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Federal Employees News Digest : March 4, 2013
March 4, 2013 Vol. 62, No. 31 3 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com Dougan called for quick action. He asked that his union members and other feds contact their representatives on Capitol Hill. He added that members of the public also must do the same, in order to bring enough pressure to cause Congress to compromise, and actually balance cuts with new revenues. "Because it's the public that's going to see a decrease in the services provided," Dougan told FEND. "There will be lon- ger security lines at the airport, longer lines at the Social Security office, and longer waits on the phone with the IRS. They're going to be adversely impacted--- and very unhappy with sequestration, when it kicks in." But Dougan said it will take not only deteriorating conditions, and public pres- sure---but also time---to put Congress over the top. "People need to make their views known. And the thing that will solve this---if it happens, and lasts---is as National Parks and federal offices curtail their hours, over time," Dougan said. "You'll see people raise their voices and get mad, and it will have an impact." "It could get like it did back in the '90s when Newt Gingrich shut down the gov- ernment---twice," Dougan noted, adding that those two events led to a major pub- lic outcry. "That's what it took to end it." "It all comes back to Congress," Dougan said, continuing that though the president signed the 2011 sequester law, Congress developed and passed it. "They're the cre- ator of this problem---this Frankenstein. And they can't seem to figure out how to deal with the problem that they've cre- ated---and that's inexcusable." NTEU: hope seen in possible cr compromise In the closing weeks leading up to the current crisis, officers with every top federal employee union have expressed hope that Congress might compromise and stop the sequester---if not from hap- pening, at least from enduring---and that this might head off the imposition of furloughs. On Feb. 27, it was NTEU's Colleen Kelley who gave voice to this possible, partial way out. "I'm hopeful that with another dead- line---the continuing resolution dead- line---coming, on March 21, that this one could force a resolution of both issues---the sequester and the CR, before anybody has to take any furlough days," Kelley told FEND. "Meanwhile, employees are identifying issues that are personal to them, how it will affect them with these reductions in pay that will affect them." Kelley contin- ued. "Customs and Border Protection are talking about it, for instance, 14 unpaid furlough days through the rest of the fis- cal year. There are just heart-wrenching stories, since CBP employees are already operating under a 27-month pay freeze." Kelley pointed also to the IRS, also heav- ily represented by NTEU, and where fur- loughs obviously would hit just when the high demands of tax season also peaks. "The impacts are devastating not just for the federal employees---through those furloughs---but to the whole coun- try, which is depending on the federal employees to provide these services." Endgame in coming weeks? "I think the CR may collide with the sequester, and force some end to this situation," Kelley reiterated. "If the CR expires, there will not be one dollar for any agency that uses appropriated funds---and we'll be looking at a govern- ment shutdown. And that's why there's a potentially different impact the deadline on Mar. 27, than the one on Mar. 1." "I always hold out for hope," Dougan told FEND. "I try to be optimistic---I just don't think that the Republicans and Democrats are going to be willing to com- promise, and really try to come together while setting politics aside, and do the right thing for the federal workforce, and the taxpayers and public of this country." "I expect you're going to see labor become more vocal," Dougan added--- while, like Kelley, in the end acknowledg- ing only the remotest possibility of an early compromise. "I think you'll see feds take to the streets---informational demon- strations. We're fed up with this Congress. Why are we electing and re-electing peo- ple who are incapable or unwilling to do the business of the people?" Survey: Cuts, freeze and sequester prep squeezing feds The National Treasury Employees Union Feb. 26 joined a rising chorus of federal employee organizations---with the union's president issuing its strongest crit- icism to date of the federal budget seques- ter legislation---and agency furloughs that are slated to be activated by it. NTEU conducted an online survey to gauge several hardships facing federal employees, specifically drawing from the union's 150,000-plus members. The sur- vey queried respondents regarding the suffering caused by budget cuts to date, by the two-year federal pay freeze and by the damage that employees expect the across the board cuts could cause. That survey, with 2,258 feds partici- pating, reveals numerous, often severe challenges that financial cutbacks are putting on feds. "These are not theoretical conse- quences," said NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley. "These are actual, serious problems that real people will face, with lasting impact on their lives." To illustrate, in terms of workplace and mission problems caused by the cuts, 80 percent say that due to exist- ing budget cuts those who leave are not being replaced and 48 percent report that "critical work is not getting done." All told, 68 percent of respondents report that their agency lacks the resources to complete their missions properly. On the home front, the picture of continued from page 1 Don’t miss our discussion of weekly news topics. Discuss these stories and more with your fellow federal workers at www.FederalSoup.com. continued on page 4
Feb. 25, 2013
March 11, 2013