FROM: Tucker McDonald- AFGE Political Director.
The good news is a government shutdown looks unlikely. Our legislative team is aggressively working to ensure that a 1.9 percent pay adjustment for federal employees in FY 2019 is included in the funding package. The bad news is that the Republican leadership and the administration have once again made it clear that they will do anything to bust our union. We are hearing a rumor that the MERIT Act - short for Modern Employment Reform, Improvement, and Transformation Act - may come to the floor soon.
Under the MERIT Act:
- You would no longer be able to appeal adverse actions and unfair reductions in force actions through the grievance procedures. The only venue for you to appeal these unfair actions would be the severely under-resourced Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), which reviews similar cases for the entire federal workforce. The agency’s decision becomes final if the MSPB does not issue a decision within 30 days.
- You will not have enough time to mount a credible defense if you are accused of performance or disciplinary issues, because the bill drastically shortens the response time.
- You can be fired at any point in your first two years on the job, for any reason.
- You may be forced to repay a bonus or award if the agency head claims he or she was unaware of a conduct or performance issues when you received the payment.
We will keep you posted on any movement, but please call your lawmakers at 866-356-0201 and ask them to strongly oppose the MERIT Act.
Election day is only 50 days away! We all know how important this election will be for our members and our union. In the last two years, we have seen budgets offered by the Republican leadership that would cut federal employee take home pay, eliminate retiree COLAs, and the FERS supplement. We have seen a Republican-controlled House and Senate pass legislation making it easier to privatize the VA and make it easier to fire employees at the VA. We have seen Republican leadership launch attack after attack on official time and our ability to represent federal employees. The MERIT Act exemplifies this - the bill was offered by Republican Senator David Perdue and Republican Congressman Barry Loudermilk. These bills have a total of 59 cosponsors, all Republicans.
Time and time again, we have seen attacks to our members‘ pay, retirement and rights negotiated by this union. When those attack came, the Democratic leadership and a majority of the Democratic caucus stood with us to fight back. It has been Democrats in the House and Senate who, cycle after cycle, offered and supported legislation to raise our members’ pay. Over the last 4 years, we have only seen one Republican ever sign legislation increasing federal employee pay.
AFGE is endorsing Democrats, Republicans, and Independents this cycle. Our goal is to support candidates on both sides of the aisle and create an AFGE majority. An AFGE majority means that there is a majority of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents who believe in the work our members do every day, and believe that our members should be fairly compensated and treated with respect. These allies believe in the right to bargain collectively and they believe this union deserves to exist.
Next week, we plan to publish a list on our website of all of the candidates AFGE is endorsing on November 6. Candidates who support an AFGE majority will be represented on that list. For instance, we will be standing strong with Republicans like Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (PA), who authored a bill that would reverse the major provisions of the VA Accountability Act, and Republican Representative Tom Cole (OK), who has worked with us this entire cycle to push back on his own party’s leadership when they have attacked federal employees.
Our members have a clear choice this election: we can support a GOP-controlled House and Senate that wants to cut our take home pay and retirement, remove our rights at work, and dismantle our union’s ability to represent all federal employees; or we can support candidates who will make change. We believe it’s time for change.
Here is what we are asking all AFGE Council and Locals to do before Election day:
- Send out 2 Local mailings to your members in support of AFGE-endorsed candidates. We have already created a template that any Local or Council can take and use for their mailings. This information will go up online next week, along with our endorsements. If your Local or Council needs help with printing, AFGE HQ can work with you to print them, but your Local or Council will be charged for the full cost of the mailing; that includes production and postage. If you would like to get these templates now and or need help with your mailing, please contact your LPO. Click here to find your LPO.
- Make commitments for the Weekend of Action on October 20-21. We are asking all Locals and Councils to either volunteer for the Labor to Labor campaign in their area, volunteer directly for any AFGE supported candidate, or volunteer for any pro-labor state or local candidates in their area. We created a map on the website to provide information on this weekend’s events as well as track the Locals and Council who have committed to participating. Click here to visit our Weekend of Action page.
- Every Local and Council should make their 2018 LAF contribution. The AFGE delegates passed a resolution at the 2013 AFGE Convention encouraging every Local to give $5 per member per year to LAF. The resolution also encouraged every Council to give to LAF every year. We thank all Locals and Councils who have already made their LAF payment, and encourage them to consider making another contribution. We need every dollar you can spare for this fight. We can help you process this contribution electronically. All you need to do is email Kevin LaDana LADANK@afge.org and he will walk you through it.
- If you have not given to PAC yet this year, please consider doing it today. We are asking every AFGE member give at least a $10 per month contribution at www.afge.org/pacapp. If you are already giving, thank you! Now please ask others in your Local to do the same. Remember: you cannot ask others in your Local to donate to PAC while on duty time or on federal property.
If you are a Local or Council president, please go over this information with your E-Board ASAP. If you are not a Local or Council president, please contact your Local president and go over this information with them asap. If you are an AFGE staff member, please go over this information with any Local or Council presidents that you speak with before election day.
Please remember: since this is about elections, you cannot forward this email to any government email address or discuss any of this on federal property or during duty time.
Brothers and sisters, the choice is clear on November 6. Do we want another two years of constant attacks to our pay, jobs, and union? If we are all ready for a change, then we all have to do our part. That starts with the 4 items listed above.
We hope you will join us. Thank you for all that you do.