Mark Van Scyoc / Shutterstock.com

Union Leader Says He Has Good Relationship with IRS Chief

NTEU hopes to restore some of 18,000 lost tax agency jobs.

The employees union at the Internal Revenue Service enjoys solid communication with the agency’s commissioner, welcomes technological advances if appropriately applied and hopes to rebuild IRS’ shrunken workforce, according to National Treasury Employees Union National President Tony Reardon.

In a session with reporters on Tuesday during the 150,000-member union’s annual legislative conference in Washington, Reardon said Internal Revenue Commissioner John Koskinen has tried to be fairer to IRS employees. “He has the IRS’ best interest at heart,” Reardon said. “And he thinks highly of IRS employees, as he makes clear in the media when he goes to bat for them on Capitol Hill. I have a good working relationship with him, but let’s face it, he has an agency to run, and I lead a union. We don’t always see eye to eye. He works hard to run the agency well, but he has set of factors and data I don’t have.”

Reardon hears a lot about heavy workloads from IRS employees, he said, noting the 18,000 slots the agency has lost over the past five years. “It’s evident to me more employees are required,” he said. (IRS did win an infusion of $290 million in last fall’s budget deal, which allowed it to hire temporary employees for the 2016 filing season.)

Asked about the tax agency’s “Future State” plan to serve more taxpayers through online services, Reardon said, “NTEU recognizes that technology is a good thing and has no issue with technological advances. But if Future State becomes an opportunity for reducing taxpayers’ face-to-face time with the IRS, that’s a big problem.” Ongoing talks have reached no conclusion as to whether the push for greater automation means fewer employees, he added. Planning for such changes “does need to involve front-line employees,” and “the IRS could do better in pre-decisional involvement.”

On NTEU’s broader agenda of countering some lawmakers’ inclination to cut federal pay and benefits, Reardon said his members “express disbelief in the way they are treated by Congress.” For a new employee, a benefits package is a “pact that the employee is entitled to,” he said, “but Congress views it as a piggy bank.”

New hires shouldn’t have to pay more for retirement costs, he said, adding that rising health care premiums have prompted many members to tell him, “I can’t keep up.” Because of short staffing at Customs and Border Protection, he said, employees are working several 16-hour shifts a week, “which can’t be good for national security.”

NTEU fights for employee rights to collective bargaining and due process, Reardon said, not only because they’re merited, but because the threat of job loss and pay cuts “discourages whistleblowers,” which makes fair treatment of employees “a byproduct that is beneficial to American taxpayers.”

Congress may not be receptive to NTEU’s agenda during this election year. Legislative Director Maureen Gilman said House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who spoke to NTEU last year, “takes the view that a lot of people do good work, but his priority seems to be going after the bad apples.” She noted that the rest of Chaffetz’s agenda is “similar to GOP talking points” on benefits cuts and curbing the size of the workforce. NTEU does draw some support, she said, from Northeast Republicans such as Reps. Peter King, R-N.Y.; Chris Smith, R-N.J.; and Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J.; and from Virginia lawmakers with many federal employees in their districts.

As for its own future health, NTEU is “focused on internal growth” at its 31 organized agencies, Reardon said.  “There’s not a lot of hiring now, so I don’t conclude that [newcomers] don’t value or want to join a union.” Customs and Border Protection, which can’t hire older workers, has the highest hiring rate for young people, he said, “so I’m not sure they’re not” interested in a union. “It creates opportunities for NTEU, and opportunities to listen to them and possibly change the way we do business.”

 Yes, declining nationwide union membership in the private sector are “discouraging,” Reardon said. “It’s important that we have a strong middle class and important that we have strong unions, too.”

(Image via  / Shutterstock.com)

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.