To listen to the Federal Newscast on your phone or mobile device, subscribe on PodcastOne or Apple Podcasts. The best listening experience on desktop can be found using Chrome, Firefox or Safari.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will host free online training on the agency’s new online filing system for federal sector complaints and appeals. EEOC expanded its public portal to the federal sector late last month. It allows federal employees and applicants to file and manage their requests for hearings and appeals of their EEOC complaints. Online training runs on Aug. 29 from noon to 1:15 p.m. Interested employees can sign up in advance on the EEOC’s website. (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)
There’s light at the end of the tunnel for those calculating the damages owed to federal employees involved in 2013 government shutdown. Lawyers for federal employees have to gather payroll data for only 38 more of the 25,000 claimants who opted into the lawsuit, to figure out how much they’ll receive. That’s 30 fewer claimants than the previous month. Consultants involved in the class action lawsuit have been working for months to figure out what feds will eventually receive. A judge ruled back in 2017 that the government was wrong to delay pay to employees who worked during the first week of the 2013 shutdown. (Federal News Network)
Another lawsuit has been filed by the American Federation of Government Employees in federal district court. This time the union is challenging the Federal Service Impasses Panel over its May decision to rewrite 12 articles of the Social Security Administration’s collective bargaining agreement. AFGE said members of the panel were improperly appointed. The panel is supposed to have seven presidentially appointed members but it only had six at the time the panel ruled on the SSA contract. AFGE said the panel’s May ruling is invalid, because the members who made the decision were improperly appointed to their positions. (Federal News Network)
The Army Research Office is turning to artificial intelligence to make better batteries. The office teamed up with Cornell University to create AI bots to solve small problems in material science. ARO said the experiment shows that AI can be used in unusual ways to help solve engineering problems. The goal is to find a catalyst for oxidized methanol. Methanol can be stored more easily than hydrogen in batteries and therefore can help make them smaller or last longer. (Federal News Network)
Need an airplane part? Just click print. The Air Force is using cutting edge technology to repair aircraft. The 60th Maintenance Squadron at Travis Air Force Base in California is the first field unit authorized to use a 3D printer to fix aircraft. Airmen can now download blueprints to create hard-to-find parts. So far those parts are only for nonstructural areas. The items the squadron has printed off for replacements haven’t exactly been glamorous. The first approved project printed latrine covers for the C-5M Super Galaxy. The covers usually take a year from the time they are ordered until they’ve been installed. The squadron printed two in 73 hours. (Air Force)
Hill Air Force Base in Utah was recognized by the Energy Department for its energy and water conservation efforts. The annual Federal Energy and Water Management award honors federal facilities which make outstanding contributions to energy efficiency, water conservation, and the use of renewable energy. (Air Force)
Nuclear power has moved up a few notches on the agenda of the Energy Department. DOE stood up a demonstration center to examine new technologies for reactors. The center was authorized by the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act, enacted last year. It’ll be led by the Idaho National Laboratory, with a $5 million appropriation for fiscal 2020. Manufacturers will demonstrate new concepts and test their performance, with a focus on modular and micro-reactors for use in remote or small delineated areas. (Department of Energy)
After 37 months, the Washington Monument is set to reopen to the public again on Sept. 19. The building was closed for the long period of time back in August 2016 due to issues with its elevator systems. Along with the elevator, there is also a new security screening facility for visitors.