"Chapter 49 News" Newsletters
NTEU National Web Site
Listing of Chapter 49 Stewards
The December 17, 2004 "Chapter 49 News" newsletter is available at the link above
3.5% PAY HIKE NOW LAW
OPM RELEASES 2005 PAY TABLES
President Bush has signed an executive order implementing the 3.5% average pay raise for the first full pay period in 2005. Employees assigned to the Merrillville POD will receive a 3.75% raise. Most of the rest of the state is governed by the "rest of the U.S" and will have a 3.26% raise. The pay raise percentage for Indianapolis (including Carmel, Greenwood, Columbus and the Call Site) is 3.33%. Employees won't see the increased pay until the pay day of January 31 for those with direct deposit (a few days later for those not on direct deposit).
MANAGEMENT RESCINDS R.O. MEMOS
Management has recently issued some memoranda to Revenue Officers that NTEU objected to in the strongest terms. Now, IRS has agreed to pull back on those offending documents. There was an October 29, November 18 and November 19 memo concerning inital taxpayer contact and issuance of Notice 1058. Here's NTEU National President Colleen Kelley's statement...
NTEU vigorously objected to management issuance of these memoranda, since management’s action obviates our statutory and contractual rights. Accordingly, management has agreed to rescind the memoranda, effective immediately. Should management decide to pursue these matters, it will provide appropriate quarterly notification to NTEU, as required by the National Agreement.
I am very pleased that management has decided to rescind these memoranda and to implement them only following appropriate notice to and bargaining with NTEU
RO HIGHER GRADED DUTY GRIEVANCE SETTLEMENT
December 6, 2004, Chapter 49 signed an agreement to settle the RO mass grievance for higher graded duties.
The grievance was filed because
Collection group managers were down-grading cases with no explanation of why in the case histories. Nor were discussions about the downgrades being conducted with the ROs. When ROs attempted research to find out why, the IRM information indicated that the section regarding changing of case grades was obsolete. Indiana
The new manual section IRM 1.4 replaced the obsolete IRM 114.1, but did not contain any changes. The case information that was obtained from the Revenue Officers by former Chief Steward Karen McKibben was reviewed and if the case grade criteria applied, most did meet the criteria to be reduced in grade. Although most group managers did not indicate the reasons for the down-grade in the case histories, that ultimately did not change the fact that the cases did meet the criteria to be downgraded.
Unfortunately, this means that we had to concede that we did not have enough information to secure higher graded duty pay for a majority of the Revenue Officers in the state.
A memo from Territory Manager,
1 that was provided to management during the grievance meeting indicated that 4 employees did work over their grade level for a 120 day period. These employees will be awarded a temporary promotion to the next higher grade level for 120 days. Indianapolis
In addition to this remedy, it was agreed that all group managers will have a case down-grading discussion during a future group meeting. It will be explained to Revenue Officers how the decisions to downgrade cases are made. It will also be explained to Revenue Officers that they need to discuss any disagreements over the downgrading of a case with the manager.
If this does not happen, NTEU needs to know.
If the downgrade criteria is applied correctly and you are spending over 25% of your direct case time on higher graded cases, NTEU needs to know.
DENTAL, VISION BENEFITS
ON THE WAY
As Congress begins winding up its work for this session, one measure that appeared dead just a few weeks ago has arisen and has been approved by the House and Senate. This legislation will authorize the creation of a dental and vision benefit for federal employees outside the FEHB health insurance system. Employees will have to pick up the entire cost of the program, but the large pool available should provide competitive rates and coverage for those choosing to participate. The program is not expected to be up and running until 2006.
Click here for more on this.
Click here for NTEU's view.
MORE ON PRIVATE TAX
Even though legislation providing for private sector collection of federal taxes has been signed into law, NTEU continues the fight to rollback this very bad public policy idea.
Click here for more on this.
NTEU WINS ARBITRATION OVER
2003 AWARDS PAYOUTS
NTEU has once again won an important arbitration case at the national level. This case is over the amount of money IRS paid-out in the fiscal-year 2003 to rank-and-file employees. The arbitrator agreed with NTEU that management did not hold up its part of the contract to fund the awards program fully. Here's more on this from NTEU National President Colleen Kelley....
We charged that the IRS did not properly fund the program because it wrongly calculated the amount of money that employees were due. Our evidence was based on the bargaining history established at the hearing and the IRS’s spreadsheets showing the arbitrator what they actually paid versus what they should have paid. The arbitrator accepted all of our arguments on this issue and ordered the IRS to pay $6.67 million in retroactive awards money to unit employees just for FY 2003. If we were to apply this interpretation to the pending grievance over the FY 2004 distribution, that would add approximately $2 million more to the amount that must be paid retroactively.
The arbitrator is giving the parties 30 days to negotiate how to distribute these funds. If they cannot reach agreement, he will issue a decision on how to do so.
We'll let you know when the distribution of money is decided. This is just another example of why your NTEU membership is so valuable. The money it takes to press cases like this comes from the membership. If you are a member of NTEU, you should be proud of being a part of an organization that gets things done for you. If you're not a member, check with any Chapter 49 steward and we'll get you into the only institution with your interests in mind.
MID-TERM BARGAINING BEGINS
The National Agreement is a (5) five-year contract. Halfway through the five-years, mid-term bargaining is conducted. Both the union and management may open a limited number of articles in the contract for bargaining. Those negotiations have begun in Washington.
Here are some of the proposals NTEU is making at the bargaining table....
-the right to bargain for you on any loss of free parking
-prohibit call site leads from doing employee evaluations
-revise the way Critical Job Elements are examined by NTEU prior to any bargaining
-move performance appraisals back to the regular grievance procedure
-limit IRS' right to appoint outside job candidates before internal candidates are considered
-terminate internal barriers to applying for positions
-simplify and improve awards, incorporating more fairness into the system, equitably distribute QSIs and increase bilingual awards to $450
-protect employee rights in any reduction in force (RIF)
-increase to 3 (three) the number of credit hours that could be worked in one day and expand the right of employees to start work before 7:00 AM
-make a number of changes in the grievance procedure to expand the rights of employees to use the system
-liberalize rules for flexiplace.
Here are management's proposals
-force all "field" employees (mostly ROs and RAs) to share workstations on a 5-1 ratio
-lower the manager responsibilities when attempting to lower CJE scores
-give Call Site Leads the authority to prepare performance appraisals (evaluations)
-give management the unilateral right to set times for learning curves
-allow managers to convert seasonals to full-time permanent without competition
-limit awards to those with outstanding ratings (mostly those with straight 5s)
-abolish bi-lingual awards
-take out all contract language on RIFs and refer only to management's regulatory right to run a RIF
-prohibit more workers from using a work start time before 7:00 AM
-remove workers from alternative work schedules for unspecified performance issues with no due process
-limit the matters that can be grieved
-limit where employees may work flexiplace
-require workers on flexiplace to give managers keys to their homes
On top of all that, IRS wants to insert a number of contract provisions making it much more difficult for NTEU to represent you on workplace issues.
As you can see, the NTEU bargaining team has its work cut out for it. We will keep you posted on any developments as we get information on the progress of these talks.
There has been a rumor circulating in a number of different forms that claims to know that the federal government is about to eliminate the CSRS retirement system. There is only one thing wrong with this rumor. It's not true.
OPM has taken steps to consolidate CSRS and FERS retirement system data in one electronic database. According to OPM, the purpose of this effort to modernize their systems is to improve the processing time for determining employee retirement eligibility. In addition, this is expected to allow OPM to calculate employee annuities in a much shorter period of time. Currently, new retirees often receive estimated annuity payments for several months before they begin receiving the correct retirement annuity. The electronic database is intended to permit OPM to process retirement eligibility and payments in a matter of weeks instead of months.
Some employees expressed concern that OPM was taking these steps in order to eliminate the CSRS. In fact, for purposes of paying annuities, the CSRS and FERS retirement systems are already combined as one account. When the newer FERS retirement system was adopted, federal employee representatives insisted that the CSRS and FERS trust funds be joined. This joining of the trust funds guaranteed that even as the number of CSRS participants dwindled, there would still be sufficient funding to cover retirement benefits for CSRS retirees.
NTEU GETS IRS TO SETTLE CASE ON
Some time ago, NTEU filed a national action against IRS over competitive sourcing (that's when private companies are allowed to bid on our jobs). IRS suddenly stopped briefing NTEU or allowing us to be involved in competitive sourcing decisions. That's a major change from past practice and resulted in NTEU filing the action. Now we are told that IRS has agreed to a settlement of this case.
Under the settlement, the IRS has agreed to adhere to the following procedures:
• promptly brief NTEU on the outcome of any business case analyses (BCA);
• share competitive sourcing documents with NTEU before they go out so the union can make sure they are clear and accurate;
• provide NTEU copies of the BCA reports, redacted only to the extent required by law; and
• furnish NTEU with the names, grades, series, and locations of any bargaining unit employees within the scope of a competitive sourcing study promptly after completing the BCA.
Here's what NTEU National President Colleen Kelley says about this settlement...
The IRS had strayed from these practices recently causing confusion and concern among the bargaining unit employees. I am pleased that the IRS is reaffirming its commitment to follow the effective procedures we worked out with it in the early days of the administration’s competitive sourcing initiative. These procedures keep the union “in the loop” throughout the competitive sourcing process, enabling us to provide the best representation possible to employees going through a competitive sourcing study.
This is a major victory for NTEU. The settlement allows us to be involved in protecting your interests when your job is put up for bid to the private sector.
COMP TIME MEASURE SIGNED INTO LAW
President Bush has signed into law a bill allowing federal employees to earn compensatory time off in situations not allowed by the law before.
This compensatory time for travel provision will permit federal employees who have to travel on their own time, and outside their normal working hours, to receive compensatory time for official business travel time. Under the provisions of the legislation, employees eligible for this compensatory time will not be permitted to receive payment for this time if they find they are unable to schedule its use. Nonetheless, NTEU has worked to secure this type of legislation for many years and we are pleased that the compensatory time for travel provision has been signed into law.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) now has 90 days to write regulations to implement this law provision. We'll keep you posted on this.
IRS FINALLY LIVES UP TO
When we negotiated the National Agreement, we thought we had some clear language on rebuttals to performance appraisals (job evaluations). Then management put a goofy spin on what had been (we thought) settled at the bargaining table. Finally, management has settled this issue. Here's how National President Colleen Kelley describes the settlement of the controversy......
As part of a recent grievance settlement, NTEU and the IRS have agreed to modify Article 12, Section 4H of the term contact. The IRS had taken the position that if an employee writes a rebuttal to an appraisal, the employee loses the right to file a grievance over that appraisal and therefore gets no official time to prepare a grievance. This was one of the many incorrect interpretations that its bargaining team distributed after we reached the last agreement.
Once this dispute got to the arbitration level, we were able to convince national management negotiators that their interpretation was not only wrong, but poor policy. Consequently, we settled the grievance by modifying the existing contract language.
Pursuant to this modification, an employee can have time to write a rebuttal and, if unsatisfied by the response to the rebuttal, the employee can file a second step grievance and get time to prepare it. This interpretation meets everyone’s goal of trying to reduce the time these grievances take while also attempting to produce a settlement short of a grievance.
MITS WORKERS GET RIF DEAL AFTER NTEU COMPLETES HARD BARGAINING WITH IRS
It was always just a matter of fairness. MITS employees with jobs on the management chopping block were only asking that management do what was within its legal authority to lessen the pain of the cloud hanging over their collective heads. For a long time, IRS management refused to provide anything, in some cases even claiming it didn't have to follow the clearly-written law to respect employees' rights.
Now, after months of difficult bargaining, and with the help of a mediator, NTEU and IRS management have hammered out an agreement to help these MITS employees. A job swap system will be implemented. Outplacement services will be provided during work time. There are many other details included in this pact to help MITS workers. Chapter 49 President Duncan Giles has provided the details to all our members benefiting from this document.
The message here is this - NTEU is doing everything in its power to help and protect employees such as those facing the RIF in the MITS organization. Both Chapter 49 and the national union are fighting every day on your behalf. This is just one major example.
TAX LAW PHONE ADVICE OUTSOURCING SHELVED BY IRS MANAGEMENT
IRS has decided not to continue with outsourcing telephone tax law help due to a reorganization underway in the area of the Service. But results of the test done last year produced results that should make any IRS tax law telephone assistor smile. Here's part of the statement to IRS chapter presidents from NTEU National President Colleen Kelley.....
The IRS selected Spherix Inc., a vendor based in Maryland, to participate in a pre-feasibility study of the Toll-Free Tax Law unit. The reason for the eight-week study was to (1) determine whether a vendor could provide tax law assistance at the same quality or accuracy level as the IRS currently provides and (2) to obtain customer perception to receiving tax law advice from a vendor rather than the IRS. The pre-feasibility study took place during the 2004 tax season (February 2004–April 2004).
The IRS has now made some decisions regarding the study. The agency has decided to not move forward with an A-76 competition in the Toll-Free Tax Law function at this time. This decision, however, does not come as a result of the pre-feasibility study conducted this past filing season. Within the past several months, the IRS has decided to combine the SB/SE CAS organization with the W&I CAS organization. In order to ensure the maximum opportunity for success in that newly merged organization, the agency has determined that there is no need to move forward with any A-76 consideration of the Tax Law function at this time.
The IRS has decided that the reorganization should be implemented prior to deciding whether to move forward with the Business Case Analysis (BCA). However, the pre-feasibility findings by the agency are worth highlighting. In terms of vendor accuracy, IRS employees scored an accuracy rating at a level almost two (2) times higher than the private contractor (82.4% versus 44.6%). In terms of customer perception, taxpayers responding to the survey expressed concerns about receiving tax law advice from non-IRS employees. Additionally, the taxpayers also expressed concerns about confidentiality and privacy of their taxpayer information.
While the IRS has determined that it will not move forward with any A-76 competition at this time due to the merger of the Customer Accounts organization, it is NTEU’s belief that the information gathered in this test provides compelling reasons for the agency to not move forward with an A-76 competition of this function in the future. We are pleased that this vendor test confirms what IRS employees knew all along, that IRS employees are the best source for providing this IRS service to the taxpayer.
IRS FORMALLY SAYS
NO MORE HIRING WITHIN
You may recall a few weeks ago we told you that IRS management had committed to stop the practice of announcing job openings as available only to employees within one operating division of IRS. NTEU is happy to announce that IRS has finally confirmed this in writing.
Click here to read the management memo.
(Chapter 49 Communications Steward Larry Lannan sent George Bilque's family a copy of the memorial newsletter for George, as well as comments from many of you about the late former long-time president of this chapter. The following letter was sent to Larry)
Thank you very much for forwarding the NTEU Bulletin with all the comments from the people with whom George worked, and also the individual letters.
These letters and memoir anecdotes regarding their working experiences with George are very heartwarming and a consolation to us his family.
They serve to give us an insight as to the type of work he was involved with and the high regard in which he was held by the organization, and we take pride in knowing that he was respected, not only for his capability in his job, but also for his willingness to insure that others were treated fairly in accordance with the provisions of the organization and the union.
We would appreciate, greatly, anything you could do to transmit our thanks to those individuals who took the time to provide us with their feelings and thoughts concerning George, as we do not have an address for them. They have been of tremendous help for all of us to formulate an image of his value and worth for the intervening time in which we were not in contact with him.
God Bless you all.
George Sr., Jan, Marcie & Linda Bilque
NTEU GOES TO COURT TO
PROTECT OUR RIGHT
TO BARGAIN FOR YOU
A recent decision by the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) could narrow the ability of federal unions to bargain on behalf of federal workers. NTEU has joined with another federal union in going to court to challenge this potentially damaging FLRA decision.
Click here to read more about it.
OVERTIME RULES -
NOT FOR US -
If you've been following the news of late, you have seen that the Labor Department has implemented new regulations that we believe will result in fewer private-sector workers qualifying for overtime pay. Many NTEU Chapter 49 members have been asking us - does this impact us? The answer is no...not yet.
These new rules cannot be imposed on the federal sector until the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issues regulations. NTEU will oppose any attempt to bypass OPM or any reckless haste on OPM’s part in issuing its guidance. It is unlikely any federal employee would lose overtime protection this year. By next year, we will evaluate our next steps in large part depending upon the outcome of the presidential election.
COURT DENIES TP
Article 36 Section 11 of the National Agreement allows administrative time for volunteer activities. IRS issued a very restrictive interpretation soon after the contract took effect. NTEU filed a national grievance challenging the restrictive management position. As the case was being scheduled, IRS changed its position. Here's how the national union describes the new management position....
The IRS agreed to abandon its position on the use of administrative time for VITA activities only and agreed to consider each request on a case-by-case basis and determining whether the requests meets at least one of the following contractual criteria:
· The absence is directly related to the mission of the IRS;
· The absence is officially sponsored or sanctioned by the IRS;
· The absence will clearly enhance the professional development or
skills of the employee in his or her current position; or
· The absence is direct and is determined to be in the interest of the IRS.
While both OPM and the IRS clearly encourage participation in volunteer activities, it is equally clear that liberal approval of the use of annual leave, compensatory time, LWOP, or AWS flexibilities would be their first choice.
Unfortunately, management refused to agree to this contract section unless we agreed not to grieve individual denials. But we encourage you to apply for the administrative time based on the IRS criteria.
ACCESS TO IRS
RRA '98 has emboldened certain taxpayers to try and get IRS employee performance appraisals when tax cases are heard in court. We now have a court that has issued a strong ruling saying that IRS worker job evaluations should not be disclosed. Here's how National NTEU President Colleen Kelley describes the ruling.....
I have recently received a very reassuring decision from the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey confirming that taxpayers cannot, in the course of a court case, obtain access to the personnel records of IRS employees. In re G-I Holdings, Inc., et al., Civil No. 02-03082 (D.N.J. July 16, 2004).
The case involved the waiver of the three-year time rule for assessing additional tax. The IRS waived the three-year rule and imposed a multimillion dollar tax on the basis that the debtor omitted more than 25 percent of gross income and failed to adequately disclose the amount omitted. The debtor had argued that in order to understand the process that had brought them into this litigation, it was necessary to produce the personnel records, including evaluations, of three IRS bargaining unit employees and two supervisors. They also argued that they needed to depose some 31 IRS and Treasury employees.
NTEU, participating as amicus, supported the Department of Justice’s argument that providing employees’ personnel information or deposing them about the audit would be a serious violation of their privacy, would hamper their ability to do their job, and had no possible relevance to the debtor’s case. The District Court judge agreed that the information was not relevant and held that the debtor could not discover any of the employees’ personnel records, including evaluations.
The judge further limited the depositions of the three IRS agents. He rejected the debtor’s argument that it was entitled to depose these three agents to discover how the tax documents were viewed at the administrative level and how they should have been viewed. The judge explained that the opinions, conclusions, and reasoning of government officials are not subject to discovery. Instead, the judge permitted questioning only as to matters “designed to shed light on the objective standard or review for adequate disclosure.” In addition, the judge barred the depositions of the other employees, who had only limited or cursory information about the case.
Colleen M. Kelley
When a group of employees goes through the competitive sourcing process, even if the group wins, some employees lose. In order to put together a competitive bid, IRS employees have to lose their jobs. This is a process stacked in favor of the contractors and forces these job losses. Why is this happening? Look no further than the White House. The only thing that will change this policy is a change of the occupant living in the White House.
Click here to learn about the ADC job losses.
Click here for more about MITS Service Center Campus job losses.
NTEU WINS HUGE VICTORY IN
COLLEGE CREDIT CASE
On July 13, National NTEU received a favorable ruling from Arbitrator Carlton Snow in the Revenue Agent accounting credit requirement matter. As you will recall, our consolidated grievances challenged both the increase in the number of credit hours required of RA applicants from 24 to 30, and the imposition of five required areas of coursework as a ‘selective placement factor.’ The arbitrator struck down both rules as violating a part of the United States Code (5 U.S.C. § 3308), which imposes stringent restrictions on agency imposition of minimum education requirements. He also held that the addition of the five-course requirement as a ‘selective placement factor’ violated the IRS/NTEU contract.
In his decision, the arbitrator focused on NTEU’s claim that 5 U.S.C. § 3308——mandating that minimum education requirements be imposed only if the agency shows that the duties of the position “cannot be performed by an individual who does not have a prescribed minimum education” ——was directly violated by the IRS in imposing both rules. The arbitrator’s holding on this central issue is worth quoting:
The law imposes a high standard for imposing educational requirements. In addition, clear and convincing evidence submitted by the parties established that the duties of a Revenue Agent can be and are being performed by individuals who have not completed the prescribed 30 hours of accounting and related courses. Most persuasive is the fact that there are thousands of current Revenue Agents who do not meet the “30 hour” requirement and, nonetheless, are successfully performing their duties.
We had also argued that both requirements violated the Office of Personnel Management’s regulations governing ‘employment practices.’ Here, both sides had presented considerable expert witness testimony concerning whether the IRS had established a ‘rational relationship’ between the rules and performance in the RA job, and whether the rules resulted in an adverse impact on protected minorities. The arbitrator held, however, that these regulations imposed a “less stringent” standard than 5 U.S.C. § 3308, and were not violated. He also held that neither side had established that the “total selection process” had resulted in an adverse impact on minorities.
The arbitrator also agreed with NTEU that imposition of the five-course requirement was a separate violation of the IRS/NTEU contract. He held that the parties had “negotiated a high standard for imposing a ‘selective placement factor’,” like the five-course rule. Once again, he found persuasive the argument that thousands of current RAs perform successfully without one or more of the required courses.
Finally, the arbitrator ordered the parties to negotiate an “acceptable remedy” within 90 days from his July 9 decision.
We will be giving the decision further study and examining our options for possible remedies.
Sadly, management is appealing this decision in the federal courts. We'll keep an eye on that case for you on this Web site and the Chapter 49 News newsletter
Meanwhile, however, this is a crucial victory in our long journey to challenge these improper accounting credit requirements.
NTEU began when an employee working in the IRS mailroom at Milwaukee, Wisconsin became upset about his future. At that time, IRS did not participate in the federal government-wide retirement program, so he found himself without a retirement. He didn't think that was fair, and began holding meetings at his home with fellow workers to discuss that and other work place issues. That was the beginning of what we now call NTEU. That is why NTEU Chapter 1 is located in Milwaukee.
The current president of Chapter 1, Joe Hynes, became concerned about a recent memo sent to Compliance employees in the area (which also encompasses Indiana Compliance employees). The management memo outlined expectations on how those working in compliance are expected to utilize their time. Joe Hynes decided to send his own memo on the issue of IRS employees and time utilization. We at Chapter 49 feel his memo represents our feelings as well. Mr. Hynes has given us permission to reprint his memo on our Web site.
Click here to read Joe Hynes' memo.
NCUA EMPLOYEES JOIN
THE NTEU FAMILY
Federal workers at the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) have voted to join the NTEU fold.
NCUA regulates credit unions in much the same way as FDIC regulates the banking industry.
Fighting against a massive attempt by NCUA management to stop the organizing effort, NTEU was successful in convincing employees there that NTEU can represent them. Work will begin soon on a contract for the people at NCUA. Chapter 49 welcomes them.
Click here to read more.
A VICTORY FOR NTEU
IRS and NTEU agreed to conduct a pilot for a program called "Maxiflex" in the National Agreement. When we sat down with management at the national level, IRS wanted to severely limit the scope of the pilot to such an extent it was going to be virtually impossible to conduct the pilot.
Maxiflex is an experiment to greatly expand the scope of the alternative work schedule, including some 12-hour days for employees volunteering to use the program.
We now have a ruling from the government body charged with resolving bargaining impasses between federal unions and agencies, the Federal Services Impasse Panel (FSIP). The FSIP has ruled in favor of NTEU in three major areas of disagreement over Maxiflex talks.
What this means is this - NTEU can now begin serious bargaining with IRS over the Maxiflex program so employees can begin participating in the pilot program as soon as possible.
MAIL ROOM CONTRACTING
NTEU is taking the IRS to court, this time over a direct conversion of mailroom jobs. This involved contracting these positions to the private sector with no chance for the current employees to compete for their jobs.
Click here for more on this lawsuit.
The chance to compete for a promotion in a fair and square manner is at the heart of the merit system that is the underpinning of our federal government civil service. If you apply for a job, you expect a fair, unbiased analysis of your credentials.
We at NTEU believe IRS has implemented a system that violates the merit system principles, and is just flat-out unfair. The Service has recently implemented a crediting plan system of ranking promotion packages that would appear to violate the National Agreement, and does not appear to be consistent with federal laws and regulations.
As a result, NTEU has filed a national grievance challenging this new crediting plan. We'll keep you posted on the progress of this fight.
HSAs COULD BE HARMFUL
TO YOUR HEALTH
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is pushing Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) as a way to hold down health care costs for federal workers. NTEU has studied this idea carefully and we've come to the conclusion that these accounts are bad news. It could draw away healthy, younger workers, leaving older and/or chronically ill employees in the traditional Federal Employee Health Benefit (FEHB) health plans. That could cause FEHB rates to rise even higher. Our advice is to say no to HSAs.
Click here to ead more about HSAs.
VOTING RECORDS OF OUR
When it's time to make our voting decisions, it's always good to know which elected officials have voted with NTEU (and your personal interest) and which elected officials have not voted in your interest. NTEU has made this process easy for you. The national union's legislative department has selected a series of key votes where NTEU really needed the support of our senators and members of congress. We give the elected official a "+" sign if he/she voted with NTEU, and a "-" sign if the official voted against us. I would encourage all NTEU members to look at these voting records as we decide how to cast our votes.
C lick here to read the NTEU Congressional Voting Records.
NTEU GOES TO COURT OVER COMMUTING TIME COMPENSATION
NTEU won a major contract provision in the National Agreement that would permit IRS to compensate employees for commuting time to a temporary work location within 40 miles of the duty station. The Treasury Department reviewed the agreement and declared this provision nonnegotiable under federal regulations. NTEU disagreed and took the matter to the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA), but FLRA supported the agency in a 2-1 vote.
NTEU is not stopping there. We have appealed the FLRA ruling the the federal appeals court. We'll keep you informed of the progress in this fight.
CONTACTING ELECTED OFFICIALS
NOW EASIER THAN EVER!
Congress has been very busy lately with issues impacting us. Sometimes we ask you to write and/or e-mail your member of Congress and your Senators. We know it's often hard to do for busy people, especially on short notice.
NTEU has started a system (Capwiz) on the national Web site to make it much easier for you to write a letter or e-mail your federal elected officials. We even offer form letters on specific subjects, but you can also compose your own letter in your own words if you wish. Not sure who your member of Congress is? Just put in your Zip Code on this system, and you will know.
Bookmark this site so you can use it anytime Chapter 49 issues late-breaking information on contacting Capitol Hill.
CAUTION! Do not send e-mails to elected officials using your government e-mail account. Do not contact elected representatives while on government time. Do contact Senators and members of Congress on your own time using your personal e-mail account. If you have any questions on these rules, contact a Chapter 49 officer or steward.
Click here to access Capwiz.
HOW TO WRITE A LETTER
You often see us suggest that you write a letter or e-mail to your member of congress and your two senators over a number of issues impacting your job, pay or benefits. The postal and e-mail addresses for all federal elected officials representing Indiana may be found under "Links" found near the top of this page. But we at Chapter 49 are often asked how to word a letter. The NTEU Legislative folks have put together sample letters for all the major issues confronting NTEU members, including contracting out of our jobs, pay and benefits.
Click here to download the sample letters . (in PDF format)
IF YOU CHANGE YOUR ADDRESS,
LET NTEU KNOW RIGHT AWAY!
Here's a True or False question for you. When you change your address and you notify IRS, NTEU is automatically notified of your new address. Is that true or is it false? It is false. IRS never notifies NTEU of your new mailing address. That's why it is so important that you let NTEU know when your address changes. NTEU sends out a number of mailings to the membership that you will miss if you don't let us know your current address. When Chapter 49 conducts elections for local officers, we use the addresses on the NTEU record to mail the ballots. If your address is not current, you may not receive a ballot and could miss out on participating in the election.
If you need to change your address, you can let Chapter 49 know by e-mailing us your new address at email@example.com. Or just notify your nearest union steward or officer.
WANT TO JOIN NTEU?
Becoming a member of NTEU is very easy. All we need is your name, SSN, address and dated signature on form 1187. If you have any questions, contact a Chapter 49 officer or steward (they are all listed in the links at the top of the page)
Click here to download Form 1187 and Join NTEU!
PRESIDENT Duncan Giles
VICE PRESIDENT Susan Wright
TREASURER Marcia Loop
National Treasury Employees
NTEU Chapter 49
P.O. Box 44181
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Click here to e-mail Chapter 49