Postmaster General DeJoy rejoices over new package business customers

In today's Federal Newscast: Postmaster General Louis DeJoy rejoices over the booming USPS package business. The National Treasury Employees Union sounds the al...

  • The Senate is preparing to take a step to avoid a partial government shutdown, which is a week away. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is planning a vote on Tuesday to keep the government from partially shutting down. The Senate Majority Leader is bringing a short term continuing resolution to the floor to avoid several agencies, including the departments of Agriculture, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation and Veterans Affairs from losing funding on January 19. Schumer didn't say how long the short-term CR would go for, but he seems to have the support of top Senate Republican leaders, who agreed that another short term funding bill was necessary. The rest of the agencies are funded through February 2.
  • A House committee is demanding an update on how the Department of Veterans Affairs is handling a sexual harassment investigation. The House VA Committee voted to subpoena the VA for more documents and records from its ongoing internal investigation. VA employees, who reached out to the committee, claim to have received suggestive text messages from leaders within VA’s Office of Resolution Management, Diversity & Inclusion. They say they faced retaliation in the workplace for turning down their advances. Committee Chairman Mike Bost said the VA didn’t take action against the accused until he personally called VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “I've seen damning evidence of sexual harassment that was ignored by senior officials at VA for months," Bost said.
  • The Labor Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are pooling resources to spread the word about new legal protections in the workplace. Labor and the EEOC are making referrals, coordinating investigations and cross-training federal employees to implement the recently enacted Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. The law, enacted in December 2022, extends more workplace protections to pregnant and nursing employees nationwide. A little over a year in, the two agencies have developed a series on maternal health to share information about the new protections. They have also been outlining key federal workplace protections in some new online resources.
    (Joint statement on anniversary of PWFA, PUMP Act - Labor Department, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)
  • A busy holiday season for the Postal Service is paying off. USPS said it delivered 130 million more packages during the most recent quarter, compared to the same period last year. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said growing the package business is the key to turning around the Postal Service’s long term financial problems. “This shows that we are winning new customers, winning more volume from existing customers and reclaiming market share in the package business that we surrendered long ago," DeJoy said.
  • One of the largest federal employee unions is sounding the alarm about the potential effects of a partial government shutdown that is just a week away. The National Treasury Employees Union wrote to House and Senate leaders urging them to keep the government open past January 19. NTEU President Doreen Greenwald said a shutdown, even a short one, would impact the government's ability to recruit and retain employees. She said Congress should budget to the nation's needs, including increasing federal employees' salaries to match the private sector and give agencies more resources to conduct oversight and enforcement efforts. NTEU also is urging lawmakers to oppose the inclusion of a fiscal commission to address the federal deficit in any 2024 or other spending agreement.
    (NTEU presses Congress to avoid a partial shutdown - National Treasury Employees Union)
  • Over a year ago, the Army’s unified network consisted of 42 disparate organizational networks. It has now been consolidated to 14 networks and Maj. Gen. Christopher Eubank said that the plan is to eventually move toward a single unified network, including a tactical network. The service is currently conducting a pilot program at the 7th Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where Eubank and his team are looking at the division’s tactical network and determining how it can be collapsed into the greater Army network.
  • Applications for one of the top privacy jobs in government are open. The Office of Management and Budget is looking for an expert to lead the privacy branch in its Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. The person will manage the work of the branch responsible for developing and overseeing agency implementation of privacy and related information policies. The person will lead the development of governmentwide policy guidance and oversee agency implementation of privacy policies, principles, standards and guidelines. OMB created this office in 2016. Applications for the privacy branch chief position are due by January 29.
  • President Biden plans to nominate Anne Wagner as a member of the Federal Labor Relations Authority. If the Senate confirms her, Wagner will serve alongside Chairman Susan Tsui Grundmann and Member Colleen Duffy Kiko. The FLRA oversees labor-management relations for federal employees. Since 2015, Wagner has served as associate special counsel with the Office of Special Counsel. Wagner previously served as vice chairman of the Merit Systems Protection Board during the Obama administration.
  • The Army is in the implementation phase of its unified data reference architecture. The framework, which has been in the works for over a year, allows the service to build out a data mesh across all of its programs. Jennifer Swanson, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for data, engineering and software, said that they are currently halfway done with the implementation phase, and expect to finish all the work by March. She also said that they have been able to simplify the architecture from 14 top-level services to six services. The Army has put out three requests for information over the last year to receive feedback from the industry.

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