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Federal Employees News Digest : Sep 16, 2013
Phil Piemonte, Managing Editor E-mail: email@example.com What's Inside44 SEPTEMBER 16, 2013 • VOL. 63, NO. 9 Union details impact sequester, furloughs This week, FEND's Nathan Abse talks with Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, about the effects of the sequester, furloughs, and the failure of Congress and the White House to compromise on cuts in specific parts of agency budgets. NTEU is among the unions working to end the sequester which---without legislative intervention---is slated to continue into next year. Q&A with NTEU National President Colleen Kelley What effect has the sequester and the resulting furloughs---or threatened fur- loughs, in some cases---had on federal employees and agencies? Kelley: I think this year, and I mean this about all agencies, these things have had a very harmful effect. From a morale per- spective, there are very negative effects. But also from a very real financial perspective, there have been very serious impacts on take-home pay for many employees who live paycheck to paycheck. How do you react to the major media stories---and pundits---who have said furloughs have not been that bad, in the end, for federal employees and for the economy? Kelley: I think the people who say these things have no idea what's going on. They have no idea what federal employees are going through, and it's obvious they have not talked to the employees who have been impacted by this sequester and cuts at agen- cies. In short, it's a fiction---what they think they know. It's unfortunate and inappropri- ate for these people to make statements and assumptions about the impacts on agencies and the frontline employees when they don't have a clue. But, as you know, those stories and atti- tudes seem to be fueled by other factors that many cite as signs that the impacts are small---that the Washington, D.C.- area economy continues to grow and real estate prices are recovering in the vicinity. Kelley: Yes, that's right. They say it's about the real estate market or anything else, some other kind of indicator. But unless they are talking to the frontline employees themselves, on the frontline work that the country is depending on, then they don't have a right to make these statements and assumptions at all. Things aren't all fine. And you've heard these sunny stories yourself, right? Kelley: Absolutely. But they're wrong. And these [opinions] are from people who haven't focused on what agencies actually do, and how there have been actual impacts on the work, too. Can you give some examples of how things can be disrupted? Kelley: [For example], in the Department of Homeland Security, it's being responsible for moving cargo into this country, where Unhealthy possibilities Alot of people don't like lawyers. Look at the results of any "unpopular professions" survey. Lawyers rank close to the bottom, along- side politicians (boo!) and journalists (hiss!). They are perceived as ambulance-chasers. Or they get people off even though they know (as we do, too) that the people who they help dodge a well-deserved prison term are evil and guilty. We all know that. Doctors are the same. They get paid too much. Spend more time on the golf course than helping their patients. They order too many tests and don't keep up with the latest research. It's common knowledge. Except my doctor. And yours. And my lawyer, and yours. My doctor is smart, funny and extremely talented. She has a great office staff. She is current, sometimes ahead of the curve. And she doesn't over-test to protect herself from lawsuits. Also, she has a great selec- tion of waiting-room magazines. I am very lucky. Ditto for my lawyer. He too is smart, funny and extremely talented. He knows his stuff, knows what is best for me and believes in horse-sense. We tell Irish jokes. He's been a good friend for years. I suspect many of you feel the same INSIGHT BY MIKE CAUSEY continued on page 2 For more news...see Federal Daily at www.FederalDaily.com • Senator questions legal decision 3 • Panel targets VA issues 4 • OPM ramps up claims 6 • In Brief 6 • Informed Investor 7 • Federal Benefits Q&A 8 continued on page 3
Sep 9, 2013
Sep 23, 2013