Washington D.C. – National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon today delivered to Congress a long list of objections to the administration’s 2020 budget proposal, which includes a pay freeze, retirement cuts and insufficient agency funding.
“Once again, the Administration has put forward untenable proposals that decimate employee pay, benefits, rights and protections and makes the federal government a less attractive place to work,” Reardon wrote.
Reardon’s written testimony was provided to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government.
Instead of freezing salaries at 2019 levels, NTEU supports the FAIR Act, S. 426 and H.R. 1073, to provide employees a 3.6 percent raise in 2020 and help address multiple years of freezes and below-market increases. Based on the economic formula in the Federal Employee Pay Comparability Act, federal employees should receive at least a 2.6 percent across-the-board pay increase next year before locality pay is added.
Reardon said NTEU will oppose efforts to slow the frequency of within grade step increases and limit performance awards to only specific occupations.
The administration’s proposed budget also includes a host of unacceptable pension changes that together would force employees to pay more for fewer benefits, cutting their pay by about 6 percent in the process.
On leave, the union does not support a proposal to lump holidays, sick leave and annual leave into a single category of paid time off because it reduces the total amount of earned leave. Instead, NTEU supports the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act, H.R. 1534, which would provide 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a new child or a critically ill family member.
“Few employees can go weeks without pay and no one should be forced to choose between caring for a loved one and a paycheck,” Reardon wrote.
Reardon also took issue with civil service proposals that would be detrimental to employees, such as shortening the length of time an employee has to respond to an adverse action and giving managers more power to use longer probationary periods for new hires.
NTEU supports the Federal Labor-Management Partnership Act, H.R. 1316 and S. 530, to reinstate the National Labor Relations Council and agency level forums that were disbanded by executive order in 2017.
“Federal law clearly states that the right of employees to organize, bargain collectively, and participate through labor organizations in decisions which affect them safeguards the public interest and contributes to the effective conduct of public business,” Reardon wrote.
For the Internal Revenue Service, Reardon urged Congress to provide funding above the $11.4 billion requested by the administration because it does not do enough to make up for the $845 million and 22,000 employees lost since 2010.
“Without increased and sustained funding, taxpayers could experience a degradation of services, including longer wait times to receive assistance over the telephone, the inability to assist victims of identity theft and other types of fraud in a timely manner and a decreased ability to collect additional revenue,” he wrote.
NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 33 federal agencies and departments.