Federal Workers Alliance Unions Urge Congress to Oppose HR 1364

Federal Workers Alliance Unions Urge Congress to Oppose HR 1364

The Federal Workers Alliance (FWA), coalition of labor unions representing more than 300,000 federal workers sent sent a letter to Congress this week urging Representatives to vote no on the Official Time Reform Act of 2017 (HR1364). In all, 16 unions signed on to the letter.

The legislation aimed to withhold service credit hours towards retirement from employees who work 80 percent or more in official time duty status. It also outlaws recruitment, retention and relocation funding for the same employees.

Labor leaders believe that the bill unfairly targets the financial security of individual federal employees for their lawful service to their colleagues and their agencies.

See the full text of the letter below or download a copy here.

March 24, 2017

Dear Representative:

The undersigned unions of the Federal Workers Alliance (FWA), collectively representing more than 300,000 federal workers, urge you to VOTE NO on the Official Time Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 1364).  This bill passed out of committee under false pretenses through a series of serious mischaracterizations about federal official time use, and what H.R. 1364 will prevent and provide.

In summary, this bill targets individual federal workers (and their families) who have done nothing more than perform the lawful duties of their jobs, under the supervision of agency management representatives.  The bill withholds service credit hours toward retirement from employees who work 80% or more in official time duty status. It also outlaws recruitment, retention and relocation funding for the same employees.

Most reprehensively, this bill retroactively denies employees their retirement service credit hours for time already worked if they retire on or after October 1, 2017.  This provision serves no purpose other than to force certain employees who perform representational work into retirement or risk losing months or years of retirement service credit hours for doing nothing other than their lawful duties.

We would like you to understand the facts about H.R. 1364 and official time:

Official time is not “union time.”  Activities such as political and internal union business are already prohibited (e.g. the Hatch Act affords no exceptions for unions).

  • Official time is used to address important workplace concerns including issues regarding safety, efficiency, mission effectiveness, employee engagement, and support to management to implement initiatives.
  • Official time is used to advise and represent federal employees on personnel matters often saving the agency time and money by avoiding costly litigation.
  • Official time is allotted through communications with agency representatives to ensure it is used carefully and in a way that benefits the workforce and the agency mission.
  • This bill cannot stand on its own merits. That is why we believe its supporters chose to fabricate problems with the official time process and then attempt to institute false solutions that will punish federal workers and their families.

Official time is a beneficial workforce practice.  H.R.1364 falsely depicts this longstanding, important workplace process as illegitimate.  The bill’s main goal is to target the financial security of individual federal employees for their lawful service to their colleagues and their agencies.

At a time when the checks and balances of the government are especially valuable and important tools, H.R. 1364 will discourage employees who wish to perform the important services  provided using official time, which has been shown to be of significant value to agencies and civil service employees and encourages transparency and accountability in government.

Again, the undersigned unions of the FWA ask you to VOTE NO on H.R. 1364, the Official Time Reform Act of 2017.

Thank you for your review of this issue and supporting this request.

Sincerely,

American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
Federal Education Association/National Education Association (FEA/NEA)
International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF)
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW)
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE)
International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots (MM&P)
Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO (MTD)
National Association of Government Employees, SEIU
National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE)
Overseas Federation of Teachers, AFT, AFL-CIO
Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS)
Seafarers International Union/NMU (SIU)
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART)
SPORT Air Traffic Controllers Organization (SATCO)

The Research Is In: Public Employees Are Transforming the Workplace

New Report Highlights Innovative Labor-Management Partnerships in the Public Sector

CONTACT:
Ori Korin, ori@jwj.org
202-393-1044 x126

Washington, D.C. – As the 2014 state legislative sessions commence, an increasing number of elected officials have declared open season on public employees and their unions. Yet examples abound of productive labor-management relations in the public sector—even in the wake of government agencies reeling from the Great Recession.

A new report released by Jobs With Justice Education Fund, “Improving Government Through Labor-Management Collaboration and Employee Ingenuity,” profiles how public employees and their unions are working collaboratively with management to improve the way government runs. From the Federal Aviation Administration to Ohio State University to the City of Phoenix, public managers at all levels of government are turning to employees for innovative solutions to vexing problems.

“The labor and management representatives featured in the report are tackling a wide range of issues, from reducing health-care costs and implementing complex new technologies to addressing policy shifts in mental health care,” said report author Erin Johansson, research director at Jobs With Justice Education Fund. “Through joint efforts, these teams are getting results—saving taxpayer money, improving the delivery of government services, and expanding training opportunities for employees. These government agencies are the antidote to those who keep demonizing public employees to score political points or privatize government services.”

Other key findings include:

  • The Federal Aviation Administration and National Air Traffic Controllers Association worked together to successfully roll out new technology at 17 of 20 air traffic control centers, saving millions of dollars in software development costs.
  • The Naval Sea Command and AFL-CIO Metal Trades Council implemented a successful system for improving productivity and reducing inefficiencies at naval shipyards.
  • Charlotte County Public Schools partnered with its unions to tackle rising healthcare costs by creating a self-funded health plan with a free clinic for employees and their families.
  • The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the Patent Office Professional Association developed a new system for managing patent examiner time. Despite a steady increase in unexamined applications every year since 2009, examiners reduced the backlog of applications by 20 percent between 2009 and 2013.
  • The State of Michigan and the United Auto Workers Local 6000 adapted efficiency techniques from lean-manufacturing auto plants to reduce lobby wait times for social services clients from over three hours to just 30 minutes.
  • The Cleveland Public Library and Service Employees International Union District 1199 developed a system for transferring library employees to avoid layoffs and maintain library hours during a recent budget crisis.
  • The City of Phoenix worked with a coalition of unions to create an Innovation and Efficiency Task Force, which has saved the city nearly $60 million annually since it began in 2009.
  • Ohio State University partnered with the Communications Workers of America Local 4501 to encourage employee participation in a wellness program, which led to a quadrupling of union member participation.
  • Colorado Workers for Innovative and New Solutions, a union representing Colorado state mental health employees, is convening state and community representatives to proactively address changes to the provision of mental health care.

Interviews with the report’s author as well as several of the unions and employers profiled in the study are available upon request. To view the full report, please click here: http://www.jwj.org/lmp.

SBA requiring DOE to assume direct accountability for small business contract awards

SBA requiring DOE to assume direct accountability for small business contract awards

Gary Peterson of TRIDEC reports that the Small Business Administration (SBA) is requiring the Department of Energy to asume direct accountability for its small business contract awards.
“The new initiative for the Department of Energy to now contract directly with small businesses presents a challenge of not only impacting sustained performance but increasing cost.  This will result in an impact to both the agency from an administrative perspective and small businesses competing in an already complex government procurement process.
Due to the complexity of cleanup scope, history has shown that the DOE direct procurement process will be lengthy with as much as a 9 – 18 month window for awarding a contract, excluding any protests.  As available federal funding continues to be reduced, increasing responsibilities for government procurement specialists is not practical. Prime contractors currently perform this small business procurement role.  The government should focus on the performance of its few prime contractors and not increase management and administrative demands required to manage and provide oversight to multiple small business contracts.
Total value allocation and the number of small business awards may also be impacted.  For example, when the government releases a procurement it is usually fairly large due to the number of required regulations and complexity in scope.”

Download:
 Small Business White Paper

Statement from MTD President Ault following the end of the government shutdown

For Immediate Release: October 17, 2013

Contact:          Ron Ault, President, Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO
202-341-2036

Who:               Portsmouth Naval shipyard employees

What:              Rally and protest against continuing sequestration cuts and other issues affecting federal workers

When:             3pm, October 17, 2013

Where:           Prescott Park (rally) marching to Market Square

Why:               The government shutdown and sequestration cuts threaten the stability of our workforce and their abilities to do their jobs effectively.


Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO, President Ron Ault issued the following statement today following end of the government shutdown.

We are happy to see the working men and women we represent return to their various workplaces – the Naval shipyards, nuclear facilities and Department of Defense installations throughout the nation after the end of the shutdown last evening.

The government shutdown was a deeply flawed and irrational attempt by the extreme right wing in Congress to overturn the Affordable Care Act and to force our government to default on its debt. Their intransigence nearly decimated our economy, weakened our national security and hurt millions of working families across our nation. 

And still, the biggest losers in this ongoing battle continue to be our federal workers and contractors, who are still suffering under the draconian sequestration cuts that remain in effect. The extremists continue, because of sequestration, to destroy our government’s ability to do its job.

Our Metal Trades Councils will continue to hold our political leaders accountable for their decisions. That’s why, today Portsmouth Shipyard employees and other affected federal employees will rally to protest the ongoing government cuts.

The Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO, is a department comprised of multi-union industrial operations in the private and federal sectors, including Naval and private shipyards, nuclear facilities, DOD installations and petrochemical plants.

Sample letters to creditors for furloughed federal employees

OPM has prepared sample letters to creditors, mortgage companies and landlords for use by employees that need to make payment arrangements due to the lapse of appropriations.  Please see attached.  This afternoon, we provided these sample letters to agency chief human capital officers and HR directors to make available to employees.  These letters are also available on OPM’s webpage at:  http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/furlough-guidance/sample-letters-for-creditors-mortgage-companies-and-landlords.doc

Tell Congress: Stop the Furloughs

Starting July 8th, mandatory furloughs for upwards of 700,000 Department of Defense workers will go into effect. Each worker is required to take 11 unpaid holidays – one per week – meaning their pay will drop 20% for 11 weeks. We can’t allow this to continue.

Use the letter below to automatically contact your members of Congress and tell them these furloughs have to stop. Take a minute of your time and make a difference for your fellow feds today!

Use this Automatic Form to Contact Your Legislators Today!

(When contacting Congress be sure to do so as a constituent, on your own time, using your own computer)

http://afl.salsalabs.com/o/5906/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=6763

Take a minute to join the cause and STOP THE FURLOUGHS! Click this link to send YOUR MESSAGE to Congress!!

http://afl.salsalabs.com/o/5906/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=6763