The focus of the GAO Employees Organization throughout this negotiation, including the impasse mediation, has been to increase the budget factor percentage as much as possible. This has been challenging in light of management’s expressed concerns about modest increases in GAO’s appropriation for FY 2016 (and possibly for FY 2017), the overall budgetary environment for the federal government, and the uncertainty resulting from the end of the two-year budget deal that put sequestration on hold. However, we were able to successfully argue that bargaining employees deserved more than the 1.0% budget factor that was implemented for non-bargaining unit staff in recent months, and the agency has agreed to a 40 percent higher budget factor for the bargaining unit. The terms of the tentative agreement provide
- PBC budget factor of 1.4%, retroactive to the first pay period of 2016,
- Allocation of 90% SAF / 10% TPI
- Provision of the Student Loan Repayment Program benefit as 3 consecutive monthly payments, rather than a single payment
After much discussion, a majority of the Analyst Assembly and the APSS leadership have recommended the agreement for ratification by the membership of the GAO Employees Organization. To vote on this agreement, you must be a member of the GAO Employees Organization; membership forms are available on the GAO Employees Organization website.
The tentative agreement applies to PE Band I, II, IIA, and IIB staff (but not those under the PDP and CAPP pay plans, who receive performance compensation under a separate PRG system) and to PT and AC APSS employees in the bargaining units. Once the agreement is ratified, management will work with the National Finance Center (NFC) to implement the pay increase.
Student Loan Repayment Program
In the mediation process, the PAB judge asked the parties to consider possible benefits to employees that would not cost GAO money. Changing the payout of the Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) benefit from a single lump sum payment to three consecutive monthly payments would be advantageous to many who are eligible for the program, particularly in making it easier to meet requirements of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. You may see a Notice from GAO in the near future, seeking comments from non-bargaining unit staff on this change to the SLRP Order; if the tentative PBC agreement is ratified, this will become a feature of the SLRP benefit for all eligible bargaining unit employees.
We understand that there are competing budgetary priorities for all federal agencies, including GAO. This year’s PBC negotiation has been difficult in a number of ways. We thank you for your patience and for the numerous expressions of support. Moving forward, we remain committed to employees being appropriately rewarded and recognized for their performance.
We appreciate and encourage your input through contact with your local representative or by reaching out to firstname.lastname@example.org.