Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On behalf of the officers and stewards of AFGE Local 476, I want to extend warm wishes to everyone for a happy Thanksgiving. This year has been challenging for many of us. We remain thankful, however, for the strength we gain from our unity. May this holiday bring you and your family happiness and many reasons to be grateful.
Ashaki Robinson Johns, PhD
AFGE Local 476
Open season,the opportunity to add, change, or discontinue your Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB), Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP,) and the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS) ends at 11:59pm on Monday, December 9. This year, look closely at the cost of the options you consider.
According to AFGE, agencies will pay an average of 3.2% of the FEHB premiums, while federal workers will pay 5.6% more than in 2019.
"Shifting more health-care costs onto federal workers and retirees will force growing numbers to choose between keeping their health insurance or paying for rent and other costs of daily living." --AFGE
The increase in health insurance premiums is even more painful when you consider that the average federal employee makes 7% less today than at the beginning of the decade when adjusted for inflation, and nationally 30% less than employees in state, local, and private sector jobs.
Compare 2020 FEHB plans here.
Don't forget you need to re-enroll in FSAFEDS to continue taking advantage of a pre-tax health savings account.
July 17, 2019: The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia today reversed a district court decision that had struck down major portions of three anti-labor Presidential executive orders. Read more about the Court of Appeals decision.
The Court of Appeals' decision allows the executive orders to hurt your rights such as by not allowing you to file a grievance over an unfair performance appraisal. Read more about how the latest decision can hurt you and affect your rights.
Do you know your rights? You don't have to go it alone! Read more about your rights and how AFGE Local 476 can help you.
The House of Representatives on June 26 approved a 3.1% raise for federal employees next year, rejecting President Trump’s proposed pay freeze. AFGE credits the "thousands of calls AFGE members made to Congress" for influencing the vote.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit mostly agreed with AFGE and the National Treasury Employees Union in their lawsuit against OPM and a federal contractor related to the disclosure of the personal records of 21.5 million individuals. The court of appeals sent the case back to the district court. Read more.
In response to three Executive Orders signed on May 25, HUD's management attempted to evict the Union from its space. This would make it difficult for your representatives to provide you with the support you need--and that you have a right to have under the law.
I have great news. AFGE Council 222’s Council President Holly Salamido was successful in fighting against the action attempted by the Employee and Labor Relations office. Management withdrew its proposal to take away the Union’s space and prevent you from direct and private access to your Union officers and stewards.
Although this battle is won the fight is far from over. On July 9, the Social Security Administration started evicting all of their Local officers and stewards from their offices. Last week, the Department of Veterans Affairs issued a memo saying that it would no longer honor numerous articles in its Collective Bargaining Agreement with the union having to do with the use of union official time, labor management, quality, and health and safety committees, and more.
Read more about the Executive Orders.
The House of Representatives passed an appropriations bill on June 26, 2019, that includes language that would prevent the Federal Services Impasses Panel, part of the Federal Labor Relations Authority, from adjudicating labor-management disputes that arise during collective bargaining negotiations. A provision would block agencies from implementing any collective bargaining agreement that has not been “mutually and voluntarily agreed to by all parties” or was not the result of binding arbitration.
Employees who want to take their discrimination complaints to the EEOC are going to have to wait in line for a long time before their cases are heard, according to the Government Standard. The AFGE publication reports that sexual harassment claims were up 13.6 percent in 2018 at the same time that the EEOC’s workforce dropped below 2,000 employees for the first time since before 1980. President Trump’s proposed budget for FY 2020 would slash the EEOC’s budget by another $23.7 million and cut staff by 180 more positions, including mediators, judges, intake representatives, and 50 investigators.