New Government Pay Tables

If you haven't paid attention, we are actually getting a small cost of living adjustment this year, after many years of freeze or smaller-than-the-cost-of-living increases. While private sector professionals have been seeing significant pay increases since 2008, government employees have been burdened with pay freezes or, after calculating inflation, reductions.

But, surprisingly, the Trump Administration let the cost of living increases go into effect this year, while simultaneously threatening a future pay freeze. Here's the new salary table for the Washington, DC area....

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Ho, Ho, Ho! Shutdown looming!

From our government budget and politics contact. Looks like a game of chicken is unfolding. Democrats and Republicans are both saying that a government shutdown will hurt the other guys more than their side. As a result, it's looking more likely that January 19 will roll around without a budget or continuing resolution (CR). Hopefully cooler heads will prevail. Read on for more detail from our budget contact....

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Shutdown Averted: Congress Passes Spending Bill

The Grinch has been stopped at the border. January 19 is the next showdown.

The Grinch has been stopped at the border. January 19 is the next showdown.

Thursday night Congress averted a government shutdown, but only temporarily. According to Roll Call, "the Senate voted 66-32 to clear a continuing resolution that would fund the government through Jan. 19, provide funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program and community health centers through March 31, appropriate $2.1 billion for a private care access program for veterans and temporarily extend Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act until Jan. 19."  

This comes on the heels of the House's vote earlier. The bill now heads to the President's desk. The President is expected to sign the bill.

We'll be back at this brinkmanship come mid-January. Stay tuned.......

EPA Ignores Experts Setting Password Security Policy

In case you missed it, EPA is yet again changing it's password requirements. This attempt to strengthen security will ultimately reduce security.

As noted security expert Bruce Schneier notes, the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently published its four-volume SP800-63b Digital Identity Guidelines. As Bruce notes, the document "makes three important suggestions when it comes to passwords:

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NTEU Defends EPA Attorneys from Attack

After EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt wrongfully accused EPA's attorneys of colluding with outside parties, NTEU Chapter 280 came to their defense with a strongly-worded rebuke of the Administrator's improper accusations.....

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NTEU Members Get Free $1,000 Death & Dismemberment Insurance

In case you needed another reason to join NTEU as a member, all NTEU members are automatically covered by a $1,000 Accidental Death & Dismemberment Policy -- Free! There is no premium to be paid; the only requirement is that they remain an NTEU member in good standing.

Members can get basic policy information....

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Continuing Resolution Expires December 8. Then What?

On December 8th, the current Continuing Resolution (CR) funding the federal government for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 expires and the temporary debt limit suspension in place will be lifted.  To date, none of the FY 2018 appropriations bills have been enacted and there remains no agreement on the so-called spending caps (sequestration).

On December 8th, funding for federal agencies expires and the temporary debt limit suspension will be lifted.  Congress must vote before then to pass a CR, an omnibus appropriations bill, or some combination thereof to keep the government open.....

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Consider Leave Donation to Dr. Grifo, EPA's Scientific Integrity Official

Dr. Francesca Grifo, the Scientific Integrity Official at EPA, is undergoing treatment for a serious illness. She is expected to be away from work until January 1, 2018.  Her accumulated annual and sick leave, and leave bank hours are exhausted. Please consider donating annual leave to help her out.  Dr. Grifo has been instrumental in helping our employees with Scientific-Integrity issues and we need her back.

Dr. Grifo is a member of the EPA leave bank. You may transfer your leave to Francesca by completing....

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Open Season & Free Access to Consumers' Checkbook Comparison Tool

Federal benefits "open season" started today. This is the time that federal employees may change their insurance plans without a qualifying life event. Open season runs through Monday, December 11, 2017. NTEU Members get free access to the awesome Washington Consumer's Checkbook health plan comparison tool.

Employees wishing to change their health insurance company may do so....

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House Committee Wants Federal 2-Year Probationary Period

A House Committee advanced legislation this week increasing the probationary period for federal workers to at least two years.

H.R. 4182, the inappropriately named "Ensuring a Qualified Civil Service (EQUALS) Act of 2017," would extend the probationary period for employees from one year to at least two years and possibly beyond.....

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Consumer's Checkbook Health Guide Access & Discounts

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NTEU members get free access to the Consumers’ Checkbook’s online guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees and Annuitants. This user-friendly, interactive guide allows FEHBP participants and prospective enrollees to rank and compare plans, as well as gauge plan features and flexibility based on doctor selection and other factors. It also provides information and plan comparisons for the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program. Currently only 2017 plans are available. 2018 plans go live in the guide on November 13, 2017, the first day of federal benefits open season.

Also, NTEU members are eligible for a 30-percent discounted subscription to Consumers’ CHECKBOOK magazine, which rates local service providers for quality and price in seven local markets. They rate the best doctors, dentists, auto repair shops, plumbers, veterinarians, carpet cleaners, roofers and much more.

If you're already a member, thank you! If you're not, click here to join now and get your discounts!

House & Senate Action on Budget Resolution

In a round of bad news for federal employees, the U.S. House of Representatives this week passed a Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget resolution (H. Con. Res. 71) by a vote of 219-206 that directs the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to produce at least $32 billion in cuts. This committee primarily has jurisdiction over federal employee benefit programs, which is where these cuts would need to come from, translating into federal employee benefit reductions.....

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Demands to Bargain

Whenever there's a change in working conditions NTEU has a right to bargain. Depending upon what type of change and how it's rolled out, we may be able to negotiate over the scope of the change.

Sometimes management has a legal right to implement a change, however, but they still are required to bargain what's called "implementation and impact." If an announced change will impact you, please contact Chapter 280 at info@nteu280.organd let us know more about the change and how you expect it to impact you.

Keep in mind that there are very tight timeframes for telling management that we demand to bargain. So do not delay in contacting us or it might be too late!

EPA Mistakenly Increases Parking Rates

If you park in the Reagan Building garage (as part of the HQs parking program), your parking costs are not supposed to increase for October. However, we have been contacted by members who informed us that the proposed new rates were nonetheless populated in the system.

We notified EPA about this discrepancy and he told NTEU that EPA has been correcting the errors person-by-person for the NTEU bargaining unit (members and non-members). If you find that your bill for October has increased from last month (either as an individual parker or as part of a carpool) please let us know ASAP so we can notify management and get it corrected.
We have demanded to bargain the proposed increase and submitted initial proposals, but negotiations have not yet been scheduled. Until negotiations are concluded, there should be no change in the parking fees.

We will keep members informed of any progress and of course any final agreement with regard to this situation. Thanks to those of you who sent me comments, information, and suggested proposals. Feel free to continue to do that and I welcome any calls to further discuss this or any other issues.

To stay up to date, please join here.

Inspector General Investigating Time & Attendance

NTEU learned today of a broad time and attendance investigation by the Inspector General's Office. We have confirmed that they are investigating employees in the Office of Transportation and Air Quality, but it appears from the scope of their employee questioning that they may be investigating beyond OTAQ.

Given this broad investigation, it's essential to keep in mind several important items....

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