Ultimately, the recent defeat in the nation’s largest federal union organizing campaign didn’t matter. And an opponent’s claim that Colleen M. Kelley didn’t communicate enough with union leaders simply didn’t make a dent in her broad support. Kelley trounced her opponent, Eddie Walker, an Austin chapter president, in the race to lead the National Treasury Employees Union, the second largest federal employee labor organization.
The financially strapped U.S. Postal Service is proposing to cut its workforce by 20 percent and to withdraw from the federal health and retirement plans because it believes it could provide benefits at a lower cost. The layoffs would be achieved in part by breaking labor agreements, a proposal that drew swift fire from postal unions.
Federal employees who feared that a debt-ceiling deal would mean steep cuts to their pay and benefits have been given a reprieve. But that relief is likely to be fleeting – those feared cuts could come in a few short months. The nearly $1 trillion in spending cuts Congress approved last week does not include increases to federal employees’ retirement contributions, lower pensions or lower cost-of-living adjustments for federal retirees, all of which were being considered by the White House and House Republicans. But experts said they believe the second round of deficit reduction – which will cover entitlements and additional revenues – will contain many provisions affecting federal employees.
A Treasury Department push for electronic invoicing for federal contractors could speed payments and save the government $450 million a year, the government says. Treasury, which purchased about $6 billion in goods and services last year, is mandating that by 2013 its offices and bureaus must receive invoices from vendors via its new Internet payment system.
The departments of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs are almost half way to their goal of reducing the number of homeless veterans by 59,000 by 2012. Peter Grace, HUD’s director of the Office of Strategic Planning and Management and an advisor to the secretary for management, said at a recent conference that the two agencies are ahead of their target by 46 percent. Part of the reason for the success, at least on HUD’s side, is the setting of and adherence to performance goals, he said.
According to the news, the world is falling apart.
However, on Tuesday Ryan Taylor, 30, a theater director in Washington, got the last serving of pumpkin curry at the Fojol Bros. food truck. He waited in line for 15 minutes, found a shady patch in Farragut Square and just as he sat down with his curry, which was delicious, the chef came out of the truck and erased the item from the menu. That was very, very satisfying.