Democrats rally with federal employees facing tough times under Trump

Democrats rally with federal employees facing tough times under Trump

March 3 at 7:00 AM

A bicameral but uni-partisan parade of legislators rallied with federal employees outside the Capitol on Thursday in a vigorous display of support for their pay, benefits and jobs.

Seven representatives and one senator joined members of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) in an enthusiastic demand for fair pay, fair play and respect.

“In times of change and in times of transition, when everyone at the top is either coming or going, you are the people who keep our great country running, protecting our citizens and safeguarding our nation, never missing a beat,” NTEU President Tony Reardon said.

Bundled against a cold wind, cheering union members held handmade signs with slogans such as “Proud Federal Employees” and “Like Clean Air & Water? Thank an EPA Employee.”

Passion was abundant. Power, though, was not.

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Feds worry about Trump’s budget plans

Feds worry about Trump’s budget plans

March 2, 2017, NTEU rally on Capitol Hill to protest President Trump's hiring freeze and proposed budget cuts.  (Photo: Chris Valvardi)Several legislators took part in the March 2 Capitol Hill rally organized by NTEU. (Photo: Chris Valvardi)

The new administration’s early positions on civilian federal employees, along with the revival of the Holman Rule by congressional Republicans, are worrying rank and file feds — and their unions are looking for support on Capitol Hill.

Concerned employees, union members and Democratic lawmakers voiced their concerns at a March 2 lunchtime rally held by the National Treasury Employee Union near the Capitol. NTEU represents 150,000 employees from 31 federal agencies and departments.

Environmental Protection Agency attorney Joe Edgell told FCW that “morale is low” at his agency in the wake of the White House’s hiring freeze and proposed budget guidance, which he said have “made it harder for people to get their work done.”

 

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Union poised for budget fight but also ready to deal

Union poised for budget fight but also ready to deal

March 2, 2017 (Photo Credit: Michael Murphy)
Tony Reardon is settling in for a long fight.

With the continued rumblings of stark cuts to federal agencies expected in the White House’s budget, the president of the National Treasury Employees Union spent March 2 rallying members for a massive grassroots campaign to oppose the slashing of domestic spending.

But that doesn’t mean Reardon isn’t willing to make a deal with Congress.

Federal Times
Trump’s budget: $54B boost in defense spending at expense of civilian agencies

As momentum for civil service reform stirs in the Senate, Reardon told members of the media gathered at NTEU’s legislative conference that he was open, to a point, to talking about reshaping the federal workforce.

“The [General Schedule] system, I believe is still good,” he said. “For the record, I’ve not been contacted by Sen. [James] Lankford or anyone else. But to the extent that somebody would contact me, look, I’m willing to talk to anybody about anything. I’m willing to listen.”

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NTEU Leaders: It’s Time to ‘Rally for Your Jobs, Your Benefits, Your Country’

NTEU Leaders: It’s Time to ‘Rally for Your Jobs, Your Benefits, Your Country’

"The hiring freeze and [Trump's] so-called budget are sick jokes they play on American politics, until they’re not," said Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y.
“The hiring freeze and [Trump’s] so-called budget are sick jokes they play on American politics, until they’re not,” said Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y. J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Last December, when then-President Obama was set to announce he was upping the planned federal pay raise to 2.1 percent, the head of the National Treasury Employees Union received a call from a contact at the Office of Management and Budget. “I have good news,” the official told NTEU National President Tony Reardon. The pay raise, he said, was due in no small part to NTEU’s efforts.

Such self-congratulatory stories formed only part of Reardon’s talk to hundreds who gathered on Wednesday for NTEU’s annual legislative conference in Washington. The advent of the Trump era has heightened prospects for an array of Republican bills that would, as Reardon put it, threaten “collective bargaining and due process” at the same time President Trump is proposing large-scale cuts in agency budgets—37 percent at the State Department, 24 percent at the Environmental Protection Agency and 14 percent at the Internal Revenue Service, for instance.

“This is the time to rally for your job, your benefits, your country,” Reardon said in opening the three- day blitz of visits to lawmakers’ offices that includes a Thursday rally on East Front of the Capitol. “We fight to protect each other,” he said, while also challenging what the union sees as a threat to services upon which American taxpayers depend , from air traffic control to food safety to border protection.

 

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