10:46 am, May 29, 2015

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  • IRS to pay $70M in employee bonuses
    That's odd, it was reported in May that the IRS was issuing five furlough days for all of its 90,000 employees beginning May 24.
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  • Authorization to institute Furlough Days
    Furlough Days are not affected by the terms of a Collective Bargaining Agreement. See, 5 USC 7106 (b)(2). Discretionary administrative pay, for example Acquissition Demo project personnel, could negotiate pay that would not be affected by the Presidential Memorandum that is referenced in this article. Furlough Days and Discretionary pay or alternative pay systems are not one in the same.
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  • Millions to Be Paid In Bonuses Across ALL Agencies
    While the headline would make you believe this is limited to the IRS, it isn't. Every agency has Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) in force...meaning these provisions are common and by law must be paid until the contract expires. Typical CBA's have a three year term. If an agency wants to change a term they will need to re-negotiate the provision. If the Union doesn't agree to re-negotiate eventually the issue will be heard by the Federal Labor Relations Authority. The problem is the language contained in the sequestration bill did not attempt to negate collective bargaining provisions. "(b)(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, except as provided in subsection (e), no statutory pay adjustment which (but for this subsection) would otherwise take effect during the period beginning on January 1, 2011, and ending on December 31, 2012, shall be made." This language is incorporated through the 2013 Memorandum that references the 2010 Memorandum. If the Senator wanted to prohibit ALL pay increases the above language should not have limited the pay increases to STATUTORY increases.
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  • Cost of Bonuses
    While it is admirable that the Service is planning to adhere to its CBA instead of simply reneging and further passing its congressionally imposed budgetary crises on to its workers, it does pose an interesting question or two. If, as previously stated by IRS Management, the cost to eliminate one furlough day is $25 million-would paying $70 million in bonuses (at this point) necessitate 2-3 more furlough days crammed into August/September? And if not, why not-where would these extra funds come from? Could 2-3 days be eliminated by not paying these bonuses? Restoring trust in the IRS needs to start internally first……
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  • Shared Sacrifice
    The NTEU said that the IRS refused to negociate over the timing and number of furlough days. The IRS had no other choice than furlough days since the largest expense at the IRS is salaries. IRS Deputy Commissioner Tucker said sevaral times that it takes $25 million in new savings to remove one furlough day. Well, here is a little over 70 million dollars in the BU award pool. Yes, there is a contract. Yes Union members earned these performance based awards. However, not all the 90,000 IRS employees are covered by the Union. So, perhaps it would better for the Union to put aside rhetoric and allow the IRS to repurpose the award money if the money is used to cancel some of the remaining planned three furlough days. Which is better for all IRS employees? Is it better for a some of the IRS employees to have a performance award and three more furlough days or maybe it is better to reduce the furlough days for all?
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  • Why?
    Full disclosure: I am part of the bargaining unit, but not an NTEU member. The problem is that the IRS as a whole, and particularly at the lower-to-mid levels, is a dysfunctional environment that values seniority over merit far too often. So by "sharing the sacrifice" you are in practice asking me to give up something I worked hard for, so that people around me who already make more than I do don't lose as much money even if they didn't do the work to get there. That isn't sharing the sacrifice, that's propping up people for no benefit. Tell you what. Find a way to cull the fifteen percent of the workforce that objectively stinks and replace them (which will reduce the payroll and offer long absent advancement opportunities) and I will give up my bonus.
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  • Yup
    Gotta protect those vulnerable and thin skinned government workers from their harsh air conditioned offices and evil taxpayers - that's why we need gov't unions. Unions are way overdue to be terminated.
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