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February 18, 2020

ICYMI: NTEU Makes News on Pay Raise Proposal

NTEU had a lot to say after the administration proposed a meager 1 percent pay raise for 2021, claiming serious economic issues. The media listened and the federal employee perspective was featured in these and other outlets:


Watch CNN feature NTEU’s take on the administration’s budget proposal for 2021.

Get more NTEU news and headlines in NTEU's media center here.

Received Unemployment in 2019? Read This

If you received unemployment compensation during last year’s partial government shutdown, the IRS has issued important steps for avoiding tax reporting issues.

You should get a Form 1099-G, reporting in Box 1 the total unemployment compensation paid to you. If you repaid your unemployment benefits in 2019, follow these steps to account for the repayment:

-Subtract the amount of unemployment benefits you repaid from the total amount you received.
-Enter the difference on Schedule 1 (Form 1040), line 7.
-On the dotted line next to your entry, enter “Repaid” and the amount you repaid.

If you e-file, use the help feature on the tax software. If you use a tax preparer, make sure they know about the amount you repaid last year.

Get more information on the IRS website here or call dedicated IRS employees at 1-800-829-1040.

 

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February 11, 2020

The President's 2021 Budget: Attacks on Federal Pay and Retirement are Back

Yesterday, the administration released its proposed budget for fiscal year 2021. And like previous years, it includes attacks on federal employee take-home pay, retirement and agency funding.

“For the fourth year in a row, the administration’s budget proposal would starve federal agencies to the point of paralysis, pick the pockets of middle-class federal workers and their families, weaken our nation’s nonpartisan, merit-based civil service, and deprive Americans of the basic services and protections they expect from their government." National President Tony Reardon said.

While the budget recommends a 1 percent across-the-board pay raise, it also calls for an increase in what employees pay toward retirement. Employees would have to contribute an additional 1 percent of their salary toward the Federal Employee Retirement System for the next several years.

Four other proposals that weaken retirement benefits include eliminating or reducing cost of living increases for retirees; eliminating supplementals for early retirees; changing the benefit formula in way that lowers retirement benefits; and reducing the interest rate for certain Thrift Savings Plan investments. All together, the proposals would reduce federal employee retirement benefits by almost $180 billion over the next 10 years.
The budget would also modify the government contribution rate to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program that would require enrollees to pay significantly higher premiums.

Many NTEU-represented agencies would also see cuts, including:

  • CBP: no funding for new officers across the nation’s 328 ports of entry;
  • CFBP: limit funding, lose 243 full-time employees and plans to move the agency into the appropriations process, destroying its needed independence;
  • CFTC: calls for $77.5 million of the funding to be paid for by a new user fee, which could mean up to a 20 percent cut in staff;
  • DOE: proposed a 28.7 percent cut to NTEU represented bureaus;
  • EPA: proposed a 26 percent funding cut;
  • HHS: proposed a 9 percent cut;
  • IRS: an increase of $528 million over fiscal 2020 levels, but allocating 1,183 fewer full-time employees;

NTEU expects this budget blueprint to be largely ignored by Congress, but it does underscore that the anti-employee agenda of this administration remains a constant threat.

Congress Authorizes Increase of Agriculture Inspectors at U.S. Ports

NTEU-supported legislation increasing hiring at Customs and Border Protection is on its way to the president’s desk.

Yesterday, the House joined the Senate in passing legislation authorizing CBP to hire 240 more Agriculture Specialists, 200 Agriculture Technicians and 20 Agriculture Canine Teams per year until the agency’s staffing shortage is eliminated.

NTEU worked hard to build support for the bill from bipartisan members of Congress, business, industry and agriculture interests around the country.

“CBP Agriculture Specialists are on the front lines at airports, seaports and land ports intercepting dangerous insects, contaminated animal products and diseased plant material,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon. “This is a stressful job and the inadequate staffing levels are taking a toll.”

CBP’s own workload model calls for an additional 721 Agriculture Specialists in order to fully staff the ports.

More than 100 Members of Congress Call on HHS to Follow Labor Law

More than 100 members of Congress are calling on the Secretary of Health and Human Services to engage in good faith contract negotiations, as ordered by an independent arbitrator.

“Dedicated public servants shouldn’t have to divert their attention from helping HHS meet its mission to worry about the burden of anti-employee policies because management is failing to negotiate in good faith,” said a letter sent last week from Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and signed by 106 other House members. Rep. Eshoo chairs the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health.

HHS walked away from negotiations with NTEU in 2018 after making proposals that would gut the contract and refusing to discuss alternatives. NTEU filed multiple grievances and neutral arbitrators have determined that the agency violated federal labor laws by bargaining in bad faith, prematurely declaring an impasse and imposing an incomplete, one-sided contract on its employees.

“The career civil servants at HHS are pleased to see such a strong outpouring of support from Rep. Eshoo and others in Congress,” said National President Tony Reardon. “HHS frontline employees have suffered while the administration stripped away their most popular employee programs and disrespected their desire to have a meaningful voice in the workplace.”

Five Ways the Budget Hurts Federal Employees

National President Tony Reardon is breaking down the dangers of the administration's budget blueprint. You're going to want to share this with your colleagues. Watch the YouTube video here.

 

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