Federal Employees Call-In Day Opposing White House’s 2018 Budget

Letter carriers and other federal employees — past and present–and their adult family members are being urged to call their senators and House representatives today to voice Call Congress 2opposition to the White House’s 2018 budget. A flyer from the NALC gives information on why this bill is a financial threat to letter carriers, the USPS, and other federal employees can be found here: NALC flyer.

The flyer reads in part:

Since 2011, postal and federal employees have been ripped off time and again–to the tune of more than $180 billion–in the name of deficit reduction. Without any additional benefit, we’ve seen a three-year pay freeze, reduced pay increases, unpaid furlough days and two increases in retirement contributions for new hires.

You are asked to call 844-904-7029 (Washington, DC) and 855-982-3154 and urge your senators and House representative to oppose this budget.

To see what’s at stake for you and your family, go to NALC flyer.

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Letter Carriers, Family and Friends Urged to Call Congress Opposing Cutting Salaries and Gutting Service

From NALC’s Government Affairs Office

The White House released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget proposal in May. It called for a variety of budget cuts aimed at federal employees—letter carriers included—cuts that Budget Battle 2017are are now being actively considered by Congress, including:

  • Raising federal employees’ pension contributions by up to 6.45 percent of pay over the next six years, costing active letter carriers up to $3,600 per year.
  • Eliminating cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for current and future retirees under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).
  • Reducing COLAs for the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) annuitants by one-half of 1 percent (that is, 0.5 percent) each year.
  • Reducing CSRS and FERS pension benefits for new retirees by basing annuities on employees’ highest average pay over five years (high-5) instead of over three years (high-3).
  • Eliminating the so-called “Social Security supplement” that covers the gap for workers who retire under FERS before they qualify for Social Security benefits at age 62.
  • Calling for $46 billion in vaguely defined cuts and revenue changes to the Postal Service, most likely through reducing the frequency of delivery (eliminating Saturday delivery) and scaling back door delivery.

These budget threats are very real. All letter carriers—as well as family members, friends and neighbors—need to contact representatives in the House and Senate now and through the end of September. Your legislators need to know that their voters object to slashing the incomes of active and retired letter carriers (and all federal employees) and to gutting the services and vital networks of the U.S. Postal Service.

Member Action Center

Call your legislators in Washington now

Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and be ready to provide your ZIP code to get connected with your House representative and with both of your senators.

Say:

“As a voter from [your district/your state], I urge you to oppose any budget resolution or any spending bill that calls for pay and benefit cuts for letter carriers, postal employees and federal employees or that attacks the vital services provided by the Postal Service.”

Mention how such cuts would affect you personally. Explain the potential harm a “yes” vote would mean for you, your family members, your co-workers and USPS.

Also, ask your adult family members, friends and neighbors to call their House member and both senators, as well.

Read more by going here: nalc.org

Health care bill: ‘Mean’: Tell your senators not to take away health care from millions of working people

NALC Legislative Dept

Vote likely coming later this week

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced the Better Care Reconciliation Act last week, following seven years of promising the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare) and after weeks of negotiations following the House of Representatives’ passage of the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628), a bill that the Senate said it could not health care bill 4and would not pass.

The Senate’s legislation, which is different from what the House passed in May, is expected to be voted on in the Senate in the coming days, before senators depart Washington, DC, for the July 4 recess. Following that vote, the Senate and House bills will need to be reconciled before a single bill heads to President Donald Trump’s desk for a signature. Both measures are projected to increase the number of Americans who are uninsured by about 23 million.

Among the defining characteristics of the legislation are provisions to deregulate insurance companies, which would allow them to charge older and sicker Americans more for health insurance, and to eliminate the individual mandate to buy health insurance and the mandate for larger companies (with 50 or more employees) to provide employer-sponsored health coverage.

Read the rest of this article and download flyer here.

Tell Congress to Reject the White House’s FY 2018 Budget Proposals

NALC Legislative Dept.

June 16, 2017

It’s time to hit the phones.

Budget talks for Fiscal Year 2018 are happening on Capitol Hill and they began with the White House calling for inexcusable hits to federal employees’ retirement benefits and to The White House Fiscal Year 2018 budget is placed on tables by House staff members in Washingtoncuts to the Postal Service, including:

  • Increased pension contributions for all federal employees (1 percent a year for six years— $3,600 pay cut for letter carriers).
  • Eliminating COLAs for current and future annuitants under FERS and reducing COLAs for those under CSRS.
  • Reductions in pension benefits by basing annuities on high-5 instead of high-3.
  • $46 billion in cuts to the Postal Service (through service and delivery cuts).

This is just the tip of the iceberg of unacceptable proposals laid out by the White House in its budget request. NALC opposes such attacks on earned benefits, attacks that serve only to hurt working-class families.

Call your House and Senate representatives and let them know that we oppose such measures—and that they should, too. Tell them that we have given enough—that they need to keep federal and postal employee retirement benefits off-limits and to reject service and delivery cuts at the Postal Service.

Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 to tell your House representative and both of your senators to oppose such measures.

‘Official Time’ Bills Introduced in House, Cleared in Committee

NALC Legislative Update

Earlier this month, two pieces of legislation regarding the use of official time were introduced and passed by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The first bill (H.R. 1293), which was introduced by Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) would require that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) submit an annual report to Congress Capitol 1outlining the use of official time by federal employees. H.R. 1293 would require each agency to provide OPM with an annual report that includes: total amount of official time granted to employees; average amount of official time expended per bargaining unit employee; specific types of activities or purposes for which official time was granted; the impact of granting official time had on agency operations; the total number of employees whom official time was granted, total amount of benefits and compensation for those granted official time and a description of designated spaced used for official time activities.

The second measure, the Official Time Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 1364) was introduced by Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), which would limit the use of official time by federal employees. Unlike previous versions of this legislation or official time amendments offered in the past, H.R. 1364 goes one step further by stripping employees on official time from receiving credible service under Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS). During the markup, an amendment was also offered by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-VA) and accepted by the committee which would limit bonuses for those employees using official time.

Official time, which has been in place since the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 has proven to be an invaluable tool for both labor and management to address workplace safety and working conditions, discrimination, training, efficiency and operational improvements and other union representational activity. The markup of both bills extended over a three-day period due to the contentious manner which the bills were being negotiated setting an unharmonious tone for future committee business.

“[H.R. 1364] would set a terrible precedent,” said Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) citing that it would “to strip the pensions of one group of employees they do not like: union members.”

While NALC’s review of both pieces of legislation indicates that neither would cover the Postal Service, NALC is adamantly opposed to bills that seek to undermine the rights of employees in the workplace.

Letter Carriers and Other Activists: Tell Your Representative to Oppose the PAGE Act

NALC Legislative Update

Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) is preparing to introduce the Promote Accountability and Government Efficiency (PAGE) Act, a proposal that calls for taking away newly hired federal employees’ union representation and grant political appointees overseeing federal federal-employees_californialongtermcareagencies the power to terminate, demote and discipline workers’ for “good reason, bad reason, or no reason.”

The measure specifically calls for:

  • Making new federal employees “at will” workers.
  • Allowing agency heads to immediately suspend an employee without pay or appeal.
  • Subjecting pay raises to an arbitrary new formula that is still being developed.
  • Denying retirement benefits to anyone under investigation for a felony (including retirees).
  • Allowing agency heads to demote career executives and reduce their pay without cause.
  • Preventing union representation on the worksite.

Before Rokita formally introduces the measure, he is seeking other members of Congress to add their names as co-sponsor of the bill. NALC is urging letter carriers to contact their House members and urge them to oppose the PAGE Act.

Please call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121, ask for your representative, and ask him or her to reject the PAGE Act.

(Illustration page credit: californialongtermcare.com)

Also of interest: Anti-fed bill introduced; mark-up scheduled.

State action on anti-labor state proposals.

NALC: Five immediate threats to federal employees in 2017

NALC Legislative Update

With Congress and the White House in Republican control, the GOP is preparing to pursue an aggressive agenda against federal employees during the 115th Congress. Fortunately, NALC will be playing a larger role in the Federal-Postal Coalition, which represents 2 million civil servants from 30 organizations, by leading the coalition.

Based on what we know and have seen so far, there are at least five areas of concern for gop-logo2017:

1. Shrinking the federal workforce. President-elect Donald Trump’s “Contract with the American Voter,” which outlines proposals for his first 100 days in office, promises to immediately to reduce the size of the federal workforce by implementing a hiring freeze and by not filling vacancies. While it’s unclear how this would affect letter carriers and the U.S. Postal Service, it remains an obvious concern. This promise goes hand-in-hand with what lawmakers have planned. The House Oversight and Government Reform (OGR) Committee has indicated that a top priority in 2017 will be making it easier to fire “bad apples” in the federal workforce. Since 2009, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) has called for across-the-board workforce reductions.

2. Reducing pay. In its first week of business, the House of Representatives passed a rules package that reinstated the “Holman Rule,” allowing for amendments to appropriations bills that would eliminate federal agencies, cut salaries and even terminate particular federal employees and eliminate positions. In addition, the GOP’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget proposed cutting civil servants’ pay by $318 billion. Lawmakers are going after the what they call “overcompensation” as a way to reduce the federal debt, despite the fact that $182 billion in deficit reduction savings has already been made on the backs of federal employees, thanks to past cuts made by Congress.

3. Shifting benefit contributions to workers. The 2016 budget, prepared by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), suggested forcing federal employees to pay an additional 6 percent of their salaries toward their retirement benefits without a corresponding increase in pay or benefits. This increase follows previous increases from the “Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012” and from the “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013,” which, combined, forced new employees to contribute between 3 and 4 percent more toward their health and retirement accounts without any pay increase or additional benefits.

4. Shutting down union business. Eight bills in the 114th Congress—H.R. 4392, H.R. 3600, H.Amdt. 149, H.Amdt. 646, H.R. 1658, H.R. 1658, H.R. 4361 and H.R. 6278—attempted to strip union-represented federal employees of the right official time (i.e., when union representatives represent their co-workers on government time). In fact, last February, Chaffetz sent several heads of federal agencies letters requesting the names, titles and salary grades of any employees who had used official time.

5. Chipping away retirement security. The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) has often been proposed to serve as a kind of “piggy bank” for infrastructure and other spending, and we’re likely to see similar proposals resurface in the 115th Congress. In fact, the GOP’s 2016 budget would have raided nearly $32 billion from the TSP’s G Fund by reducing the rate of return on that fund’s investments. Under a previous proposal from the OGR Committee in the 114th Congress, new employees would be given a market-driven 401(k)-style defined contribution plan.

Meanwhile, Speaker Ryan has suggested that he intends to use any momentum built up by attempts to repeal Obamacare to privatize Medicare, turning the entitlement program into a voucher system (emphasis added).

Stay alert and ready. NALC anticipates a very busy year for defending federal employees. Letter carriers should remain ready to respond to any legislation targeting civil servants.

Related: Your guide to activism in the 115th Congress.

Get the NALC member app.

Photo credit: GOP logo: daytondailynews.com