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Federal Employees News Digest : Aug 5, 2013
an official interaction with any executive branch employee, whether in person or by telephone. In some circumstances, federal employees would be required to notify the other party of their right to record the interaction. H.R. 2565, The Stop Targeting Our Politics IRS Act, which requires that Internal Revenue Service employees who take any official action regarding a tax- payer for personal gain or political purpose "be fired without due process," according to NTEU. The union maintains that other laws already are in place to punish such actions. H.R. 1541, the Common Sense in Compensation Act, which would impose a 5 percent cap on the total amount of any award---including merit-based perfor- mance awards---that an executive branch employee could earn in any year sequestra- tion is in effect. NTEU said the bill would hinder agencies from retaining employees critical to their missions. The union also said the bill does not include caps on bonuses for congressional staff members. H.R. 2579, the Government Employee Accountability Act, which would require some executive branch employees to have their pay withheld during investigations, even before any final finding of wrong- doing. Again, NTEU notes that the bill does not impose a similar requirement on members of Congress during such inves- tigations. According to an overview of the week- long effort posted on the website of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the bills were "designed to protect citizens from government overreach," and to "keep the IRS out of your healthcare, fight excessive government regulation, empower citizens during interactions with federal agents, provide accountability to misbehaving government employees, enforce a bill of rights for American taxpayers, and more." ‘Further harm’ Beth Moten, legislative director of the American Federation of Government Employees, also sent a letter to lawmak- ers last week urging them to reject sev- eral of the bills---H.R. 1541, H.R. 2579 and H.R. 2711---charging that federal employees already had been "the victims of unprecedented financial pressures over the past three years." "These three bills inflict further harm by reducing the opportunity to make up this lost financial ground by means of extraordinary performance, and elimi- nating rights and protections," she wrote. "Despite their titles, none of these bills reflects common sense," Moten wrote, "and none improves accountability or improves 'customer service' for those interacting with government agencies." See more at: www.nteu.org/PressKits/ PressRelease/PressRelease.aspx?ID=1911, http://afgeunionblog.files.wordpress. com/2013/07/afge-urges-opposition-to- hr-1541-hr-2579-hr-2711pdf.pdf and www.speaker.gov/press-release/weekly- gop-address-stop-government-abuse. Postal reform bill moves forward in House A key House committee last month approved a Postal Service reform bill that the organization's largest employee union said will lead not to savings but only to worst-case scenarios. "If it is enacted, this bill will lead to the demise of the Postal Service," said American Postal Workers Union President Cliff Guffey. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on July 24 approved the bill, H.R. 2478, introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), on a 22 to 17 partisan vote. Guffey said he would call on his mem- bership to urge lawmakers to oppose the bill. In a statement issued by the union, APWU objected to provisions in the bill it said would prohibit postal unions and management from seeking protection against layoffs, increase health insurance costs for employees, and limit workers' collective bargaining rights. The bill would require the Postal Service to implement many of the mea- sures championed by Issa and others who see downsizing as the organization's best hope. Proponents of the bill support mea- sures that include closing post offices, stations and branches, consolidating plants, and privatizing some operations. Issa also has continued to support other cost-cutting plans that postal unions are adamantly opposed to---including ending Saturday mail delivery and door-to-door delivery. NALC weighs in In a statement issued after the com- mittee approved the bill, National Association of Letter Carriers President Fredric Rolando also panned the legisla- tion, maintaining that "cutting service doesn't even address the Postal Service's financial problems, which aren't caused by mail delivery." "Almost all of its red ink stems from the 2006 congressional mandate to pre- fund future retiree health benefits--- something no other public agency or pri- vate company is required to do," he said. "Lawmakers should fix the problems they created, not make counterproduc- tive reductions in service to America's businesses and residents," Rolando stat- ed. "There are many opportunities, such as the boom in package deliveries from the expanding e-commerce market ... ready to be tapped if lawmakers act responsibly." See the bill at http://thomas.loc.gov/ cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d113:h.r.2748:, and unions positions at: www.apwu.org/ news/webart/2013/13-088-hr2748-mark- up-130724.htm, www.nalc.org/news/lat- est/2013-07-24_mark-up.html. No DOD furlough decision The Pentagon last week denied media reports that the Defense Department had made a decision to require five fewer furlough days for DOD civilian employees. August 5, 2013 Vol. 63, No. 3 4 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com continued from page 3 continued on page 5
July 29, 2013
Aug 12, 2013