November 16, 2018
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NFFE Sues VA over Official Time Ban; Trump Administration Breaks Law Again
November 15, 2018
NFFE filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against the VA in response to a Notice of Repudiation ending official time for Title 38 employees. The VA stated official time for these employees “negatively impacts direct patient care” without any further explanation. 
“The crux of the issue is that under Official Time, VA employees serve as an independent voice regarding working conditions, safety issues and mismanagement,” stated NFFE National President Randy Erwin. “Plus, they represent whistleblowers and other employees who make credible claims against fraud, waste, abuse, and political coercion and corruption.”
“The VA kicking employees off official time in this way is a clear violation of the law,” Erwin continued. “It is in direct response to the unions’ successful lawsuit last June against the Trump Administration that nullified three illegal Executive Orders that attacked civil servants working under Official Time. The Trump administration was willing to break the law then, and they are breaking the law again now.”

NFFE Swings Hard at Federal Salary Council Attempt to Blur Pay Gap
November 14, 2018
On Tuesday November 13, the Federal Salary Council (FSC) of the Office of Personnel Management held a public hearing to debate, among other issues related to federal pay, whether to change federal-private pay gap calculations to include “total compensation” rather than a focus on salary level. The discussion was split down the line between FSC members with Trump appointees urging total compensation as a remedy and labor officials strongly against the change to maintain the accuracy of federal-private labor market differences.
NFFE President Randy Erwin—a member of the FSC along with the national presidents of three other unions—argued that augmenting the pay gap calculation (currently at 32%) will artificially lower the pay gap, hiding the true effect of take-home pay in any given market. In addition, Erwin argued that if total compensation is used in the gap calculation, it will provide an improper and inaccurate motive to lower the valuation of federal earned benefits. This, Erwin contended, would lead to smaller pensions and higher benefit contributions by employees for retirement and healthcare.  
Excerpt From Government Executive Magazine NFFE National President Randy Erwin said that the current methodology is important to preserve as a longitudinal benchmark to guide decision-making. “It’s very important that we maintain a consistent time series of data, without any convoluted additions or contractions,” Erwin said. “We have to limit this discussion to the GS scale, but it’s similar across all the pay systems. People need to know how much federal employees are underpaid compared to the private sector, and I’m opposed to anything other than [the current methodology framework].”

Congress Fighting the Clock on December 7 CR
November 15, 2018
With only a dozen legislative days left in the 115 th Congress—a Congress few will forget—seven FY 2019 appropriations bills remain unfinished. Included in that list is H.R. 6147, the “Financial Services” minibus bill, which holds the key to a 1.9% pay increase for federal employees in 2019.
It is a heavy lift to finish all seven bills in so few days however both chambers remain committed to getting as many as possible finished by the end of the session. In question is the fate of the current Continuing Resolution that covers the unfinished appropriations bills. It is set to expire on December 7 th . As of this moment, there is no indication from the Congress or the White House on whether they expect to pass any of the bills or extend the CR for those agencies still outstanding.
Departments and agencies still in limbo for FY 2019 funding include Commerce, EPA, DOT, DHS, HUD, Interior, USDA, State, and “general government” covering many independent agencies.
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