Update: Trump’s executive orders attacking federal employees don’t apply to USPS

On May 25, President Trump issued three executive orders designed to strip federal employee unions of long-established rights to workplace representation and to undermine their ability to negotiate collective bargaining agreement with their agencies. NALC posted the executive orders and requested a legal analysis from its outside attorneys. Continue reading

Senator asks ‘What on earth did you think would happen?’ as bungling OPM security contractor suddenly goes out of business

WASHINGTON – “What on earth did you think would happen,” is the question U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is posing to two federal agencies after a contractor—re-hired for critical national security work over the objections of McCaskill, following misconduct by its employees and substantial financial problems on other contracts—abruptly defaulted on its contract. Continue reading

GOP: Data breach much larger than OPM first admitted

Press release from the Republicans on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs:

ronjohnson

Sen Ron Johnson R-WI

WASHINGTON – The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the White House on Thursday disclosed that the OPM data breaches revealed last month were far broader than the Obama administration has admitted: They involved an additional 21.5 million people, including federal employees’ spouses and children, and biometric data for 1.1 million employees.

In early June, the OPM revealed it had been the target of a breach affecting the personnel records of 4.2 million federal employees, only to reveal days later that a related breach affected an undisclosed number of far more sensitive files. Public reports later revealed that the FBI had suggested that number could be as high as 18 million people.

This data breach at the OPM affecting background investigations is only the most recently discovered of five data breaches at the agency over the past three years. It is significant both for its size — it is the largest data breach the federal government has ever announced — and for the data stolen, which was the most sensitive unclassified information the federal government holds on its employees. The loss of these records could endanger federal employees working in sensitive positions abroad as well as those employees’ families and friends. The loss may also make domestically stationed federal employees more susceptible to foreign influence.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, said, “The OPM has finally confirmed what the news media and the FBI have been saying about the data breach for the past month — this unprecedented hack was over five times what we were initially told. Today’s announcement shows not only that cybersecurity on federal agency networks has been grossly inadequate but that the management of the OPM is not up to the task of fixing the problem. The agency and the administration have not even been able to correctly define the scope of the problem. This will have grave consequences for national security.”

APWU says postal retirees may have been affected by OPM data breach

There’s more confusion about the OPM data breach- an American Postal Workers Union official said today that postal retirees may have been affected by the breach. The report contradicts a statement made Friday by NARFE President Richard Thissen who says he was advised by OPM that retiree records were not compromised. Here’s the APWU statement:

apwudefault2Postal retirees may be among those affected by a breach in the computer system of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Retirees Department Director Judy Beard reports. OPM announced June 4 that the records of 4 million current and former federal employees were compromised in a cyber attack the agency discovered in April. that the records of 4 million current and former federal employees were compromised in a cyber attack the agency discovered in April.

Beginning June 8 and continuing through June 19, OPM will notify current and former employees via email that their records may have been compromised. Retirees whose email addresses are not on file with OPM will be contacted by mail.

Those affected will be offered credit monitoring for a period of 18 months, OPM said. The union encourages retirees to take advantage of the free credit-monitoring service.

For additional information, visit www.opm.gov, or call 844-222-2743.

“The APWU will pursue this intrusion to our members’ personal data to ensure they are fully protected under the law,” Beard said. The union is inquiring about the extent of the cyber attack as it relates to APWU retirees, she added.

“The APWU is committed to protecting the rights of our members, including the right to protect their personal information,” President Mark Dimondstein said.

The APWU and the other postal unions recently won the right to bargain with the Postal Service over a massive USPS data security breach that took place in 2014. The precedent-setting agreement was approved by the National Labor Relations Board.

For additional information from the Federal Trade Commission about how to respond to the OPM data breach, click here.

For additional information about how to protect yourself in the event of identity theft, click here.

Source: Postal Retirees May be Affected by OPM Data Breach | APWU

OPM moves quickly to implement Supreme Court ruling: limited open season now on for benefits changes

The Director of the Office of Personnel Management sent the following letter to agency heads yesterday regarding implementation of the Supreme Court ruling overturning DOMA:

MEMORANDUM FOR HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
From:
Elaine Kaplan
Acting Director
Subject:
Guidance on the Extension of Benefits to Married Gay and Lesbian Federal Employees, Annuitants, and Their Families
As you already know, on June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional.  As a result of this decision, the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will now be able to extend benefits to Federal employees and annuitants who have legally married a spouse of the same sex.There are numerous benefits that are affected by the Supreme Court’s decision, and it is impossible to answer today every question that you may have.  Nevertheless, I want to assure you that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is committed to working with the Department of Justice to ensure swift and seamless implementation of the Court’s ruling.

OPM will be issuing additional information covering a broader range of issues, but at this time, OPM can offer the following guidance regarding specific employee benefits that may be of particular interest:

Health Insurance (FEHB):  All legally married same-sex spouses will now be eligible family members under a Self and Family enrollment.  In addition, the children of same-sex marriages will be treated just as those of opposite-sex marriages and will be eligible family members according to the same eligibility guidelines. This includes coverage for children of same-sex spouses as stepchildren.  Employees and annuitants will have 60 days from June 26, 2013 until August 26, 2013, to make immediate changes to their FEHB enrollment.  Enrollees will continue to be eligible to make changes to their coverage options during Open Season later this year.  For those employees and annuitants who already have a Self and Family insurance plan, coverage for their same-sex spouse will begin immediately upon their notifying their FEHB carrier that there is a newly eligible family member.  For those employees and annuitants electing Self and Family for the first time, benefits will be effective on the first day of the first pay period after the enrollment request is received.  While online enrollment systems are updated, it may be necessary for employees and annuitants to update their elections using the paper (rather than electronic) version of the SF2809 form.

Life Insurance (FEGLI):  All legally married same-sex spouses and children of legal same-sex marriages are now eligible family members under the FEGLI Program, which means that employees may add coverage for a same-sex spouse and any newly eligible children under Option C.  Employees will have 60 days from June 26, 2013 until August 26, 2013, to make changes to their FEGLI enrollment.

Dental and Vision Insurance (FEDVIP):  As with FEHB, all legally married same-sex spouses will now be eligible family members under a Self and Family enrollment or a Self Plus One enrollment.  Current FEDVIP enrollees may now call BENEFEDS (877-888-FEDS (3337)) directly to make the necessary enrollment changes.   Employees will have 60 days from June 26, 2013 until August 26, 2013, to make changes to their FEDVIP enrollment.  Current enrollees will also be able to make changes to their coverage options during Open Season later this year, and individuals wishing to enroll in FEDVIP for the first time may also do so at that time.

Long-Term Care Insurance (FLTCIP):  All legally married same-sex spouses can now apply for long-term care insurance under FLTCIP.  Same-sex spouses of employees will have 60 days from June 26, 2013, to apply for FLTCIP coverage with abbreviated underwriting.

Retirement:  All retirees who are in legal same-sex marriages will have two years from the date of the Supreme Court’s decision (i.e., June 26, 2015) to inform OPM that they have a legal marriage that now qualifies for recognition and elect any changes to their retirement benefits based on their recognized marital status.  In the coming days, OPM will be developing guidance to help retirees determine whether they wish to change their pension benefits in a way that will provide benefits for their surviving spouse.  Retirees will need to determine whether this option makes sense for them, as making this election will likely result in a deduction to the monthly annuity that the retiree currently receives.  Going forward, the same-sex spouses of retiring employees will be eligible for survivor annuities.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA):  All employees who are in legal same-sex marriages will now be able to submit claims for medical expenses for their same-sex spouse and any newly qualifying (step)children to their flexible spending program.

Additional guidance regarding these and other benefits will be coming soon.  In the meantime, questions regarding the effect of the Supreme Court’s DOMA decision on Federal employee and annuitant benefits should be directed to OPM through your agency Chief Human Capital Officer.

We appreciate your cooperation in our effort to implement the Supreme Court’s decision, and provide greater equality to Federal employees and annuitants regardless of their sexual orientation.

Original document

 

NALC statement regarding USPS position on FERS

June 22, 2011 — The Postal Service announced on June 22 that it is suspending its bi-weekly contributions to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) benefits (11.7% of basic pay), because its FERS account within the government-wide pension plan has a large surplus, and because it would like to preserve its cash reserves in the face of worsening economic conditions. Earlier this year, the Postmaster General announced that the USPS would not be able to make the $5.5 billion retiree health pre-funding payment scheduled for Sept. 30, 2011, and called on Congress to enact postal reform to avert a funding crisis that will occur when the USPS exhausts its $15 billion debt limit early next year.

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