President Kelley Discusses Breach with OPM Director

NTEU this week met with Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Katherine Archuleta and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) concerning the recent federal employee data breaches, and the resulting response.

This briefing was related to the initial personnel breach. NTEU continues to press for additional information related to the second announced breach impacting records related to background investigations.

OPM provided a general status update regarding the June 4 reported breach of personnel records. The majority of email and mailed notifications have occurred by the OPM-selected contractor CSID, though some notifications continue in cases where e-mail notifications were undeliverable or an earlier mailed letter was returned.

Currently, individuals can contact the CSID toll-free line (844-777-2743; international callers collect at 512-327-0705) to verify whether they were affected in the personnel records breach. Also, individuals can fully enroll in the credit monitoring services with a CSID representative on the toll-free line or by visiting the CSID website.

As a reminder, individuals who have not received a notification can contact the CSID toll-free line to verify whether or not they have had information compromised in the June 4 personnel records breach. Also, for residents of New York State, CSID is now providing the missing fraud protection insurance coverage that had not been in place earlier. New York-state required specific information is now being provided from CSID.

At this time, there is no new information as to who has been affected by the second breach that concerns background investigations. The Director of OPM and OMB personnel stated that the DHS and FBI forensic investigation is nearing completion and that they expect to reach out to NTEU, and to begin the actual individual notifications, soon.  NTEU will update members as soon as this information is available.

Also at the meeting, the Director of OPM announced a third, separate incident. During the ongoing forensic investigations into the two earlier reported breaches, it has been determined that a system vulnerability exists with the E-QIP system primarily used by OPM, agencies and individuals to handle background investigation forms (Note: this is separate from the announced, actual breach into background investigations databases). While there is no evidence of an actual breach, but rather a possible IT vulnerability, the Director of OPM has now suspended the entire E-QIP system, meaning that no new forms can be submitted either by new hires or by existing employees undergoing a periodic reinvestigation (PRI). At this time, OPM and OMB expect the system to remain down for a period of 4-6 weeks, while IT improvements are made. OPM Federal Investigative Services (FIS), that handles background investigations, is currently in the process of making needed personnel and work adjustments. Existing employees will continue to operate as normal with their current clearance level in place, and their PRI will occur once the system is back up and running.  OPM and employing agencies are also currently considering various flexibilities to address the situation for new hires.

NTEU continues to call for immediate blanket credit monitoring and identity theft protection coverage to be extended to those individuals whose information has been compromised in the background investigations breach, and who have yet to be notified.  The union is also pressing for these services to be extended beyond the current 18 months now being offered as a result of the personnel records breach—and that they be provided to both affected employees and to their family members, particularly given the high-level of risk faced by these individuals.



NTEU Opposes Benefit Cuts to Federal Workers’ Comp Program

Wednesday, May 20 2015
Washington, D.C.—Congress should reject proposals to slash workers’ compensation benefits for federal employees who get hurt on the job, the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) told a House panel today.In a statement to the House Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, NTEU National President Colleen M. Kelley said the union opposes proposals that seek to cut benefits for employees and their families and force injured workers to move to retirement status.“Forcing a worker at retirement age to give up regular workers’ comp benefits and live on the income from retirement savings put aside until his or her work life was interrupted by an on-the-job injury would cause grave economic hardship to many disabled employees,” President Kelley said.

As in the past, NTEU is willing to work in a bipartisan manner to improve the workers’ compensation insurance program set up by the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA), “while always keeping in mind this is an issue of human dignity,” the NTEU leader wrote.

“NTEU very much wants to work with this subcommittee or any other policymaker to find ways to reduce the costs of the FECA program, as we did in 2011,” she wrote. “The best way to do so is not by reducing benefits or denying claims but by preventing the occurrence of injuries.”

The NTEU leader wrote that the program needs a “change in management practices and culture” more than legislative fixes. According to reports from NTEU members, some agency managers are uninterested in helping FECA recipients return to work by offering light duty assignments, approving alternative worksites and making disability accommodations, President Kelley wrote.

NTEU is the largest independent federal union, representing 150,000 employees in 31 agencies and departments.


NTEU Backs Bill To End Higher Federal Pension Contributions

Washington, D.C.—The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) endorsed a House bill today that would end a congressional mandate under which recent and new federal hires must make bigger pension contributions than long-time employees.

Congress raised Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) contributions for new hires in 2012 to help pay for an extension of unemployment insurance, and again in 2013 to help offset spending as part of a budget agreement. FERS, which covers most federal workers, is considered a model pension program for many reasons, including the fact that it is adequately funded


Kelley Says Employees Deserve a Bigger 2015 Pay Raise

President Colleen M. Kelley was critical of a proposed 1 percent pay increase for federal employees that will be included in the administration’s budget blueprint due out next month.

“I strongly believe that federal employees deserve more and this amount is inadequate,” Kelley said, adding that NTEU believes a 3.3 percent pay raise is a fair and reasonable amount. This week, during the union’s legislative conference, NTEU members will be visiting their members of Congress to make that case.

Federal workers have done more than their fair share to reduce the federal deficit, contributing $138 billion toward deficit reduction over 10 years from the pay freeze and from higher pension contributions from new federal hires. The continuing policy of sequestration is preventing the investments necessary for the good of the nation including investing in federal workers, said President Kelley.

NTEU is pleased to see the end of the pay freeze but believes federal employee pay must begin catching up.

NTEU Legislative Conference Begins Tomorrow

Hundreds of NTEU members from around the country and across federal agencies will be meeting in the nation’s capital to personally deliver an important message to lawmakers: support federal workers.

This is the theme of the annual, three-day NTEU Legislative Conference, set to begin tomorrow. The event features a rally at noon on Thursday on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, and meetings with representatives and senators on the union’s priority issues for the year. They include:

  • Ending sequestration and securing adequate agency funding.
  • An adequate federal pay raise for 2015 and highlighting the negative effect of the three-year pay freeze.
  • Protecting the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
  • Opposing efforts to increase employee contributions to their retirement and cutting benefits.
  • Lowering the federal contractor reimbursement cap and eliminating inefficient and unnecessary contracting.

Stay tuned to the NTEU e-Bulletin for news and photos from the conference.