Washington D.C. – About 400 federal employees from around the country gathered on Capitol Hill Wednesday to open the National Treasury Employees Union’s 2020 Legislative Conference.
The agenda this year includes encouraging members of Congress to increase federal pay, protect employee benefits, provide agencies with adequate funding and ensure fairness in the government workplace.
NTEU National President Tony Reardon welcomed the union members to Washington and praised their work last year on securing a 3.1 percent pay raise and a new paid parental leave program.
“We are starting off our legislative year in a good place. We have momentum, we have supporters, we have strong grassroots activity and we are ready to build on our success,” Reardon said.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) also addressed the union members during the opening session. Maloney is chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and was the leading congressional advocate to give federal employees a paid parental leave program.
“While you’re working hard for the American people, our job as members of Congress is to ensure you have job security, a respectful workplace and adequate pay and benefits,” Maloney said during the opening session. “This is the least we should do to retain and attract the top tier individuals we need to help run the federal government that does so much to help people.”
Reardon also awarded Maloney an honorary membership in NTEU.
“We’ve stood with Rep. Maloney for 20 years when it comes to giving federal workers the ability to afford to take time off after the arrival of a new child, and today we are honored that she is standing with us on fair pay, secure retirement and workplace fairness,” Reardon said. “She is a powerful advocate for protecting our nonpartisan, merit-based civil service.”
NTEU’s Legislative Advisory Committee, made up of federal employees from various agencies, determined the union’s 2020 legislative agenda. The group decided to focus NTEU’s efforts this year on a pay raise in 2021, paid family leave for federal employees, protecting workplace rights and agency funding levels that give employees the tools and resources they need to do their job.
The agenda, which union members will personally deliver during meetings on Capitol Hill, also includes NTEU’s opposition to legislation that eliminates federal agencies, reduces federal retirement benefits, weakens collective bargaining and shifts additional health insurance costs to workers.
“We want to build federal workplaces where employees are respected, where your suggestions and concerns matter, where you have a real chance to thrive and deliver top-level services to the American people,” Reardon said.
“We cannot achieve success in any of these areas if federal agencies are understaffed, underfunded and undermined by those who lead them. That is why our 2020 legislative agenda includes a mix of initiatives to keep what we have and put in place the pieces we need for a strong, talented and professional merit-based federal workforce,” he said.
NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 33 federal agencies and departments.