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Federal Employees News Digest : Dec. 3, 2012
December 3, 2012 Vol. 62, No. 21 4 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com can see in the results that employees still believe in their job mission." "It hurts them that they don't have the personal and workplace resources, separate things that interact. They still have to pay bills, and still have to put kids through school---and here they look at their own bottom line," Palguta contin- ued. "Last year, federal employees still saw that [most Americans] were in financial trouble, so they put things in perspective. But since then, we're seeing a slight recov- ery in the private sector as, for instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has docu- mented. So the sacrifices they've made become more prominent in their mind. And the workload appears to be increas- ing, in many cases." Palguta suggested that despite the heavier workload and small pay increase, the Obama administration has still got a fair bit of good will from feds. At the same time, he said, it is up to the administra- tion to better engage workers and make sure they feel they are being treated in a fair manner to limit or stop any further erosion in federal workplace satisfaction. Private-sector comparisons "What's interesting---and what bothers me---is that in the private sector, employ- ees do give more positive responses," Palguta told FEND. "As a former federal employee of 34 years' experience, that's always frustrated me. We can't seem to do as well as the private sector on satisfaction, according to their surveys. We should be able to beat the pants off the private sector in terms of providing a meaningful work environment and engaging employees. It's public service. But somehow we still don't, except at some agencies." "We know it can be done," he said. "There is room for improvement. It's about having the right leadership and enough resources---and a number of other factors." Second term Palguta notes that the president's sec- ond term presents the opportunity to increase the number of agencies that are doing well. As an example of how much change leadership can make, Palguta notes that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., over the course of 2007 to 2011, was able to turn its status around---from 25th place to first place in the survey. "Employees credit [former] Chairperson Sheila Bair," he said. "It's leadership." "We know there is a really good chance [to improve FEVS scores] and I'd wager that in the 2013 survey we will see some improvement," Palguta told FEND. "The conditions are here for an upward trend the rest of the administration," he said. "It is not all money---money is not inconsequential, but a far greater driver is leadership. I really believe it's clear that it's Ray LaHood's leadership that has helped to raise satisfaction at Transportation. And it's David Kappos at the Patent and Trademark Office who so personally engaged and gave the spark there. "Leadership is proven to be, by far, the greatest factor in the satisfaction experi- enced by employees," Palguta said. PPS will release its own, more detailed report, "Best Places to Work in the Federal Government," in mid-December. The report incorporates data collected in OPM's FEVS report. See the 2012 report at: w w w.fedview. opm.gov/2012files/2012_Government_ Management_Report.PDF. Labor coalition asks lawmakers to spare feds A coalition whose member unions rep- resent more than 300,000 federal workers is asking Congress to make sure federal employees are not affected by any deal to resolve the threat of sequestration, contending that they have already been impacted enough by government cut- backs. The Federal Workers Alliance, which comprises 20 federal employee unions, has written a letter to House and Senate leaders urging them to quickly come to an agreement on a budget that will prevent sequestration and avoid going over the so-called "fiscal cliff," but without affect- ing federal workers. "Considering that no other group has yet to give anything toward reducing our debt, we believe that federal workers have already more than done their part," the Nov. 26 letter states. According to the coalition, feds have contributed $103 billion back to the fed- eral government to reduce the deficit in recent years through consecutive pay freezes, "modest pensions," and increases in retirement contributions. "Every day federal employees provide essential services to the American people, including ensuring the safety of air travel and our food, curing diseases, caring for our soldiers and veterans, protecting our borders, and bringing criminals to jus- tice. The ability to recruit and retain the talented employees necessary to fulfill these critical missions will be further threatened by more reductions in federal employee pay and pension compensa- tion," the letter states. Members of the coalition include, among others, the National Association of Government Employees, the National Federation of Federal Employees, and he American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. See the letter at: http://federalworkers.org/ ht/display/ArticleDetails/i/769. ••• In Brief ePA union files request with impasse panel A labor group that represents Environmental Protection Agency employ- ees last month asked the Federal Service Impasses Panel for its help to resolve a breakdown in efforts to negotiate a new col- lective bargaining agreement. The American Federation of Government Employees' EPA Labor Council said the union filed its request with FSIP Nov. 14. "The union has been extremely patient with the agency negotiators and since May 3, 2010, has endured over 2½ years of delay tactics, implausible excuses, surface bar- gaining, and overall bad faith bargaining," charged Charles Orzehoskie, president of continued from page 3 continued on page 5
Nov. 26, 2012
Dec. 10, 2012