Shutdown Averted, for Now…

With just hours to spare, the House and Senate passed a bipartisan bill to avert a government shutdown on Saturday night.

The Continuing Resolution keeps the federal government open through mid-November, allowing just 45 days for Republican-led House of Representatives members to draft a spending bill they can all agree on. Pundits agree that this stopgap measure does not mean there won’t be a shutdown in November.

“The Metal Trades Department and its affiliates salute the bipartisan action taken this past Saturday by the US House and Senate to prevent a government shutdown. However, workers can no longer be subject to the anxiety and uncertainty foisted upon them as a result of federal elected officials refusing to prioritize and address the needs of the working families they serve,” said MTD President Jimmy Hart.

“Congress must use the next 40 or so days to do the work of the American people and pass a budget that addresses the needs of working families. Congress Needs To Get To Work!”

The MTD urges all Federal Metal Trades Council members to continue to monitor the progress of negotiations and stand ready to contact Congress.

“Your advocacy helped avert the shutdown, but we cannot rest on our laurels. There is too much at stake.”

OPM Shutdown Guidance

OPM has updated its shutdown furlough guidance webpage and includes an Addendum to the 2021 Guidance for Shutdown Furloughs. In addition, OPM also issued new Special Instructions for Agencies Affected by a Possible Lapse in Appropriations Starting on October 1, 2023.

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Impending Government Shutdown Effect on MTC Federal Contract Workforce

The Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO, is monitoring the budget process as Congress works on a path that would fund the federal government past this Saturday, Sept. 30. To date, an agreement has not been reached, and a partial or full government shutdown could begin at midnight Saturday.

Should a shutdown occur, our inquiries with signatory contractors indicate that most are certain that they will remain operational in the short term utilizing either reserve funds or unspent funding from previous fiscal years. Presidents of Metal Trades Councils representing affiliate workers in the employ of private sector contractors and companies performing federal government contracts are respectfully requested to provide the department with any shutdown guidance provided to bargaining unit members by their respective employers. Accordingly, all bargaining unit members of the workforce should report to work Monday, Oct. 2, and in the days that follow, unless notified otherwise by their employers.

The Metal Trades Department is no stranger to negotiations on Capitol Hill and the affiliates which comprise the department realize that uncertainty can be distracting and stressful. However, our department and councils have weathered these situations before. In leading up to and in the event of a shutdown, the department will make every effort to keep each and every council, affiliate and bargaining unit member up to date in real time. The department will keep you posted on any and all developments through email communication and the use of the department website.

On behalf of the Executive Council and its affiliated International unions and staff, I thank you for continuing to stay focused on the important national security work performed by metal trades members.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at your convenience. I can be reached by email at jhart@metaltrades.org or by telephone at 202-302-1651.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

9-26-23 Government Shutdown _MTC Federal Contract Workforce

Impending Government Shutdown Effect on MTC Federal Government Employees

The Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO, is monitoring the budget process as Congress works on a path that would fund the federal government past this Saturday, Sept. 30. To date, an agreement has not been reached, and a partial or full government shutdown could begin at midnight Saturday.

Each federal agency develops its own shutdown plan and identifies which activities can continue until the shutdown ends. Since agencies have to stop many of their activities, some federal employees are furloughed, meaning federal employees don’t report to work. However, a supermajority of metal trades wage-grade employees are considered to be essential or excepted employees and are required to continue to work during the shutdown. Furloughed and excepted employees who have to report to work aren’t paid during a shutdown. However, the law known as the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act guarantees and requires that all furloughed workers who did not report to work and excepted employees who worked without pay, will be paid after the shutdown ends

The Metal Trades Department is no stranger to negotiations on Capitol Hill and the affiliates which comprise the department realize that uncertainty can be distracting and stressful. However, our department and federal employee councils have weathered these situations before. In leading up to and in the event of a shutdown, the department will make every effort to keep each and every council, affiliate and bargaining unit member up to date in real time. The department will keep you posted on any and all developments through email communication and the use of our website.

On behalf of the Executive Council and its affiliated International unions and staff, I thank you for continuing to stay focused on the important national security work performed by our affiliate metal trades members.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at your convenience. I can be reached by email at jhart@metaltrades.org or by telephone at 202-302-1651.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

9-27-23 Impending Government Shutdown_Effect on Federal Government Employees

ACTION ALERT: Tell Congress to Fund the Federal Government

ACTION ALERT: Tell Congress to Fund the Federal Government

Congress needs to act urgently and pass a short-term government spending bill, called a continuing resolution (or CR), by September 30 to avoid a federal government shutdown on October 1, 2023.

 

If Congress fails to pass a bill to fund the government, the resulting government shutdown will be felt in every Congressional district and across the U.S. economy.

 

The essential services and functions that the federal government provides to the American people will continue to be delivered, but they will be delivered by federal employees who will not be paid until Congress restores government funding.

 

This shutdown is entirely avoidable. Congress and President Biden have already agreed to federal spending levels for the next year in the Fiscal Responsibility Act, signed in June 2023. A small group of House Republicans are insisting on dramatically underfunding the government and cutting services. The funding they are withholding supports vulnerable Americans, and infrastructure projects that our communities and the economy need.

 

We need to make it clear to Congress: AMERICANS WANT YOU TO WORK TOGETHER TO FUND THE GOVERNMENT NOW

Follow the link below and tell your Congressional Representative and your Senators to:

 

  1. Pass a short-term funding bill IMMEDIATELY to avoid a government shutdown on October 1, 2023.
  2. Pass a budget for fiscal year 2024 that provides appropriate funding for federal agencies, services and programs that working Americans count on.

DOE Implementation Activities Plan in the Case of a Lapse of Appropriations

Originally posted on the DOE website

September 6, 2023

Department of Energy Lapse of Appropriations Plan

1. How would DOE implement plans for operating in the event of a lapse of appropriations?

DOE has a written Order entitled  Operating in the Event of a Lapse in Appropriations (DOE Order 137.1B)

, that provides DOE policy for (1) continuing operations using balances from prior years, if available, during a lapse in appropriations, and (2) upon exhaustion of all available balances, (a) continuing only those excepted functions related to emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property and (b) initiating orderly shutdown of those activities not considered excepted. The Order was issued on September 30, 2011 and last updated on April 30, 2020.

Additionally, DOE maintains a plan for operating during a lapse in appropriations consistent with the current requirements in section 124 of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-11.  This plan is updated every two years or as required.

Most of DOE’s appropriations are multi-year or no-year. In the event of a lapse:

  • Federal employees in offices with funding for salaries continue to report for work as scheduled.  A prolonged lapse in appropriations may require subsequent employee furloughs. If there is an imminent threat to human life or protection of property, a limited number of employees may be recalled from furlough status.
  • Performance of contracts and financial assistance instruments continue in accordance with their terms, including any provisions about limitations of funding. However, depending upon the length of the lapse of the appropriations, whether Government oversight is needed, and the availability of prior-year funding, the Department may need to review the activities of its contractors and only those activities where the suspension of the function of the contract would imminently threaten the safety of human life or the protection of property would be permitted to continue.

2. How would DOE handle a short lapse in appropriations (1-5 days)

It is anticipated that there would be no disruption to DOE operations during a short lapse in appropriations of 1-5 days.  DOE has historically had sufficient previously appropriated funds that remain available to support operations during a short term lapse.

3. How much time would be needed to complete the shutdown?

DOE would be able to shut down all non-excepted Federal functions within a half day of exhaustion of available balances, with some exceptions involving the movement of nuclear materials.  It will take longer than a half day to shutdown some contractor performed activities in order to protect property. For example, some large equipment may need to be cooled down before it can be shutdown, while other equipment may need to stay operational at a low level in order for it not to be permanently damaged.

4. What types of actions will DOE conduct after fully expending available funds?

Unless otherwise noted, if a Departmental element does not have functions related to the safety of human life and the protection of property, all functions performed by that element will close if there is a lapse in appropriations and unexpended balances have been exhausted. All PAS employees will continue to report to duty.

5. What additional key points apply to DOE in the event of a lapse of appropriations?

DOE operates with multi-year and no-year money. Each component of DOE will continue to operate until prior year balances for funding of federal employees is exhausted. Pursuant to the DOE Order each office that has prior year balances will continue to operate as long as those balances remain available, but operations under those circumstances will be somewhat modified. For example, travel will generally be curtailed. DOE has some limited transfer and reprogramming authority which may enable DOE to extend the number of days of funding available in some limited cases.

Any office may end up recalling individuals who are not currently excepted based on world events and the length of the shutdown. All such recalls must be approved by the Office of the General Counsel or the NNSA General Counsel, as applicable.

The Office of Secure Transportation (OST), which is part of NNSA, is responsible for transporting the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile. If there is a lapse of appropriation and prior year balances are expended, OST will ensure that the stockpile is in secure locations and will recall employees as needed in the event that nuclear weapons must be transported during the lapse.

At most DOE facilities, all operations will cease once prior year balances have been exhausted. Under the protection of property exception, DOE will physically protect sites (guns, guards, and gates) and maintain Government equipment and property (e.g., caring for laboratory animals and ensuring that scientific equipment and nuclear reactors are safely maintained).

There are some DOE programs, for example, the medical isotope program, where DOE may need to produce additional isotopes in order to protect human life. The need to do this will depend on the length of the lapse and the stockpile of individual isotopes.

All other agency programs will close if there is a lapse of appropriations and prior year balances are exhausted.

If there is a furlough of DOE employees, at the end of the furlough individuals will be notified to return to work.

6. Which DOE personnel are excepted from furlough?

DOE plans to notify excepted personnel that they are excepted when appropriate. For the most part, excepted personnel include a sufficient number of contracting officers who can enter into and modify contracts, if needed, and other employees who are needed to ensure that Government property is protected. The number of excepted personnel is stated in the lapse plan summary, but is subject to change.