• Matt Murray 2122Netroots

    Please #VoteForMatt to win a scholarship to attend Netroots Nation #NN15


  • Advertisement

Coalition Builds Around Infrastructure Week May 11-15

Infrastructure Week 2015 to be Held May 11-15, 2015 With a Growing Coalition of More than 60 Organizations

Nearly 30 Events Planned in Washington, D.C. and Around the Country to Promote Investment in America’s Economy and Future

Washington, D.C.— April 22, 2015 – Today, the nation’s largest infrastructure and transportation groups announced that more than 60 national and regional infrastructure and transportation advocacy groups are set to participate inInfrastructure Week 2015, to be held the week of May 11-15th, 2015.Infrastructure Week 2015 is a series of events in Washington, D.C. and around the country that will raise awareness of the lack of investment in America’s infrastructure – from surface and air transportation to broadband networks— which has left the United States less globally competitive and riddled with potholes, aging water pipes bursting once every two minutes, outdated transit and lengthening travel delays.

During Infrastructure Week, business executives, labor leaders, and elected officials from around America will make the case that America’s neglected infrastructure negatively impacts our lives and livelihoods, and that we must invest in our economic future through comprehensive investments in agile, efficient and secure infrastructure systems. See the most-updated list of events here:http://infrastructureweek.org/

Infrastructure Week is coordinated by America’s business, labor and policymaking leadership, and will convene an unprecedented non-partisan coalition united around the importance of investing in America’s infrastructure future. Infrastructure Week challenges policymakers and the public to directly address the needs facing America’s deteriorating infrastructure, and to move beyond short-term fixes and deferred maintenance, in order to envision innovative solutions, technologies, policies and investments that will bring America’s infrastructure and transportation systems into the 21stcentury and lay the groundwork for future generations. The organizations affiliated with Infrastructure Week envision a future in which America will have a more robust, opportunity-rich and competitive economy.

Infrastructure Week 2015 is led by a steering committee consisting of the AFL-CIO, the American Society of Civil Engineers, Building America’s Future, Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, the Council on Competitiveness, the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In addition to these organizations, the steering committee is joined by nearly 60 national and local affiliate organizations from all sectors of the economy and communities, and from all corners of the United States. See the full list of affiliates here:http://infrastructureweek.org/affiliates/

“Rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure isn’t a Democratic issue or a Republican issue, it’s an American issue, and it’s one that we should all come together to support,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “With so many Americans ready to get back to work, the time is now to create good paying jobs and better roads, bridges, communications, and transit systems we can all be proud of.”

Find out more about Infrastructure Week – including our calendar of dozens of events in Washington, D.C and around America – atwww.infrastructureweek.org, and follow on Twitter at @RebuildRenewand#RebuildRenew.

Find us at http://infrastructureweek.org      /      Follow us on Twitter at @RebuildRenew

Worker Wins Update: April Showers Bring Big Wins For Workers

WASHINGTON, DC– Workers across the country have stood up in the past month to fight for better wages and working conditions.

Harvard Hotel Workers Make Smart Choice to Organize: Following a two year campaign, workers at the Soldiers Field Road DoubleTree Hotel, located in a building owned by Harvard, voted to organize with UNITE HERE! Local 26. The workers will join Harvard dining hall workers as well as Boston-area hotel staff in the local union.

Next Stop for Double Decker Bus Tour Guides: A Union: Workers at a double decker bus tour company in New York City have voted to join Transport Workers Union Local 100, fighting back against poor working conditions and pay cuts. TWU Local 100 currently represents approximately 40,000 transit workers throughout New York City.

Casino Workers Go ‘All-In’ on Union: The cards at the Horseshoe Baltimore Casino will be dealt by union members after workers voted to join the National Gaming Workers Coalition, which includes UNITE HERE!, United Auto Workers, and Operating Engineers.

Toady’s Lesson at Detroit Charter Schools: Forming a Union: Teachers from three Detroit charter schools have come together to file petitions to be represented by the Michigan Alliance of Charter Teachers & Staff, a local union affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers.

Gawker Writers Submit Stories and Union Cards: Workers at Gawker Media announced that they will be forming a union with the Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO in New York City. Gawker writers cited need for a fair salary and stated clearly that ‘every workplace could use a union’.

Alaska Nurses Find the Right Prescription, Affiliate with AFT: In a move to strengthen the voices of nurses in Alaska, the Alaska Nurses Association Labor Program agreed to affiliate with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Nurses and Health Professionals. With this affiliation, AFT now represents 113,000 healthcare professionals across the country.

Rutgers Faculty Win Big in Classroom and at Bargaining Table: Nearly 4,700 full-time faculty and graduate teaching assistants signed a new contract protecting members from salary freezes, health care rate hikes, and promising a raise in wages throughout the life of the contract. The contract, fought for by members of the American Association of University Professors – American Federation of Teachers, will also provide protections for approximately 7,000 graduate teaching assistants.

Howard University Physicians On-Call for Better Pay, Benefits: Resident physicians at Howard University Hospital in Washington DC have asked hospital officials to negotiate a new contract with their newly formed union after the NLRB upheld the results of its January election last week.

AFL-CIO Warns Congress of the Dangers of Fast Track in a Wave of Actions Across the Country

Over 10,000 Calls and Nearly 7,000 People at Events Against Bad Trade

(Washington, DC) – Last week, the AFL-CIO and its allies placed 10,000 calls to 49 House Members and 2 Senators, with an additional 1,000 calls occurring on Saturday’s National Day of Action from Virginia alone.

Since Fast Track legislation was introduced last Thursday, nearly 7,000 union members, environmentalists, faith leaders and other community partners went to Capitol Hill and canvassed the streets in over 50 Congressional districts and states to warn about the dangers of the Fast Track trade deals. Current proposals would roll back state and local laws safeguarding food and the environment as well as laws that protect working people from wage theft, predatory lending, and consumer fraud. Click here for a list of the events in the DC metro area and across the country. Highlights include:

  • In St. Louis, MO, 400 hand written letters were drafted to Senators Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill, and to Missouri Members of Congress. In addition, 26 Missouri State Representatives wrote to Sen. McCaskill in opposition to Fast Track.
  • In Nebraska, nearly 100 people endured thunderstorms and pouring rain to rally in front of Brad Ashford’s district office. They then waited an additional half hour to personally go into the Congressman’s office one by one to express their opposition to Fast Track.
  • In Portland, Bend, Salem, Eugene, Medford and Coos Bay, OR, over 1,000 people protested the Pacific Rim Trade Deals.
  • In Washington, DC last Thursday, Members of Congress, labor and environmental leaders spoke to a crowd of 1,200 people. On Monday, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Sen. Bernie Sanders, CWA President Larry Cohen, and commentator Jim Hightower, spoke to a 1,000 person crowd of community allies from National People’s Action, USAction, Campaign for America’s Future, and Alliance for a Just Society.
  • At a Springfield, MA panel discussion, 50 students, union members, environmentalists and other community activists concerned about our food supply pulled out their phones to call Congressman Neil and express their views.
  • Also last Thursday, the AFL-CIO launched a six figure digital ad buy in 34 targeted House Districts and 16 Senate states.

Last week’s wave of action across the country builds on the grassroots activity in the month of March when union members, environmentalists, small business owners, progressives and community allies made more than 86,000 phone calls to Members of Congress, gathered more than 40,000 petition signatures, and organized more than 400 events across the country.

Prosecution, Penalties and Prevention Needed to Address Annual Toll of 54,000 Workplace Deaths

Construction Workers Houston Tx (FLIKR Bill Jacobus)

Construction Workers Houston Tx (FLIKR Bill Jacobus)

Upcoming Trial of ex-Coal Company Exec a “Wake-Up Call”
Say Safety Experts; Tougher Penalties, Prevention Can Save Lives

LONGMEADOW, MA – The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, responding to the annual toll of more than 50,000 on-the-job deaths in the United States, said today that an aggressive NCOSH 300X250program of prevention strategies in the workplace can reduce exposure to hazards and save lives in U.S. workplaces.

“54,000 deaths a year is way too many,” said National COSH Executive Director Mary Vogel.  “We need tougher penalties. We need prosecutions for criminal violations.  And we need to listen to workers, and use proven strategies that protect all workers, reduce injuries and save lives.”

Marking the beginning of Workers Memorial Week, which will be observed around the country and around the globe from April 25th through May 2nd, National COSH released “Not an Accident: Preventable Deaths 2015.”

Key information from this year’s report:

  • 4,585 U.S. workers died on the job due to unsafe working conditions in 2013 the most recent data available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • An estimated 50,000 workers die each year from long-term exposure to hazardous substances such as asbestos, silica and benzene.
  • Hispanic workers continue to be at greater risk than other groups, showing a nine percent increase in sudden workplace fatalities between 2012 and 2013.  During the same period, the incidence of fatalities decreased for African-American, Asian and white workers.
  • Proven prevention strategies are available for all the major categories which result in worker deaths, including transportation incidents, contacts with objects and equipment, falls to a lower level, workplace violence, exposure to harmful substances and environments and fires and explosions.
  • Making Work Safer:  Local COSH groups around the country are responding to fatalities and injuries on the job through advocacy, research, training and organizing; we highlight actions taken by organizations across the country during the past year.

The report also presents case studies of seven workers who died on the job in 2014, from different industries and different parts of the country, with each case illustrating how workplace hazards can be reduced and lives saved if proper safety protocols are followed.

During a media briefing to announce the release of today’s report, Celeste Monforton, DrPH, a public health consultant and professorial lecturer at George Washington University, discussed the upcoming trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. He has been indicted for conspiracy to violate mine safety laws, following the death of 29 miners at the Massey-owned Upper Big Branch mine in 2010.

 “This trial will be a wake-up call for corporate America,” said Monforton. “If you cut corners, if you operate unsafely and people get hurt as a result, you can be held accountable in a court of law. I’m not sure many companies understood that before; I hope they understand it now.”

Three former Massey executives are currently serving prison terms after pleading guilty or being convicted on charges stemming from the Upper Big Branch disaster.

Mary Jane Collins of Sheridan Wyoming, who lost her 20-year old grandson Brett on a construction site 2012, talked about her efforts to increase penalties for safety violations in the state of Wyoming.  Brett Collins died when struck by an excavator while working in a trench. After penalties for Brett’s death were reduced to less than $3,000, family members were outraged.

 “My grandson died just a few days before he was going back to school,” said Collins. “We don’t want anyone else to suffer a loss like we have.  Our thinking is, if employers have to pay a real fine when something goes wrong, they’ll make sure to the job right in the first place.”

Wyoming legislators, working with the Collins family, have introduced a bill that would require a $50,000 fine for safety violations that lead to the death of a worker.

 “In 2015, there’s no reason for a worker to die in a trench or due to a fall from a building or any other workplace hazard,” said Peter Dooley, a project consultant for National COSH. He has investigated dozens of workplace fatalities during a decades-long career as a workplace safety specialist.  “I’ve seen every hazard you can think of in every kind of workplace.  I haven’t seen one yet that can’t be controlled or eliminated – if you establish health and safety programs with proven components such as worker participation.”

Workers Memorial Week will be observed this year in 80 local communities in 29 states with vigils, rallies, marches and other events to honor fallen workers and advocate for better safety protections. A listing of events is available on the National COSH website.

On April 28th, National COSH will release the U.S. Worker Fatality Database, the most comprehensive effort to date to gather specific information about workplace deaths.  It will cover some 1,500 fatalities, about one-third of all workers who died on the job in 2014, with an interactive map feature to show where the incidents took place.  The new database, linked from the National COSH website, will be available to the public, policy makers and news media.

National COSH links the efforts of local worker health and safety coalitions in communities across the United States, advocating for elimination of preventable hazards in the workplace. For more information, please visit coshnetwork.org.  Follow us at National Council for Occupational Safety and Health on Facebook, and @NationalCOSH on Twitter. Audio of today’s National COSH press call is available here.

Governor Hassan and Executive Council Proclaim Earth Day

CONCORD – Highlighting the importance of protecting New Hampshire’s natural resources, Governor Maggie Hassan and the Executive Council proclaimed today as Earth Day in New Hampshire.

“On Earth Day, we recognize that we must always preserve what has made New Hampshire such a special place to live, work and raise a family – our beautiful natural resources. Our unmatched natural beauty attracts visitors from around the globe and has always been critical to our economy, our culture and our high quality of life. We must always be vigilant in our conservation efforts, and today, I encourage all Granite Staters to recommit themselves to protecting our natural resources for future generations.”

The full text of the Governor and Council’s proclamation is below and attached.

State of New Hampshire

By Her Excellency

Margaret Wood Hassan, Governor


A Proclamation


APRIL 22, 2015


WHEREAS, This year marks the 45th Anniversary ofEarth Day; and

WHEREAS, The protection of our forests, air and water quality, fisheries, and other natural resources are important to the health and quality of life of our citizens and to the economy of New Hampshire; and

WHEREAS, By the late 21st century, climate change could cut New Hampshire’s winter snow season in half, cause sea levels to rise, and increase summer temperatures; and

WHEREAS, Greenhouse gas emissions and other man-made pollutants are the key contributors to climate change and negatively affect our air and water quality; and

WHEREAS, New Hampshire state government has taken steps to lead by example by reducing energy use of state operations; and

WHEREAS, In addition to our commitment to control harmful emissions that negatively affect our air, our water, and our earth, important programs like the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program provide vital funds to support land conservation efforts and help support our goals to protect wildlife habitat, water quality, and other natural resources; and

WHEREAS, Every resident and business has the opportunity to reduce their environmental impact and protect our environment by taking small steps like conserving energy, using reusable water bottles, walking, biking or carpooling when possible, recycling at home and in the work place, and buying local products;

NOW, THEREFORE, I MARGARET WOOD HASSAN, GOVERNOR of the State of New Hampshire, do hereby proclaim APRIL 22, 2015, as EARTH DAY in the State of New Hampshire and urge all citizens and businesses to take actions to address climate change and improve our air and water quality, as well as protect our wildlife and environment in order to maintain the high quality of life in our state.

Kuster Announces $250,000 Rural Community Development Initiative Grant to Northern Forest Center

Grant will allow the Center to help support economic development in the North Country

Ann kuster head shot LGWASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Annie Kuster (NH-02) today announced that the Northern Forest Center has received a $250,000 Rural Community Development Initiative Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  The Center will use the funding to provide technical assistance to the Northern Community Investment Corporation (NCIC) in support of NCIC’s economic development services across the North Country.  The grant will assist the Northern Forest Center and NCIC in improving the food system network in the North Country.

“The Northern Forest Center and the Northern Community Investment Corporation are doing phenomenal work helping to support economic growth and job creation in an area of the state that really needs it,” said Congresswoman Kuster.  “This grant will help these two organizations improve the food system network in the region, which will boost local economies and increase access to natural, delicious foods grown right here in New Hampshire.   I congratulate the North Forest Center on this grant award and thank them for all of their work on behalf of economic development and sustainability in the North Country and around our state.”

“Our agricultural, tourism, and forest product businesses are so important to the economy in northern New Hampshire and northeastern Vermont,” said Rob Riley, President of the Northern Forest Center. “This grant from USDA will enable the Northern Forest Center and NCIC to continue providing support and innovation services to these working lands businesses.  We value USDA Rural Development as a key partner in this work, and are grateful their support.”

The Rural Community Development Initiative Grant program supports private, nonprofit community-based housing and community development organizations, and low income rural communities to improve housing, community facilities, community and economic development projects in rural areas.

NEXTGEN Clinate NH Announces Earth Week 2015 Events Across The Granite State. 

MANCHESTER, N.H.—This week, NextGen Climate will be hosting a series of events on college campuses throughout New Hampshire to celebrate Earth Week and mobilize Granite State voters around the issue of climate change ahead of the 2016 election cycle.


“In the fight against climate change and the anti-science politicians who prevent action on the issue, students are among our most important advocates,” said Pete Kavanaugh, Senior Advisor for NextGen Climate New Hampshire. “With so many great events planned, Earth Week 2015 is the perfect way to kick off our efforts at New Hampshire’s colleges and universities. Climate action voters played a critical role in the Granite State in 2014, and we’re excited to continue working with Granite State students in the coming weeks and months.”


Events this week will include:


Wednesday, April 22

·      University of New Hampshire: EarthFest kick-off, with events from 1:00–8:00 p.m. at the UNH FishBowl

·      Oyster River High School: Do the Math Event, 12:30–2:30 p.m. 


Thursday, April 23

·      University of New Hampshire: EarthFest continues, with events from 4:00–10:00 p.m. at the UNH FishBowl


Friday, April 24

·      University of New Hampshire: EarthFest continues, with events from 7:00–10:00 p.m. at the UNH FishBowl

·      Dartmouth University: Farm Fresh Friday, 3:00–6:00 p.m. at Beta Lawn on Webster Avenue


Saturday, April 25

·      University of New Hampshire: EarthFest continues, with events from 1:00–10:00 p.m. at the UNH FishBowl in front of Scott Hall

·      Keene State College: SolarFest, hosted by Campus Ecology, from 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. at 229 Main Street

·      Plymouth State University: Earth Jam, from 12:00–10:30 p.m. on the Hub Green

·      Saint Anselm College: Barbecue, 12:00–2:00 p.m., location TBD


Sunday, April 26

·      University of New Hampshire: SolarFest, from 11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. on the UNH Boulder Field


For the latest updates on NextGen Climate in New Hampshire, follow us onTwitter and our official blog.

Shaheen-Portman “Energy Efficiency Improvement Act” Headed To President’s Desk For Signature

 Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) today announced that their Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015 passed the House and is now headed to the President for signature. This bill, which passed the Senate in March, contains key energy efficiency provisions that will strengthen the economy, save consumers money, and reduce pollution.

“At long last, Congress is finally going to deliver bipartisan energy efficiency legislation to the President’s desk,” said Shaheen. “On the bill’s merits – creating jobs, saving consumers money and reducing pollution – it was never a hard sell. The tough part was convincing Washington to not play politics with a good idea.  But persistence has paid off and this legislation is a small but significant victory over legislative gridlock. I will continue to work across the aisle to pass more common sense energy efficiency proposals and get Congress back in the business of legislating for New Hampshire and the American people.”

“Our targeted energy efficiency bill has garnered widespread support because of a simple fact – it is good for the economy and good for the environment,” said Portman. “This is an important part of our energy plan for America that can help bring jobs back, help make our manufacturers more competitive, and actually help to protect the environment. I’m pleased that it is now headed to the President for signature, and will continue to work for passage of my larger bill and a national energy strategy that boosts American workers while protecting the environment at the same time.”

Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy, said, “Senator Shaheen, the Honorary Chair of the Alliance, is a leader who recognizes that energy efficiency ‘delivers the goods’ to American consumers and businesses by creating jobs, growing the economy and protecting the environment so she has worked tirelessly with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to make energy efficiency the ‘bipartisan sweet spot’ in the national energy policy debate – and together they have succeeded with the passage of S. 535.”

The Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015 includes three simple but effective provisions that have been scored by the Congressional Budget Office to be budget neutral. Title I establishes a voluntary, market-driven approach to aligning the interests of commercial building owners and their tenants to reduce energy consumption.  Title II exempts certain electric resistance water heaters used for demand response from pending Department of Energy regulation. Title III requires that federally-leased buildings without Energy Star labels benchmark and disclose their energy usage data, where practical.

Kuster has long been a supporter and cosponsor of the House version of the Shaheen-Portman legislation.  The Energy Efficiency Improvement Act, which passed the House last night, includes important provisionswhich will improve energy efficiency standards, reduce emissions, and could spur job creation across the country. 


“As a nation, we must consider smart ways to reduce our energy consumption and cut costs for taxpayers and small businesses, and energy efficiency is an effective way to achieve these important goals,” said Congresswoman Kuster.  “I applaud Senators Shaheen and Portman for joining together to address our nation’s energy deficiencies, and I was proud to join members of both parties in helping to pass this common sense energy efficiency legislation in the House.  This bill will boost job creation and help protect our environment for generations to come, and I urge the President to sign it into law.  This legislation takes important steps towards establishing a sustainable energy future that lays the groundwork for continued economic growth.”

Text of the legislation can be found here.

Portman and Shaheen introduced their larger energy efficiency bill, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, earlier this year. It is scheduled to receive a hearing in the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on April 30th.

HomeHelpNH Help Save Hundreds From Foreclosure

Governor Hassan Announces HomeHelpNH Assists Nearly 750 Households in Avoiding Foreclosure in Two Years

Governor Hassan at New Hampshire Housing in Bedford with Jane Davis (right), a New Hampshire homeowner who was able to avoid foreclosure with the assistance of HomeHelpNH.

Governor Hassan at New Hampshire Housing in Bedford with Jane Davis (right), a New Hampshire homeowner who was able to avoid foreclosure with the assistance of HomeHelpNH.

BEDFORD – HomeHelpNH, the state’s foreclosure counseling initiative, helped nearly 750 households avoid foreclosure over the last two years, Governor Maggie Hassan announced at New Hampshire Housing today.

“While foreclosure numbers are trending down, many Granite State homeowners are still struggling,” Governor Hassan said. “HomeHelpNH helped nearly 750 households avoid foreclosure over the last two years, and those critical services are still needed. Data shows that homeowners have a better chance at evaluating their options and possibly avoiding foreclosure with a trained counselor in their corner.  Maintaining this vital program will continue to help middle class families achieve the best possible outcome given their housing and financial situations. By remaining committed to providing our citizens with the tools and resources they need, we can continue to strengthen the health of our housing market, communities and economy.”

Since its inception, HomeHelpNH has provided free counseling services for more than 1,800 Granite State homeowners, and 2-1-1 NH, the program’s intake provider, has handled more than 2,800 calls from homeowners who were at-risk of foreclosure. Many households who have sought HomeHelpNH’s services remain in counseling, since foreclosure situations can be complex and require time to explore all options. Of those households that have reached a resolution through HomeHelpNH, 95 percent were able to avoid foreclosure through mortgage modifications, bringing their mortgage current, sale of the property, or other means.

HomeHelpNH was designed as a three-year, statewide program funded with $3.5 million from the National Mortgage Servicing Settlement. The funding allowed the state to almost triple the number of trained foreclosure intervention staff from five to 13. These counselors, who are provided by five regionally-based nonprofit housing counseling agencies, have provided more than 10,000 hours of counseling services. The 2015 calendar year marks the third and final year of funding for the program. Given the program’s success over its first two years and that more than 2,000 Granite State homeowners lost their homes in 2014, alternate sources of funding are being sought.

For assistance, homeowners may dial 2-1-1 toll-free from anywhere in the state to receive referrals to a counselor in their area or, for those who qualify, to free or low-cost legal services. Homeowners can also go to www.HomeHelpNH.org.

Counseling is provided by five regionally-based nonprofit housing counseling agencies that provide free comprehensive foreclosure intervention and counseling services.  These agencies are:

  • AHEAD, based in Littleton with offices in Conway and Colebrook;
  • HOMEteam, based in Manchester with offices in Concord, Laconia and Nashua;
  • Community Home Solutions, based in Seabrook;
  • Southwestern Community Services, based in Keene; and
  • The Way Home, based in Manchester.

2-1-1 NH, an initiative of Granite United Way in partnership with the State of New Hampshire, provides the intake and referral services for the HomeHelpNH network. HomeHelpNH also works in cooperation with the New Hampshire Foreclosure Relief Project, a partnership between the New Hampshire Bar Association, New Hampshire Legal Assistance, and the Legal Advice and Referral Center that provides low- or no-cost legal assistance to qualified homeowners who are facing foreclosure or foreclosure-related financial and legal problems.

HomeHelpNH is a statewide foreclosure counseling initiative sponsored by the New Hampshire Department of Justice, New Hampshire Banking Department and New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority.  The initiative’s goal is to help at-risk homeowners find solutions through free, comprehensive pre- and post-foreclosure counseling. Homeowners seeking more information should dial 2-1-1 or go to www.HomeHelpNH.org.

Federal Protective Service Union Applauds Bill Extending Law Enforcement Retirement to Officers

AFGE Logo 2

Legislation by Rep. Carson also increases number of FPS officers, improves security at federal facilities

WASHINGTON The American Federation of Government Employees today applauded legislation introduced by Rep. André Carson of Indiana that would extend law enforcement retirement coverage to Federal Protective Service officers and make other improvements to the security at federal facilities.

“Yesterday, Americans marked the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, which claimed the lives of 168 people,” said David Wright, president of AFGE Local 918, which represents more than 800 FPS officers. “Today, by introducing vital legislation to reform and expand the one federal agency charged with protecting federal buildings and their occupants, Rep. Carson has taken an important step in preventing a recurrence of this tragedy at another federal building in the U.S.”

Federal Protective Service officers are sworn law enforcement officers who protect federal workers and visitors at 9,000 federal facilities nationwide, yet they do not receive the law enforcement retirement benefits provided to all other law enforcement agents within the Department of Homeland Security.

“FPS officers carry guns, make arrests, perform investigations, and apprehend criminals,” Wright said. “They are law enforcement officers in every sense of the word, and they should be entitled to law enforcement retirement benefits.”

Wright said FPS has suffered from recruitment, retention and morale problems because officers aren’t under the same retirement system as other federal law enforcement officers, including special agents within FPS. Under law enforcement retirement rules, officers are subject to mandatory retirement at age 57 with at least 20 years of service, compared to age 60 with 20 years of service for other federal employees.

Rep. Carson’s bill, HR 1851, would apply only to FPS officers hired after the legislation is enacted.

A separate bill by Rep. Carson, HR 1850, would make a number of other reforms to FPS to security at federal buildings, including:

  • Increase the number of FPS employees to at least 1,870, including at least 1,318 in-service field staff, up from the current floor of 1,400 total employees;
  • Allow FPS to deploy more law enforcement officers in the field by excluding desk-bound managers from the definition of in-service field staff;
  • Clarify that FPS is the law enforcement agency responsible for protecting and policing all civilian, non-atomic federal facilities, not just those owned or controlled by the General Services Administration;
  • Mandate a training compliance tracking system for contracted security guards;
  • Require a report on the feasibility of converting all or part of the protective security officer workforce to federal employees;
  • Clarify the right of FPS officers to carry their firearms while off-duty;
  • Require agencies to install security countermeasures recommended by FPS.

“Security in and around federal buildings has been given short-shrift for too long,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said. “This legislation is long overdue and would provide FPS with the resources it needs to carry out its mission.”

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 670,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.

  • Matt Murray 2122Netroots

    Please #VoteForMatt to win a scholarship to attend Netroots Nation #NN15


  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement