Unions, associations detail priorities for 2013 and beyond

Friday - 9/21/2012, 4:00am EDT

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.
  3. 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.