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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Call Congress: House and Senate Budgets Unfairly Target Federal Employees and Retirees

Federal Employees

From NARFE Legislative Dept

by Ron Buffaloe

NC Federation President

TO ALL NARFE MEMBERS IN NORTH CAROLINA FEDERATION

I am following-up on the urgent message all NARFE members received last week – I’ve copied it below for your convenience. The House and Senate are currently negotiating the FY16 budget agreement. The House and Senate budgets both unfairly targeted federal employees and retirees.  NARFE Headquarters has asked us to take action NOW to prevent these cuts from being included in the compromise budget. I hope you have taken action and called our Senators and your Congressman.

You know that I would not follow-up and ask you to take action if it were not important. These proposals will hit all NARFE members – active federal employees and current retirees. For more details on the cuts, you can visit NARFE’s website.

Please take a few minutes and call our Senators and your Representative. You can call Capitol Hill by dialing 1-866-220-0044. If you use this number, NARFE will know how many people called to tell members of Congress “not to support any FY16 budget agreement that penalizes hard-working federal employees or threatens the retirement security of federal retirees.”

After you’ve made your calls – ask your friends and families to do the same.  And then report your conversation to our legislative department at headquarters (you can e-mail them at leg@narfe.org.  They keep a running record of our grassroots activities).

If we’re going to stop these proposals from becoming law, it starts with us making phone calls now. This is the first step.

Thank you,

April 10, 2015

Message From NARFE President Richard G. Thissen

“Next week, the House and Senate will vote on a joint budget agreement that likely will ask for $318 billion in pay and benefit cuts from federal employees and retirees. I am asking every NARFE member, as well as every federal employee or retiree and every concerned citizen who cares about the effectiveness of our government, to call their members of Congress and tell them to vote ‘NO’ on the agreement. More information is below. Make the call now!”

Call Your Legislators and Tell Them to Vote No on the Budget

NARFE is asking all members to call their senators and representative to tell them to vote “No” on any joint budget resolution that includes cuts to federal employees’ and retirees’ pay and benefits. Click here for instructions on how to call in and what to say. NARFE’s toll-free number, 1-866-220-0044, is available for members to use. We expect a vote as early as WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15.

The House and Senate passed budget resolutions in March that cut billions of dollars worth of pay and benefits from federal employees and retirees. The House budget proposed $318 billion in “savings” by raising the cost of health insurance for all FEHBP participants, eliminating federal jobs, increasing retirement contributions for current employees and, perhaps most shocking, changing the rate of return on the Thrift Savings Plan G Fund. The Senate budget, while less specific in how it would cut costs, still asks the federal community for $170 billion toward deficit reduction.

This week, House and Senate budget committee chairmen Rep. Tom Price, R-GA, and Sen. Michael B. Enzi, R-WY, returned early from recess to begin discussions on drafting a joint budget agreement that is all but certain to include the same severe cuts that were included in the House and Senate resolutions. This joint budget resolution must pass both the House and Senate, and we expect a vote as early as WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15.

NOW is the time to take action, by calling and/or writing your senators and representative. NARFE members must tell their members of Congress to oppose any proposed Fiscal Year 2016 budget that would penalize the very employees whose job it is to carry out the laws they pass.

Public Service Recognition Week, May 3-9, 2015

May 3-9 is Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW). Organized by the Public Employees Roundtable (PER), of which NARFE is a member, PSRW is a week set aside to honor military, federal, state, county and local government employees whose hard work has made our government the best in the world. This year’s theme is “Government Works,” which puts a spotlight on the amazing accomplishments of the men and women who dedicate their lives to public service.

More information about PSRW and how to get involved can be found at the PSRW webpage on the NARFE website and at http://publicservicerecognitionweek.org/. NARFE is encouraging its members to spread the word about PSRW and the wonderful things federal employees do for our country by sending a letter to the editor (LTE) to their local newspaper. Sample drafts and letter templates you can personalize can be found here.

Let’s take this opportunity to share with others the good work federal employees do to keep us safe and secure.

Re-employed Annuitants: We Want to Hear From You

Federal News Radio is doing a special report on the federal retirement experience and wants to hear from federal retirees who went back to work as re-employed annuitants or temporary or part-time rehires. If you are interested in speaking to Federal News Radio and sharing your story, you can email the Legislative Department at leg@narfe.org. Federal News Radio also has a retirement survey that you can take. The results of the survey will be discussed on an upcoming segment of “In Depth with Francis Rose.”

House Fails to Pass Vindictive Bill Targeting Federal Employees

House of Representatives Logo

NALC Legislative and Political Affairs Dept.

On Wednesday, as expected, the House of Representatives took up H.R. 1563 for consideration under a procedure called “suspension of the rules,” which required a two-thirds majority of the House for passage.

The bill did manage to get a simple majority of 266-160. But since it needed 18 more votes to get to that two-thirds goal, it failed to pass.

Thank you for taking the time to contact your representative about this needless and vindictive measure.

Click here to read more about it in The Hill.

Republicans Run on Scott Walker’s Playbook

This is a cross post from NC State AFL-CIO

National party platform more anti-union than ever

How do you like having a union and a collective bargaining agreement? If you’re one of thousands of Freightliner workers in North Carolina, you probably like them both a lot since the United Autoworkers’ contracts are the only reason your jobs weren’t sent to Mexico.

Only unions can empower workers to bargain for a contract and a bigger slice of the economic pie for the middle class because only organized workers stand a chance against organized greed. That is why undermining the ability of workers to form and join unions is seen as essential by those who want to keep the current status quo of  harmful income inequality in the United States. And these forces have never had truer friends than today’s Republican Party.

Josh Eidelson, writing for Salon.com about the 2012 Republican Party platform adopted at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, said it “reflects a Republican Party even more hostile to organized labor than the one that nominated John McCain four years ago.”

Perhaps the most dramatic shift in the platform’s language is on “Right to Work,” legislation that makes it illegal for unions and companies to sign contracts requiring that everyone represented by a union help pay the costs of negotiating and enforcing contracts.

Republicans’ 2012 platform calls for a national right-to-work (for less) law, which Mitt Romney said at a Republican primary debate ”makes a lot of sense for New Hampshire and for the nation.”

In addition to encouraging states and Congress to adopt right-to-work (for less) laws, Eidelson lists the many other ways the new Republican Party platform is more anti-union than ever:

• Demanding “an end to the Project Labor Agreements” and “repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act” which set wage standards for federal contracts

• Stripping public sector workers of their negotiation rights, holding up Scott Walker’s attacks as a model for all elected Republicans

• Abolishing payroll dues deduction for public employees to cripple public employee unions

• Firing ten percent of all federal workers, across the board

• Privatizing the postal service

• “Reigning in” Occupational Safety and Health enforcement

• Reversing modest National Labor Relations Board rulings on workers’ labor rights

• Supporting school vouchers and the transfer public funding to private schools

• Using immigration raids as a tool to retaliate against workers’ efforts to organize

• Opposing the Employee Free Choice Act and any attempt to reform our broken labor laws

That’s not all. In the 2012 Republican Party platform, less is more anti-union, says Eidelson.

But this year’s platform team made cuts as well as additions. That 2008 language paying lip service to “the right of individuals to voluntarily participate in labor organizations and bargain collectively”? It’s nowhere to be found.

Click here to read Josh Eidelson’s article, Scott Walker: Radical Chic, on Salon.com.

Postal Reform Act of 2011 Scheduled For Vote Later This Month

by Richard Thayer

You would think that with unemployment being so high and confidence in Congress being so low, that members of Congress would be as busy as little beavers trying to improve both.

But, alas, that is not the case.

Take for example the Republican-controlled House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Last year, under the auspices of lending a helping hand to the Postal Service during its financial crisis, committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) (pictured at left)
sponsored H.R. 2309, the Postal Reform Act of 2011.

To say this bill would help the Postal Service is like saying throwing a drowning man an anvil will keep him afloat.

The bill has a multitude of flaws, not the least of which is its completely ignoring one of the Postal Service’s biggest reasons for its financial woes: the congressionally mandated law requiring it to pre-fund its retirees’ health benefits to the tune of $5.5 billion a year.

In addition to not addressing the Postal Service’s current financial problems, the bill would cause a lot of additional problems, contributing to the nation’s unemployment numbers and making our overall economic situation even more dire. The bill would eliminate tens of thousands of good-paying, middle-class jobs and would cut service, ultimately leading to the destruction of the Postal Service as we now know it.

Ironically, the folks who adamantly espouse the Constitution and less government interference, are aggressively promoting a bill that would alter the Constitution and would add–not subtract–more bureaucracy to the Postal Service.

This added bureaucracy would include a commission that would have the authority to nullify all collective bargaining agreements and to “reject, modify or terminate” any clause of a labor agreement under the guise of saving the Postal Service money.

Other provisions in the bill would cut the pay and benefits of postal employees.

The bill, which has been in limbo for the last little bit, is due to resurface later this month, possibly as soon as July 12, this from Rep. Dennis Ross (who interestingly enough is the sole co-sponsor of the bill), chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Labor Policy.

In an effort to get the required 218 votes for passage, Rep. Issa is expected to make amendments that would protect rural post offices and remove language reducing discounts for non-profit mailers.

Committee Democrats, on the other hand, are poised to make an amendment that would replace all of the bill’s language with that of H.R. 1262 or S. 1789. All of this should make for lively debate.

The NALC and other postal unions are opposed to H.R. 2309 and are supporting a much better bill, H.R. 1351  ( and it has 228 more cosponsors than H.R. 2309). Although H.R. 1351 fails to address the pre-funding issue of retirees’ health benefits, it would fix over-funding the Postal Service’s CSRS and FERS accounts.

(Photo source: crooksandliars.com)


House Votes to Cut Federal/Postal Employees Pay

by Fred Rolando, President
National Association of Letter Carriers

At the end of last week, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved a budget measure that would require federal/postal employees in both the Civil Service Retirement System and the Federal Employees Retirement System to contribute 5 percent more of their salary toward their pensions without increasing the benefits—in effect, a 5 percent pay cut. The measure passed on a mostly party-line vote and would be phased in over five years. There were 16 Republicans who voted against this bill along with every member of the Democratic caucus.

The bill, a budget drafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), has little chance to advance due to opposition from Senate Democrats, and President Obama has promised to veto the bill if it were sent to his desk.

Nonetheless, this vote is particularly offensive to the nearly 540,000 postal employees who have already over-funded their pensions in both FERS and CSRS.

If your representative was one of the 218 who voted for this bill, please contact their office and let them know you are disappointed that they voted to cut your pay and take more than $80 billion out of the pockets of federal and postal employees.

Click here to find your representative’s contact information.


The Ryan Budget Plan: A Path to Inequality and National Decline

National Association of Letter Carriers

The House Budget Committee’s proposed budget for 2013 continues the assault on federal employees by calling for a freeze on federal workers’ salaries for an additional three years and for massive cuts to retirement benefits.

“Federal workers are the heart and soul of the middle class,” NALC President Fredric V. Rolando said, “but it seems that some members of Congress are determined to keep trying to use federal workers’ pay and benefits as a sort of piggy bank to finance their budget proposals.”

Under the plan released Tuesday by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), federal employees would have their salaries frozen for three more years and would face massive cuts to the retirement benefits promised when they were hired.

“As employees of the United States Postal Service, letter carriers have earned the right to bargain collectively with our employer for our salaries, which are paid for purely by postal revenues and not by taxes,” Rolando said. “But fairly or not, the salaries of our brothers and sisters in the federal workforce often are held up as examples during our bargaining discussions, so federal pay freezes—or even cuts—could wind up having a negative effect on our own salary negotiations.

“Meanwhile, all of us rely on the federal system for our retirement benefits, either through CSRS or FERS,” he said.

“Cutting those benefits not only would break a promise made to us when we were hired, forcing us to contribute more money out of our own pockets to help pay for these promised benefits they would amount to a further pay cut.”

Besides, Rolando said, the recently passed extension of the payroll tax holiday already includes a provision that requires new federal employees hired after this year to pay four times as much in retirement contributions as current employees pay.

“These newest attacks on federal workers’ pay and benefit seem to follow the example set by Congressman Dennis Ross,” Rolando said. In January, the Florida Republican introduced H.R. 3813, a measure calling for the wholesale elimination of the defined benefit pension that government workers receive under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). Instead, under the Ross plan, FERS annuitants would be entitled only to the benefits earned through both Social Security and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), under the misguided notion since defined-benefit pensions are disappearing from the private sector, they should be taken away from government workers, too.

Ross has tried to attach H.R. 3813 to a number of high-profile bills, most recently a measure to reauthorize national highway-funding legislation.

The Ryan budget doubles down on the strategy outlined in last year’s GOP budget: It would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher program, increase defense spending when we already spend more on the military than every other nation on earth combined, cut tax rates for corporations and the rich while phasing out tax deductions for the middle class, and massively downsizing just about everything else in the government, from the FBI and the EPA to the public education and infrastructure investments. It’s not a “path to prosperity” as Ryan claims, but a path to inequality and national decline.

“The NALC strongly opposes this or any budget plan that wraps cuts to federal workers’ pay and benefits in the mantle of ‘deficit reduction,’” Rolando said. “Federal workers—and workers in general—did not cause this country’s budget problems, yet some in Congress seem hell-bent on making federal workers pay to fix them.”

(Photo source: The Moderate Voice)