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NTEU Leader ‘Disappointed’ in Federal Workers’ Comp Provision in Senate Postal Reform Bill; Vows Continued Fight

Tuesday, April 24 2012

Washington, D.C. — The Senate’s failure today to eliminate a provision making cuts to the federal workers' compensation program in the Postal Reform bill does further harm to workers injured in the line of duty, the leader of the nation’s largest independent federal union said.

“The Senate has missed an opportunity to make real and positive changes in a program designed to assist dedicated federal workers injured in their duties,” said National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) President Colleen M. Kelley. “Instead, the language in the Postal Reform bill penalizes public servants who have committed their working lives to serving their nation.”

An amendment introduced by Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) to correct the provision language failed to receive enough votes today. As a result, the Senate version of the Postal Reform bill (S.1789) continues to have a provision that weakens the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) by cutting benefits to workers who have lost their ability to earn a salary and retirement credits by slashing their benefit later in life, while also eliminating a modest family allowance for a recipient with dependents.

“It is disappointing to see the Senate bill include language that is harmful to injured federal workers, while more commonsense improvements to FECA are left on the table,” Kelley said. “However, the vote on the amendment by Sen. Akaka shows that there is substantial opposition to this language, and NTEU will redouble its efforts to correct it.”

The Akaka amendment would have replaced the harmful provision with language from the bi-partisan FECA reform legislation that already has passed the House (H.R. 2465). The new language would have implemented several cost-cutting measures, while also updating benefits for funeral expenses and facial disfigurement, ensuring that injuries caused by acts of terrorism are covered, and making other critical improvements.

“NTEU remains firmly opposed to the cuts in workers’ compensation and will work diligently to ensure that the more appropriate changes supported by the House become law,” Kelley said. “We must reject any changes that would harm federal employees who tragically suffered an injury that took away their ability to serve their fellow Americans.”

NTEU is the nation’s largest independent federal union, representing about 150,000 employees in 31 agencies and departments.

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