The Month in Media
"NTEU will continue advocating for higher pay raises in the future. We are pleased that this raise, with the first locality adjustment in six years, was not blocked by Congress."
Pay, Benefit Hikes for Feds Make Budget Deal Better Than What Might Have Been, Washington Post, Dec. 17, 2015
Throughout December, President Reardon got the message out to print and radio outlets on the importance of valuing federal employees and of increasing morale in the workplace NTEU was vocal about our opposition to a set of harmful provisions included in the now-passed highway funding bill. Media outlets also covered the union's response to passage of the final 2016 omnibus bill.
• National President Tony Reardon takes to the radio to discuss federal employee morale. Read the clips»
• Despite NTEU's strong opposition, a highway funding bill passes with harmful provisions. Read the clips »
• Federal employees get their first locality pay raise in six years under a recent budget deal, but NTEU vows to press for a higher increase in 2017. Read the clips »
• While the satisfaction score might be up in the annual Best Places to Work Survey, NTEU believes that employee morale still needs improvement. Read the clips »
• NTEU blasts the continued threats of government shutdowns. Read the clips »
|Interviews with President Reardon
President Reardon discusses reasons for low federal-employee morale (99.1 WNEW CBS DC)
Listen to the clip
Dec. 11, 2015
Reardon: Federal employees want Congress to value them (99.1 WNEW CBS DC)
Listen to the clip
Dec. 16, 2015
Highway Bill Will Revoke Passports for Tax Delinquents and Bring Back Private Tax Debt Collectors (Accounting Today)
Highway Agreement Retains Debt Collection, Passport Provisions (Tax Notes)
The conference agreement designates some tax receivables as ineligible for collection by debt collectors, including debt from taxpayers with a pending or active offer in compromise and from taxpayers with debt from an innocent spouse case. Taxpayers who are victims of identity theft would also not be subject to the debt collector provision.
National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon said the provision would harm low-income taxpayers who won't be able to pay.
"Congress should be working to find a long-term revenue source for highway and transit programs instead of using these gimmicky proposals," he said in a statement.
Dec. 2, 2015
Highway bill requires IRS to use private debt collectors (MarketWatch)
The debt-collection provision is tucked into a $305 billion, five-year highway bill. Current highway funding expires on Friday, and the House and Senate are expected to vote on it soon. House Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday he expects the bill to pass with "good majority support."
Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said in a statement that efforts to use private collection agencies to collect federal taxes were scuttled twice in the past 20 years. Both attempts lost money for the government, the Washington Post reported last month.
"The third time won't be the charm," Reardon said. "Reviving the [private collection agencies] experiment again will deliver the same disastrous results."
Dec. 2, 2015
Highway Bill Forces Federal Union to Swallow Bitter Pills (GovExec)
The final version of the $305 billion highway bill that President Obama is expected to sign contains two provisions affecting agency staffing bitterly opposed by the National Treasury Employees Union and several travel industry groups.
Among them is a controversial provision to outsource some of the Internal Revenue Service's debt collecting to private contractors. Another would redirect $4 billion in customs fees and $3.5 billion in fees collected by the Transportation Security Administration.
"Congress should not be giving the green light to debt collectors," said NTEU National President Tony Reardon in a statement this week. "Nor should Congress allow critical funding to be diverted away from strengthening our borders and ensuring the quick and efficient flow of people and products through our ports."
Dec. 4, 2015
Congress has passed highway-funding legislation that includes two tax provisions that would allow the State Department to revoke the passports of long-term tax delinquents who owe more than $50,000 in tax debts and revive a program authorizing the IRS to hire private debt collection agencies.
The House and the Senate passed differing versions of the highway funding bill last month containing the provisions despite warnings from an expatriate group known as American Citizens Abroad and the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents IRS employees.
The National Treasury Employees Union has also pointed out that it is not a good idea to revive the program at a time when criminals are posing as IRS agents and calling taxpayers threatening them to send in money to settle fictitious tax debts.
"Congress should not be giving the green light to debt collectors," NTEU national president Tony Reardon said in a statement.
Dec. 4, 2015
US Highway Bill Passed With Contentious Tax Measures (Tax-News.com)
On December 3, the US Congress passed a $305 billion bill to fund the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) over five years, and included two contentious tax measures that involve the use of private debt collectors to recover unpaid taxes and the denial of passports individuals with tax debt.
Cardin also commented that the policy "puts a target on the back of low-income and middle-class families," while the National Treasury Employees Union stated that "turning over tax collection work to the most complained about industry--private debt collectors-- makes no sense. The Federal Trade Commission and state authorities recently launched sweeping new investigations to stop these companies from hurting vulnerable Americans."
Dec. 7, 2015
Private tax collection may increase tax scams (Bankrate.com)
Ironically, as the legislation to force bill collectors onto the IRS was working its way through Congress, the Federal Trade Commission and law enforcement agencies nationwide announced an expansive program to crack down on deceptive and abusive debt collection practices. Authorities are going after bill collectors who use illegal tactics such as harassing phone calls and false threats of litigation, arrest and wage garnishment.
Sounds uncomfortably close to the tax scam, doesn't it?
The similarity caught the eye of Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, who decried Congress giving a "green light to debt collectors" at the same time criminals are posing as IRS agents and calling taxpayers, threatening them to send in money to settle fictitious tax debts.
Dec. 8, 2015
Congress Forces IRS to Use Private Bill Collectors (AllGov.com)
A law going into effect this month is forcing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to employ private debt collection companies, a plan which will not only cost the agency money, but will make it easier for scammers to defraud Americans.
Use of private collection agencies to collect taxes was scuttled twice in the past 20 years, according to a statement by Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union. Both of those attempts lost money for the federal government, the Post reported. "The third time won't be the charm," promised Reardon. "Reviving the experiment again will deliver the same disastrous results."
Dec. 28, 2015
Federal employees on tap for pay raise after Congress takes no action (Washington Post)
For federal employees, silence in the budget will prove to be golden. By taking no position regarding a federal employee raise for 2016, the budget agreement announced Tuesday evening will allow an average 1.3 percent raise for federal employees to take effect by default. That represents the third straight year that Congress has followed such a strategy of action by inaction on the raise.
National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon said "this pay raise amount is far too low," but he acknowledged that it was better than nothing, adding:Â "This funding agreement could have blocked a pay raise entirely."
Dec. 16, 2015
Spending Deal Keeps Feds, Troops on Track for 1.3 Percent Raise (GovExec)
Federal civilian employees and military service members would receive a 1.3 percent pay raise next year under the fiscal 2016 spending package congressional appropriators unveiled late on Tuesday.
Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, applauded the raise and the larger bill for likely bringing a close to the most recent chapter of shutdown politics.
"We are pleased that this raise, with the first locality adjustment in six years, was not blocked by Congress," Reardon said. "Final passage of these measures will allow federal employees and federal agencies to get back to the business of serving the public."
Dec. 16, 2015
'We did OK' in spending bill -- union chief (Greenwire)
Federal employees can breathe a sigh of relief after lawmakers released the text of a massive $1.15 trillion spending bill late last night.
Other unions were pleased with the spending package.
"While NTEU will continue advocating for higher pay raises in the future," Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said in a statement, "we are pleased that this raise, with the first locality adjustment in six years, was not blocked by Congress."
Dec. 16, 2015
Pay raise, transit benefits parity gives feds optimism for 2016 (Federal News Radio)
The 2016 spending bill holds more presents than lumps of coal for federal employees. The omnibus appropriations bill is the first one in some time that didn't require federal employees to hold their collective breaths for possible pay and benefits changes.
Congress agreed on a tax-extenders measure to establish permanent parity between the parking and transit benefits. Both benefits would be capped at $255 a month instead of the current transit benefit of $130 a month and parking benefit of $250 a month.
The National Treasury Employees Union says this parity would be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2015 at $250 a month, meaning some employees will see a significant chunk one-time payment of about $1,440 to make up for the last year.
Dec. 17, 2015
Pay, benefit hikes for feds make budget deal better than what might have been (Washington Post)
At least the government didn't shut down. In a measure of how shaky the government funding process has become in recent years, that's one of the more notable take-aways from the congressional budget agreement announced Wednesday. It still needs final approval.
"NTEU will continue advocating for higher pay raises in the future," said National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon. "We are pleased that this raise, with the first locality adjustment in six years, was not blocked by Congress."
Dec. 17, 2015
Best Places to Work shows 'tide turning' for employee satisfaction in 2015 (Federal News Radio)
In a statement from National Treasury Employees Union National President Tony Reardon, he said that while the satisfaction score might be up, employee morale still needs improvement.
"This is not surprising when federal employees face a barrage of unfair attacks from some in Congress on health care, retirement and workplace rights, inadequate pay raises that won't cover rising costs and the recurring possibility of yet another government shutdown, " Reardon said. "Staffing declines and workload increases have become a fact of life in most federal agencies, and this badly hurts morale."
While external influences aren't always easy to address, Reardon said within agencies, developing a relationship between managers and front-line staff promotes happier employees.
Dec. 8, 2015
Survey: Feds satisfaction ticks up after 4-year slide (Federal Times)
Federal employees are feeling a bit more satisfied this holiday season, a survey from The Partnership for Public Service showed, even after four years of humbug sentiments.
The nonpartisan nonprofit released its annual "Best Places to Work in the Federal Government," on Dec. 8, showing a 58.1 out of 100 increase in employee satisfaction in 2015, jumping 1.2 points from last year's score.
National Treasury Employees Union president Tony Reardon was not impressed, noting that spending cuts, workforce reductions in the IRS and other agencies and low-or-no pay raises have dampened spirits for federal employees.
"The overall satisfaction score may be up slightly, but make no mistake, federal employee morale remains low," Reardon said in a statement. "This is not surprising when federal employees face a barrage of unfair attacks from some in Congress on health care, retirement and workplace rights, inadequate pay raises that won't cover rising costs and the recurring possibility of yet another government shutdown."
Dec. 8, 2015
Four in five Americans fault federal government performance (Baltimore Sun)
Republicans think the federal government should do less. Democrats think it should do more. But both agree it should be doing a lot better, according to a new poll.
Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, called the survey's finding that just 19 percent of Americans trust the federal government "disconcerting."
"Constant gridlock in Congress, polarized and partisan politics, and the inability to compromise are all contributing factors," Reardon said. "The government shutdowns of the past and continued threats of shutdowns also color this bleak view of government."
Dec. 5, 2015
Short-term spending bill emerges as lingering shutdown concerns rise (Federal News Radio)
Coming so close to the brink of another shutdown, especially one so close to the holidays, is nerve-wracking, said National Treasury Employees Union National President Tony Reardon.
"They start worrying about whether they will be furloughed with no pay or be required to work without knowing when they'll get paid," Reardon said. "It is terribly unfair for Congress to put federal employees in this situation when they're not to blame."
Reardon said NTEU was again backing Sen. Ben Cardin's (D-Md.) Federal Employee Fair Treatment Act, which would guarantee federal employees would be paid regardless of furlough or excepted status during a shutdown.
Dec. 10, 2015