FEW Membership Month

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This is a very special month for Federally Employed Women.  It’s our 52nd year anniversary and FEW is still advancing our mission beyond the old-time standard barriers for women.  We are fabulously energized women who have advanced our national standing through our diverse and significant contributions in all aspects of work and life. Each year in April, we celebrate our valuable economic, political, cultural, and social achievements because of the pioneers and unsung heroes within the FEW organization and we invite you to encourages others to join us.

FEW has a long history of setting a tone for the advancement of women and creating a climate of equity, diversity and inclusion in the federal government. That is why I am so excited to share with you our 2019 Annual Report.   Please take the time to read the FEW’s major achievements throughout the years; then most important, be a part of the future as we soar to new heights.

April is membership month for FEW and we recognize that the unique circumstances around COVID-19 are having rippling effects on employee organization and our communities at large. Now more than ever, we want to offer support, encouragement, and ways to come together. That’s why it is important to share the many benefits to being a member of FEW.   FEW is a national organization that has an extensive network of 85+ local chapters found in most major U.S. cities. In addition, the National FEW offers:

 

  • Expansion of social and personal networks through our 85+ chapters.
  • Visibility and dialogue with private and corporate sponsors.
  • Access to hundreds of opportunities throughout the network throughout the United States.
  • A national newsletter providing news of FEW members and events.
  • Scholarships and special programs for undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Life-time membership for one low rate
  • Information shared via our social media network and partners

 

We want you to feel limitless in what you can accomplish with FEW and we’ll continue to explore ways to make sure our membership is best serving you.  This month, I ask that we all do our part to share the many benefits to being a member with other.   We’ve got some exciting things on the horizon, like adding virtual training.  Our hope is that all of these new features and benefits will work together to provide the most comprehensive experience to keep you advancing forward and “Soaring to New Heights!”

 

Additional Paid Leave and FMLA for Feds During Coronavirus Pandemic

FEDERAL EMPLOYEE RIGHTS UNDER FFCRA
The Department of Labor has released information explaining how provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) apply to federal employees. Check out the poster for more information.
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ICYMI: In Case You Missed It
Updated Coronavirus Resources for Feds
Find the latest information and resources of special interest to federal employees
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FEW celebrates valiant women for Women’s History Month!

FEW celebrates valiant women for Women’s History Month!


“Vow to be valiant. Resolve to be radiant. Determine to be dynamic. Strive to be sincere. Aspire to be attuned. “

William Arthur Ward


The 2020 Women’s History Month theme is “Valiant Women of the Vote.” As the National Women’s History Alliance website explained, “The theme honors the brave women who fought to win suffrage rights for women, and for the women who continue to fight for the voting rights of others.”  Their work gave us the following:

Amendment XIX

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

Federally Employed Women honors these remarkable citizens who propelled the rights of women forward granting the right to vote in U.S. elections.  I, along with a grateful nation, now realize the importance of the women’s suffrage movement and that although there were decades of difficult times of trials and unrest, their protest helped all of us stride that much closer towards equality and inclusion for all.  As we honor the ongoing work of women to gain equal citizenship this month, it is time to integrate women’s stories more fully into our national narratives and civic memories. It is time that we emphasize these stories of the past as examples to help every little girl know that anything is possible and they can set up their own narratives for an inclusive future.

FEW wants to remind each woman to “Vow to be valiant. Resolve to be radiant. Determine to be dynamic. Strive to be sincere. Aspire to be attuned.”   We know that Women’s History Month is more than a celebration of our triumph or recognizing the first woman to achieve something; but it is about the prevailing idea that women are creating history every day and deserve a fair and equal playing field.  FEW will carry the torch as it is our responsibility to live a life that brings us all closer to equality by utilizing our strengths to make our nation even stronger.  Generations of girls are depending on us to burn our torch bright and carry the load to ensure we are “Soaring to New Heights.”

History is the one thing that will stand the test of time.

Black Hist 2020

Black History is more than 28 days of remembering the people and events of the African Americans diaspora.  It is the acknowledgment of how valuable cultural diversity and inclusiveness of African Americans contributions are to this nation. In 2020, FEW will commemorate the centennial anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment which provided women the right to vote and the sesquicentennial anniversary of the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) which granted the rights of black men to vote after the Civil War.  Since 1976, every U.S. President has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month, which is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. Black History Month grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. FEW is honored to recognize the 2020 Black History Month theme of “African American and the Vote.”  Far too often African Americans were underrepresented and disenfranchised from voting; thus, they had no vote and no voice in states and principalities in which they lived.

At the turn of the nineteenth century, even before the Civil War, black men petitioned their legislatures and the US Congress, seeking to be recognized as voters. Tensions between abolitionists and women’s suffragists first surfaced in the aftermath of the Civil War, while black disfranchisement laws in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries undermined the guarantees in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments for the great majority of southern blacks until the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  The important contribution of black suffragists occurred not only within the larger women’s movement, but within the larger black voting rights movement. Through voting-rights campaigns and legal suits from the turn of the twentieth century to the mid-1960s, African Americans made their voices heard as to the importance of the vote.  Indeed, the fight for black voting rights continues in the courts today and while we remember the passage of these amendments, we also know we have so much more work to do before there is complete equity.

Join FEW as we acknowledge, “African Americans and the Vote” this Black History Month.

Source: https://asalh.org/black-history-themes/

FEW National President, Karen Rainey

Martin Luther King National Day of Service

mlkd_2020

With great admiration for the life and legacy of the Honorable Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., FEW commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the National Holiday or what most refer to as “A National Day of Service.” For the last 25 years, every 3rd Monday in January, the United States of America observes the birthday of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a National day of remembrance. In FEW, we are most humbled to remember and be a part of his inclusionary vision and his words. “It is not possible to be in favor of justice for some people and not be in favor of justice for all people.”

The Civil Rights Movement is one bravery, heroism and sacrifice, led by people of great courage. It was a movement about love, hope and service to others for fairness in opportunities. Dr. King’s ability to share his love for people (no matter the race or gender) demonstrates that with diversity, inclusion and equality there is peace. In FEW, our work explores opportunities for equity and inclusion of women. Like Dr. King, we don’t expect handouts nor exclusions, but, fairness and justice for all. As Dr. King said, if you “Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.” As employees representing the government and servicing the public, both civil and military, FEW is committed through our Employee Organization to host activities in support of Dr. King’s vision.

Most importantly, this January 20, 2020 do not stay at home, but, be of service. Spend the day in your community and reflect on Dr. King’s bold vision for America and for the future of humanity. Join me in carrying Dr. Kings vision forward as we in FEW commemorate his life and legacy and continue “Soaring to New Heights” in 2020 and beyond.

Federal Paid Leave Act Included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Passed!

12 weeks of paid leave for parents employed by the federal government made it into the NDAA! This is big news for 2 million+ federal workers and a big win for everyone at Federally Employed Women.

See the NDAA here.

The language says that federal workers with one year of service can substitute new, administrative paid parental leave for unpaid FMLA leave within 12 months of a child’s birth, adoption or foster placement.

Federal employees using paid parental leave must agree to come back to work for at least 12 weeks after leave, though can be waived for serious health issues of the employee or child/for other reasons outside employee’s control. Otherwise, health premiums must be repaid.

FEPLA in NDAA is cause to celebrate — and there’s much more work to do to guarantee paid leave for all in the federal government and in the entire U.S. workforce.

The bill is now on its way to be signed by the President.

Invitation to NTP 2020

NTP 2020 flyer

SAVE THE DATE!!!!!!

JULY 20-24, 2020

Federally Employed Women invites you to the 51st Annual Training Program (NTP) in Orlando, Florida at the Hyatt Regency Orlando, on July 20-24, 2020.

No matter where you are in your career, member or non-member, FEW’s NTP is the perfect place to gain the essential knowledge and skills to take you the next step up the ladder. Attendees can expect to participate in a variety of educational formats all planned to deliver an optimal training experience. Courses target entry-level employees as well as senior decision- and policy-makers in the civilian and military arenas, and the private sector. We are honored to invite all federal, private and public employees, including military personnel, to attend.

Key EARLY registration dates:

  • February 19, 2020 – Diamond Lifetime Members
  • February 25, 2020 – Lifetime Members
  • March 3, 2020 – Members

Periodically visit our NTP webpage at https://www.few.org/training-education/national-training-program/ to obtain more information on this stellar training opportunity. We will be continually updating information regarding hotel registration, course selections, and special events, just to name a few, so keep checking in for updates.

Looking forward to training with you!

FEW Shall Never Forget 9/11

911_eagleOn September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaida hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Almost 3,000 people were killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which triggered major U.S. initiatives to combat terrorism and changed this nations tolerance of extremist activities.

FEW shall never forget the sacrifice, the sense of a united community and the brotherhood.  9/11 will always be a day to remember our purpose as public servants to our country.  It is a day that we reflect on how we as public servants place the interest of the country before our own and provide the very best support we can to the communities in which we serve. We work to ensure a more perfect union and FEW’s very existence is dedicated to support our union. This year we are commemorating the eighteenth anniversary of 9/11, and I am reminding everyone to not only remember the devastation of that day, but also remember the strength and humanity shown. President Obama, in a 2011 radio address, said, “Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.”

As FEW ascends by “Soaring to New Heights,” we will always remember the acts of service upon which we stand, whether voluntary or involuntary, to form a more perfect union.  Today, FEW pledges to never forget the sacrifice of 9/11.

CSRS and FERS COLA rates released for 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 2018
Contact: 202-898-0994
few@few.org
CSRS and FERS COLA rates released for 2019

Federally Employed Women support the largest cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) since 2012 to Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) annuities and Social Security benefits. The COLA for CSRS will be 2.8 percent and 2 percent for Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) retirees in 2019, pursuant to federal law and the latest consumer price data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Richard Thissen, president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE), issued the following statement in response:

“CSRS retirees and Social Security recipients will be pleased to see their benefits increase by 2.8 percent in 2019, the largest increase since 2012. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of FERS retirees will be wondering why they are only receiving a 2 percent COLA when the relevant measure of consumer prices increased by 2.8 percent. That’s due to the bargain struck in Congress in the 1980s when FERS was created, which limits COLAs to 2 percent when consumer prices increase between 2 and 3 percent. But that was the wrong policy then, as it is now. It prevents FERS annuities from keeping up with inflation, which is the whole point of a COLA. It is past time for Congress to ensure FERS retirees receive a full COLA each year.

“Retirees already receive COLAs that fail to represent how seniors spend their money. COLAs are currently based on the CPI-W, which measures how urban wage earners and clerical workers under the age of 62 spend their money. Yet, since 1982, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has been calculating a consumer price index measuring prices experienced by those 62 years of age or older, called the CPI-E. The CPI-E has shown that prices increase for seniors by 0.2 percent more, on average, than for the population measured by the CPI-W. In other words, seniors’ COLAs aren’t keeping up with their rising cost of living, which is what they are designed to do. That’s why I’m also calling on Congress to pass H.R. 1251, the CPI-E Act, which would require the BLS to use the CPI-E to determine COLAs for Social Security recipients, CSRS retirees and FERS retirees alike.

“Without adequate COLAs, FERS retirees, as well as CSRS retirees and Social Security recipients, will see inflation erode the value of their retirement income year after year. Yet that is exactly what they are supposed to prevent. Federal retirees are not asking to be made better off than they were last year. We just want to maintain the value of what we have rightfully earned through careers of service.”

FEW National President Rainey commented, “Retirees who are collecting Social Security retirement benefits may have reason to cheer as their Social Security checks will be larger next year. Yet, don’t celebrate too soon. Often times these increases are eaten up with increased Medicare premiums as COLA rates should keep up with inflation and the elevated cost of premiums to make the greatest impact on helping retirees.”

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Source: narfe.org