No. 12 January 24, 2017
NTEU Members of Chapter 73:
I am really looking forward to visiting with you again on Wednesday, Feb. 1, to hear your concerns and answer as many of your questions as I can.
From the moment the ramp down of Submission Processing sites was announced, NTEU has been busy working to change and mitigate the effects of the ramp down. My hope is every single employee is provided as many options as possible during the next two years. To this end, NTEU has been working on three fronts. First we are working to insure that employees in Submission Processing are treated fairly when they apply for jobs within the IRS, second we are working to bring new work to Covington and finally we are working to implement mitigating strategies for any employees who are unable to secure a new position.
NTEU stands firm in our belief that every impacted IRS employee deserves to continue working with the agency if that is his or her desire. Our top priority is to find a path so employees can continue to work or retire under the best possible conditions. To this end it is key to assure that affected employees are given the opportunity to transfer or be promoted to positions in non-impacted parts of the agency. Since the announcement of the ramp down, Chapter 73 has worked with local management to reopen a certification list and more than a dozen Submission Processing employees were picked up as CSRs. This issue has been raised on the national level, and we continue to work to assure impacted employees are treated fairly.
In addition to insuring Submission Processing employees are treated fairly, we are working to bring new work to Covington. Along with your chapter, our national office has met with members of the House and the Senate to share with them the IRS’ plans and the impact of that plan on their constituents. At each meeting, the representatives were presented with hundreds of letters signed by you and fellow NTEU members. I personally met with IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and told him that the closures would have a devastating effect on our members and our country. We have spoken with IRS deputy commissioners in hopes of fostering plans to bring more work to Covington.
Also, there are mitigation strategies found within your contract (Article 19) like VERA, an early-retirement program or VSIP, another program that provides agencies with tools to incentivize employees to separate by voluntary retirement or resignation. These can be combined with job swaps, to help move employee out of harm’s way. In addition, we are bargaining with the IRS as soon as possible to put into place additional mitigating strategies.
Finally, we are working hard to make sure you are kept informed and involved throughout this process. Chapter 73 President Rick Riley and representatives from Chapter 73 have been working very hard and are conducting regular meetings, posting alerts and hosting information tables. Mere hours after the closures were announced, I traveled to Covington and met with the Chapter leaders to begin planning our response. I am glad to again visit your chapter, meet with the leadership of Chapter 73 and talk with each of you. I, along with your chapter leaders, am personally committed to using every tool at NTEU’s disposal to work for you.
NTEU needs each and every employee to get involved in this effort. Together we can do much more than we can individually and the more of you who are engaged in this process, the more power we will have when it comes to influencing the decisions that affect your job and future employment.
You should know that you are not alone and every NTEU member is standing with you in this fight. I ask each of you to join us at NTEU Chapter 73 in our efforts to maximize job opportunities, retirement options and create a workplace that treats employees with dignity and respect and serves the American public.
NTEU National President