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NEWS
April 4, 2013
Your article about the effects of the sequester on federal employees left readers with a misleading impression of its effects by not mentioning the IRS ("Agencies in Maryland dodge furloughs - for now," March 30). The National Treasury Employees Union, which represents IRS employees and more than 35 other federal agencies, represents over 1,000 employees at various posts in Maryland, including Baltimore City, Annapolis, Salisbury, Wheaton and Frederick. In addition, there is a huge IRS office in New Carrollton.
ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
Yvonne Wenger and The Baltimore Sun | September 22, 2014
Nearly three-quarters of Americans say they have trust in federal employees , a spike in public confidence that some are attributing to last year's partial government shutdown. In a recent Battleground Poll by George Washington University, 22 percent of registered voters surveyed said they had "a lot" of confidence in federal workers , and 51 percent said they had "some. " The public's confidence in the federal workforce waned in 2012 and 2013 after scandals involving the Internal Revenue Service and the General Services Administration but rebounded after the shutdown last October.
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NEWS
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun | August 5, 2011
Appealing to a constituency at the center of the debate over federal budget cuts, Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin told a large crowd of federal employees that Maryland's lawmakers will fight for them as Congress begins making spending cuts required by the new debt ceiling law. "We're going to stand up and defend what you do every day," the Maryland Democrat told a few hundred employees who gathered in the library of the U.S. Census Bureau. "We know the sacrifices that you've made. We know the abuse that you take.
NEWS
By John Fritze and By John Fritze | September 6, 2014
Federal employees will be allowed to carry money on their health savings accounts into the next year following a months-long lobbying effort by Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland and other lawmakers in the region. Some 323,000 federal workers set aside a portion of their earnings, tax-free, in flexible spending accounts, or FSAs, to pay for health expenses. Until now, they have forfeited money not spent by the end of the year. The Office of Personnel Management announced last week that employees would be allowed to carry over up to $500 beginning in 2015.
NEWS
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun | May 9, 2014
Mitch Kuykendall wasn't thinking about the shrinking federal budget or the latest partisan squabbles on Capitol Hill when he climbed a ladder propped up against a burning apartment building in Maryland City last July. He was, he said, just doing his job for the federal government. The federal firefighter and his colleagues, who are based at Fort Meade, were recognized with hundreds of other government workers at an event in Baltimore County this month tied to Public Service Recognition Week.
NEWS
July 15, 2013
The front-page headline on the Sunpaper says "Sequester pains hit home" (July 12). Meanwhile, President Barack Obama just got back from Africa with his wife, two children and his mother-in-law. Please tell me how the sequester is having an impact on them. Since Mr. Obama promised "transparency" in his administration, please tell me how much of the American tax dollar paid for the wife, the two kids and the mother-in-law to go on this trip with him? Christine Higgins, Phoenix
NEWS
By Matthew Hay Brown, The Baltimore Sun | February 19, 2014
Howard Friedman has heard the chatter from his own community to Capitol Hill - sometimes questions, sometimes complaints about the federal workforce, its size and its cost. The Gaithersburg man, an attorney and union leader at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, wants to change the conversation. "We've been criticized far too long, strictly on matters dealing with the size of the workforce and our compensation," he said. "I think people don't really understand the direct connection between what we do and the quality of life in our country for taxpayers and for everybody.
NEWS
By Eileen Ambrose, The Baltimore Sun | January 27, 2013
Even as Congress and the White House appeared to be at a standoff over the fiscal cliff last month, lawmakers and the president were able to agree on at least one thing: an update of the Hatch Act. The 1939 law prohibits federal employees and certain state and local workers from engaging in partisan political activity on the taxpayer's dime. Violators typically have faced two types of penalties - both severe. Congress passed bipartisan legislation in December that broadened the range of penalties and loosened the rules so that most state and local government workers - including those in the District of Columbia - can run for partisan elective office.
NEWS
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun | August 30, 2013
President Barack Obama on Friday proposed a 1 percent raise for civilian federal employees, a move that would end the pay freeze that has been in place for three years as policymakers sought to reduce budget deficits. In a letter to congressional leaders sent at the beginning of the Labor Day weekend, the president wrote that "federal employees have already made significant sacrifices. " He also proposed a 1 percent raise for members of the military. As in the past, pay and benefits for federal employees are ultimately expected to be part of the negotiations on legislation to fund the government later this fall.
NEWS
By Joe Davidson, The Washington Post | December 23, 2012
Current and retired federal employees who have been on the offense against the Defense of Marriage Act can't taste victory yet, but its scent is growing stronger now that the Supreme Court has decided to review the law. Federal workers and retirees have been on the vanguard against DOMA. Yet, though the court did not choose one of their cases, the one picked this month certainly will have implications for the federal workforce. DOMA defines marriage for federal purposes as a union between a man and a woman.
NEWS
By Justin George, The Baltimore Sun | September 1, 2014
A ruling by a federal judge in a lawsuit filed by federal employees over the government shutdown last fall has given the workers hope that they could soon be eligible for a payout. U.S. Court of Federal Claims Chief Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith declined to dismiss the lawsuit brought by some 2,000 workers who were deemed essential during the during the 16-day shutdown. The plaintiffs worked through the shutdown but didn't get paid on time for their labor. Campbell-Smith wrote in an opinion that the federal government violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, but she didn't go as far as saying that the government needed to pay the plaintiffs.
NEWS
By Will Fesperman, The Baltimore Sun | August 1, 2014
The Coast Guard is reconsidering plans to take on contractors to help process boat permits amid objections from a federal workers ' union. Officials at the Coast Guard's National Vessel Documentation Center, which issues permits for boats, are preparing to collect a new fee from recreational boaters to raise what they say is badly needed revenue. To collect the fee, they planned to contract with outside workers. The American Federation of Government Employees says the plan would violate a long-standing ban on outsourcing tasks currently performed by federal workers . "An annual renewal user fee is just another user fee, not new work," AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. wrote in a letter this month to the Office of Management and Budget.
NEWS
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun | May 9, 2014
Mitch Kuykendall wasn't thinking about the shrinking federal budget or the latest partisan squabbles on Capitol Hill when he climbed a ladder propped up against a burning apartment building in Maryland City last July. He was, he said, just doing his job for the federal government. The federal firefighter and his colleagues, who are based at Fort Meade, were recognized with hundreds of other government workers at an event in Baltimore County this month tied to Public Service Recognition Week.
NEWS
By Pamela Wood, The Baltimore Sun | April 28, 2014
Women who work for the federal government, on the whole, make less than their male co-workers - just as in the private sector. But among the federal workers , a new study shows, that earnings gap is narrowing. Between 1992 and 2012, according to the Office of Personnel Management, the difference between earnings for men and women shrank from 30 percent to 13 percent. On orders from President Barack Obama, the Office of Personnel Management reviewed salary data from 1992, 2002 and 2012 and looked at ways to reduce the gap. The study, "Governmentwide Strategy on Advancing Pay Equality in the Federal Government," was released this month.
NEWS
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun | April 11, 2014
From metal detectors to ID checks, visitors entering agency headquarters and large federal facilities in and around the nation's capital are subjected to intense security - so much so that they're often warned to leave extra time to get through the screening. But federal investigators and unions are raising concerns about safety in small field offices scattered across the country, where federal employees at the IRS, Social Security Administration and other agencies are more likely to interact with the public.
NEWS
April 9, 2014
Perhaps lawmakers and federal employees should be less concerned about themselves and more concerned about the morale of their employers, the American taxpayers ("Half of federal workforce considering private sector," Feb. 23). Lawmakers passed the health care bill without reading it, promised we could keep our insurance and doctors and pledged to reduce insurance costs, none of which happened. Rep. Elijah Cummings didn't care about the 73,000 Marylanders who lost their health care.
BUSINESS
By Eileen Ambrose, The Baltimore Sun | August 6, 2012
It's been a worry for many years: What happens when older federal workers retire and take decades of institutional knowledge with them? "The last thing any manager or any organization or company wants is for folks that are ready to retire to just walk out the door," said Kenneth J. Zawodny Jr., associate director of retirement services at the federal Office of Personnel Management. With the aging of the workforce, the challenge has grown urgent. More than 40 percent of federal employees in 2010 were 50 or older.
NEWS
By Justin George, The Baltimore Sun | March 14, 2014
As heavy snow shut down businesses and federal offices again this month, liberated workers tweeted about sipping hot cocoa, lying under blankets and bingeing on "House of Cards. " But Edwin Gotico spent the day reading and responding to emails and updating status reports as a realty specialist for a General Services Administration contractor. Gotico, who lives in Springfield, Va., is one of the growing number of employees the federal government encourages to work from home. Before he was allowed to work from home, Gotico, like most federal teleworkers, had to sign a contract that requires him to work during weather events that cause managers to shutter offices and give workers there the day off. That requirement has allowed the government to maintain a level of productivity through snow days this winter.
NEWS
March 4, 2014
I have seen in The Sun several times lately stories about the hard times the poor federal employees are having ( "Half of federal employees considering leaving for the private sector, survey finds," Feb. 21). Let me tell you that they are some of the most cared for government employees of any type. Maryland is supposed to be the richest state with annual personal income of about $78,000 per household, according to the newspaper. Those annual salaries are a direct result of those federal workers who reside in Maryland, not the rest of us. I don't know anyone who makes that kind of money.
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