Washington D.C. – About 300 members of the National Treasury Employees Union from around the country gathered virtually Tuesday to deliver their messages of fair pay, adequate agency funding and workplace safety to Congress.
The 2021 Legislative Grassroots Event allows federal employees to educate their respective members of Congress on how NTEU’s issues can improve agency workplaces and help the federal government meet the needs of the American people.
NTEU National President Tony Reardon opened the event by encouraging members to share their personal stories about how the union’s legislative agenda can have a profound personal and professional impact on their lives.
“Through our grassroots outreach, these members of Congress will know you,” Reardon told the union members. “They will understand that we share a common goal: making the federal government work for our country. These lawmakers will see partners in that goal, and they will see that we are organized to win.”
The opening session of this year’s virtual event included remarks from Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), who is sponsoring legislation to give federal employees an average 3.2 percent pay increase in 2022, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee.
Schatz joined the video conference to reinforce his support of federal employees and their unions.
“With your help we’ve been able to pass paid parental leave for federal employees and fight back against attacks on collective bargaining and federal workers’ rights... but we have more work to do, including raising federal pay, passing paid family and medical leave and strengthening the federal collective bargaining process, and this will only get done if we work together,” Schatz said. “That is why you have my support to fight for NTEU workers and priorities in Washington, because the best way we can fight income inequality and improve services our federal government delivers is through unions.”
DeLauro, in a recorded message to NTEU members, credited unions with building America’s middle class.
“We must protect workers’ rights to negotiate for better wages, for better benefits and for better working conditions,” DeLauro said. “Thank you to all the hardworking members and leadership at the National Treasury Employees Union. Thank you for your consistently forthright and courageous advocacy on behalf of our federal workers.”
In addition to fair pay and pandemic-related health and safety measures, NTEU’s legislative agenda includes adequate agency funding, protection of workplace rights, and a post-pandemic expansion of telework.
“Our aggressive legislative agenda comes down to one basic premise: We need to reinvest in government and the people who actually make things happen,” Reardon told the employees. “You are the knowledgeable experts on how changes to workplace policies and employee rights affect your ability to get your job done and you can speak with authority on how cuts to agency budgets impact the work of your agencies.”
NTEU represents employees in 34 federal agencies and offices, including the IRS, Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations, Environmental Protection Agency, Health and Human Services and many others.