Senate Passes Measure Ending Air Traffic Controller Furloughs; House Expected to Follow Suit
With hundreds of thousands of air passengers facing delays at airports throughout the country this week, it appears Congress is ready to put an end to the furloughs causing this mess. Thursday, the Senate passed a measure ending furloughs for air traffic controllers and opening the roughly 150 air traffic control towers in rural areas that were temporarily shuttered due to mandatory sequestration cuts. The bill grants the FAA additional flexibility to shift funds between agency accounts, allowing them to fill the funding holes using resources from their new airports fund. In total, the measure will shift $253 million between accounts.
Lots of Argument but Few Solutions from Capitol Hill on Ending Furloughs
While it appears progress is being made on ending furloughs for air traffic controllers, there’s been no such luck for the more than a million other federal workers facing furloughs this year. The only two “serious” plans to be introduced in Congress thus far, one by each party, were both declared dead on arrival by their political opponents. In short, our elected officials have arrived at a stalemate, and don’t seem terribly concerned with getting us out of it. The only way to stop the finger-pointing and obstructionism by both parties is to make some noise. This week we saw the Senate pass a bill to end furloughs for air traffic controllers because these workers and the flying public spoke up. When enough of us speak up, Congress listens.
REMINDER: Deadline for 2013 IAM Newsletter and Website Contest is May 10th
The 2013 IAM Newsletter and Website Competition is underway, and we’re asking all NFFE locals to enter their newsletter, websites, and Facebook pages today! NFFE locals and the national office smashed records with a total of 19 awards last time, and we’re looking for an even more impressive performance this year. Honoring excellence in both print and digital labor journalism, the contest awards IAM districts and locals for their contributions to building the union movement. The contest is open to all local and district lodges in good standing having publications that are regularly distributed or mailed to members and/or maintain regularly-updated IAM websites.
Federal Union Leader on White House Budget: Today Washington ‘Abandoned’ Federal Employees
It’s clear today that Washington has abandoned federal employees. We’ve already seen three consecutive years of frozen pay, a quadrupling in the amount new workers pay toward their pensions, and now painful furloughs scheduled for the majority of the federal workforce. Yet this budget asks federal workers to take another 1.2% cut to their take-home pay by increasing employee retirement contributions yet again; it reduces Social Security benefits by moving to a chained CPI; and it eliminates the FERS annuity supplement for federal employees. We expect certain politicians to make federal workers the scapegoat of first resort. But for the Administration to perpetuate the idea that federal employees haven’t sacrificed enough is absolutely unacceptable.
FEEA Prepares for Federal Furloughs with Help from Congresswoman Norton
Speaking at the Federal Managers Association’s 75th National Convention, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today reaffirmed her intention to donate one day’s pay for each day federal employees are furloughed due to sequestration. Norton plans to divide the donation evenly between supporting federal employees in need via the Federal Employee Education & Assistance Fund (FEEA) and ensuring District residents do not experience a drop in constituent services by preventing furloughs of her own staff.
Union Leader Slams Senate GOP Sequestration Measure Targeting Federal Pay, Retirement
“Here we go again. Rather than proposing a serious solution to sequestration, Senator Ayotte and her GOP colleagues have chosen to dust off well-worn attacks on federal employees that do nothing to fix the problem. Federal employees have already endured over two years of frozen pay and an increase in retirement contributions that will save the government $103 billion over the next decade. When is enough, enough? Serious problems call for serious solutions, and the Senator’s proposal falls well short of that measure. The Federal Employee Retirement System is fully funded and federal salaries have shrunken faster than any time in recent memory. What good will it do to punish them even more?"