Unions, associations detail priorities for 2013 and beyond

By Julia Ziegler
Federal News Radio

President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney are detailing their priorities for 2013 and beyond on the campaign trail.

At the same time, federal unions, government groups and associations have been busy discussing their own legislative priorities and overall goals.

Federal News Radio asked the following groups for a list of their top priorities over the next four years.

American Federation of Government Employees

  1. Focus on the Election – AFGE is encouraging voters to choose national leaders who have been strong supporters of federal and D.C. government workers.
  2. Grow Membership – AFGE currently has 277,000 members. It would like to grow those ranks over the next year to 300,000 or more.
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  4. Continue Push Against Cuts to Federal Pay and Benefits – AFGE President J. David Cox believes, “Federal employees have paid more than their fair share on the deficit reduction. Federal employees have been the well that [has been repeatedly tapped]. And I’m of the opinion that well is dry.”

Coalition for Government Procurement

    Decrease the cost of federal acquisition for government, industry and taxpayers by:
    1. Reducing the cost of duplicative contracts by encouraging the use of existing government-wide contracting programs.
    2. Relying on the acquisition of commercial items and using commercial best practices, whenever possible.
    3. Reducing administrative burdens by simplifying rules and information collection requirements.

National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association

  1. Protect FEHBP – Protect, promote and enhance the integrity and affordability of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). NARFE also will oppose increasing FEHBP participants’ premiums by capping the government’s contribution.
  2. Support Adequate COLAs – We oppose changing the current formula used to calculate COLAs from the CPI-W to the chained CPI-U. We support changing the standard for determining the COLA from the CPI-W to the CPI-E, which takes into account the rising health care costs of seniors.
  3. Retirement Annuities – Oppose reductions to federal retirement annuities or increases in employee retirement contributions without a corresponding benefit increase.
  4. Pay Raises – Support annual pay adjustments to close the pay gap between private- and public-sector workers, and oppose any efforts to extend the two-year federal pay freeze.
  5. Workforce – Oppose arbitrary reductions in the federal workforce without a strategic plan to manage the workload.

National Federation of Federal Employees

  1. Protect Federal Jobs – If sequestration were to go into effect next year we are likely to see either furloughs, RIFs, hiring freezes, and/or retirement incentives at most agencies. Though the proposed workforce reductions have varied in size, most call for a 10 percent reduction in federal jobs – a move that would cripple an already resource-starved workforce and erode federal services.
  2. Securing Modest Pay Adjustments – Our priority for the beginning of the next administration is to ensure that federal employees get their 0.5 percent raise retroactive to Jan. 1, 2013, as they were promised. Going forward, we will push for larger annual pay adjustments as the economy continues to recover.
  3. Defend Retirement Benefits – New workers must now pay four times as much into their pension each paycheck in order to get the same pension they would have received before. This change was effectively a pay cut for every new employee who decides to pursue a future with the civil service. If we are to attract the next generation of cancer researchers, veterans’ doctors, and intelligence analysts, we need to offer a secure retirement.
  4. Implementing Executive Order 13522 – Though substantial progress has been made in establishing labor-management forums at various agencies, participation and commitment is not unanimous. If we are to realize the true potential or these partnerships, we must have buy-in from everyone involved. We will work through our role on the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations to ensure both labor and management are engaged in meaningful collaboration.
  5. Work with Other Unions – Unions both public and private have been facing serious pressure from governments, businesses, and many in the media. We will continue to work with fellow unions and other groups to ensure that unions and the employees they represent are recognized for their dedication and service to the American dream.

National Treasury Employees Union

  1. Avoid Sequestration – NTEU’s priority will be to push for fairness and balance and to remind lawmakers every day that the middle class federal workers have already contributed more than $75 billion through a pay freeze and increased retirement contributions.
  2. Protect Retirement – A large majority of Americans do not have adequate retirement savings. Adding the federal workforce to this looming crisis serves no one. While some may want the federal government to join a race to the bottom for retirement benefits, NTEU is committed to ending these attacks and preserving and protecting the federal employees’ retirement system.
  3. Get Fair Pay Raises Back On Track – The federal workforce has already contributed $60 billion over 10 years toward deficit reduction through a two-year pay freeze. It is time for the pay freeze to come to an end for comparability raises to begin again. Over the past three years, private sector pay has increased by 4.7 percent. We will be working to get federal pay back on track.
  4. Protect Funding For Needed Federal Services – Whether they come via imbalanced budget proposals or sequestration, NTEU is deeply concerned about the impact of steep cuts on federal agencies that would undermine these vital services that Americans want and need. We are committed to fighting on behalf of the federal workforce to ensure they have the resources they need to do their jobs.

Professional Services Council

  1. Customer Environment – PSC advocates for the balanced and effective utilization of the private sector to help meet the government’s growing missions and supports innovative solutions to the challenges faced by both the government and the services industry. The association’s agenda spans the full spectrum of procurement and acquisition policy, interagency and enterprise contracting, and related matters.
  2. Ethics and Compliance – PSC promotes company programs that foster appropriate business conduct and compliance, as well as balanced policies to ensure appropriate transparency and accountability in the contracting process without imposing unreasonably burdensome or unfair requirements.
  3. People – PSC supports efforts to enhance the training and professional development of the federal workforce, particularly in acquisition. PSC also advocates for appropriate and balanced approaches to challenges related to management, legal, security, and human capital issues of government and industry.
  4. Industry Competitiveness – PSC advocates government acquisition strategies and policies that recognize the diversity of the federal services industrial base and optimize the ability of companies of all sizes and capabilities to participate in agency procurements, without punitive restrictions or administrative obstacles.
  5. Broad Business Policies – PSC is actively engaged on a wide range of business issues that affect the costs or risks of doing business with the government.

Senior Executives Association

  1. SES Pay – Making the SES pay and performance management system operational again – and thereby better enabling the SES to attract and retain the skills and talent the federal government needs – by reinstituting pay adjustments and returning the performance award pool to its statutory limit.
  2. STOCK Act – Enabling career Senior Executives to work without fear that their financial information will be used in unlawful and dangerous ways by repealing the Internet posting requirements of the STOCK Act.
  3. Working Together – A Congress and Administration which work together to determine which programs to support and which to cut or change in reaching budget decisions rather than viewing federal employees as superfluous and their pay and benefits inflated and therefore ripe for continual cutting.

More from the special report, The Obama Impact: Evaluating the Last Four Years

Part 1: Evaluating the Obama administration’s management initiatives

Part 2: Evaluating Obama’s technology reforms

Part 3: Evaluating Obama’s workforce initiatives

Part 4: Evaluating Obama’s acquisition efforts

Part 5A: What would a second-term for President Obama mean for feds?

Part 5B: What would a Romney presidency mean for federal workers?