furlough days this early in the fiscal year and to work with us to find other alternatives," Kelley said. "Hard-working, committed IRS workers and their families should not be expected to bear the brunt of this budget shortfall."

Jan. 13, 2015

Federal Pension and Benefits


Edwards introduces bill to reduce fed employee pension contributions (Fierce Government)
A Maryland legislator last week introduced a bill that would roll back a law that raised the amount federal employees are required to pay into their pensions.

The NTEU statement says it's not right to force additional burdens on the federal workforce, who have faced a three-year salary freeze.

"No other group in the nation is being asked to make such a big sacrifice," says NTEU National President Colleen Kelley in the statement. "It is not as though the higher contributions came with bigger benefits. Quite the contrary. The benefits remained unchanged."

Feb. 9, 2015

Rep. Edwards makes another bid to repeal pension contribution increase (
Federal News Radio)
Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) is trying once again to roll back the changes to federal employee benefits detailed in Bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2013 and the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012.

The National Treasury Employees Union said eliminating the pension contribution increases is one of its top legislative priorities this year.

"Forcing newer employees to pay more toward their retirement is unfair and unnecessary. It reduces their take-home pay and is a tax increase imposed selectively," said Colleen Kelley, NTEU president. "We applaud Rep. Edwards and others for once again taking action to end this discriminatory treatment faced by the newest members of the federal workforce."

Feb. 6, 2015

Cost of transit commuting unpredictable for federal workers (Baltimore Sun)
Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, which has lobbied for parity in the subsidies to transit users and drivers, said her organization is "working with federal agencies to make sure employees receive these retroactive subsidies in accordance with our contracts."

Parity, Kelley said, "would encourage more people to choose mass transit, reduce pollution and ease traffic congestion."

Jan. 26, 2015

Paid Parental Leave


Democrat bill would give federal workers paid parental leave (Washington Post)
Federal employees would be eligible for six weeks of paid leave for purposes related to the birth or adoption of a child, under legislation introduced Monday by a group of House Democrats.

"This bill will go a long way toward creating a more family-friendly workplace, which is needed by America's workers. In addition to reducing turnover, paid parental leave can lead to increased productivity, better morale, and reduced absenteeism," National Treasury Employees Union president Colleen M. Kelley said in a statement.

Jan. 26, 2015

Obama authorizes up to six weeks of paid parental leave for feds (
Federal News Radio)
President Barack Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum Thursday directing agencies to provide six weeks of advanced sick leave for federal employees to care for their newborn child.

Colleen M. Kelley, national president of the National Treasury Employee Union, characterized the memorandum as a move to create a more family-friendly work environment in federal offices.

Jan. 15, 2015

Other News

 

Chaffetz takes softer tone toward federal workers (Politico)
"I do not like the gratuitous cheap shots that are going out on all federal employees," the Utah Republican told NTEU's annual conference in Washington. "I want to have a good and ongoing dialogue."

NTEU chief Colleen Kelley said after the speech that of course employees who break the law should lose their jobs, but that a system is already in place to handle such issues. She said changes are not needed to allow the government to fire employees more easily.

Feb. 4, 2015

Vets Sick Leave Bill Advances (
GovExec)
In more uplifting news, disabled veterans newly hired by federal agencies are a bit closer to receiving paid sick leave to attend medical appointments.

The National Treasury Employees Union strongly supports the legislation. "The Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act will eliminate the need for these newly-hired employees to be forced to take leave without pay for medical appointments, and does so without creating any new costs for agencies or taxpayers," said NTEU President Colleen Kelley in a letter to the bills' sponsors, Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont.

Jan. 28, 2015

Index shows Americans increasingly unsatisfied with federal services (
Washington Post)
"Since the number of federal employees has gone down, the decline in service quality is perhaps not surprising," the report said. "In both the public and private sectors, customer service is often the first casualty of spending cuts, especially if the service is labor intensive."

The National Treasury Employees Union expressed similar thoughts on funding and staff reductions for the IRS when asked about the index on Tuesday.

"Taxpayers expect and deserve quality service, and IRS employees want to provide it, but Congress must adequately fund the IRS rather than setting it up to fail," NTEU president Colleen M. Kelley said in a statement.

Jan. 28, 2015

Md. groups closely watching new Congress, political landscape (Baltimore Sun)
As Congress opens its session on Tuesday, several Maryland interests--including chicken farmers, environmentalists and federal employees--will be watching for signs of how the new political landscape on Capitol Hill will affect issues they say are critical to the state's economy.

Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, acknowledged that "federal employees have had a difficult few years" and said her union expects 2015 to "present continuing challenges." But she said her group and others would work with the new Congress to find areas of possible agreement.

"We will continue to push for strengthening the federal workforce and ensuring agencies have the resources they need to accomplish their missions," Kelley said in a statement.

Jan. 5, 2015

Letter to the Editor: Challenging job (
Press-Republican - N.Y.)
I agree wholeheartedly with the editorial in the Nov. 16 Press-Republican, "Border protection a crucial service."

As the union president representing 700 Customs and Border Protection employees from Champlain to Alexandria Bay to Albany including Montreal and Ottawa, I know it is crucial to ensure that we get the resources we need to stop at the border everything that could harm us.

By Thomas O'Keefe
President, Chapter 138 (CBP Northern New York)

Jan. 3, 2015

 




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